CHEAP tripod needed to handle strong wind

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jair, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thanks to this forum I am a brand new owner of GF2+14mm pancake. Now, I need your help for another issue. Next month I am going on a trip to Iceland and I hope for an opportunity to photograph some northern lights. Obviously I need tripod, but I want to keep it as cheap as possible for a couple of reasons:

    -for now I cannot imagine needing tripod a lot, maybe in the future. I certainly prefer "disposable" one right now and if in the future I decide a better one is needed I won't feel bad for the small amount wasted now
    -as you can see based on my camera purchase i have kinda limited budget.

    Iceland has viscous winds, so I am basically looking for something very sturdy. Weight is not an issue, if anything I can imagine against wind more weight will help. I will have a car all the time in iceland, so thats not a problem. These are the three I consider:

    First two have a hook, on which to put some extra weight for stability - a feature I like. I cannot figure out the differences between the two.

    Hama Star 63 Tripod with Carry Case: Electronics

    This one gets the best reviews and looks more professional then the rest. But it lacks the hook for extra weight.

    Hama 00004210 Profil Duo III Tripod for Photo/Video: Electronics

    Can any of the three fit my purpose? If not I might consider renting, altough I guess that will be more expensive in the end. You are free to give more suggestions(euro based sites only), but I really cannot afford much more then that.

    P.S. I just read that Gorilla Pods can be clamped to car doors. I initially disregarded them, because I cannot imagine large stability in wind, but that car door clamp actually sounds attractive. Could that work?
  2. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    IMO none of the cheap tripods will do you any good for long exposures in high winds because the joints and included heads are typically weak. If you're only going to use it for a single trip, you might want to considering buying a brand name tripod used and then selling it after your trip.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    What do you consider cheap? I've been seeing a lot of new Manfrotto models going for $100-$180, which I think is very cheap for a Manfrotto, or for a good tripod period.
  4. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    see if a local shop will rent you one for the trip
  5. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    No. Avoid those cheap Hama tripods they are crap. I know because I bought one when I had no money and because it was cheap. (Hama Star 63) Okay, with a light camera like a m43 (ie: not a DSLR) then it's fine indoors if you don't need to move it around much. But outdoors (Scotland is very windy too!) it's pretty much useless and also it has no quick release plate so you have to screw the camera directly on to the fixed head - awkward!

    Good tripods are not cheap but Giottos, Manfrotto etc are worth the money if you will use them more than just for one trip.

    If you still want something less expensive, you could consider something like this perhaps? Heavy Duty Professional Camera Tripod with Pro Ball: Electronics (At least it's heavy, so sounds a bit more sturdy than the Hama ones, but I don't know I have never used one) or Red Snapper (UK company) gets good reviews/comments online but a few people also say they are poor build quality (decent heads, bad legs). Again, I have never used one though.
  6. Why not just a bean/sand bag and prop the camera or a vacuum camera mount with ball head mount and attach to a solid object or window.

    To avoid the wind why not shoot from a darkened roon through an open window?
  7. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    GF2 + 14mm is a great Northern Lights setup. I've taken all of my shots shooting between 2.8 - 5.6 and exposure times from 10-15 seconds, although you could try longer. This is at ISO 100 and with daylight white balance.

    If I had the money I'd get an 8mm fisheye but the 14mm does well enough.

    I have a nice Gitzo tripod (got it dirt cheap, used) but I have also used a cheap Velbon and a Gorillapod. If you do buy the Gorillapod I suggest getting the ball head, it makes it a lot easer to get the camera pointed where you want.
  8. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    For the love of...

    You're going to Iceland. To photograph northern lights. I assume that this is not something that happens often. Spend some money on getting the equipment you need for the trip. Either rent, or find some used gear that can be sold off again without taking much of a loss. (A $30 resell discount on a good tripod would probably sell quickly, and it's a trivial loss.)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    Aug 10, 2011
    Cars move a lot in strong wind so forget clamping to that ! Bean bag by far the most secure option , heavyweight tripod if you are not keen on low level shots .
    You might be lucky and have a wind free holiday ! Or not, and have thick fog for the whole time you are there. Enjoy it though, what ever the weather. Take a lore of money. I hear a pint of beer is about £10 !
  10. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    OK, these three are off. Unfortunately so is anything expensive, which for me is >50 euro. See, I totally understand the value of a good equipment and that there is a reason one costs 20 and the other 200. But I simply can't pay that much right now for something I might use only once. On top of that my skills are very basic, which might not justify the investment in the end. My options are reduced to the following:

    -renting: will try to get some quotes from local icelandic shops, but I fear the weekly rent will approach the cost of a new one.

