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Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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Tripods


My mom wants to purchase a tripod for me for my camera for Christmas. I want a real good one.

I do not know anything about tripods and what kind do you recommend? I have Sony Cyber Shot Camera.

Do all Tripods fit all camera's.


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11/27/2005 6:28:30 AM

 
John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Kirby, I have been using the BOGEN 3021BPRO Professional Tripod with the BOGEN 3047 DELUXE 3-WAY PAN HEAD for five months and it is great. I like everything about the tripod--well built, sturdy, rock-solid. Most of all, I like the fact that I can look through the viewfinder with the center post all the way down (not extended) standing straight up; I'm just over 6-feet tall. The price mwas right too--about $220 for both.

John


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11/27/2005 9:25:25 AM

 
Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  John can you use that tripod on any camera? I have a sony cyber shot digital.

Thank you,

Kerby


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11/27/2005 11:22:54 AM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Generally you can use any tripod with any camera.


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11/27/2005 11:39:17 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Kerby: While you can use any tripod, you want to make sure that the screw on the tripod head will fit in the camera base. There are usually two sizes, 1/4-20 or 3/8 of an inch. Tripods are generally a matter of personal preference although you should try and get the sturdiest (which is not necessarily the heaviest) one you can afford since they tend to last quite awhile. That way, if you get a heavier camera later, you won't need to replace your tripod with a heavier duty version. Seewhatimeaneh?
Take it light.
Mark


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11/27/2005 5:10:21 PM

 
John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Kerby, The head mentioned has the 1/4-20 threads. Check your camera's spec sheet to confirm tripod mount thread size. I recommend you go to the Bogen (Manfrotto)site and check out the models I mentioned or look for something more suitable. Mark is right on. Your next tripod should be your last tripod, providing it is well cared for. You'll probably change cameras, but the tripod should be with you a long time. Buy the best you can afford now to save in the long run.
All the best.
John


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11/27/2005 6:19:23 PM

 
Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  John and Mark and Brendan,

I check out the bogen site.

I pretty new to photography. This will be my first tripod so if I get a good one it will last a long time.

Maybe I can call them and ask what they suggest thread size for my camera.

Thank you for responding,

Kerby


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11/27/2005 7:40:12 PM

 
Bob Fately   Kerby, there are two basic thread sizes that are used in virtually all cameras - 1/4 x 20 and 3/8 x ...well, I forgot the thread count on the larger standard photographic thread. No matter, that larger size is only used for very large and heavy gear (view cameras and the like) so there is little doubt but that your Sony camera uses the far more common 1/4 x 20.

Now, as for tripod recommendations. Like everything else in life, the perfect tripod does not exist so you find the best compromise for your purposes. A perfect tripod would extend to 6 feet tall, collapse to 1 foot tall (for ultimate portability), be able to handle up to 6 pounds or more, be rock steady, and weight less than 3 pounds.

This just doesn't exist. So the question is what is most important for your purposes? You camera is not that heavy, so you can use a lighter weight tripod. If you plan to travel a lot, then one that collapses to fit into luggage is useful, but the tripods that collapse to smaller sizes do this by having more leg sections, and more leg sections means less stability.

There are tripod models with a geared cener column - this allows for more precision when raising or lowering the camera, but of course adds some weight. If you plan on doing nature photography, then you might want to get a model that doesn't have the standard center column, but rather has an offset column that can be tilted sideways for more flexibility.

What the tripod is made of affects stability and weight. Aluminum is typically the least expensive, while wood and graphite (and the new "basalt") are more expensive but offer better vibration damping as well as lighter weight.

The head on the tripod is another issue - some folks like the pan/tilt type of head, while others prefer a ball head.

My point is not to confuse you (sorry if I already did), but rather to bring up some important factors when choosing a tripod. In terms of brands, Manfrotto (which used to go under the Bogen name) and Gitzo (which was a separate company recently purchased by manfrotto, but with entirely different models and manufacturing) are the two most popular "Euro" names. Slik from Japan also has some nice models. And the venerable Leitz Tiltall, which I believe is still around, was always a great basic unit.

So, figure out what kind of budget your mom has (decent tripods start at at least $100 but can go to over $1000). Then visit a store and look a bunch of them over - it's impossible to tell from specification sheets if the leg locking mechanisms are to your liking or if you like the "feel" of the unit.

And don't be surprised if you find yourself in a few years with more than one tripod anyway - a sturdy desktop, a ball head on a Vice-grip pliers, as well as a more traditional floor-standing model might all wend their ways into your gear bags.

But congratulations on recognizing the value of a tripod - not many folks understand how this non-optical piece of gear can really help your photographic output. They're not 'sexy', but they're sure useful.


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11/28/2005 7:31:48 AM

 
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