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Yet another tripod thread

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Klorenzo, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Here is briefly my tripod history:
    - one big no brand tripod for 15 euros. Not bad for the price, otherwise junk :) 
    - one Velbon Ultra Maxi L. It's a travel tripod, works fine, it's what I use now.
    - an Ultrapod II

    What I do not like is this:
    - when I tighten the head it moves up a little and when I leave the big lenses (1.5 kg) it clearly bends down a little. No problems with native lenses.
    - with magnify and manual focus with tele lenses the vibration is big (even with no column and legs extended). I have to focus, wait a little for it to stabilize, check the focus, repeat.

    So now I'm looking for an heavy one but I do not want to spend too much as I'm not going to use it often. Maybe a new head could be enough to solve these problems (the Velbon head is removable). Light is good but not essential if I have to spend 400+ euros. At the same time I do not want to bring around a 3kg head for no reason.
    The heaviest (adapted) tele lens I have is around 1.5 kg (400mm with TC).

    I'm considering something like these:




    I'd like a ball head with the panoramic rotation.

    I'm asking now because there are many photo offers on Amazon.de for the next 10 days.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  2. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 7, 2015
    I`m uncertain about this procedure cause I can't see it in my mind, so the tripod I`m mentioning now might not fit your requests.

    Anyways, I`m using Benro Travel Angel II Carbon. Have you tried that?
    It works for me, but I`ve never had a telephoto lens with MF on it.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Couple questions:
    -Does the tele have a tripod foot?
    -Clarify what you mean by "panoramic rotation". Do you mean rotating base? Some heads have independent locks for base & ball while some have a single lock that loosens everything. Then there are heads w/ rotating QR clamps used with pano heads.

    I've been shooting teles a long time both film & now mirrorless. Even the largest tripods/heads will show some vibration w/ mag view while using MF. So this issue is really about what you can live with. Both the OMDs you have have good EVF resolution & allow IS On w/ a half press of the shutter. Have you tried this for MF of your tele?

    If you are going to be a long tele shooter long term (400mm w/ 2X crop=800mm EFL & hard for anything to hold still), you probably should seriously consider a gimbal head. If you don't expect to get a rig over 3-4kg, a side-mount gimbal like the Jobu Jr Mk. II would be stiff enough for focusing w/ a good tripod. There are a couple ball heads w/ gimbal like action but they are spendy.

    W/ a limited budget, I'd recommend a patient watch of ebay for a CF pod w/ larger legs say >28mm. I got a used Feisol CT-3371 (36mm legs) for $250+shipping. Its probably larger than you need but is an example of what you can find. You can find used Jobu Jr. gimbals there too because big rig DSLRs are too heavy for these. In any case, you'll have to find bargains to stay w/ your budget for head & pod w/ low vibration.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Benro Travel Angel II Carbon looks fine but it's not cheap considering a good head too. I think the aluminium version could be enough for me. Is carbon significantly better then aluminium or the difference is just the weight?

    The procedure is nothing special: you focus but the vibrations are so big that you cannot clearly see if you have done it right. So I just have to wait a little for it to stabilize and then use self time of course. This is another annoying thing.

    @tradesmith45@tradesmith45 I doubt I'll ever go above the 1500 grams with a lens so I 36mm tripod looks like an overkill and a gimbal too.
    The lens had a generic tripod collar and also an m43 adapter with tripod leg. I tried both with similar results. With "panoramic rotation" I simply mean the base that rotates 360 degrees keeping the ball locked.
    When you use magnify IBIS is engaged so I used it, setting the correct focal length too.

    When you talk about diameter you refer to the bigger or the smaller section? For example the Sirui ET-2004 is 28 max and 19 minimum. Benro diameter is 28.6. My current tripod is 21. I've read in other similar threads that legs section is the main factor for stability.
  5. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 7, 2015
    99% weight 1% performance in my opinion.

    The seller told me that they tested Travel Angel II Carbon VS Aluminium under these conditions.

    Both tripods, in the same dark room at the same time. Both with the same camera and the same lens, at the same tripod-level (height), and 1 picture taken at the same time with the same settings.
    The settings where long exposure of something and they insisted it came out better on carbon due to it`s a "dead" metal.

    Uncertain if I it`s true, but it was a no brainer for me. I needed a tripod, and I`m in no hurry buying another one.
    This one fits me and my needs until I either break it or loose it. And I got it at 30% discount :D .

    But again, I have no absolutely no clue if this tripod fits your needs. That`s why I`m persistent in you need to try it out yourself before buying if you are considering it. ;) 
  6. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Manfrotto 055Pro /thread :biggrin:

    In all seriousness though you will never be disappointed in a big heavy tripod.
  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    This article always gets cited, and I have to say: I think it's BS. He basically claims you're going to spend $1,000+ on a tripod, so you might as well do it now rather than later.

