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Photography Question 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
 

What Tripod should I buy?


I currently own a Fuji FinePix S2 Pro, I also purchased a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO HSM lens to do some wedding photography with on a recommendation. I would like to also purchase a good tripod with my tax refund. What would you suggest & why? The Sigma lens has a tripod mount on it.


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3/22/2007 2:50:13 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I would suggest that you assemble your heaviest possible camera, lens combination and weigh it.
Use this information to pick a tripod and head that will handle that weight comfortably. There are many reputable brands from which to choose.
The head should sport quick-release capability...in case you need to go mobile in a hurry.

The Slik Pro 700DX is light, strong and relatively inexpensive. The 3 way pan/tilt head included with the pod has a reliable quick-release mechanism and will handle medium-weight combos nicely.
The leg adjustments have tension levers instead of those pesky rings you have to unscrew. (...I hate those.)

Whichever model you decide upon, it's wise to get a few extra quick-release plates. You can attach one to your Sigma lens and one to each of your camera bodies.
(Organized ammo will save valuable time on the battlefield.)

Bob


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3/22/2007 4:09:37 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Make sure you get one that is tall enough for you to use without stooping. Best if this height can be set without extending the center column.


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3/23/2007 4:25:29 AM

 
Bob Fately   Julie, tripod selection becomes a matter of personal taste, once you get by the minimum quality and weight-handling requirements. And, like everything else in life, it's a matter of compromise: we're all seeking that tall tripod that collapses down to 2 feet tall that is not heavy yet supports 6 pounds of camera gear(or more!) sturdily and without vibrating in the wind. Oh, and want to pay $100 for it.

Brands to look at are Gitzo, Manfrotto as well as Slik. The fancier 'pods (basalt, carbon fiber) can run upwards of $500 or more without the head, but at a minimum plan to spend at least $100.

Tripod heads come in two basic flavors - ball heads and pan-tilt types. It's really a matter of personal preference as to which one a shooter uses - so go to a store and play with both types to get a sense if one is easier for you to use.

And QR (quick release) plates (that Bob C mentioned) are a virtual necessity. While there are some more proprietary versions, the so-called Arca-Swiss type is considered a standard. You can check out Kirk Photographic or Really Right Stuff to see the variety of plates offered for camera bodies as well as lenses.

Hope that helps...


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3/25/2007 5:29:11 PM

 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  Thank you for your wisdom on this, I always hated going out and buying something and 3 months later figuring out that it wasn't a good deal, or it wasn't everything I thought it should be. What would the difference between ball head and pan tilt would be?


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3/25/2007 6:38:30 PM

 
Bob Fately   Basically, a pan-tilt head has two pivot points, each with individual control. There are typically two handles that can be tightened or loosened independantly - one that allows you to turn the platform left-right (pan) and the other that allows up-down movement (tilt).

Ball heads,, in contrast, are basically ball-and-socket devices. There is a single knob to tighten or loosen the mechanism, and when loose you can turn and twist the platform in any direction. The better heads have a fricktion control as well, meaning you can set a certain amount of resistance so the head doesn't flop around freely when you loosen the control knob. Acratech, Linhof and Arca-Swiss are among the better brands of ball heads.

Again, it's a matter of personal preference - some folk like the independant control of pan-tilt, others find them too cumbersome. You might want to look at the RRS website - www.reallyrightstuff.com - as they have some interesting articles about tripods and heads. In fact, they've started to sell a b&s head of their own, which is purportedly quite excellent (and as pricey as the Arca-Swiss).


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3/26/2007 5:16:21 AM

 
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