tripod features for wildlife

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by btaylor, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    For using Panasonic 100-300mm on a DMC-G7.

    Ball head or tilt/pan handles?
    Lens collar (3rd party, ~85 euros) necessary/worth it?
    Remote shutter (50 quid) necessary/worth it?

    asking here as a lot of online advice seems geared towards DSLR with their heavier lenses.

    Thanks for any tips & insight.
     
  2. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    376
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    A lot depends on if you have to carry it, take it on a plane and budget.

    I own a Manfrotto 190 tripod among others and for me it fits the bill the best for stability and easy of carying. A remote shutter is also a must for me. The kit ball head that comes with the Manfrotto tripods is OK but not really good.
    Depending on your budget I think a cheap three way head is generally better than a cheap ball head. You can spend as much on a head as your tripod, and the better the head you buy the better the experience.

    If you do not need to carry it the Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-BHQ2 kit has a fairly good cheap ball head.

    Of course if you have the funds look at "Really Right Stuff" but too expensive for me.

    I would spend more on a head and buy aluminium legs rather than carbon fiber legs and a cheaper head.

    For the lens collar, I do not know someone else will advise.

    Tripods are like camera bags and can generate a lot of discussion between head types and quick release plates.

    But don't buy too cheap.

    Regards
     
  3. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    Interesting, cheers.
    Just curious about remote shutter usage: is the remote shutter only really useful for still subjects - because if you're panning/re-composing while you're using it, your hands are on the camera/lens, so defeats the point of using the remote shutter...?
    Is a remote shutter better with a 3-way head than a ball head for this reason?
    What sort of stuff do you shoot?

    I quite like the look of this manfrotto one: Compact Advanced Aluminium Tripod with ball head, black - am I likely to find that so bad as to instantly regret it? Remember I really am on the beginner end of amateur - quite wowed by what you would probably find very very basic and mundane - coots on a lake from a hide, etc, so looking to nail that and progress from there. But not averse to spending more if it will prevent a really bad experience.
     
  4. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    I have the 100-300 and I rarely have it on a tripod for stills. How shaky are your hands? I mostly use a video tripod when taking video with this lens, and sometimes a bean bag instead.

    The G7 has wifi, so you can use your phone instead of a remote trigger.
     
  5. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    I have more interest in stills than video to be honest. My hands aren't that shaky. Perhaps just a bean bag would be the way to go.

    Interesting about the wifi! Does it rely on a router though, or can it just connect directly to my phone (i.e. could I use it in a hide in a forest, say)
     
  6. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland
    I have the 100-300 (on a E-M5 II) and also seldom put it on a tripod. I preferentially use the camera body's IBIS. Even so, I would first determine that I could not successfully use the lens' OIS whilst handholding the G7 before messing with a tripod. You can do this in your back yard.

    Tripods can be very restrictive in developing situations. Let's say that at the same moment that coot 1 moves out of sight on the right coot 2 comes into view 135 degrees to the left. Handholding, you can pan easily by twisting at the waist. Once on a tripod, the point of rotation moves there and you have to execute some fancy footwork to follow the eyepiece. This effect would become even more pronounced with the lens collar.

    Tripods (and remote releases, as well) DO become indispensable in low light (longer shutter speeds) with relatively static subjects. If the Panny implementation of wi-fi is similar to the OM, then you would not need anything other than the camera and the phone.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    Excellent, thanks for that advice.
    Determining that I could use the lens OIS....how do you mean? Other than just have it turned on, take a picture and see if it's sharp?
    So far with my 14-140 lens I've taken a few photos hand held that look sharp enough to me, whether they would still have been without OIS I don't know...
     
  8. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Regular

    32
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    I don't have a g7, but I do have the 100-300 and a gx-1 and gx-8. I have mostly used the 100-300 with the gx-1 and usually handheld. I have a lightweight sprint pro tripod and have a tough time keeping the ball head from creeping with that front heavy lens combo. Maybe a sturdier tripod would solve that problem, however the same tripod works fine with my gx-8 and 100-400, and I'm unwilling to carry anything larger. It is a much heavier setup, but with built in tripod collar. Two big useability upgrades from the 100-300 to the 100-400 are the tripod collar and zoom lock, both things that annoyed me with the 100-300. Penalty is size and weight.

    I use a cheapo remote shutter release with good results, the gx-8 WiFi allows for control from cell phone, and works very well but probably uses more battery. Remote shutter is not needed, but the one I got was maybe $20 and worth it for the modest cost. 50£ sounds like a lot considering the phone and cheaper alternatives.

