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Archive 2013 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback
  
 
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Currently looking to purchase my first tripod. Well not my first per se, but my first serious one. My budget is flexible but I think $500 should be an adequate amount to spend on a decent system.

What I have my eye on is a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head. That puts me at ~$560. Not bad.

b&h links (not affiliated):
legs:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/584477-REG/Manfrotto_055CXPRO4_055CXPRO4_4_Section_Carbon_Fiber.html

head:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/124665-REG/Manfrotto_410_410_Junior_Geared_Head.html

Here are my questions. Is this a good start up tripod that I can take to the Colorado Sand Dunes and Taos NM later this month then to the badlands in the summer? Will I never ever ever want to replace it?

Also what's the difference between this tripod and say the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 (which comes in at $100 less)? They look very similar.

b&h link to the 190CXPRO4
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/548526-REG/Manfrotto_190CXPRO4_190CXPRO4_4_Section_Carbon_Fiber.html


Or the difference between the Geared head and a Manfrotto 300N
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/286876-REG/Manfrotto_300N_300N_3414_Panoramic_Head.html

I would probably spend up to $700 on something I knew would last me but would prefer to keep it in the $400-$600 range.

This is going to be used with a 5D. My largest current lens is the 135L but may get the 300 f4 L in the future. Talked to a guy at b&h and he recommended the 190CXPRO4. I don't want to spend more money on the other one, but more money means a better product... right?



Mar 04, 2013 at 12:23 AM
matt4626
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Search the web for "Tripods 101" by Thom Hogan...


Mar 04, 2013 at 01:04 AM
k7xd
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I would go with Arca style mount.


Mar 04, 2013 at 01:26 AM
TheBearman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Based on your budget I think several folks would recommend this combination.

Feisol

I don't own one but there is a fair amount of love for it here. It uses a ballhead with an Arca-Swiss clamp system. You might want to consider this over a gear head. Also the Arca-Swiss clamp makes mounting and unmounting the camera a little quicker. The down side, you'll need a plate for you camera to use it, but still should be less that the Manfrotto combo above.

The Feisol is lighter with a greater load rating.



Mar 04, 2013 at 01:30 AM
nma
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Johnny B.

The Manfrotto CF does not seem appropriate for your needs. Without a head attached its folded length is about 21" which is a poor match for standard suitcases. As has been mentioned you will be better off with a ball head instead of a geared head. IMO one of the weaknesses of the Manfrotto tripod designs is their proprietary quick release head and lack of rigidly attached custom body plates. The body plate mates the camera to the clamp on the head. If there is any wiggle or rotation, it is a big deal; you will have wasted your money. You will enjoy using a tripod with an arca swiss clamp -- totally rigid, easy on, easy off. In addition, there are standard body plates made for the 5D and the arca swiss clamp (Kirk and RSS, $50-100); they bolt to the base of the camera and fit rigidly in the clamp.

I recommend the CT3442 from Feisol. It can be used without a center column for extra stability. It folds to about 17 in and weighs about a kilogram. If you go that route, pay attention to the size of the ball head and the position of the adjustment knobs, so that the tripod can be folded back over the head, saving room when folded.



Mar 04, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I like the looks of the CT3442. Is it worth it to get a leveling base?

I'll do some research into the arca swiss clamps. Stupid question but the arca swiss clamps are the part that goes between the ball head and the camera, correct?

How about something like the Arca Swiss P0

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/658840-REG/Arca_Swiss_801213_Monoball_P0_with_Panning.html

It blows my intended budget by a couple hundred but if it means I'll actually use and love it then it's money well spent.


Also thank you for having me google this link:
http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

Very helpful.



Mar 04, 2013 at 04:27 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


The Feisol 3442 is a good choice I think; great value for money. I agree with the comments about Arca-Swiss compatibility but you will need to buy a plate for your camera. There are plenty of good inexpensive ones on the market though.

It sounds like you shoot in not extreme but approaching it environments: the Colorado sand dunes and Taos, so you might be interested in Acratech ballheads. They have a very open design and you can wash sand & mud off them under a faucet. The Acratech GP model is also designed to be used upside-down and eliminates the need for a leveling base.




Mar 04, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


peter_n wrote:
It sounds like you shoot in not extreme but approaching it environments: the Colorado sand dunes and Taos, so you might be interested in Acratech ballheads. They have a very open design and you can wash sand & mud off them under a faucet. The Acratech GP model is also designed to be used upside-down and eliminates the need for a leveling base.



At times though not as often as that statement would make it appear (maybe 2 trips a year). I'll look into the Acratech heads. At the end of last night I was really leaning towards the P0 Arca-swiss head. I really like that it levels above the ball head. It's also small and compact. I thought about an RRS QR clamp but maybe there are better (more economical) options out there for a QR clamp?



