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Thread: need help choosing a tripod

  1. #1

    need help choosing a tripod

    I am a beginner to LF. I currently have a Super Speed Graphic and use of an Omega View camera. I bought a Tiltall just to get started and I really dislike it (can't use for low shots, find that when I tighten the legs enough to hold the camera stable, they are difficult to loosen, etc.) . I have to rely on mail-order for everything so don't get a chance to see equipment in person before I buy.

    I'm confused by all the tripod choices. I would like a relatively lightweight, sturdy tripod/head combination that I can splay the legs out for low shots and that is quick and easy to set up. What would make a complete tripod/head/QR plates/whatever else I might need system for $700 or under (if possible)?

    I really appreciate any help that you can give me.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    8,213

    need help choosing a tripod

    Anne,

    FWIW, my Tilt-all has a reversable column---while the legs can't splay out all the way, it is possible to have my Crown Graphic as low as it can go.

    For a really nice tripod, the Ries wooden ones are tops, but they aren't cheap and can be quite heavy. You might take a look at Berlebachs as an alternative, or a surveyor's tripod(these might even be available in your town!)

    Good Luck!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    443

    need help choosing a tripod

    I have used a Manfrotto 3001 with a ball head with a heavy monorail (CC400). The legs seemed to be overloaded and the ball head was awkward to use. I bought a 3221 which offers good support for the camera but it is not the lightest legset. I like it though. A 3 way pan tilt head is alot more comfortable to use with a monorail in my opinion. The Manfrotto 3030 would be nice for your cameras if you don't need a level. These are well within your budget. I am not familiar with the more expensive models.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    76

    need help choosing a tripod

    I went through something similar just a few weeks ago, except I was looking for something that could support 8x10.

    I wanted something reasonably light weight and not too bulky for portability, with good support and all for a decent price. And, of course, people said pick any two.

    Popular suggestion was to adapt a surveyor's tripod legset for use, someone also suggested a Bogen 3021 set which would've just about fit all my requirements although its not quite rated for the sort of weight capacity I needed. The Bogen has the advantage of being available just about everywhere, too.

    What I finally settled on, and it should be here today is a Berlebach 3032. Berlebach is a wooden tripod, which is reasonably light weight (the 3032 is 7.1#), with a good load capacity (26.5# on the 3032), and competivitly priced (again, the 3032 was under $200). The only thing the 3032 doesn't do is collapse very far, but there's alot of other Berlebach options, including three section tripods, that collapse to be as small as teh 3021.

    Also, some of the Berlebach tripods come with an integral ballhead that offers some limited movements. It won't replace a fully functional head, but it lets me trim another pound or two when I'm lugging it around.

    If I hadn't bought the Berlebach, or if my camera were a few pounds lighter, I think I would've ended up with a Bogen 3021.

  5. #5

    need help choosing a tripod

    I've had good luck, so far, using a 5lb monorail (calumet cadet) on a bogen/manfrotto 3021 legset and ball-head with quick release (352QR, though they now call it the 484RC2). I haven't had any problems with the rectangular QR plates in the Manfrotto line, though I would recommend getting the architectural plates to help counter twisting.

    I find the weight of this tripod to be more than reasonable for hiking with and it's quite solid once set up. I would agree with Edward that the ball head is a little awkward, but it's working well enough for me. I'll probably try out a pan-tilt head soon to see if I like it better.

    The newer versions of the 3021 legset are supposed to open fully to allow ground-level shooting. And, best of all, the whole outfit comes in well under $700. :-)

    Good luck in your search

    Steven

  6. #6
    Octogenarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Frisco, Texas
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    3,529

    need help choosing a tripod

    Hi Anne,

    For the two cameras you mention, I would recommend the following Bogen/Manfrotto tripod and head. You won't regret investing in a tripod carrying strap for this outfit:

    #3021 pro tripod legs (either chrome, or black) --- approx. $140.

    #3030 pan/tilt tripod head (with quick release) -----approx. $60.

    #3044 carring strap--------------------------------------approx.$25.

    These items and prices are listed on the B&H website (www.bhphoto.com).

    IMHO, Dollar-for-dollar, ounce-for -ounce, this tripod outfit is hard to beat. It will easily support either of the cameras you mentioned, and it will do all of the things you describe.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    405

    need help choosing a tripod

    Bogen Manfrotto 3021 or 3221 legs with 3047 three-way pan head and QR plate. You won't be disappointed. The 3047 head may be a bit heavier than you need (I've used mine with an 8x10 Deardorff for years), but the extra security is worth it.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    443

    need help choosing a tripod

    I really need to get that carrying strap. I keep procrastinating though. Thanks for reminding me Eugene.

  9. #9
    Octogenarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Frisco, Texas
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    3,529

    need help choosing a tripod

    Hello Edward,

    Yes, the carrying strap is a handy accessory. I have one for each of my three Bogen/Manfrotto tripod outfits (3021, 3233, and 475). It certainly makes it easier for my wife to carry them for me.

    By the way, I have found that the 3047 head on the 3021 legs makes for a top-heavy combination. That's why I recommended the 3030 head. I use the 3047 head on the 475 leg set, and it matches and balances perfectly.

  10. #10

    need help choosing a tripod

    Manfrotto MN443 carbon tripod with old Benbo ball head and Manfrotto QR plates. Perfectly adequate for my Ebony RSW45. Always wanted to get a Gitso but had the oppotunity to try both out at a show and liked the Manfrotto much more. The QR plates were recommended by Robert White (Manfrotto 345s I think) and are also very good.

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