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Photography Question 
Autumn Hernandez

Do You Love Your Tripod?

I have been looking for a great tripod but I am just stuck. I haven't found any thing just spark me as "the one". Do you have any suggestions? I don't want to have to use the middle extender so I need something that has pretty long legs (I'm 5'5") so that it is comfortable to take pictures and I won't have to hunch down. Also, obviously I want something pretty sturday and user friendly. I am also looking for a ball head to go on top. And obviously (?) a quick release plate on the head.

Anyone just in love with their tripod and they want to share with me a suggestion?


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2/14/2006 7:48:45 PM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  Autumn I have 2 basic tripods and outgrew them. I've just upgraded to a Manfrotto, (don't have the code right now), but I can take the middle out, and make it a horizontal - its wonderful, especially for macro. I think you need one thats fairly solid, and will grown with you in terms of your photographic needs and growth. I got the one with a ball head and pistol grip and I LOVE IT!!!! Its solid, takes my EOS 350D and diff. lenses, is very versatile and the pistol grip is great - locks into any position, but just one button to press. Its quite heavy - about 7kgs, so I won't be taking it on any long hikes, but I love it. It also has a quick release, but also has an extra locking pin.You say you're 5'5" - but very often the best pix are taken really low, or lying on your tummy! I'm 5'9" and find myself way below your height often! Good luck

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2/14/2006 8:05:46 PM

Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  I'm on the hunt for a good tripod too.. I found some helpful information here.
hope it helps.

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2/14/2006 8:17:43 PM

Bob Fately   Autumn, the perfect tripod is elusive if only because it involves such compromise. Sturdy yet lightweight, tall yet portable, etc - it's just hard to find.

You can check out Gitzo models as well as Manfrotto (they used to be separate companies but now have the same ownership). More leg sections means more collapsibility, but less sturdiness. Carbon fiber is lower weight, but higher cost. The list goes on.

You could also look at the wooden tripods from Berlebach or Ries - I'm actually contemplating one even though I have a Gitzo 1228, a UniLok (like a Benbo) and an old Bogen (the old US name for Manfrotto). It's like camera bags - ya just can't have too many.

Some other thoughts to consider - a geared center column could make very small movements easier - potentially important for macro work. The UniLok (and Benbo) tripods have inverted leg designs - where the lower section is the outer telescoping tube - so you can stand it in water without worrying about mucking up the legs.

As for QR systems - the Arca-Swiss standard style is, IMHO, the best - you can find them at companies like Really Right Stuff or Kirk. Those companies also now make ball heads, though the AcraTech is considered really good for the money (any good ball head will run at least $200 - the lower priced ones don't have the holding power).

Hope that doesn't add too much mud to the clarity...

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2/14/2006 8:35:08 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Autumn, I recommend the Manfrotto 3021B Pro tripod. I'm a little over 6' tall and can look through my viewfinder standing straight without extending the center column at all. The tripod isn't light (5.3 pounds without the head), but you don't want a lightweight that's unstable. Cost $140. Check Manfrotto site for heads. I got my tripod through Amazon from Adorama.

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2/15/2006 6:20:59 AM

Bret Tate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/12/2005
  I can second John's recommendation. I have used the 3021 for nearly 20 years in all types of conditons. It is sturdy, stable and tall. It is a little heavy to lug around, but I beleive it is the best performance for the price value out there.

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2/15/2006 7:34:27 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I have a Slik U212 and a Manfrotto 724b. Neither tripod will support a heavy lens.

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2/15/2006 8:38:54 AM

Autumn Hernandez   Thanks everybody for your suggestions. I was looking more toward the Manfrotto line, so your suggestions are really helpful. :)

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2/15/2006 9:13:32 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  I am with Robyn,
I love my Manfrotto/Bogen 3221.
I put a ball head on it and love it.
for studio work I put it on rollers you can find on ebay.
Best of luck to you,

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2/15/2006 10:01:03 AM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I use the 3011N legs and a 3030 head by Manfrotto and they are very strong and extremely sturdy with a 6 or 7 pound camera. You can also reverse the center post for some low shots, which means you can basically have the camera within an inch of the ground and still have the same stability. I personally wanna find some caster for studio work, anybody know of any?