    I don't think you need to spend $1,000 on a tripod to get a one that will serve you well and last a very, very long time.

    I recently bought this MeFoto CF tripod for a whole lot less than that. It's beautifully built, rock-solid, and I'm figuring it'll be the last heavy-duty tripod I buy (I own a much lighter tripod for hiking). Read the reviews and draw your own conclusions.
  8. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I agree with this comment. MeFoto, and others, make really good tripods that don't cost a $1,000. Both the MeFoto GlobeTrotter and RoadTrip tripods are very nice and will last indefinitely.
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Of course it's not necessary for everyone to spend $1000. And if you're happy with those little travel tripods, fine. (BTW, the question is not "Will it last?" It is "Is it stable enough?"

    Mellow, if you think that little travel tripod is "rock solid" you should test it against a serious tripod like a Gitzo 3-series/Studex. If a simple shutter-shock test is not enough to expose the differences, a little time on a windy hillside is guaranteed to do it. I think you will revise your opinion.

    The OP is looking to upgrade to "a heavy one" and I think the article does an excellent job of clarifying the options and the consequences of various decisions. Simply saying "I like tripod model XX-YY." is not helpful to him.

    Klorenzo, if you want a serious tripod without spending a lot of money I'd suggest lurking on eBay for a used Gitzo Studex with a quality head. Here in the US, lurking and some patience will get a tripod for $200 +/-. Pan/tilt heads are currently out of fashion, so if one would suffice it will help keep your costs down. IMO you get a lot more for your money buying used and a tripod is so dead-simple that there is little risk in buying them that way.

    As tradesmith45's excellent post implies, "big legs" are the key to stability.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada

    I picked up my 055Pro on a blowout sale for $150 or so, new. It is big with big 3 section legs and heavy. All good.
  11. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    +1 on going with a gimbal head.
  12. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    With something hanging on the hook to weight it down, the Globetrotter is a very stable tripod. Again, read the reviews, like this one, which specifically tests vibration resistance: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/5352974021/travel-tripods-5-carbon-fiber-kits-reviewed/5.

    Now, mind you, I wouldn't set a 10-lb DLSR + lens on it, but I'm using it with my EM10 and native lenses, so this isn't an issue.

    My reasoning is this: if I'm worried about the effect of extra vibration caused by a "cheap" tripod compared to one of the $1,000+ ones recommend by Thom, I probably shouldn't be shooting with a compromise system like m43 in the first place. Honestly, I've taken lots of photos on lesser tripods and have never concluded that my images weren't sharp enough because the tripod wasn't stable. I have had issues with tripods falling apart, but if you look at how the MeFoto is built, I think you'd agree that this isn't really a concern.
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I have two of the MeFotos, Day Trip and Road Trip. One note MeFoto is made by Benro. Benro does have a few upgrades, but similar in many ways.
  14. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Well, I'm looking for an "m43 heavy one" but at the same time I'm also stretching the m43 idea with adapted heavy lenses. But not really heavy and I do not plan to buy bigger lenses. So it's a borderline scenario. And I'd like to stay below 3kg head included.
    I never considered to buy a used one even if it is my first option for lenses. Probably because I do not know what to look for.
  15. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    There are so many ways that pods & heads are used that online discussions are rarely able to evaluate all the issues any individual user is facing based on a short posted question. With that in mind, here are some general results from my experience. I can't recommend anything for you because I don't know enough but hope this helps.

    Baby bear- momma bear - papa bear pods/heads - how much difference does it make? When I switched from film to m43 3 yrs ago, I upgraded my backpacking pod from a Velbon 343?? al to a sub kilo Slik 634CF (22mm legs) w/ the smallest head w/ a panning base (Giottos MH 1002-310). I have been really impressed by this tiny setup's stability in all kinds of difficult conditions but it certainly won't hold a long tele still. Tried & returned 28mm & 32mm pods & 40mm & 52mm ball heads because while they were more stable, they provided only small improvements over the fly-weight pod but cost lots. I've concluded many of the really small CF pods/heads provide great bang for the weight/cost. That's a good thing but ironically, its also why its so challenging to find something better!

    One issue we have not brought up for tele shooters - shutter vibration & sequential shooting. But maybe you don't do sequential shooting w/ your tele. This has been a significant problem for me that is not currently solved w/ 0-antishock on the E-M1 especially w/ the camera in portrait orientation. Shutter vibration can move the camera sideways so it takes a really big pod/head to hold it still after 2+ sequential captures. That's why I went to a large pod & gimbal. Even a 32mm pod & 52mm ball head will allow lots of camera movement under these condition. Better electronic shutters will eventually solve this I hope.

