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Advice for ~$100 Tripod

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by leonberdi, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    I am hoping to get some feedback from the wonderful members of this site.

    My family has asked what I would like for my birthday, and one of the things I suggested they could get me is a tripod. In fairness to their own budgets, and what would be occasional use on my part in the future, I have reduced my preferences to the following based on price, specifications and reviews:

    a) Dolica AX620B100 62" Proline

    b) Slik Sprint Mini II

    c) Slik Sprint Pro II

    d) Manfrotto 7302yb

    If you choose "Other" in the poll, could you let me know which one you would recommend... and perhaps briefly why? Otherwise, I'm left scratching my head if I have too many people choosing "Other."

    My top preferences have to do with portability and weight. Quick release is essential. Quick set-up/take-down is also very important (otherwise, the first time I take it out with my family will be the last!).

    Lastly should I stay away from the video/photo hybrids?

    Thanks.... and fire away!
  2. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    The Dolica is a good "travel tripod" (particularly if you hang a camera bag from the center column hook to give the tripod more weight/stability) but the ball head on the Dolica STINKS. I replaced the cheap ball head on my Dolica with the Manfrotto 496RC2 and it makes the tripod PERFECT for my personal travel needs.

    I still have a larger, heavier tripod with Manfrotto 327RC2 pistol grip ball head but that is for studio work or assignments where I know I won't be carrying the tripod all over the place ... but the Dolica is surprisingly effective for the price (except for the weak ball head).

    By the way, if you're just shooting with micro 4/3 gear you can probably get by with the Manfrotto 494RC2 which is cheaper than the 496RC2 (the Dolica and 494RC2 should be about $100 together).

    The Slik tripods you mentioned would be too small/short for my use. The Manfrotto 7302yb isn't a tripod I'm familiar with, but I like Manfrotto tripod heads (as you can probably tell from my suggestions above).
  3. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Thanks for the extensive reply JJJphoto! The one problem I have with the Dolica is that it isn't readily available in Canada. Alas, there is always fleabay.
  4. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    Tripods are a very personal thing and the right tripod depends a lot on what, where and how you use it. I have two tripods I'm using with my :43: gear at the moment:

    I carry this in my messenger bag, along with my camera gear in a separate bag. I use it for those times I need something indoors or under good conditions outdoors. ($25 on eBay)

    I keep one of these in the car for use outdoors with the :43: gear. It looks to be almost identical to the 7302YB in specs and similar, if less flashy, construction. ($50 local sale)

    I changed out the heads on both with Trek-Tech MagMount Pro heads Trek-Tech MagMount Pro heads and this all works out for me.

    I have two other tripods, including a Slik Pro 700DX that I've been using for 15 years, for use with heavier gear.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    ... ??? Care to elaborate?
  6. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Thanks for the advice WJW59! In addition to your comparison with the Manfrotto, the Davis & Sanford VOYAGERLTB has also been compared to the Dolica... Unfortunately it too is not available in Canada.
  7. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    My 25¢ advice for the $100 tripod?

    Go to swap meets or buy the Shutterbug magazine, get a used American tripod, banged up yet working: Davis & Sanford (the real ones with squarish tubes), Hercules, Majestic, Leitz (America...) Tiltall. Or a crackled grey Gitzo series 2.
    Wood is great, doesn't stick in the sand or snow (same with Davis & Sanford). Now finding a Berlebach stranded in Caribuland...

    • NO flip-locks: good old serviceable, replaceable screws.
    • Banged up: so you'll never worry about its cosmetics, leave it in the car trunk or bungied atop the pillion saddle. It's a prop, a scaffolding, not a sculpture.
    • Heavy enough: a lighter camera does not call for lighter feet. A smaller ball or head is ok, though.
  8. ronbot

    ronbot Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    On the poll, I chose the Sprint Pro II. I've tried it at a store and liked it. That said...

    If you can get it, I suggest the Ravelli carbon fiber tripod with ball head for $70. Tall but fairly light because of the carbon fiber, and The ball head is solid and also pans. For the price, it can't be beat.

    I'm in Canada too, Vancouver actually, so I feel your pain. I have a mailbox in Blaine, WA and have my stuff ship there if the seller/store doesn't ship to Canada or if shipping is too expensive. There are, however, some stores (aside form Future Shop and Best Buy) that also carry tripods, such as Broadway Camera, London Drugs and Cerrisdale Cameras (also has used stuff). I bought my other tripod locally, the Manfrotto 785B Modo Maxi, when I saw it at a store and just liked the design and portability of it.
  9. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    Do a search on Amazon Canada for this tripod: Benro A-150EXU Digital Tripod Kit with BallHead

    I think it is also the same tripod.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    I don't think any of those meet the criteria set. I realize a Hercules or Majestic could keep an 8x10 still in a hurricane, but light, portable, and quick they are not. :wink:
  11. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    • Like Like x 1
  12. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Thanks for all the info... Do you find any advantages to the photo/film hybrid nature of the 785B? I would be using mine for photos almost exclusively (perhaps on the rare, rare occasion for film, but i can;t even imagine it).
  13. guzziknight

    guzziknight Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 18, 2011
    You may want to look at the Benro Travel Angel series. Both CF and Aluminum. I have the Aluminum version Folds down small enough to carry on my motorcycle. Can support my E-600, but that's a stretch. Works great with my E-P1, which is my motorcycle travel camera anyway.

    The only real drawback to me: it's not tall enough. Also, kind of steep at $200+.
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    My advice is save up for a few more months and get a "real" tripod that you won't end up selling when you realize it doesn't do what you need.

    x3 for Benro. Yeah, gitzo is probably better, but not 2x-3x to justify the price difference.

    mine is a carbon fiber travel angel. will fit in my tenba mini-messenger, and comes up to (pretty much) full height with the center section extended (although no tripod is super stable that way).
  15. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Thanks everyone for all the advice. Based on what I could find in Canada, my top pick would now be the suggested Benro... followed by the Slik Sprint Pro II, and then the Manfrotto.
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