Mar 04, 2013 at 03:53 PM
peter_n
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Well first you can get either a screw knob clamp or a lever release clamp. I have always used Markins screw knob clamps but recently I bought my first lever release clamp from RRS. When it arrived I was somewhat taken aback by it's size & weight and it's ugly too! But it works well though I can't say that I like it any better than my screw clamps but I am at least getting used to it.

I use a lot of cameras and the RRS clamp self-adjusts to different plates. So far I've tested it with Benro, Clearsight, ProMediaGear, SunwayFoto, RRS & Wimberley plates and there's a secure connection with all of them.

Wimberley makes a great universal screw knob clamp - the C-12 but you would need to check with them about the Arca-Swiss P0, it's not on their compatibility list.




Mar 04, 2013 at 04:17 PM
ffstory
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Manfrotto 410 is a very specialized head. It is great for macro and very accurate framing. It is great for precise work but I think it is too heavy, bulky and slow for general outdoor use. If you really need geared head, definitely get at least MF 055 or Gitzo 2 series class tripod for that. I think 190 series legs will be not enough for MF410.

Don't worry about custom clamp style of MF410. It can be converted to arca swiss style.



Mar 04, 2013 at 04:58 PM
 

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Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


My question about the acratech is will it be too bulky to fold the legs back on itself?


Mar 04, 2013 at 07:36 PM
nodal
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I don't know how tall you are but I really learned to dislike using a tripod that I had to bend down to look thru the viewfinder. Using the center column to bring it up to the right height made it less stable. I finally bought the RRS-TVC-24L. It's expensive, not the shortest around folded, but an incredible tripod. I have the Acratech GP ball head. It is everything they say it is, I think anyway. The Acratech GPS has the same functions as the GP and it is made for the fold up leg style of tripod.


Mar 04, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Good to know. The Feisol tripod has the ability to add a center column down the line if/when I find it annoying. Seems to be the right decision. Acratech seems to be a good way to go too. Is it smooth to adjust? That was the deciding factor for Arca-Swiss over RRS is that the Arca Swiss is smooth to adjust.


Mar 04, 2013 at 08:44 PM
nodal
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I have never tried a RRS or Arca Swiss head. I think the Acratech is smooth. I've used it with very good results in all of its configurations.


Mar 04, 2013 at 10:03 PM
JohnBrose
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I believe the suggestion for Arca Swiss was to get a head with their type of quick release system which is very widely used currently. I concur with the poster that suggested getting a tripod that will go to your height-and not with using a center column to get there because as soon as you extend the center column, you negate the solid base that a tripod has. I have gitzo and manfrotto tripods and monopods and like both of their products. I think you'll get much more bang for your buck if you look at aluminmum verses carbon fiber and from what I've experierenced wont sacrifice much. I have a little carbon fiber set up for traveling, but the majority of my combos are aluminum. There are so many things to consider when buying a tripod, it's difficult providing good advise. We don't even know what camera you are putting on it and if you plan to do video or what type of photography do you do?


Mar 04, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Just ordered the Acratech GP head. Spoke to Patti there on the phone. What ultimately sold me was that Acratech is a family company and manufactured products in house. From what everyone has said it seems to be a solid product as well.

Now John you have me second guessing the Feisol recommendation. I'm using a 5Dmki, longest lens currently is the 135L, may upgrade to the 300 f4L in the future. I'd like to use the tripod as a travel tripod and/or something to take hiking. The Feisol goes to 4.5 feet without the center column. Not sure I can afford a taller tripod that is light enough and compact enough to fit my needs while standing 5.8 feet tall.



Mar 04, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


Maybe the Induro CT313? It seems to have a much taller height. grrr. Since I've not used a tripod (or at least one that cost more than $50) It's hard to decide which features are important to me.


Mar 05, 2013 at 12:12 AM
went
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


I have found the Induro tripods to be superb (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6qpGvZ_BHE) and use Sirui Ball head & carbon fibre Gimbal marketed by Naturescape, and have found their quality to be outstanding and very good value for money and extremely stable with lenses up to 400mm for Canon & Nikon gear.

Went



Mar 05, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Johnny B Goode
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


It is tempting however I'm awkward normally in public as is. I'd like to keep that to a minimum without carrying a huge tripod with me. The nice thing about the Feisol seems to be it's relative compactness. I want something that when I go abroad I won't mind walking around downtown Hong Kong, Pai Mae, or maybe India. I'll check my bank account tomorrow (to make sure there's not an infinite amount in there), though I'm still leaning towards the Feisol due to compactness.


Mar 05, 2013 at 01:06 AM
nma
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · First Tripod and Head; looking for Feedback


The Acratech ball heads are very fine but they are not a good match for the Feisol CT3442 or their traveler tripods. One of the mist useful features of these triopods is to reverse the legs over the ball head when you are folding it for travel. This feature will not work with Acratech!


Mar 05, 2013 at 03:13 AM
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