    Shooting long tele in windy conditions poses similar problems to shutter vibration. A little bigger pod helps just a little but costs a lot. And regardless of how big you go, there's always a wind strong enough to move anything so you can't really solve this problem even w/ $1k pods. Best solution is using the lowest position you can w/ what ever pod your using. Getting lower helps lots more than spending big $$.

    Also own a 45 yr old 6 lb AL Tiltall that I've used w/ movie & view cameras. Thought it was rock solid until I started shooting m43 w/ adapted long tele. There are certainly some old 8+ lb AL Manfrottos w/ steel center columns you can buy used that are much better. But my experience has shown me CF is a huge leap in stability over AL.

    Center column or not - does it matter? Wildlife pros nearly always shoot center columnless pods. They are more stable & can go to ground level. Getting to ground level may not be important to you. But there are 2 practical problems w/ no center column. The less expensive ones are usually under 60" max. Not so good for shooting up. There's only 1 70+" center columnless pod <$1k & there's only 1 sub-5 lb center columnless 70" pod & its $1k. Most of the center columnless pods have a wide top plate that makes it impossible to drop a ball head into the notch w/ camera attached for portrait shooting.

    One alternative is pods w/ 2 piece columns so you can simply unscrew a portion of the column to quickly get to ground level. As far as I know, only Slik & EDIT: Oben not Benro use 2 piece columns. Everyone else has a long & short column which is ok but you have to carry both.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  16. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I also have the MeFoto Backpacker and Roadtrip. They are very nice tripods, but are not in the same league as my Gitzo 2541 and Markins Q10 ball head. While I've taken nice shots with each of the MeFotos, they are really a compromise. They're not as rigid, the ball mechanism is not nearly as stable and precise, etc. Using them requires extreme care.

    If I'm doing a serious session requiring a tripod, I always take the Gitzo.
    If I'm "just" hiking and might come across something, I'll take the Backpacker.
    The Roadtrip lives in my car trunk in the event I come across an opportunity.
  17. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Many have considered Galen Rowell’s or Thon Hogan’s advice BS. Yet these are the same people that these recommendations were/are for, the recommendations are based on the experiences of many photographers over the years.

    The longer the lenses you shoot, the more frequent you use a tripod, the longer exposures you take, and/or the less hassles you want in using a tripod, the better the equipment you need. More than likely if you are shooting with long lenses (> 300mm), often use a tripod, or just want something the works without hassles – if one didn’t step up and spend the money to begin with, many many photographers follow the course of Thom’s Maxim #2 he blogged about.

    You can buy less expensive gear and get by, for the occasional use or using a 200mm lens or less that may not be bad at all. But you’ll end up tolerating some sort of glitch in movement and or stability. And this is typically the begging of Thom’s maxim #2 for many. BTW - CF legs are preferable to aluminum for several reasons.

    Top of the line – (Once you use this type of gear you understand why it is worthwhile)
    Arca Swiss Z-1, Really Right Stuff (RRS) BH-55, or Markins Q-20 heads
    Gitzo or RRS Series 3 legs
    Great for 400mm, OK for 500mm, move up to more expensive equipment in the same lines for better stability and ease of use for longer than 400mm lenses, and consider a Wimberly Sidekick

    2nd Tier
    RRS BH-40, Markins Q-10 heads
    Gitzo or RRS Series 2 legs
    Great for up to 300mm, useable for 400mm lenses

    3rd Tier (typically legs and heads cost under $500)
    Could be great (or maybe not) for up to 200mm, useable (with care) for 300mm.
  18. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    In 2007 I bought a Gitzo GT3540LS and Arca Z-1 for less than $900,
    24” folded length, max height 65” to viewfinder, 5.5 lbs (2.5kg), easily handles 400mm lenses with long exposures – ½ the weight and better than my gear from 1980s. Because of the size and weight I use this gear at least monthly. Setup is 8 years old and replaced my Gitzo legs/Arca head from the 1980s.

    I also needed something smaller for travel and I ended up getting an Oben CT-3520 for about $400
    16.5 inch folded length, max height 72” to viewfinder (without column extended), 3.2 lbs (1.5kg)
    30mm dia. top legs, easily handles 200mm, with minimal care a 300m lens is not an issue,
    Now about four years old this tripod is with me often with me.
  19. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I bought a used Manfrotto 058b not too long ago. I love it. It's heavy, but not hard to carry. I just sling it over a shoulder with the camera mounted and off I go. I admit though that issue it around the house and yard and near the car. I'm not going to take it on long treks.

    The push button leg releases make deploying it and leveling it very easy. It's so simple to use I find that I use it more often than I ever used the old. It's very solid. I paid $150 used, a fraction of its new price.

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