What do you look for in a good tripod?


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Gr|ever

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#1
After a few shootings at night, I realise that it's almost essential to have a tripod. I'm thinking of getting one. But what should I look for in a tripod?

Should it be heavy? So that it has better stability. Or should it be light so that it can be carried around easily? Sometimes I see photographers on the street carrying a tripod around.... & I feel pity for them. It looks so bulky & troublesome to carry around. But yet it is almost a must for night shots. Isn't there a more compact which is juz as good?
 

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#4
It all depends on your camera equipments pal. Though a heavy and sturdy tripod is desirable, it is cumbersome too. If your camera equipment does not justify for a good studio quality tripod, a light-clip tripod will be ideal.

Seriously, I hate using the tripod unless I doing studio works. I rather rely on my sturdy hand. Train your hands to be stable. If you just want to take night photography, no point in getting heavy tripods. They are quite a hassle.
 

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#5
I will give one simple explanation , if the brand of it, is Manfrotto , you just grab it , and you are heading directly at the cashier of the shop . ;)
 

mervlam

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#6
Originally posted by syncmaster
I will give one simple explanation , if the brand of it, is Manfrotto , you just grab it , and you are heading directly at the cashier of the shop . ;)
:bsmilie: :thumbsup:
 

jasonpgc

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If your camera is heavy (>500g), then look for a cheaper tripod(<S$100) with a metal head. For tripods with plastic heads, the hinge for setting the Camera to vertical format is very weak. When loaded with a heavy body, the hinge will wabble about upon any slight breeze. I have a compact plastic tripod that breaks apart at the vertical hinge area.

Getting a Manfotto can be expensive and heavy business. Consider a used one 1st. These tripods will not wear off nor get seriously damage. A used and ugly one, will be fine for normal usage. :p
 

Ian

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#9
Originally posted by Gr|ever
After a few shootings at night, I realise that it's almost essential to have a tripod. I'm thinking of getting one. But what should I look for in a tripod?
Before you shop for a tripod it's a good idea to do a bit of a needs and wants analysis to determine exactly what you'll be looking for.

In the case of a tripod there are several key questions you should ask yourself, these being:

1) What is the all up weight I will be using?
That is the combined weight of your camera body, largest heaviest lens (or intended lens), flash, batteries etc.

2) How tall does the tripod need to be?
Ideally the tripod will be tall enough so you can use it comfortably while standing erect.

3) How much am I really prepared to spend?
Tripods can cost serious money, however most are pretty reasonably priced.

4) How much weight am I prepared to lug around?

Once your armed with answers to the above it's time to go shopping. Always take your camera along so you can try out your rig on various tripods.

Things to pay attention to:

a) Leg locks. Many cheap tripods have horrible fimsly leg locks that fail after a few months.

b) The tripod head, you need to be 100% happy with the tripod head if it is a non removable head. If the head is removable then you can shop again for a better head.

c) Is the tripod sturdy. This is quite subjective and is largely based on the maximum height of the tripod and it's rated load carrying capacity as well as design features such as leg bracing and how the legs are attached to the tripod base.

d) Quick release plates. Does the (fixed head) tripod have a QR plate to not only make it easier to fit the camera to the plate, but is the QR relese system secure and easy to use. Again this is subjective.

A note about weight:

A heavy tripod will almost always dampen vibration faster and give a more stable platform than a light tripod, this is the case with ALL tripods regardless of material. Some lighter tripods can use what's known as a rock sling or tray which is a device that the photographer slings between the legs and fills with rocks, sand etc to increase the weight and stability of the tripod while keeping the weight down for carrying purposes.

Brands
There is NO best brand of tripod, nor a best model of tripod. The best is very much subject to the individual photographers needs, budget and preferences. Manfrotto, Gitzo, Velbon and Slik all make excellent tripods (not every model though)

In the end, though it's up to you, go out try some tripods and buy what you think is best.
 

b18

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#10
I would say a tripod recommended by my friend is one of the best.

Manfrotto 190D + 141RC head ... :D

Price is quite reachable [$200+ down here], and have seated a few heavy lens and body as well.

