Tripod Time

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by baldrick, May 8, 2007.

  1. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Here's yet another 'Which one' thread so my apologies!

    I've realised that my 'just get something that does' tripod purchase has been a false economy. I can't remember that model but I got a reasonable compact, not overly expensive Velbon tripod last year and it really isn't man for the job so I'm thinking about taking advantage of Jessops' 12 month 0% and getting a good tripod and head along with a Slingshot bag and possibly a monopod for good measure.

    Unfortunately I know the answer to the question is carbon fiber but I may as well ask and get advice as to which one!

    One of my main uses is when I'm hiking, strapped to the side of my rucksack, so I want something sturdy, light and compact when folded but that offers a good working height.

    Head wise the 322RC2 looks tempting mainly because it's gadgety and I like gadgets! I do wonder what it's like for straigh panning though. Le Mans is not far away and I want a head that offers smooth panning and I worry that the 322RC2 will be a pain to keep 'flat' whilst panning?

    So now it's time for you to spend my money, what do you suggest?
     
  2. Tobers

    Tobers
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    I've just gone through the same thought process. I narrowed it down to the Manfrotto 190XPROB at £95+head and the Giottos Innovator MT8160 at £169 including a ball head.

    Key criteria for me:

    - solidity
    - weight (lack of!)
    - size
    - centre tube that can go horizontal
    - height fully extended

    I fiddled with both for some time at Speedgraphic near Alton. They are both about the same size when packed, and fairly similar weight though this depends hugely on the head you put on.

    However, the Giottos is a far more solid piece of kit. Being carbon fibre, it can have a much more solid construction whilst not being any heavier. It also has twisty legs rather than clippy legs, and extended higher whilst being more solid. It comes with a strap & bag which are extras on the Manfrotto.

    I went with the Giottos in the end. Very pleased with it.

    Tobers
     
  3. viffer

    viffer
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    I got a set of 055Pro legs and a 488RC04 head.
    The 488 is a ball head, but has independent pan.
    The 055 has split center column so can go pretty low.
    Not the lightest of set ups, but pretty sturdy when up.
    Bought a carry strap which helps with lugging it around.
     
  4. Kaoshan

    Kaoshan
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    I started off with a Manfrotto 055 tripod and the three-way 029 head. This is a bulky head but I use heavy L telephoto lenses up tp 400mm and teleconverters so I wanted the control and stability. It offers precision panning.

    I've seen people rave about the ball heads so I also got a 322RC. Whilst it is quick and convenient to use it is pretty hopeless to get an accurately panned shot with a telephoto on board. It is fine for landscape shots with a lens up to 105mm on board but for anything larger I revert to the 029.

    I'd recommend trying both configurations with the biggest lens you plan on using.
     
  5. viffer

    viffer
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    I looked at a 322 head, but the difficulty with panning put me off. So went with the 488 instead.
     
  6. baldrick

    baldrick
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    What's that head like for panning? Given that Jessops want £230 for the legs alone £170 is a pretty good price although I was hoping to take advantage of the Jessops' 0% offer....
     
  7. Tobers

    Tobers
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    I haven't tried panning with it - it's a ball head so will wibble about in different directions as it wont lock into a single plane of movement. You can adjust the grip on the ball quite finely though. I guess you could lock the head, and use loosen the centre column a tad and use that to pan. This would assume you have the centre column retracted (the tripod is still quite high) otherwise it would slide down.
     
  8. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Certainly the 488 head that Viffer mentioned looks very appealing as it has the dedicated pan feature. Although the Jessops information about the MT8160 says: Built in universal 3 way head provides 360° horizontal and 180°vertical adjustment.

    If that's the case then panning could be performed on the tripod regardless of the head!?!?!

    Infact that would make the MT8170 + 322RC2 very tempting if the 8170 has the same '3 way head' as the 8160!?!?
     
  9. Tobers

    Tobers
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    Ah yes, it does have a "built in head". I haven't tried it yet so I cant comment on how it works. I'll have to read the instructions. Removing the add-on head would also save quite a bit of weight and about 6" carrying length as well.
     
  10. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I've just spoken to the distributor who said the 'built-in head' is a little inaccurate. Jessops are referenceing to the adjustability within the tripod rather than a proper 'head' you would attach.

    I'm just waiting to see if Warehouse Express will match SpeedGraphic's £149.95 for the MT8170 then I'll probably make use of their 12 month interest free credit to get the tripod + 322RC2, a Crumpler Daily bag and a monopod for those time I don't want to be bogged down by a full tripod.

    Out of interest does anybody know if the Crumpler Daily 490 will take a 15" PowerBook/MacBookPro or will I need to go for the Daily 600?
     
  11. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I've placed an order but it takes a few days for the credit agreement to go through before they can despatch the goods. They also couldn't match SpeedGraphic's £149.95 as that's a 'special' price!

