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tripod advise

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by monchan, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    I`m looking for a tripod for My OM-D.
    One with a movable center column. I was going to get the manfretto
    which was recommended on another thread. but thats slightly over my budget. so I found these ones by Vanguard. I was wondering if the better one
    would be over kill for the OM-D? and if the cheaper one is not steady enough?
    I have no experience with tripods, this is new ground for me.

    Vanguard have special on now and if I get either of these they are giving away a ball head.

    Amazon.co.jpF Vanguard ƒoƒ“ƒK[ƒh ƒAƒ‹ƒ~ŽO‹r Alta Pro 263AT: ‰Æ“dEƒJƒƒ‰

    Amazon.co.jpF Vanguard ƒoƒ“ƒK[ƒh ƒAƒ‹ƒ~ŽO‹r Alta Pro 264AT: ‰Æ“dEƒJƒƒ‰

    ball head

    Alta Pro&UP-Rise

  2. jeffg53

    jeffg53 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Jeff Grant
    A center column is to be avoided like the plague. The minute you start using it, the effectiveness of the tripod starts to diminish. i am still using the tripods that I bought years ago. You should consider them as a long term investment, and buy accordingly. I would also avoid any tripod that has an arm like the ones in your links for the same reason.
  3. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    I agree with some of this and disagree with some other.

    I agree that you should try and get the best you can afford, it will be solid and last you a long, long time - try looking at used models

    I disagree about the centre column, and horizontal arm - M4/3 gear with native lenses is not heavy.

    I got a used Giottos MTL9351B Tripod + 5001 Head for £75.00 in mint condition from Fffordes over here in the UK, they were always going for stupid money on eBay with Auction Fever.

    It has the flip-locks on the legs which I found much better than those with twist locks.

    The centre column can come up, out, and mount horizontally very easily. I probably wouldn't have it out right out to the end of the tube, but it's been fine up to 3/4 out. I used this for my creative Garden Flowers photo the other day and it was rock solid to get close to the flowers.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    by savvy249, on Flickr

    Solid as you like.

    However I didn't get on with the 3-way Pan&Tilt head after a while, and got a used Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball-Head from eBay. This is a bit of a beast of a head, really, for M4/3 gear; the reason I went for it was that the mount for the head on my MTL9351B legs was 60mm, and the smaller ball heads were 50mm, and it just looked odd to me LOL !!

    The head is extremely sturdy, it will lock off my E-PL3 + OM-M43 Adapter + Vivitar 2X TC + Super Ozeck II 75-250mm Zoom (Stupidy long & heavy for an E-PL3 !!), no problem. However in this arrangement, the "balance" isn't over the ball-head, so isn't optimum.

    This combo is probably a bit over-specced for normal, non-legacy, M4/3 gear, but they say you can never have it too sturdy, it's just then a case of sturdy vs carrying weight.

    Apart from Gitzo & Manfrotto (made in Italy), most major brand tripods are some sort of "clones" manufactured in China.
    In this light, you might find this thread interesting from another forum, where the guy is recommending a clone for much heavier gear than our M4/3 stuff.
    [review] Can a £100 carbon fibre tripod be good? I say yes, yes it can. - Talk Photography

    • Like Like x 1
  4. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I'd also stick to Arca Swiss mounting system, there are affordable heads out there like the ones from Benro. Just makes life easier in the long run, especially with small mirrorless cameras (and especially cameras from Olympus that always have their tripod mount way off the center of the focal plane and too close to the battery/card compartment, rendering useless most of the regular mounting plates).

    I bought Benro Travel Angel tripod a few years ago, was attracted by the low weight, but now I understand why people buy expensive heavy tripods.. if you want it just to shoot regular images occasionally then you might save some money and buy something in $100-250 range, but if you'd like to get high-quality results from long exposures, you'll really need an expensive and heavy kit, somewhere in the range of $300-500+.

    There's also nothing wrong with having 2 tripods, they don't lose their value over night like modern digital cameras do, and they're way harder to break as well with the better ones working just fine for many years so you can have one lightweight tripod and a heavy one. In such a scenario, since you're new to tripods and probably not sure whether you'll be using it frequently enough, you can buy a lightweight affordable tripod now (like the mentioned above Travel Angel or maybe there are better alternatives from other companies) keeping in mind that for long exposures / heavier lenses / more demanding tasks there's always an option to buy a bigger and heavier tripod later on for times when the weight is not that much of an issue. Anyway, just keep in mind that most of the lightweight affordable tripods aren't as stable as one might expect them to be, it's really easy to see with a camera in manual focus magnification mode.. barely noticeable wind make the image on the screen shake like crazy.
  5. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlkhvS079gE]Velbon VS-443 D tripod - hands on review - YouTube[/ame]

    Velbon Vs 433. Hoping to get one for Christmas
  6. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
  7. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Like most everything in life, a tripod is about trade-offs. A 12 lb tripod with no center column will undoubtedly be better at holding your camera steady than a Benro Travel Angel. IF you bother to use it.

