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So many tripods, so little time....

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Speedliner, May 26, 2015.

  1. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    looking for a tall, sturdy tripod. 60" without the center column extended would be good. I have Vanguard 263, but would like one a little taller. It will be my backyard, car tripod. Light is nice too, but not necessary. Not looking to spend a fortune. I'm assuming there are some that are good buys and some with which you're paying for name mostly. There are so many to choose from and no camera stores nearby to give some a try.

    Thanks in advance for any recommendations. I have a head for it and on,y need legs.
     
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've just gone through a similarly tedious process of trying to find a good full size tripod, and a ball head. Full size for me is 170cm max so my requirements are a bit shorter. Most of the larger tripods I've found are complete overkill for m4/3 loads, and any lighter ones tend to be shorter travel tripods.

    I got to try out a whole bunch of Sirui kit at the store, alongside the Manfrottos, Gitzos, and Giottos. The Sirui stuff was very well made, and somewhat cheaper than the big names (about 30% lower price). They aren't exactly the budget choice, but definitely good value for money if you're still after high quality and excellent features. Their stuff comes with a 6 year warranty, which is pretty reassuring. Being a small guy, stowed size and weight are extremely important for me - Sirui is very good at making sturdy tripods that fold down. I ended up shelling out on a carbon fibre Sirui EN-2204 which came with a K-20X ball head. The head is still a bit overkill for m4/3, but probably necessary if you have a DSLR as well. I was mostly after the legs, couldn't get it without a head. I guess I can replace the head with a lighter unit but don't know if it's worth paying for another head.

    Back on topic, sounds like you don't really need to pay for the premium of small, light and sturdy. If you're quite happy with the Vanguard, why not just go one size up in the range?
     
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  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    By far the best deal, IMO, are the original Marchioni "Tiltall" tripods on ebay. $50-100 (depending on how patient you are) will buy you a set of legs that is easily equal to a 3-series Gitzo (which I also have), better even because they have convertible spike/rubber leg tips that you'll have to buy separately in a kit from Gitzo. The Marchioni (and Leica-branded) Tiltalls are machined from solid aluminum billet and seamless aluminum tubing. No plastic, no moldings, just honest and beautiful machine work. I'm not sure about later versions with other brands on them, like Star-D.

    Example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tiltall-Professional-Tripod-4602-by-C-M-Machioni-/201361591792

    If you don't like the pan/tilt head, a machinist can easily cut that off and give you a 3/8-16 stud to take your favorite head. Alternatively, this guy: http://tiltallsupport.blogspot.com/ sells a headless column. As you can tell from his web site, these tripods are kind of a cult item.

    The alternative is to lurk patiently on your local CraigsList and on eBay, waiting for an inexpensive Gitzo 2-series or 3-series. The 1-series is a bit light IMO. I bought an eBay Gitzo Compact Reporter Performance (G226) for just over $100 and a CraigsList Gitzo G320 for $60.

    Example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-GIT...TRIPOD-W-ADJUSTABLE-HEAD-FRANCE-/331564438396 This one might work out to be inexpensive if you buy it and then resell the head. Hard to say since it's an auction.

    Never buy junk tools.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Thought I'd update for anyone looking at the moment.

    I bought two used tripods. The first and my fav is a manfrotto 058B. It's big and heavy, but the push-button locking mechanism is great. It make deploying and adjusting very easy and it's nice and tall too. No fuss, no fidgeting, just push, drop and go. Perfect for around the house and near the car. A little heavy for extended hike, but this is so easy and convenient to use, I actually use it!

    Here's a good look:


    I also bought the vanguard 263 with the tilting column. It's a great feature for macro work.


    I replaced the heads of both with Sirui "K" ball heads so I'd have ARCA compatibility everywhere.

    All bought used so expense was reasonable.

    Cheers.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Good job. I have never understood why people seem to think of tripods only as a new item purchase. I am constantly seeing Gitzo Reporter and Studex tripods go on eBay for under $150. Guessing maybe one or two a week. These are premium products practically at a thrift shop price.

    For example, this beauty: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gitzo-Gilux-Reporter-Vintage-Camera-Tripod-with-Bogen-Manfrotto-quick-release-/151757894774?hash=item235579b476&nma=true&si=Xe5UIFspYHoHKD%2F%2BijwxMG3vz4E%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557 sold a couple of days ago for $85 and included a very nice Gitzo offset ball head and a trashable Manfrotto QR. I was tempted myself but I already own four tripods!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Tripods I don't think I would have an issue with buying used. A ball head on the other hand, I might sight unseen.
     
  7. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
  8. sriracha

    sriracha ballistic photons

    68
    Jan 22, 2011
    depends on what you are buying and who you are buying from

    in my other hobbies (cycling and firearms) i see plenty of idiots who stress their equipment to prove its "worthiness". i am beginning to see a similar mindset from some bloggers (e.g. lifting their wife / girlfriend with the tripod legs). If you are buying a < $100 aluminum one, then yeah I do not see the harm in going used. But if the price point is striking distance from a new Gitzo, RRS or whatever, you might as well go the whole way and get a peace of mind


     
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Well, that's why Baskin-Robbins has all those flavors of ice cream I guess. Different tastes.

    I buy (and sell) a lot of used stuff* and suffer no peace of mind issues at all. More commonly, I am pleased at getting a bargain. Vague ghost stories ("i am beginning to see a similar mindset from some bloggers") don't even rise to the standard of being anecdotes and are not statistically significant. That said, I don't buy used equipment at price points within "striking distance" of new. The whole point of intelligent and patient buying of used equipment is that paying high prices is unnecessary.

    I'm glad, though, that you are afraid to do it. Keep it up. That is one less competitor for the rest of us.

    *Including the Hammerli 208S and the David Sams 1911 bullseye gun that are in my gun safe.
     
  10. sriracha

    sriracha ballistic photons

    68
    Jan 22, 2011
    i am not sure if i offended you by accident but the "you" in my post is just a hypothetical person. it was not directed at you individually.

    that being said, i just offered an alternative opinion man. the ghost story was to serve as an example that it is difficult to guess what the previous owner did with his / her equipment and hence the part about price point. maybe it does not qualify as friendly advice but it was definitely not critical. not sure why i got the 3rd degree from you...

    nice pistols by the way. i am not familiar with Hammerli but i do know David Sams makes a nice 1911. i have a Les Baer TRS and Stinger that i have not touched since ammo prices went sky high awhile back

     
  11. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    I think that tripods and especially heads are somewhat worrisome to buy used. I bought a used Manfrotto 3030 pan/tilt head once and it was a big mistake - the head wasn't in terrible condition, but you could tell that whoever had it before tightened the hell out of it every time, and used it a lot. It was just loosey goosey and was hard to tighten because it was so "worn in." I know it isn't a high-grade brand or anything, but it made me reluctant to buy a used head again.

    With tripods, it just seems to me that you are taking a chance with something that is purely mechanical like that, which can get knocked around a lot, even when you are careful. I mean, they are just kind of ungainly. Especially if the prior user used them outdoors. I have indoor and outdoor tripods, because I don't want to be shooting table-top stuff and having sand and dried leaves falling on the carefully positioned items! ;) Outdoor tripods can get pretty rank sometimes.