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second guessing my tripod purchase

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by nymytemaus, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Hi all,

    After spending countless hours scouring the Internet for reviews, reading articles (most of which pertain to the heavy DSLRs) as well as talking to the guys at B&H I finally purchased a Sirui T-025X carbon fiber tripod (on Wed. 7/31) to hopefully give me the stabaility I need especially for landscape photography as well as with my Panny G5 and new PL 100-300 lens for wildlife and moon shots. Now I am second guessing my choice and wondering if it will be sturdy enough if I were to want to go to a workshop in a potentially windy place. I am still able to return/exchange it without losing my money.

    Does anyone have any thoughts as to weather or not this should be sufficient or possibly have any suggestions for something that might still be light but perhaps more sturdy? I saw the post on the Jusino TK224 (after my purchase) but my search on e-bay did not reveal the tripod displayed in that post. I am a petite person and don't really want to be lugging around too much heavy gear, hence going micro 4/3 in the first place.

    Many thanks in advance for thoughts and suggestions.

    Jane
     
  2. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    456
    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hi Jane,

    The sturdiest tri-pod is the heaviest! That said, lightweight carbon-fiber iterations require more attention when using them (& almost necessitate the use of a shutter-release cord). In addition, I've often found it necessary to add a bit of additional weight to the rig by pushing down on the tripod or mounted camera while taking the exposure). The alternative is to lug around a sturdy non-carbon fiber tripod -- like a Gitzo!
     
  3. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    I actually did purchase a remote shutter release at the same time. There is an aluminum alloy version of this tripod that is a tad heavier (1.8 lbs as opposed to 1.5 lbs). Are you suggesting that may actually be a better tripod for my purposes? It is also quite a bit more cost effective. I just went with what I thought might be the best/strongest.
     
  4. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    456
    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Jane,

    YES!
    That is exactly what I'm suggesting. I own 5 different tripods (include 3 Gitzo "pro" level tripods, a Slik "pro level" carbon-fiber, and a smaller Slik Pro travel tripod). With the exception of the big huge monster Gitzo (12' max height I believe), I use each for specific purposes. My favorite and the one I use most often is a medium size aluminum Gitzo. I paid right around $1000 with ball-head. A lot of money for sure, but for what it affords me, well worth the price... that said, aluminum iterations are ALWAYS less money than their carbon fiber counterparts... Good luck and let us know what you end up with!
     
  5. RajC

    RajC Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Jul 6, 2013
    Idea:

    Why not consider a way to add weight to your tripod? Maybe get a bag you can hook to the bottom of the center post, and fill with rocks? Be sure to put the rocks back where you found them rather than leaving a pile of rocks - we need to be considerate when we're enjoying our hobby!

    My sole tripod is a Slik mini and I am never more than a few inches away from it. I often wrap the camera's neck strap around my wrist so if the tripod does fall (which has never happened) the camera won't hit the ground.
     
  6. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Well, a $1000 Gitzo is completely out of my budget and not something I can afford to add to my list of considerations although I don't doubt it is a great tripod. Nor do I think I can reasonably afford 5 tripods either.

    You say you use your several tripods for different purposes. For which do you use your Slik Pro carbon fiber and the smaller Slik Pro Travel tripods and about what price range do they fall into?
     
  7. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    While I do know that aluminum alloy tripods are ALWAYS more cost effective I was under the impression that the carbon fiber was going to buy me more strength and therefore be better. In this price range I was willing to make that trade off.

    Will be interested in hearing what uses you have for your several tripods.
     
  8. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Your Sirui tripod looks very nice. Like RajC said, just hang some weight on it if you are worried about stability. Most importantly, stop researching after you buy something, or you'll just drive yourself crazy. :smile:

    Go use it and determine for yourself if it provides you with the best balance of weight, strength and stability. Worst case is you sell it used and try something new based on your assessment of your own needs.