But carrying it around when go hunting is a bit nuisance as it is "quite" heavy ;)

Now I am looking for a Monopod for my drive-by shooting :D

=bob=
 

E

Encino

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#11
If you want to get a tripod, you seriously got to read what Ian said. He gave a very detailed explaination on how to get one and which is more suitable for you. Looks of the tripod is not a priority...the most important is it must at least support your camera set up...present n future. No point changing a tripod anytime you get a bigger lens....never ending masting money.

Get the best for your budget and needs. Got to strike a balance there...
 

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#12
b18

If this (1978) is right about you , to just saying that 2.5 kilos of this tripod , is heavy !!
I will advise you to start eating all your food ,from now and on .. :D


How many kilos are you ?
 

b18

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#13
hehehehe ...
whenever I visit Singapore, I always eat 2 plates of Carrot cake + 1 cah kwetiauw + 1 glass of Barley water * yum * and 1 carrot cake to ta bao back :eek:

my weight ? 90-95 kg .. fluctuates if winter times or friend ask me go out and drink coffee :)

3% of my bodyweight for the tripod .. ok what ? :)

=bob=
 

Gr|ever

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#14
Thanx everyone for your explaination, especially Ian! :thumbsup:
I guess getting a tripod is not as simple as I first thought. And certainly not as cheap! :(

Sure, the stability is one important factor. But how about it's compactness? I've seen people carry around their long, heavy tripods on their shoulder around. It looks really bulky to carry around. I'd prefer something which is able to be folded to the point where you can slide it in your bag. That'll be great.
 

b18

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#15
as Ian have point out, its all depend on what your gear will be.
If one day you will be using an D100 with the 400mm lens , the small compact tripod will not do any good :)

But if you are going to have a SLR [DSLR] or Digicam with normal lenses [not those 1.3kg+ lenses :) ], a compact tripod would be good.

Few friend of mine, uses a mini Gitzo which extendible to 80cm if I am not wrong. Size when flipped down is ~ 30cm CMIIW though.

but its quite pricey :) [300-400+ I think]

=bob=
 

ninelives

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#16
Originally posted by syncmaster
b18

If this (1978) is right about you , to just saying that 2.5 kilos of this tripod , is heavy !!
I will advise you to start eating all your food ,from now and on .. :D


How many kilos are you ?

that's the weight of my camera + telephoto lens. ;p

not to forget my gitzo non-cf triod (which is another 1.8 kg).

You won't feel the weight if you know how to carry.
 

chongkm

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Dec 6, 2002
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#17
Hey,

Maybe you can try out the combination I'm using. Got it from CP for $300+. Been serving me great so far. Not too heavy, strong, and yet portable. Don't extend the centre pole (whatever you call that) if not required. I usually just lug it around with the legs fully extended.

Maybe you can get a remote release as well. Will help you to reduce vibration a bit, and take away some of the backache of having to keep looking through the eye piece.
 

Ian

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#18
Originally posted by b18
But if you are going to have a SLR [DSLR] or Digicam with normal lenses [not those 1.3kg+ lenses :) ], a compact tripod would be good.
Erm 1.3kg is quite light for a lens :)
 

rochkoh

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#19
i personally reckon the choice of tripod would depend on the type of shot(s) you wanna take. perhaps you might want to provide us with more details on your area of photography.. then we might be in a better position to advise.

e.g.
Streetphotography - you don't need a tripod.
Landscape - and if you have to trek 2 weeks to get to the top of that mountain, get a CF/ultra portable one.
Studio/interior/architecture - the heavier the better.
Fashion walkways - you're probably better with a monopod.
etc..

enjoy!
rOCh
 

Gr|ever

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#20
Originally posted by rochkoh
i personally reckon the choice of tripod would depend on the type of shot(s) you wanna take. perhaps you might want to provide us with more details on your area of photography.. then we might be in a better position to advise.

e.g.
Streetphotography - you don't need a tripod.
Landscape - and if you have to trek 2 weeks to get to the top of that mountain, get a CF/ultra portable one.
Studio/interior/architecture - the heavier the better.
Fashion walkways - you're probably better with a monopod.
etc..

enjoy!
rOCh
Hmm... I dunno which catagory I'll fit into. Basically I wanna take all sorts of pictures. Currently I'm having problems when taking night scenary shots. But from the choices here, I'll pick the ultra portable one! ;) Eh... juz how ultra portable izzit?
 

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