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Fancier tripod anyone ?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by rich00, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. rich00

    rich00 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Hi all,

    Looking at getting my first tripod to use with my E-PM1. The idea is to use it when taking indoor shots ( mainly ebay ...) Possibly outdoor scenic.

    I've come across these.
    Fancier wf531

    WF531 Aluminium Tripod with Magnesium Ballhead

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMmoaKF79nU]Fancier WF-531B vs FT-6662A ballhead tripod - YouTube[/ame]

    Anyone had experience with these ?
  2. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    No and I bet it is a made in China item. You can get a better brand for just a little more money. Manfrotto is a good brand that has a low cost.
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    I first tried a Vanguard Nivelo....the specs were good and looked perfectly suited for both home and light travel use with mu43 gear and a good deal at $80. WRONG !!! ....too flimsy and thus not stable enough for anything outdoors or long exposure shots. To make matters worse, started falling apart after6 months !!

    Then tried a $170 Benro Travel Angel and it is a dream. Light, portable, solid and very very stable and comes with nice click type leg extensions...I never liked the Vanguard twist lock legs. The ball head on the Benro Travel Angel is awesome too....very fine adjustments possible and when you lock it in...it's locked tight.

    In my opinion, it is VERY competitively priced for what it is, I've seen other brands which appear to be of a very similar build and feature set sell for twice the price.

    Just my opinion....but you WILL get what you pay for and nothing is a bargain when it cant do the job !!!

    Good luck.
  4. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    This is advice to live by when it comes to tripods:

    Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan

    I've been there. I've had a couple crap ones, thinking "It's just a tripod, why bother spending a bundle?" 2 months later, a leg never locked up correctly, it always shook in the wind, etc.

    I've finally settled on a Gitzo Explorer I found on sale, with a Giottos ball head. It's probably overkill, but I never worry about stability.
  5. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Yep, read that article, then read it again and one more time for good measure. If you still want to try an $80 tripod that is alright - if you find yourself really using it, it'll make a good light stand down the road. If you know now that you will use a tripod and want something that will last, treat the purchase like buying a nice prime lens (at least that will get you in the ballpark!). A good tripod will last as long as it is useful to you!
  6. rich00

    rich00 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Thanks guys. I appreciate all the responses, looks like I'll stay away from the cheapies as I'll probably end up buying another one.
  7. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Good to hear. So many of us have learned the hard way :p 

    Tripods are the definition of the saying "You get what you pay for"
  8. Benro C069M8, the pros & cons

    Old 35mm film days tripod is a bit overkill for the lighter weight mu43 gear. The tripod & ballhead is more massive than my 2 body, 4 lens mu43 kit. So I purchased a light weight cf Benro.

    The pros:
    1. discontinued model, discounted price.
    2. very light at sub kg
    3. compact at a folded length of less than 35cm
    4. so far, durable. Partial submerged in fresh water, exposed to sand/mud, temp -10 to +30*C without any issues.

    The cons:
    1. narrow diameter tubing
    2. I'm short and still need to fully extend the center column
    3. 5 sections is a bit of pain

    The cons result in needing to weigh down the tripod in windy, gusty conditions and the vibration damping is disappointing. Next tripod will be a 4 section, hopefully no or very short center column with a minimum of 16 preferably 19mm diameter (smallest tube) section. The extra ~0.5kg of mass will be worth the weight.

    Experienced the cheap and frustration route in the 35mm days. Hopefully not repeating the experience again. Just cannot really justify spending the big bucks for a Gitzo or RRS.
  9. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Just be aware of the overkill factor. If its too heavy, you won't bring it, and then you're back to square one.
  10. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    And you've probably made a good decision. While folding and unfolding a three five-section legs would probably be the end of me, the rest sounds just about perfect for a m4/3 kit. Mine mentioned above was bought for medium format film gear, and I'm really just to stubborn to buy a second tripod for lighter gear. That, and the fact that an extra stable tripod really is a ridiculous problem to have :p 
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    +1 on the Thom Hogan article. IMHO you do not have to spent quite the amount he recommends but his reasoning is sound.

    I now have a Benro C2192T "Travel Flat" tripod with a Benro B1 head, bought on eBay for $375. One leg converts to a monopod. Very nice.

