What tripod for a GH2?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by addieleman, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    For some time now I feel the need to get a light, yet sturdy tripod to support my GH2 and lenses up to 200mm, like the Panny 45-200mm or the Minolta 75-150/4. I came across a Gitzo GK1580TQR carbon tripod in a shop and I quite liked it. It's small and light enough to hold in my hand while walking and it didn't seem to vibrate a lot. But the main question remained if it will be sturdy enough to make blur-free pictures with a GH2. How to find out without buying?

    So I devised a test: I took my cheap Velbon aluminium tripod, raised the centre column and took test shots with the GH2 and two lenses, the Minolta zooms 75-200/4 (fairly long and heavy, the most demanding lens that I'll use) and 75-150/4 (will want to take that on trips). After focussing I left the tripod untouched and waited until the enlarged finder image stopped shaking. See the tripod below. This raised centre column looks dreadful, shouldn't work, right? Wrong. The test shots below are 100 % crops and they look perfectly sharp to me. So I guess the Gitzo tripod should work at least as good, given that it feels sturdier than my cheap Velbon tripod.

    So what do you guys think? Is this a good test? Did I overlook something?

    The Velbon Sherpa 200R tripod set up for the test

    Test results
  2. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    There is no simple answer to your question, unfortunately. Generally, conventional wisdom says if you can either not extend the centre column or use a tripod without one, you will get better results.

    Here is an article from Luminous Landscape that you may find helpful. Not for a specific tripod but because the author discusses tripods in general before getting into specifics of the tripod in question.

    Is this the world's best tripod?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    What about when you aren't on pavement, there's wind, and/or the ground isn't level? Don't trust your camera to that flimsy thing; I've seen SO MANY people underestimate their tripod and end up looking at their SLR on the ground, after taking a nasty fall.

    Notice that every trusted photo website has a good article discussing the importance of a good tripod:
    Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan
    There's a saying in English: Judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. Learn from others, so that you don't end up making the mistakes yourself. That Gitzo that you linked looks like it's definitely solid enough for your situation, that's probably the most load bearing that you'd need to go.

    Edit: I don't agree with Thom's recommendation of brands, however. Many don't like the Gitzo twistlock. I, and many others, prefer Bogen's fliplocking legs. Go to a trusted website like bhphotovideo.com or adorama.com, and go to their tripod sections. You'll see the worthy competitors to Gitzo, if that's not your cup of tea.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Compromises...

    The compromises: costs, mass, stability and durability. If cost was not an issue my personal choice would be a RRS Series 2 model TVC-23 with probably the Bh-30 ball head. Add a remote and at least you have a chance for capturing a sharp image at slow shutter speeds.

    The compromise has been a Benro. Functional, light & compact enough that I normal carry the tripod with me on day trips.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    And there is your answer! A tripod adequate to your needs would not require any waiting - any vibrations would be dampened in a split second.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X2 - the premium for the Gitzo name was just too high for me to bear.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Thanks guys for your advice. I bit the bullet this afternoon and bought the Gitzo GK1580QR tripod+head after having tried my GH2 + Minolta 75-150mm on it. My old Gitzo Studex is probably as rigid as this one, but the other tripods, including a Manfrotto/Bogen 055, aren't by a long shot. Gonna give the tripod a spin tonight!

    I've read about Benro and RedGed (probably the same as RRS in the US) but I didn't want to spend a little less money for gear I didn't like as much. In the end I'll buy the stuff I really want anyway and then I'll have only spent more money.