    -second hand+resale after trip: this could potentially work, altough it will be the biggest hassle. I prefer to avoid it, if possible.

    I am starting to seriously consider the gorilla pod. It sits low to the ground, which makes it more wind resistant - basic physics. I guess I will have to lie on the ground to set up the camera in the proper direction, but I am willing to do that.

    Bean/sand bag also looks interesting, I will research that further.

    adolenzo, actually your pictures made me pull the trigger on the camera :) I might pm you some questions, right now I am trying to use the month before the trip to develop some skills.

    Slightly off topic - Iceland is expensive, but not THAT expensive, 10GBP for a pint is too much. Especially in the low season it is more or less the same as western europe.
  11. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    You really mean that you don't want to spend the money. That's fine of course, but it's not wise to skimp on a tripod, it is an essential part of your equipment and often has a deciding influence on the quality of your pictures, technically and esthetically.

    If you were able to spend the money on a GX1, I'd really, really reconsider the ridiculously low limit of 50 euros for a tripod. I'd lift it to a 300 euros to get a decent one.
  12. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    Aug 10, 2011
    I have the gorilla pod and the ultra pod 2.
    IMO the ultra pod is the better of the two. In fact I never use the gorilla.
  13. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    As I mentioned, i bought GF2, which is few times cheaper then GX1. I bought it at huge discount and even with that it already stretches my budget. Please, when I say I can't afford something it is because I can't.

    I am strongly leaning towards one of the mini tripods(gorilla pod, ultra pod or maybe this one: Velbon CX Mini Tripod with 3 Way Head: Electronics) and some improvised wind shelter around them...
  14. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Sorry, I reacted a bit too strongly on that. Not everyone can spend large amounts of money on their hobbies.

    Stability requirements will be relaxed by using a wide-angle lens as you probably will do for catching northern lights: tremors are simply rendered as smaller blur in the picture, directly proportional to the focal length. A small tripod can easily be stabilized further by draping sandbags or rocks around the legs or hanging a sandbag off the intermediate support. Hanging a photo bag off a hook of a larger tripod can be counterproductive, because the bag starts swinging with the wind!


    I hope you'll enjoy your trip, looks like a wonderful opportunity.
  15. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    Another thought - perhaps you have a local camera club or photography group and can ask someone there if they would be willing to lend you a decent tripod for your trip in exchange for some sort of security deposit (maybe leave something you own of value with them) and buying them a few beers on your return. A long shot but worth a try perhaps?

    Or you could join and ask on the local groups for Iceland if anyone there would be willing to lend you one (you may get lucky and find a local photographer who is willing to pass on tips and advice too):
    CouchSurfing - Iceland
  16. chicks

    chicks Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    The Big Valley, CA
    I bought both of my tripods at the local Goodwill. $4.99 and $8.99. Worth a try.
  17. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    You might consider the Tiltall. It's weighs about six pounds (2.7 Kg) and is pretty solid. It's available from Amazon and Adorama for about $110 US. I don't know if that's cheap enough for you, but it will last a lifetime.

  18. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Very interesting idea about the couchsurfing. I will try it! It is a little bit risky if they lend me tripod with Hama quality though :) As for local club, it is not really an option. I dont speak the local language very well, also I am leaving in 3 weeks - looks very impolite to join a club, just so you can borrow a tripod from someone who doesnt even know you.

  19. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    If I were in your situation, I'd look at local camera stores and second hand shops for a used tripod. I'd rather have a good used one than a cheap new one for the same price. You might find an old Bogen tripod in your price range. Just as an example, I saw a Bogen 3246 and a Bogen 3251 (with heads) on Ebay for $50, which I guess translates to about 38 euros. I have a Bogen 3035 that I bought in the 80's and still use. At over 12 pounds it's no fun to carry, but when I want a rock solid base for my cameras, that's my tripod of choice.
  20. 3021 for sale

    There is a Manfrotto 3021 posted here at Mu-43 for sale. Total kit including the ballhead I think is listed for $130usd. Bit over your 50eu budget, but it includes the head.

    Have used the Bogen/Manfrotto 3021s with a Bogen 3055 ball head for a number of years. This a solid, durable and relatively stable tripod. The combo weighs a bit and is bulky relative to the cf tripod used today with the mu43 gear. Today it's reserved for use with the spotting scope.