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Photography Question 
Jill M. Higgins

Tripod Recommendations

I need a sturdy tripod with a pistol grip head that is sturdy for veritcal shots and longer lenses. Any suggestions?

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3/4/2004 4:38:43 PM

doug Nelson   The minimum decent tripod is the Bogen manfrotto 3000-series. Most people who use tripods tell us that the more vertical extension over the apex of the legs, the more likely your shots could suffer from vibration. That extra height of the pistol grip heads bothers me, although I've never used one. I'd consider a high quality ball head, maybe a size or so over the one rated for the weight of your set-up. The conventional 3030 head is a favorite here. Bogen sells a long lens support that you should look at. If you're like me, Image Stabilization lenses are a bit pricey, so we need all the help we can get.

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3/5/2004 5:44:36 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Good news. Manfrotto is coming out with a new HORIZONTAL grip action ball head 322RC2. It may hit the stores in a month or two. It supports up to 11 lbs of load and use the popular 3157N release plate. Check with B&H. Hope this helps.

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3/5/2004 8:15:15 AM

Scott Pedersen   Don't waste your hard earned money on fancy names like bogen amd manyretto or what ever it is. They are just a stick with a screw on the top. You still have to buyu a quick release head for them. Go down to Ritz and look at the heavier Quantary tripods. I have a 550 series with a handgrip, and panhead. They all come with a quick release plate too! There is a heavier one yet the 750 series. These are very strudy, well constructed tripods.

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3/9/2004 4:27:54 AM

Michael E. Johnson   I recently bought a Promaster SytemPRO with the Ball head. They had the pistol grip set up also for slightly more.

The nice thing about the kit I bought is it came with 2 center posts that the head mounted on a short and long. The long post will telescope out and doubles as a mono pod.

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3/9/2004 4:41:35 AM

RG Rottschalk
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/27/2004
  Everyone has their opinions but from this viewpoint, Manfrotto is superior.
Money spent on Manfrotto is an investment in good tools. I have the 322RC2 head and it's advantages over the older 3265 seem significant for your needs. With the 322RC2 you can mount your heavier camera setup at the axis of the grip and tripod for best comtrol but if you are using a lighter setup, the camera can mount on the end of the grip (see the Manfrotto web illustration) just like with the 3265. I'm very pleased having purchased the 322. It's also light enough and works great on a monopod as well (Manfrotto 680).

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3/9/2004 6:49:36 AM

Philip Munroe   I use a Manfrotto tripod. Each leg is independently adjustable, a great feature on uneven terrain. The legs can be opened enough to get the tripod nearly flat to the ground. As to a pistol grip, check out the Manfrotto 3265. It comes with a built - in quick release plate and a level. The specs say it is good up to a little over 5 lb. BUT weigh your camera and lens combo. I use a Canon Elan 7 with 28 - 135 and 100 - 300 lenses. Either setup is within the head's published weight spec and I've never had a problem with creep in any position. And, yes, quick release is definitely worth the price. Check BandH or Adorama websites for further specs and cost info.

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3/15/2004 7:06:49 PM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
Owner,, Inc.
  I'm just going to add my two cents regarding the tripod head.

I was about to buy the Bogen grip when a friend (Lewis Kemper) told me how he got a less expensive head like that and, in the long run, just ended up having to buy a better, more expensive head. The problem with less expensive ball heads is that your camera will often "travel" - or slip a bit.

I went with the Arca Swiss B1 ball head and love it. This is a very expensive head but, if you think you are going to be using it for several years, you may want to save yourself money in the long run by getting the best tripod head right from the start.

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3/15/2004 11:13:07 PM

Gordon J. Evans
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2003
  Let me toss in my two cents as I just recently went around and around on tripods. I was willing to spend considerbly more for a tripod, but I ended buying the Slik Pro 700DX Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head (Quick Release) - Supports 15.00 lb through B&H for about $130. For additonal reviews,

I've been extremely pleased with it, it's a solid piece of equipment at a fraction of the price I expected to pay...

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3/16/2004 7:32:50 PM

Robert Bridges   Oh can we have one more tripod head tossed in the ring? I agree with Jim M on the Arca Swiss - pricy but worth it. Another good head in made by Kaiser and.......there is a third possibility. Look at the NPC heads. Oddly designed I admit but will hold a 4x5 field camera just fine AND has unlimited movements. Oh did I mention price?
Under 300.

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3/17/2004 9:21:38 PM

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