    My criteria were all about compactness and lightness for travel. If those are not important to you, one option would be one of the original Marchione Tiltall tripods. Look here: Cool Tools: Tiltall Tripod and here: Tiltall Tripod Support

    These are made from stiff tubing and bar stock, fully machined. No plastic. Very solid citizens and, bought used, not much more money that your Chinese cheapo. Collapsed, though, they are still bulky. They don't weigh a lot, but certainly more than carbon.

    I actually have a Tiltall, kind of beat up, offered locally on CraigsList for $60, but shipping it would probably be a bit costly due to its size.
  12. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Thanks for posting this information about the Tiltall. I have an old Star-D variant, and it has lasted me several decades. It's extremely stable and solid, and seems indestructible. The only problem is the rubber ring at the bottom of the center column has rotted and fallen off. Now I know where to buy a replacement. I'm also excited that there is a mono column available for the tripod so that I can mount a modern ballhead on it.

  13. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    +1 for the Tiltall. Mine is an ancient pre-Leitz example that I refurbished a few years ago with genuine Tiltall parts, made in USA. I think all the parts come from China now.

    I am not a fan of ball heads, so I am 100% happy with the Tiltall integral head. A great classic tripod, it is reasonably light and very, very stable.
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X4 for Benro Travelangel. I love mine. 90+% of the performance of the Gitzo at <50% of the price.
  15. 2ndLight

    2ndLight Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Laguna Niguel, CA
    After a long search, I picked up the Sirui tripod below at B&H.

    Sirui T-025 5-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 BSRT025 B&H

    It folds up very small, is lightweight, and stable. I was looking for a take everywhere travel tripod for my m43 kit and this fits the bill perfectly.

    I looked at the Benro Travel Angel and the fold flat options but this was much smaller and lighter. It's worth a look if traveling light is a priority.
  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    So if you're not 100% sure about tripods, what you're looking for and need, how much you'll actually use it, I recommend one of two choices:
    * Get a cheap chinese tripod and hope it does the job. I did this and am perfectly happy, but caveat emptor.
    * Buy a big name tripod that you can easily sell for a good price if it doesn't suit you. Manfrotto, Gitzo, etc.

    If on the other hand you're convinced that a tripod is going to be part of your shooting, take some time to identify exactly which one would be best for you long term. For me personally, a tripod turned out to be a very occasional, almost useless tool. It just doesn't suit my style of shooting. So buying a two hundred dollar nice piece would've been a hassle, but I got a Dolica Proline which is reasonably competent for next to nothing for those occasions I want one. I get way more use out of a monopod, actually.
  17. ryansinibaldi

    ryansinibaldi Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2012
    I couldn't spend a ton of money on a tripod so I lucked out and snagged one of these for $8 at a yard sale. It shows no signs of use.

  18. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    I have a crap tripod ($30 Hakuba or something) that I use for eBay shots and a some studio shots for my 366 Project, and I'm not wanting for anything better. If I were a birder or a landscape photographer or made money with photography in a studio that was better than my office, I'd probably go down that dark and expensive path, but I invested the money in better lenses and lighting, and have produced some killer results. The trick seems to be to put the camera on 2-second delay self timer mode which gives it a chance to settle in and kill vibration, and you're all good - even with the 45mm macro.
  19. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It does come down to get what works for you. I have used some cheap tripods and for some things they work fine. I have also used some very high end sticks and they are very nice but you had better use them to justify the price.
  20. Overkill for mu43 is my old Bogen 3021/3055 combo. Reason why it sits in the house holding a spotting scope. Going too light has been the Benro C069M8. The Benro is great where mass & length are the #1 consideration. For backpacking and non-photo travel trips it would be my primary choice. But for photo days & trips I'm considering something more stable. The compromise of hefting around a ~2kg vs. ~1kg kit is something I can accept. Multiple lens, multiple bags and now I guess multiple tripods. Different tools for different purposes.

    Stepped on a bathroom scale couple days ago. Put on ~1.5kg of fat over the winter. Drop the fat & get back down to a fit body weight and a 2kg tripod/ballhead unit will be like packing a - 0.5kg tripod!
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