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BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Best Camera Tripods

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Photography Question 
Noel Baebler
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/26/2003

Choosing That Tripod

I've read through all the "What Tripod?" Q's and A's, and although I can now spell "Manfrotto" and "Gitzo" (not "Ginzu"- they're the knife people.), I can't do this alone. I'm looking for a tripod for my Canon XT 350. My largest lens is a Sigmna 70-300. My main desire is: compact and lightweight. I've almost decided on the Gitzo G1027 Mountaineer, carbon fiber 6x. Any thoughts on this tripod? Is the XT tripod socket compatible with Gitzo tripods? Also, does anyone have a ball head they especially like? Gitzo has a ball head (G1077M) that looks quite basic at $73 and would keep the weight down. Off to click. Thanks!

6/4/2006 8:32:29 AM

Kerry L. Walker

member since: 12/21/2004
  It will be very difficult for anyone to suggest a tripod for you, as picking a tripod is a subjective venture. Many people love a ball head. I don't. (Guess it sounds too much like bald head, and I'm getting there.) Most people like a tripod with a quick-release plate. I don't. (OK, I'm a weird guy.) However, we can make suggestions as to brands. Gitzo is the Rolls Royce of tripods, and you can't go wrong with them. Bogen-Manfrotto is also an excellent brand. Beyond that, I suggest you handle the tripod you think you want and see if you really like it.

6/5/2006 6:27:26 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  Hey Noel, if you're gonna buy that great tripod and throw a $75 tripod head on it you're kindof missing the point. The head is what holds the camera still and if it creeps you might as well hold the camera by hand. My friend and I bought CF tripods at the same time. I bought the Arca Swiss B1 and he bought one for $100. 3 weeks later while photographing a catalog he realized he needed better and spent $300 on a better one. Good news is he's got it forever and learned a valuable lesson, bad news is it cost him $100 extra.

6/5/2006 5:10:54 PM

Noel Baebler
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/26/2003
  Thanks you guys.

6/5/2006 5:28:12 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Hi Noel;

I lug a very heavy Bogen into the wilderness! LOL
No joke..Lightweight tripods are just not for least not when I want to get serious about the shot..ESPECIALLY when shooting slow.

Weight baby..gotta' have weight!

I've even gone to the extreme of mounting a large bean bag on the tripod to insulate it from as much vibration as possible..Yep, I'm probably nuts..but ya know what?..It works!

I've yet to see a light weight tripod that does a great job of dampening.


6/5/2006 8:04:17 PM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  I build car parts with CF and it will aid big time with vibration plus the hard rubber plugs aid in the anti vibration as well. Nothing will be the weight for vibration thats why all good tripods especially lite ones have the rock bag hook.

6/5/2006 8:38:53 PM

Scott Anderson

member since: 1/2/2006
  You have gotten several good pieces of info above. However, I wanted to make a slightly different point. The Sigma lens you mentioned in your question is a fairly heavy lens to be hanging on a plastic body camera without supporting it's weight with your hand. That body is excellent, for what it is, but it is still not a solid metal platform for a big lens. I shot the origianl Digital Rebel, and still do sometimes, but I never put a heavy lens on it without holding the lens, not the body of the camera. Hope that helps you get even a wider view of the issues involved. Best Of Luck To You!

6/6/2006 9:22:21 AM

Richard Eskin

member since: 7/20/2005
  A couple of additional things to consider: maximum and minimum height. It you are 6 ft tall and your tripod has a maximum extension of 5 ft, bending over will become very uncomfortable after a while. If you extend a center pole significantly, you have essentially converted a tripod to monopod. At the other extreme, if you do a significant amount of macro photography you will want a tripod that can get near the ground and provides flexibility for different angles (Gitzo makes a model with an offset camera support but I forget them model; it isn't really good for a very heavy lens). Weight, height and intended purpose are all important purchase considerations.

6/6/2006 10:10:24 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  Height is a major consideration!!! I'm 6-3 so I opted for a 3 section CF tripod because it was 3 inches longer and I wouldn't have to bend over as much. The unfortunate thing is most of the models I photograph are 5-2 to 5-9 so I still have to bend during portfolio shoots..however it is highly benefitial during certain shoots(especially on uneven ground). So is balance. I use a 1Ds Mark II with a 70-200 2.8IS lens it's heavy so are the Macro lenses. The tripod I bought has an extender arm that is great for Macro shoots. I didn't think I'd ever use this but shot a catalog and did tons of other stuff with my Canon 180MM Macro and 100MM Macro that I couldn't even attempt without this tripod. If it isn't sturdy you're risking your camera and lens and that certainly isn't worth saving $100 on, the one thing that you'll notice is everyone that bought the right one the first time still uses that same tripod.

6/6/2006 10:44:27 AM

Marvin Swetzer

member since: 12/25/2003
  I want to add to Kerry's answer. I don't like plastic. Ebay has nice older all metal tripods that are like new. You have to look for them.

But what do I know, I don't like zoom lenses neither.

Marvin Swetzer

6/6/2006 2:24:39 PM

Paul S. Fleming

member since: 4/27/2008
  Noel, I support the advice from the other shooters. Buy quality, weight and the proper height. Quality: It will live longer than all of us. Weight: You need the weight to not allow your camera and lens to move, as that is the whole idea of using a tripod. I bought cheep and the tripod fell over. Luckily I have fast hands (No comments guys) and caught the camera before it hit the ground. That tripod went to the trash bin. Height: Buy a tripod that you do not have to extend after the legs are up. This will save a lot of bending over and you looking light the Hunchback of Notre Dame. As the guys said: Buy one that has all these features and you should be happy and so should your cameras and lenses. Go cheap and you will not be satisfied...Honest. Happy Shooting Noel, PS Fleming

6/6/2006 5:10:48 PM

Charles J. Kelly
Contact Charles
Charles's Gallery

member since: 11/2/2004
  Like others said, if you want lightweight forget good shots. I just went to a Manfrotto pod and their "pistol grip" ball head. I like the ease of manipulation and good solid locking. So far so good. I also bought the Manfrotto becayse it has "levers" to lock legs in position vs twist locks.
Also consider multiple angle adjustments for the legs if you shoot macro. Happy hunting ! Chuck

6/9/2006 11:21:18 AM

Noel Baebler
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/26/2003
  Thanks again everyone for the information!

Chuck: Which Manfrotto tripod are you using?

6/9/2006 11:29:58 AM


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