    OTOH, my Travel Angel is small and light enough I actually use it. That makes it far more useful, even with the column extended, than my heavy Manfrotto is sitting in a closet.

    Oh, one more thing: My Travel Angel has a hook on the bottom to hang a weight, like a gadget bag. You need to be careful, because a swinging weight will make things worse, but it can be useful to make a light tripod heavier.
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X3 for the Benro (and hanging your bag off it for extra stability)

    Being able to invert the column and hang the camera under the tripod covers all the instances when I thought I would need an arm, and much more stable.
  9. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    Wow. thanks for all the replies, more stuff to think about.
    I think my wife is drawing up the papers. I got my camera as an upgrade to
    a p&s as I wanted to take better snaps of the kids. now after join here I wanna do landscape, macro this and that.
    already got 2 lenses secretly, got busted for one. it never stops, I want pc software too.
    I need to rob a bank.
    gonna go through the local auction site for used ones, can I ask what a good wieght would be?. those I posted were about 1.7kg but I have also see expensive ones at a simmilar wieght or only slightly heavier??

  10. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    Just be careful about auction fever. When I was looking, people were paying stupid (new) prices for used brand name tripods.

    I got mine after looking in photographic retailers also specialising in used gear - not sure if you have many in JPN?

    Good luck.
  11. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Excellent advice ! I use one of these Berlebachs (2042) on a daily basis, combined with the 540 head. Very very satisfied. And, a pleasure to carry around in wintertime, the wood feels so comfortable and warm !

    C U,
  12. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    JPN is probably one of the best places for used gear than anywhere.
    but the city I live only has 3 mc donalds and two camera shops (same chain)
    wish I got into cameras while I was in tokyo, would have been set.
  13. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    Don't they have an online (not auction) presence as well, listing their used gear and its condition? Most do in UK.
  14. Kilauea

    Kilauea Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    I am quite sure I have the 264AT and it is quite a nice tripod (I am far from being a pro in this regard), but it feels sturdy enough and I doubt it will break any time soon. It is rather big tho, but I suggest you think a little more about the situations where you might be using a tripod and make sure u get what you need. (does it need to be light, small, big, heavy, etc.)
  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010

    (1) A tripod is a tool. When you have a job to do, you select a tool that is appropriate to the job. So, the first question you have to answer is "How will I use my tripod?"
    • Studio work? Larger tripods, fewer leg sections, no need for spike feet.
    • General Purpose Outdoor? If you won't be carrying the tripod long distances, a studio type tripod maybe with four leg sections for improved portability.
    • Serious Travel? Small size, light weight, like the Travel Angels mentioned. Carbon fiber if you can afford both for weight and stiffness.
    If you don't know how you will use a tripod, go for a used one with middle features and middle quality. It will teach you what you really want. When you know, sell it and buy the right one. In the mean time don't obsess over your choice. You are not getting married.

    (2) Looking at weight ratings on tripods is a little like looking at shoe size to determine how tall a person is. What is really important in tripods is stiffness. The tubing diameter drives stiffness: Add 10% to diameter, get 46% more stiffness from a given material (aluminum, carbon, wood).

    (3) Center columns are not inherently bad things, but extending one will definitely reduce the stability of your rig. So, get a tripod that is tall enough for you to have the camera at near-eye-level without extending the column. Then carefully use the column when you need it. One trick is to use the time delay shutter release so the vibration from your pushing the button is gone before the shot fires. Our little M43 cameras have an advantage here because we don't have to worry about a mirror banging around as the shot fires.

    (4) Adding weight to a tripod helps to reduce vibrations and effects of wind. It is A Good Thing, but weight will not make a small and weak tripod into a Gitzo.

    (5) Never buy junk tools. Knowledgeably buying used will usually get you a better tool than buying new.

    Having said all that, my tripod is a Benro carbon Travel Flat with 30mm diameter legs and a monopod conversion. Lots of things have been compromised in that design in order to optimize it as a travel tripod. But IMHO it is the best tool for my needs. Probably not for yours.
  16. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    I use my tripods mostly for travel, so I prefer a solid but lightweight one. I have an old Cullmann, german made, that has proved to be an excellent choice, so I just bought another Cullmann, a little bigger than a table-tripod but perfect for what I was looking for: a tripod that I can carry, the big ones are always at home when I need them.

    CULLMANN Foto | Video*::*HOME
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Mogul

    Mogul Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2012
    Thirty-five years ago, tilting center columns were a novelty, used only by a select group of photographers and made by one company, Benbo.
    Ten years ago, nobody wanted a tilting column.
    Now Velbron has this "unique" feature, albeit with a few extra bells and whistles.
    Well, I didn't see that far ahead thirty-five tears ago, but about eight years ago, I found a used Benbo in good condition and I bought it. Now I still use my conventional Manfrotto most of the time, but when I shoot close to the ground, i wonder how I got along without that Benbo for so long.

    Just as there is no perfect single camera bag, there is no perfect tripod. One size does NOT fit all,

    Good luck with your search, monchan!
    • Like Like x 1
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