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Tripod - cheap and cheerful

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by xanaduflipper, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. xanaduflipper

    xanaduflipper Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2011
    Kent, UK

    I'm going on a landscape course in early September and I need a full size tripod to use but I don't want to spend a lot....in fact I want something really cheap!

    So I've found this one - what does everyone think? OK for occasional use?

    Hama - Hama Star 75 Photo Tripod - Best Buy UK

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    Thanks in advance :) 
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Because m4/3 is so light, many tripods I'd normally dismiss are adequate. However for stills photography, especially landscapes the centre bracing will restrict how close you can get to the ground and that could be a real issue. I often have my tripod head only inches from the ground when shooting landscapes. Bracing the centre column, as above, is more common on video tripods and the one you listed is trying to be both a stills tripod and video tripod. Jack of all trades, master of none.

    So I'd try to find one where I can either reverse the head ( hang it from the underside of the centre column, especially if your camera has a swivel screen) or one where the legs can be splayed wide, which this one can not. I was once told about tripods. "cheap/light/good. Pick any two". And that's been true for the last 29 years.

    If you've never used a tripod a lot, before, you're going to be amazed at how much sharper you're images can really be. As good as IS is it's still no substitute for a good tripod.

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  3. Andrew Riddell

    Andrew Riddell Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2010
    Hi! At the risk of opening a hornets' nest, here are my thoughts, but please bear in mind that things that are important to you may not be the same as are important to me!


    1. It's cheap, light and from a reputable maker (if not a tripod specialist).

    2. The legs have snap locks, which can be quicker to use than round ones.

    3. 3-way heads are fine for landscape work, where set-up speed is often not critical. I prefer a ball-head for everything, but that's just me!


    1. The legs are 4-piece, so the bottom one (the narrowest) may not be particularly stable.

    2. You lose flexibility by having braced legs (especially on uneven ground or when you want to get close to the ground). It's much easier to be able to adjust the splay of each leg separately rather than fiddle with the length of each.

    3. The lightness may make the tripod unstable for long exposures or in poor weather (unless you tie a bag of rocks to the bottom!).

    4. I couldn't see any guidance on the weight of kit it's designed to carry (conventional wisdom suggests it should be 1½-2 times the weight actually carried).

    As I'm sure you know, the holy writ on tripods is that you can have any two of stability, weight and price. If you're sure that you're not going to want a tripod again, ever, then I'd (just) agree on 'why waste money?'. However, I think that youll find that use isn't going to be 'just this once' and you'll appreciate the qualities and flexibility of a better (if more expensive) bit of kit.'

    Just so you know where I'm coming from, I use a Giottos MT9340B with an MH1312 ballhead. OK, it cost c.4x your suggestion (although that's not expensive for quality kit), but I'm unlikely to need to replace it before I hang up my camera for good!

    Ultimately, of course, it's your call! Good luck, and I hope my maunderings have helped!


  4. xanaduflipper

    xanaduflipper Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Thanks a lot for your advice. Having never used a tripod before I'm unsure about the weight thing/leg movement etc but the info you've provided has helped thanks.

    I might go to a camera shop to try some out rafter than buying online and get a feel for it.
  5. Andrew Riddell

    Andrew Riddell Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2010
    This is definitely the best plan! You'll get a feel for what you need. The good old test of extending the tripod to its maximum then putting your whole weight on it will give you a 'wobble factor'!

    Just don't get persuaded to buy seriously more than you need. Manfrotto is a good brand, although I think Giottos is better VFM. You can always spend £2,000 on a Gitzo, but I assume that you haven't lost all your marbles and/or can't claim it as a tax deduction!

    Basically, I think (but in the end you may not agree) that you've under-spec'd your needs. Remember, unlike pets, good tripods really are 'for life'!


  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    A brand to check out if you are in a store is Vanguard

    I have one of their Alta pro models and have been very happy with it... they have more budget models, but they all seem to be well designed, well specced and reasonably priced

  7. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Same tripod, fraction of the price on amazon
  8. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    I'm also in the market for a tripod, as I've been doing more with landscapes, long exposures, and I just bought the pannyleica 45mm to try out some macro. However I suffer from a need/want of two of the three rules, and a fourth of my own making. One of the main points of picking the GF1 kit was for traveling and hiking so I need light weight, fairly good stability/durability, and I'd prefer it to be as compact as possible.

    Currently I'm using a Gorillapod SLR and while it's a very cool idea, and small for traveling... it can be a pain to set up on certain objects and isn't very tall if you can't find something to attach it to. Also, if you can't get the legs really secured to something, it's not very stable.

    Apparently the best option for me would be the Gitzo GT1550T But I don't think I can justify the $650ish I've seen it going for on ebay, for something that wouldn't see full time use.

    Alot of people are giving good reviews to this Dolica Proline Tripod for $40... but it compromises alot of the things I'm looking for. Still for me, I'm considering getting it to see if using a full size tripod is something that I'd like enough to spend the money on the Gitzo
  9. xanaduflipper

    xanaduflipper Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Thanks :D 
  10. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2011
    Here's the tripod I use. It's pretty easy to carry, folds up very small, and very sturdy for what it is. The legs spread pretty wide so it goes very low. And the center column is reversible. More expensive than the one you mentioned, but possibly more useful in the long run.

    Velbon Ultra VOXi L Aluminum Tripod ULTRA VOXI L B&H Photo Video

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  11. jeb

    jeb Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Looking for a tripod too!!

    This dolica looks great for the price!! Anyone know where to find it in canada??

  12. byron2112

    byron2112 Mu-43 Regular

    May 22, 2011

    I bought this one for $25 delivered from New Egg a couplea weeks ago... it was a deal I caught on SlickDeals.net.

    Can't beat it for the price, light, reversible center column, comes with a ball head, and a nice carrying case with strap.

    Apparently it's been on sale at times at Amazon too, so if you keep a heads up on the deal sites...

    You can search Youtube for videos of this tripod and others if you wanna check out the functionality of some a this gear... really helpful.
  13. ismailfaruqi

    ismailfaruqi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I sold Gitzo 0531 and Feisol CT 3442 for a SLIK Sprint CL tripod. Got it for 50, couldn't be happier :rolleyes: 
  14. maxsoul

    maxsoul Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2011
  15. eyeguy

    eyeguy Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Was looking at this. Vanguard 240BK tripod.

    Small and portable, looks like a great compliment to mirrorless. However the price is a little steeper than I'd like. And it only extends to 1 meter.
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