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Photography Question 
Janet L. Poole

Tripod and Ball Head

I am looking to buy a good tripod and ball head. I would also like the tripod to be lightweight. Please provide suggestions on the best on the market. Thanks.

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6/15/2005 6:44:34 PM

Michael H. Cothran   I am never quite sure how to answer questions where people want the "best." You did say a "good tripod," but then stated the "best on the market." I do try to answer questions like this literally. So... the "best" would be a Gitzo Mountaineer carbon fiber tripod ... strong, sturdy, and extremely light weight. There are many fine ball heads available today. Gitzo has introduced their own family of ball heads. My personal favorite is the Kirk BH3. Kirk Enterprises makes some awesome accessories. This combination will run several hundred dollars, but if you want the "best", you have to pay for it.
You CAN buy cheaper for sure. Manfrotto is the most popular brand of tripods, and relatively cheap - but don't expect the quality of a Gitzo in one.
Michael H. Cothran

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6/16/2005 5:33:35 AM

Janet L. Poole   Michael

Thanks so much for the quick response. I do not really care about price. I just want a great set up. I do not want to buy something to save a few dollars. Then, turn around and have to buy something else, because, I was cheap the first time around.

I like your internet site. You have very nice pictures.

Janet L. Townend

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6/16/2005 5:52:37 PM

Bill Boswell   If you want what most of the professional nature photographers use, look at the Gitzo 1325 CF tripod and the Arca Swiss B1 ball head. This will run about $1,000 but is very stable and easy to use.

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6/21/2005 4:25:48 AM

Sharon E. Lowe
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/7/2002
  Agree on the Gitzo recommendation. Ball Heads - Arca Swiss, Kirk, or Really Right Stuff ( are what most pros recommend.

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6/21/2005 5:03:55 AM

Amanda E. Radovic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/16/2004
  I would go out and try them first - a tripod has to combine the right amount of sturdiness vs lightweight, the head has to feel right and be easy to use, the quick release has to be just that! It will just feel rihgt whatever you choose and that is what you buy - especially nice when money is no object! The problem lies here in - if your tripod isn't easy to use and fit your photographic style then you just wont use it as often as you should. Likewise - if it isn't quality enough and sturdy enough to carry your equipment - then you are risking the safety of your gear. I personally use Manfrotto - it suits my needs and feels right. I love the quick release ball head I have, you depress the handgrip which gives you full free ball rotation. When your image is how you want it in the viewfinder you simply let go of the pistol grip and it locks into place - couldn't be easier! Hope this helps.

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6/21/2005 5:51:28 AM

Janet L. Poole   Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate the advice.


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6/21/2005 6:02:43 PM

Norbert Maile   I beg to differ! Gitzo is probably the best in the world but I would say that Manfroto is a close second. Some people have told me the opposite so I guess it is a matter of taste. You need sturdy. If you are backpacking then you need to consider weight more so. If not then it is not so important. Either company will provide you will a first rate product.A ball head from either company would be a solid buy and last for years to come.

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6/21/2005 10:12:46 PM

Janet L. Poole   Norbert

Thanks for the advice.


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6/22/2005 2:21:05 PM

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