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Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 02:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi All!

I'm looking to buy a sturdy tripod for long lens and long exposure time shots.
I remember an old post a while back on what some good tripods were, but I couldn't find it in the search. Can someone please point me in the right direction on what some good brands are and where to find them? Thanks a ton!
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My Tripod Recommendations...
Old 11-20-2005, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, be prepared to spend some money. Yes, you can buy inexpensive tripods. You will regret it.

I recommend you look at the Bogen Manfrotto line. They are made in Italy, but widely distributed in this country. B&H and many other places carry them. They have a pretty broad range of units all the way up to very expensive carbon fiber units and there are some of a new material that is supposedly even stronger... I forget the name, something related to volcanos I think.

Back many years ago, Star-D made knockoffs of some Leitz and other units that were pretty good and not too expensive. I haven't seen any Star-D stuff in years though.

Depending on what your intended use is, you may wind up with several. I have heavy ones I use primarily for studio stuff, and a couple of much lighter and smaller units used for field work.

One trick to make lighter units more stable is to hang your camera bag on them. The extra weight can make them considerably more stable.

Another trick is to go to your home improvement store and buy foam formed pipe insulators. They come in various diameters and are usually grey. Use a razor blade or sissors to cut a slit along the length and slip them over the tripod legs. Saves scratching the legs up, makes the tripod easier on your shoulder when carrying, and can make handling them in very cold weather less traumatic...



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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 02:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll second Al's recommendation to look at the Bogen/Manfrotto line of tripods. They're worth every penny you pay for them.

Before you start searching, though, figure out how much weight you need to support. Look up the weight of the camera and the longest, biggest, lens you're ever LIKELY to put onto the tripod and then spec your purchase based upon that, plus a fudge factor of a "little bit" just to allow for any eventualities.

Yeah, you might be able to get sharp images with a tripod/head combination that's rated for less poundage than you're applying to the combo, in perfect conditions, but...

Happy shopping!


Bogen/Manfrotto web site
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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Along with the afore-mentioned Bogen/Manfrotto recommendation I'll add Gitzo and Benbo. The Gitzo line of products are owned by Bogen. It is their high-end. Gitzos are more expensive than the Bogen's but are generally lighter for the same rigidity (they use carbon fiber and/or titanium in some models). If you're going to be lugging the beast around all day, lighter is definately better. Benbo's are also nice and extremely versatile.

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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 03:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If a bogan is more then you want ...Tiltall Tripod are solid .... http://www.adorama.com/TPTLB.html
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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 04:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you really need a tripod it will get expensive. You can start off cheap, but you will soon toss it and buy an expensive one.

I get by freehanded or with a monopod most of the time. I use a Manfrotto 681B monopod distributed in the US by Bogen.

For a tripod I use a Manfrotto 3221GN. It's solid and very heavy. If you need to carry it anywhere I would highly recommend a carbon fibre one even if it costs twice the price. I prefer lever locks on the legs vice twist locks because mine are exposed to beach sand often.

A tripod head can cost as much as legs. I prefer a ball head for flexibility. The standard to which all others are compared is the Arca-Swiss.

This was shot on a monopod.


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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 06:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bogen 3001N or a 3021, decent tripods decent money for what your spending on them. Not overkill but not going to fold. A 322rc2 grip would be cool if you have the dinero, but thats a little superfulous. Just any basic QR would suit you fine on the tripod.


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Re: Tripod Recommendations?
Old 11-20-2005, 07:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A Bogen. The heavier the better. Don't forget to get a sturdy head as well. Bogen's will cost a bit more than others, but as somebody who has owned one, as well as someone who knows quite a few other photographers who own one, it's worth it. They are very well built. Sorry I don't have any model numbers to give you.

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Re: Be careful of Tiltall Tripods!
Old 11-20-2005, 09:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Be Careful of Tiltall tripods, I had one I used for 12 years before it wore out. I really loved it so I bought another one....It is a piece of crap!
It isn't even level when you spread the legs, (not too bad since you can level the camera, but it looks funny) and the legs get caught up and will not release and that is really a hassel! Looks like another corporate buy the name deal!
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Re: My Tripod Recommendations...
Old 11-20-2005, 10:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you sir! The Bogen/Manfrotto line seems the way to go. And covering the legs with foam is a great idea!
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