    Take all advice with a grain of salt. Some folks have 5 tripods and have spent thousands of dollars on them; others have been using a $40 Sunpak tripod for years with no real complaints (me).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    456
    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Jane,

    Carbon fiber is not stronger than aluminum. It is lighter -- that's all. In fact, carbon fiber is prone to cracking or breaking if stressed inappropriately...

    I agree that owning 5 tripods is a bit extreme! As a professional, i've simply accrued the collection over the years. Different jobs often required different tools: The big Gitzo for instance, was used on a job i shot in the Caribbean that had me standing on a step ladder IN the ocean shooting a model... It needed to be VERY sturdy and tall...

    The Slik Pro that I ended up with is the 813 CFII Kenko Tokina USA, Inc.and retailed at the time for around $300. It has since been discontinued however. WHile its okay, it's really too light and requires an additional weight (such as a sandbag for instance). I bought it for the sole purpose of small gigs that required packing a minimum of gear that I could carry onto a plane (usually with a single DSLR body & a couple of fast zooms & a Dynalite strobe kit).

    The little Slik Pro I bought is the Sprint Mini GM. It's REALLY small but very versatile for use while walking around. IT's use is limited to smaller cameras such as micro 4/3 for instance. Price was right around $85 or so.

    Blah Blah Blah... :biggrin:
     
  10. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Thanks RajC and Demiro for the suggestions about adding a weight to the hook to add stability. I had been thinking about hanging my camera bag but perhaps if it hangs to the ground I can use one of those bags that can be filled with local rocks or sand which might indeed be a helpful addition to my travel rig.

    And Deimro, thanks for the support too as yes, I do tend to drive myself crazy with my obsessing:)
     
  11. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    I also would stick with the Sirui.
    It looks like an excellent blend of performance, weight, and price.

    Any substantial increase in performance is going to be a substantial hit in either of the two other aspects.

    If you haven't already you might also try removing the center column and using just the upper, thicker, leg sections.

    I tried using a Nikon 70-300VR a few years ago and the long extended lightweight barrel transmitted shutter vibration like crazy. The 100-300 seems of a similar design. If you see it, you might try using the electronic shutter.

    Carbon fiber is supposed to damper vibration better than aluminum.
     
  12. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Thanks for the info that carbon fiber is merely lighter rather than stronger and tends to break more inapprpriately. I did, however, mention in my initial query that I am a user of the micro 4/3 system (Panny G5) and therefore the tripod would only be used for such a small camera and its similarly proportioned lenses.

    I am not a pro, merely a photo enthusiast and am going to be using my tripod primarily for walks around the city or traveling/hiking.
     
  13. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Thanks Mnhoj. Now that you mention it I recall reading that carbon fiber reduces/dampens the vibration issue. Was definitely going to use the electronic shutter on the Panny G5, a feature I do appreciate, and have also purchased a remote shutter release to avoid having to touch the camera at all.

    The guys at B&H also demonstrated removal of the center column for added stability as as you suggested. If I notice the vibration issue I will surely give that a try.

    Thanks for the suggestoins and support!
     
  14. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    second guessing my tripod choice

    Well folks I have a post that will probably surpise eveyone who was kind enough to respond to my inital query. It even surprises me.

    I was about to let you all know (a little over a week ago) that I had decided to keep my Sirui. I had brought it to the park with me decked it out with my heaviest lens, the Panasonic 100-300mm, (where they were likely get the most use) and it was fine. With my camera bag hung from the hook it was solid. Then later I thought I would set it up in my apartment to get better acquainted with the center column and all it could do. When I went to open it up one of the legs fell out.

    Now I know it is supposed to be able to come apart for cleaning etc. so I looked for the way to put the leg back in. After spending way too much time and energy I decided to return the tripod. One fellow at B&H said he had heard of some similar problems but I have to say that most reps were shocked. I showed the fellow who sold me the tripod what the problem was (on another floor model) and he agreed there was something amiss in the one I had bought. Possibly a lemon. I had lost confidence in the company, however, and was hesitant about another Sirui.