    Hope that helps
     
  9. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland
    Turn it on, turn it off and see what goes. Just stay clear about whether you're seeing motion or focus blur (or both). Remember to observe the 1/effective focal length shutter speed rule with OIS off (1/280 with the 14-140 and 1/600 with the 100-300 at full extension).

    The 100-300 can be satisfactorily sharp at 300 as long as you can fill the frame with your subject. Once the area of interest starts shrinking and the image starts to demand substantial cropping, you can expect the result to become progressively softer, the usefulness of which can only be evaluated in relation to output size and viewing distance. "Sharp" is a relative term trying to pass for an absolute.
     
  10. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    Thanks, yes.... Is the 100-400 that much better, better enough to justify being 4 times the price?
    Presumably it's not superior in every way otherwise you would have sold the 100-300, do you use that in situations where portability is important? (Examples?)

    Is it just the smoother zoom and tripod mount, or do you find the extra reach crosses an essential line?
     
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The biggest problem with the 100-300 is the older aperture and focusing mechanisms that make the lens almost useless for action photography, the FPS drops to 2 or 3 frames per second. The newer mechanical side of the 100-400 is far superior to the 100-300 and it is weather sealed, I don't own either so can't comment on the IQ differences.
     
  12. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    376
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    I use the remote shutter for low light situations and on ground that is soft as your tripod is not always stable on soft ground. I think I would get the Manfrotto BeFree before the advanced compact one. The BeFree uses the standard RC2 quick release plate.

    You could also look at the travel tripods that have one leg that converts to a monopod. I like the ProMaster series as their Arca Swis plates have a safety pin for security. The MeFrotto tripods look good also.

    I would say if you cant afford the BeFree or MeFrotto similar priced tripods wait and save up a bit to avoid disappointment. These seem to be the lowest quality recommended on youtube videos.

    Regards
     
  13. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Regular

    32
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    I only have them both because I can't decide which to sell. I never planned on buying the Leica lens, but got a deal with the gx-8 that was too good to pass up. Now I'm torn between the better quality and something that was good enough for several years. If I were still living somewhere where short hikes yielded lots of wildlife, the choice would be easy, but I frequently debate whether to carry one of the long lenses these days. I might be better off with the 100-300 and the 7-14 oly. The quality (image and build) is definitely better, but I'm also not sure that its worth the cost to me as a hobbyist
     
  14. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    to be honest i was a bit dismayed that tripods have a QR plate that relies only on friction and a cam-lock lever to hold a plate in. One that's more secure, would please me more, being a bit more of a faff is not a problematic trade off.
     
  15. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    Right, I see :) I've booked the 100-300 to hire for a week. So I'll see what I think of it after that.
     
  16. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    376
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    That's why I was originally attracted to the Manfrotto RC2 heads. The ProMaster series with their Arca Swis plates as sold in Australia have a pin that stops the QC plate sliding out so I like these better than the MeFrotto QC heads.

    Regards
     
  17. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    It's a direct connection, and works very well. Range is about 30ft, and you can use a phone or a tablet.
     
  18. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    Thanks. Been having a play with that and it does work from my android phone. Would have been nice if it had found a way to mimick the double-press action of focus, shutter release - it seems you have to either set focus in advance, or trust it to autofocus on the correct thing automatically, but if you can get used to that then I guess it does the job.
     
  19. btaylor

    btaylor Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Sep 5, 2016
    Ben
    anybody any experience of the 190go tripod? head, QR?
    there's one on ebay and it's fairly badly listed so could be a bargain.

    edit: ah i seeit's headless so I need a separate head. I can see a lot of heads described like 496RC2, 498RC2... presumably all those have the RC2 QR system which is good? current versions are described as "XPRO ball head with 200PL plate". Is that good? I just want something that locks in and doesn't rely on friction basically. Any tips on how to ensure any of the multitude of ones on offer fits that requirement much appreciated....
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  20. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    376
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    I currently use the RC2 quick release system with the 200PL plates and it is fairly good. When you push the quick release plate in it snaps in tight, but there is a tiny bit of slop in the clamping lever so if you bump it you need to push it back in. No big deal but worth knowing about.

    The smallest Manfrotto ball head is a bit too small for my liking but the ball head that comes with this kit on the 055 tripod is better ( MK055XPRO3-BHQ2), I have the head that comes with this one and are happy with it

    Regards..