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2/15/2006 11:57:12 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
here is something simaler to what I have,Mine however was made by Bogen,I looked for a stock number for you,but did not see one on the Bogen tag.


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2/15/2006 12:15:59 PM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Wow Deb that's exactly what I want and one of the few times this happens: at the price I want it! lol. thanks so much for help! take care, justin.

p.s. my dad let me "borrow" his 3021 legs (and some bogen head) before he bought me the one I have, it was very very similiar so i'm sure this would work great. thanks again!

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2/15/2006 3:55:38 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  No Problem, I love mine, in studio it makes life so much easier. That and a ball grip and I am happy.
there is also a new toy for the ball grip.
It's a grip trigger, I may like that better the the wireless remote for the D70.( can sometimes be unreliable, so need wired one or..)
you set the camera and shoot with out the child seeing you move your hand towards the button.

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2/15/2006 4:02:02 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Autumn: Reading this thread was kind of interesting. It's funny, after a several years of photography, changing formats, doing different types, some day some photographers open up their closet and both camera bags and tripods come tumbling out like a horn of plenty.

My experience has been that you buy the strongest, toughest, sturdiest and best tripod you can afford so that you can keep using it year after year, in all types of situations, indoors and out, with all types of formats. One tripod is an investment. Multiple tripods can be ridiculous.

I have two and have had them for over 20 years of nearly daily use of one kind or another. Both are Gitzos. One is a large Studex with a removable 12" center column that uses a crank. The center column has a hook that allows me to hang a sand bag to give it additional support. And, it supports anything from 35mm to large format with any size lens. In 3 sections, it extends to 8 feet in height, 9 feet with the center post and when necessary it allows me to work off ladders or other platforms. It has a Linhof Profi III ball head and quick release plates. It will allow the legs to extend outward so that it's nearly flat on the ground. So, it's extremely versatile...

The other is a Gitzo Reporter with a 12" center post without the crank. Also a Linhof Profi II ball head and quick release plates. It's very portable and can be used with one leg extended as a medium weight monopod. These legs will also extend out at the base to allow it to be nearly flat on the ground too. And the column can be replaced with either a six inch or a flat plate. Much lighter than the studex but more portable, of course.

Ball heads are great. IMHO much better than having to adjust multiple handles. If you get one, make sure it's really a good one. Try them out if you can. You should be able to mount a camera quickly, pull, push and tug on the thing without it coming off. You should be able to sling the tripod, head, and camera over your shoulder without fear it's going to come loose. (Pretty gutsy stuff eh?) The release should be idiotproof so you can't trip it accidentally.

The RRS that Bob mentioned is quite good, excellent in fact, but most of it is very specialized, custom made or modified and pretty pricey. If you look for Gitzo and Linhof heads, B&H sells them at the best prices I've seen. Velbon, Manfrotto, etc., are all nice, but day in and day out, I don't think they would last nearly as the Gitzos have. I often see posts on pro boards asking where people can get parts for them of one kind or another.

All I ever needed for the Gitzos were some new rubber feet a couple of times until I switched to crutch tips., let's talk camera bags / cases...........(ohhhhhhhhh noooooooo!!!!)

Take it light.

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2/15/2006 7:23:40 PM

Autumn Hernandez   Wow, thanks Mark. You always have great answers. :) And yeah, don't even get me started on bags. That's yet ANOTHER thing with which I have a love/hate relationship. I can't ever find the "perfect" one. That's probably what accessory manufacturers are hoping, so we DO buy a ton of stuff. lol

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2/15/2006 8:38:06 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Thanks Autumn. I didn't know you were listening ! LOL !!

And remember: "Camera ain't just a gal thing."

0:>) <<<<<<------- Mark in helmet ducking out of the line of fire.

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2/15/2006 9:06:24 PM

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