    Hopefully by the end of next week I'll have even more toys to play with. This order will make it an awful lot on photography in the last month:

    70-300 Sigma APO
    14mm f2.8 Sigma EX
    Adobe Lightroom
    Giottos MT8170
    Manfrotto 322RC2
    Giotto GMM9970
    Crumpler The Daily 600

    The only thing I might do is consider PXing the 14mm for the Sigma 10-20mm as I think it's a more practical/useable lens, although that would then force me to think about a set of Cokin Grad NDs...... ;)
     
  12. Senninha

    Senninha
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    Looks like you've made your purchase (you don't hang about! :thumbsup: ), but in case anyone else is interested, I very much recommend the Benro range

    http://photopal.co.uk/index.php?cPath=41

    I bought the Flexpod, and it's really excellent. Beautifully made, excellent value and really versatile. I thought tripods were like the old mountain bike saying - cheap, light and strong/quality - you can get any two out of the three! In this case my experience has been that these tripods are all three. I still wouldn't call them "cheap", but relative to the "names" they are.
     
  13. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Looking at the Benro range it seems that C358n6 is the closest to the Giottos MT8170, they are both 4 section legs, carbon fibre, 10KG load, 61-62cm folded, 173cm max height, and the benro is lighter by 300g. The major difference is over £100 with the Benro listed at £299 against the £189 for the Giottos from WE!?!?

    I'll carry the extra 300g and get the 322RC2! :D

    EDIT - Upon closer inspection the Flexpod C298n6 appears to be equally close to the 8170 except for being £229 and weighing 1.8KG against the Giottos 2.6! On even closer inspection the two appear to be almost identical. The differences, other than the weight, being that the Giotto has foam on all legs whilst the Benro has lost one leg's worth of foam and traded if for a compass alongside the spirit level.

    They both come with shoulder straps, bags and tool kits and retractable hooks in the bottom of the centre column.

    The compass could be a gimmick but the 800g is quite a bit of a weight saving! Is it worth £40 and loosing the 0% interest free? I could still get the Crumpler bag and Manfrotto head from WE on 0%....
     
  14. Senninha

    Senninha
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    Depends where you buy - the site I mentioned was just for easy reference with picture. A quick look found the C358n6 for £175. A saving of 300g and some cash :)
     
  15. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I've had a goosey gander on eBay for the Benro C-298n6 which is the closest to the Giottos I've got on order. The Benro is 10cm shorter at maximum height but weighs 800g less. I can get one for £210 compared to the £190 I'm paying for the Giottos.

    Apart from the weight and the height the Benro appears to have 28mm legs where the Giottos has 32mm, I don't know how much of a difference that makes?

    Is the loss in height worth the reduction in weight and is the reduction in weight worth £20?

    I'm thinking I'll stick with the Giottos as I'm buying it on a buy now, pay later and the Benro would need me to stump up £210 straigh away....
     
  16. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Problem solved, because the it's a finance order with Warehouse Express they can't change it so I couldn't cancel the Giottos!
     
  17. Senninha

    Senninha
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    So you checked then?! ;)

    Either way I'm sure will be great, the key thing is to get a good stable platform. As I said to you in PM, my error was "going cheap" to start with, and it's really a waste of time. When you see really sharp photos from a good camera/lens/tripod combination, any weak link in the chain looks like a waste of money.

    The Giottos will be great I'm sure - my main point was just that others were aware of the Benro, as it's a good option (especially via ebay). The Flexpod in particular is really solid, and excellent functionality.
     
  18. baldrick

    baldrick
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    My tripod, head, bag and monopod are waiting for me to collect them in the morning.....
     
  19. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Here's the Giottos MT8170 + 322RC2:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Senninha

    Senninha
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    Looks really good - actually very similar to the Benro (not that I'm suggesting any copying going on, or from whom to whom!).

    Looking forward to seeing lots of your pics with them. Mine is off to Mull with me in a couple of weeks, so hopefully some nice sunsets to enjoy (I'm a bit of a sucker for a good sunset!)
     
  21. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I think they both copy Gitzo!!!! ;)
     
  22. £note

    £note
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    Hi Baldrick

    Been following your posts and stevegreens on tripods :smashin:
    I am impressed with your setup, however, what is puzzling me is the "Boom" effect with the camera at the end - is that the monopod clamped to the tripod ?
     
  23. baldrick

    baldrick
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    It's the centre column! As a picture paints a thousand words, here's a picture:

    [​IMG]

    1. Where you can see the column stretching from the cameras position to the tripod you will see it goes into a 'bracket'. The vertical screw in the photo loosens the acutally 'collar' that holds the column. Loosen that screw and the column can be totally removed, or positioned with the camera closer to the tripod.

    2. The horizontal screw locks controls the 'collar' that holds the centre column. Confused? If you loosen the horizontal screw the collar/column will pivot and when it's 'closed' the column will be aligned with the hole in the centre of the tripod.

    When the centre column is centred above the tripod, the control in point 1 allows you to extend/retract the column.

    3. The small protrusion below the tripod, between the 3 legs, controls the rotation of the whole centre column assembly. Loosen that and if the column is positioned as per the picture, the whole unit with the camera will rotate around the tripod's central axis.

    If the column is returned to it's centred, vertical position then loosen the control in point 3 allows the column to 'spin' and therefore pan the camera without adjusting the 322RC2 head.

    4. The final small control you can see to the right of the column is a locking pin. When the column is centred and retracted this locks it closed, even if you release the control in point 1 the column can't extend.

    Does that make anysense? Steve will be able to expand further when his arrives...
     

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