What make or break a good tripod design?


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misato

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I'm very new into photography, and after many visits to CP and AP. I have sort of a question on tripod...

What makes a good tripod.. or what not make a good tripod?
Was the price every a point of consideration?
Is there tripod with Special designs?
 

misato

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I'm using the A40. But i'm just too curious a cat to not overlook this point. Seriously speaking, what makes a good tripod?
 

Kho King

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IMHO, a good tripod is:
1. Stable enough for my lenses (upto 420mm in future)
2. Quick enough to setup (depends on the locking system)
3. Light enough to carry around (2kg is ok for me, 3kg is really heavy...)
4. Durable enough to last forever (can stand the bang...and still perform perfectly...definitely Gitzo brand...)
5. Cheap enough for me to afford (price and performance always contradict...)
6. Short enough for me to store and pack (4 sections is good, but a bit inconvenient to setup)

Conclusion, one tripod is not enough...and it really depends on the situation and lenses you want to use. I am currently using Gitzo G1340, which is definitely too much for your digicam.

http://www.openlens.com/~khoking/myphotography/myaddon/gitzo/g1340/gitzo1340.htm
 

Ian

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Originally posted by misato
But i'm just too curious a cat to not overlook this point. Seriously speaking, what makes a good tripod?
There are quite a few factors that make up a good tripod, the most crucial being;

Rigidity
A tripod that flops around like a plate of soggy noodles when setup is defeating it's purpose. A good tripod offers a rigid platform with a minimum of flexure at it's rated load capacity.

Low Vibration
All tripods have a resonant frequency and this frequency can be a problem if something triggers the tripod to resonate, thus good damping properties are essential.

Load Capacity
The amount of weight the tripod legs and or head will carry (if the head is not detachable).

Leg Locks
The quality of the leg extension locks is critical as in most cases with cheap tripods they are non replaceable. The better the leg locks the longer the tripod will probably last. Broken leg locks are the #1 cause of tripod failure.

Legset Height
This is the height of the legs when fully extended before the centre column is used. Ideally this height plus the head and camera should be at a comfortable working height for the photographer as the centre column in most tripods is quite flimsy and using it reduces the stability of the camera.

Weight
The overall weight of a tripod and head something often debated and there are two schools of thought on the matter.

One group believe that the heavier a tripod is the better, as more mass equals more stability.

The other group believe that lightweight tripods are easier on the body and not needed in most cases.

My view: both sides are correct. It is an undisputable fact that a heavy tripod has better resistance to the effects of wind and in most cases vibration, however they are a bitch to carry around.

Build Quality
Pretty self explanitory. Tripods like most everything else in life is made to a price and essentially you get what you pay for. The higher the build quality the longer the life at a given leven of use (read abuse) with tripods.

Head Design
This is only important on tripods with non removable heads. The better the design of the head the more likely it is to lock tightly and firmly, thus providing a stable platform for the camera. Better quality tripods have removable heads allowing the photographer to use the head of their choice.

Summary
When all's said and done there is almost always a tripod that is suitable for every need and budget.

Don't be mislead in to the old arguement that this tripod is bettr than that as it's not always the case and is in most cases a subjective and often prejudiced opinion offered by those with little experience. As long as the tripod does it's job that you require of it then brand etc is immaterial, however I do recommend the following manufacturers on build quality and acceptance amongst professional photographers worldwide.

High Quality Legset Manufacturers

Sachtler - A German outfit, by far and away the worlds best professional pentapods. Extremely expensive with load capacities that make other brands pale in to insignificance. Extremley populuar with professional cine and still wildlife photographers from Europe.

Benbo/uniloc - A UK company that makes what is probably the most versatile and without doubt the strangest acting tripod legs in the world. A long time favourite of wildlife photographers and those specialising in botanical photography.

Velbon - Their carbon fibre tripods are amongst the best there are. Their aluminum range varies from excellent to horrible. Well worth checking out.

Manfrotto - Owned by the same parent company in the UK as Gitzo. Italian tripods that are stylish, very well made in their upper end models and somewhat crude in places but quite tough.

Gitzo - A French company - owned by the same UK based group as Manfrotto. Offer some stunning tripods and in most parts of the world horribly overpriced.

Miller - An Aussie company that produce some great pentapods suitable for long lenses.

Linhof - A German company that makes some of classy legsets. Not cheap and mostly aimed at the Medium to Large format camera user.

Hight Quality Pan Head and Ballhead Manufacturers

Arca Swiss - Allegedly the best ballheads
Graf - My choice for most work
Foba - Stunning quality
Burzynski - Better than Arca in my viow
Kaiser - Class and quality
Hama - their medium and heavy ballheads are great
Linhof - Excellent but hurts the wallet
Gitzo - Compact and good quality
Giotto - Very good heads for those on a budget
Velbon - MG range is excellent value for money
Arcatech - Makes a highly rated ballhead.
 

Lennier

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Originally posted by misato
I'm using the A40. But i'm just too curious a cat to not overlook this point. Seriously speaking, what makes a good tripod?
It may sound silly, but a good tripod is one that you will want to take out with you, even though it means having muscle sprains and weird stares in Orchard Rd.

If you could post your height and budget, maybe someone could reply with some recommendations for you.
 

Flare

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Originally posted by Lennier


It may sound silly, but a good tripod is one that you will want to take out with you, even though it means having muscle sprains and weird stares in Orchard Rd.

And on top of that, something that you will want to set up and use it when you bring it out.
 

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