Tripod with Multi-Angle Positionable Center Column?

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I need another tripod, one that is especially suited to macro photography. I like versatility of having a multi-angle positionable center column. I'm not too concerned with weight (within reason). My budget is $400 to $600. I would also like at least 60" total height. Does anyone have any recommendations?
 

Replytoken

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Are you also going to be buying rails to use for your macro work? If so, then you need to factor this into your budget. And do you have a ballhead already? You might consider a Manfrotto 055 series tripod, a PhotoClam or Sirui ballhead and rails from Kirk. This will keep you close to your budget.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

JudyM

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Here's another user of the Manfrotto 055. I did look hard at the Vanguard and Benro tripods, though. You probably can't go wrong with any of them.
 
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Thanks everyone. So far I'm liking all the tripods mentioned. Now I need to narrow it down to one. I do need an Arca compatible ballhead, but I can swipe the one on my current tripod if needed.

Are you also going to be buying rails to use for your macro work? If so, then you need to factor this into your budget. And do you have a ballhead already? You might consider a Manfrotto 055 series tripod, a PhotoClam or Sirui ballhead and rails from Kirk. This will keep you close to your budget.

Good luck,

--Ken
I have a couple of re-purposed macro rails. I haven't used them yet because I can't get my current tripod close enough to have them work. And I need more sedentary bugs.
 

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Thanks everyone. So far I'm liking all the tripods mentioned. Now I need to narrow it down to one. I do need an Arca compatible ballhead, but I can swipe the one on my current tripod if needed.



I have a couple of re-purposed macro rails. I haven't used them yet because I can't get my current tripod close enough to have them work. And I need more sedentary bugs.

You are not kidding! And a few less windy days when the flowers are in bloom. I was once advised to photograph as early as possible in the morning before the thermal effects impact the winds. And, my wife still threatens to buy me a Plamp when she sees me standing there in frustration as the flower heads move back and forth. I was seriously considering some rails, but opted to pick up a very nice table top setup to compliment my main tripod. My wife tends to cut a lot of flowers for the house, so this arrangement works reasonably well.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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speedandstyle

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Like several others here I have a Vanguard Alta Pro and I like it. I am not a huge fan of the Vanguard ball head I have on it now, the lock and tension knobs are too similar, I often grab the wrong one.
 
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So I ended up getting a Benro Versatile C2970F with a Sirui K-20x Ball Head. It looks like what I need, and the Benro, unlike some of the other multi-angle columns, will rotate 180°.

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Another series to consider are the Benbo tripods: http://www.patersonphotographic.com/benbo-tripods.htm

These are very flexible tripods which allow the legs to be positioned at a wide range of angles in addition to having a wide positioning range for the center column. Another rather nice feature is that the lower leg section is the outside section. This means that when it is places in dirt and/or water that grunge doesn't get dragged into the leg system when collapsed. It stays on the outside where it can be cleaned later.
 

archaeopteryx

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My current macro setup puts the base of smallish ballhead I use nearly on the ground but it's not uncommon getting lower would be helpful. Unmounting the head to put it on an inverted column is kind of a hassle and the tripod in question also isn't that tall. So I'm considering a more general purpose tripod with a rotating column and it seemed better to bump this thread than start another.

I'd prefer a 180 degree column and comfortably under 2 kg. What I'm seeing surveying the market is
  • Benro SystemGo carbon (90 degrees): GC167T 1.32 kg, GC168T 1.3 kg
  • Benro SystemGo Plus carbon (180 degrees): GPC168T 1.33 kg, TGP17C 1.38 kg
  • Giotto YTL 8354 carbon (180 degrees): 1.4 kg
  • Manfrotto 055, 190, and 290: lightest are 190go! carbon at 1.35 kg and aluminum at 1.66 kg
  • 3POD Orbit 4 carbon (180 degree): 2 kg
  • Benbo Trekker Mk3: 2 kg
  • Oben AC-2361L: 2 kg
  • Vanguard Alto Pro 2+ 263CT and 264CT (180 degrees): both carbon but 2.7 kg
  • Gitzo Explorers: discontinued and seem hard to find, 1.9+ kg
Anyone aware of others? Unfortunately it appears difficult to get the Benros where I'm located and reviews of the YTL 8354 commonly mention troubles with wobbling. I can probably pick up a used 190go or one of the comparable earlier models with some patience, though.

If one really wants to get low both 90 and 180 degree columns are a bit of a challenge. Ideally the column would be sloping downwards but, since almost no ballheads can go past 90 degrees, you can't make an acute angle between the head and the column to get the camera level. I see a few ways of dealing with this.
  • Position the ballhead with its clamp facing down rather than up and connect the camera with a dual dovetail rail or an equivalent. If using an L bracket just to the side of the camera.
  • Since the objective is to put the camera on the ground, just put it on the ground. Possibly with the help of a beanbag, Arca Swiss rail, ground pod, or such. Not so great with water, mud, and some rocks.
  • Make 90 degree turn with a clamp on an L bracket, a 90 degree block or clamp, vertical rail, second ballhead, or tilt head. Alternatively, rails with an adjustable attachment platform, a Z or tier head, and some panoramic heads may suit.
As something of an aside, low profile heads are also of interest here. The shortest ballhead I've found is 64mm. That can be got down to 21mm with a minimal panorama head.

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