    He then showed me an Oben and a Gitzo side by side, the Oben being a direct knockoff of that Gitzo model (GT0531). It seemed to me that the Gitzo was noticeably more solid. I'm sure the Oben would have been "good enough" at $239.00 (same price as the Sirui), especially with my bag hung from the bottom hook but with a B&H discount of $20.00 and a $150.00 rebate from Gitzo (good through Aug 31st if anyone is interested) the $469.00Gitzo came in at just under $300.00 so I went with the Gitzo. And I can still hang a camera bag or some such weight to the center column hook if need be in windier conditions.

    The Gitzo I bought does not fold up as compactly as the Sirui (nor would the Oben model they were showing me) but at 1.5 lbs (without a head) it is still quite portable. And very importantly it inspires my confidence.

    I bought the 3 section version (as opposed to the 4 section one) as it is lighter, I don't need the extra height, it was less expensive and I thought possibly more sturdy and less complicated to set up and take down.

    So there you all have it. Now I am in the market for a reasonably priced lightweight ball head! Have been considering Oben, Photo Clam and Giottos and dreaming about Markins and RSS.

    Thoughts anyone? Many thanks in advance!

    Best,
    Jane
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    I had very good experience with Markins. I had the Q20 and it was superb, I sold it together with a gitzo tripod because I figure I don't need a setup that big when I got m43. I replaced it with a tiny horrusbenu setup which I like as well. You could probably get away with the traveller version of the Markins. Make sure to get the clamp type head :D

    Congratulations on that Gitzo by the way. Great Choice! :D

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Hi Jane,

    Sorry to hear about the problems with your Sirui. I recently acquired a compact ballhead made by them, since my Markins Q20 is quite large as a tabletop head, and its construction seems sufficient.

    I think that you will be happy with your Gitzo, but there are a couple of factors that you will probably want to file away if that particular model does not meet your needs. First, while weight is useful, leg diameter is one of the keys factor when choosing an appropriate tripod for your system's weight load and focal length. Second, while CF can be brittle under certain conditions, it is stronger than aluminium, and it transmits much less vibration. If you want to learn more about tripods, I would suggest reading some of the posts by Neil Rothschild in Nikonians' Tripod/Support forum. Neil is an amazing resource, and helped guide me to my current Gitzo/Markins/Wimberly set-up for birding.

    Regarding ballheads, if possible, I would strongly suggest not skimping, because you interact directly with your ballhead, and it can make or break your experience shooting on a tripod. You will own a good ballhead for a great number of years, as is the same for a good set of tripod legs, so try to think of it as a long term investment. Somebody once said to buy once, cry once.

    Good luck,

    --Ken

    P.S. B&H also carries Feisol tripods in case your particular Gitzo model is not meeting your needs. They seem to have a very good reputation for build quality and product support in case you need a more affordable alternative to the more expensive Gitzos. I do not know much about their ballheads, so I cannot make any recommendations.
     
  17. nymytemaus

    nymytemaus Mu-43 Regular

    35
    May 13, 2013
    NYC
    Jane
    Hi Monk3y,

    Why do you suggest the clamp type head instead of the lever?

    Best,
    Jane
     
  18. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    That's what I meant... the lever type. It's way more convenient than the screw type :eek:

    You can still adjust the clamp to fit your plates. Although its better to use similar brand plates so you don't have to adjust it all the time.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  19. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I was going to ask the same question, as this is usually a personal choice. I chose a screw clamp for compatibility and for the fact that I would always worry about catching the lever and accidentally releasing the plate. Others, like Monk3y, prefer the lever for what they see as faster and easier operation. In the end, I believe that you should choose what best suits your shooting style.

    --Ken
     
  20. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    I have to agree with your concern about accidentally releasing the lever. It never happened to me but it is really possible. I just loved it coz I was using the lever clamp with the L-bracket and it was way easier/faster to switch between landscape and portrait positions.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app