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Archive 2013 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300
Nowhere Man
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

Mostly studio work using Canon 5D Mark III and heaviest lens would be 70-200mm 2.8. Some outdoor usage as well but in controlled settings for commercial shooting type shots (print ads, portrait, etc.)

So many tripod choices now it's mind boggling. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear them. Got BH open right now and trying to sort through all the reviews.

Nov 23, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Red Rover
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

It is easy to spend more than your stated limits. I tried a Feisol tripod but sent it back. I am very happy with my Induro CT 213 tripod and it costs less than your tripod limit. I bought a Acratech GV2 head, which is a little more than your stated limit, but it is a very good ball head that doubles as a gimbal head (arguably not the best gimbal, but OK).

This is a relatively light combo that will support your camera/lens combo and won't break the bank. I may get the heaviest duty RRS tripod and head someday, but for now, this really meets my needs.

I have become a big fan of the Induro tripods. I did buy one of their ball heads, but that it wasn't very smooth, at least my copy wasn't, and it too went back. I also really like the Acratech ball head and its unique open design. It has a smaller knob to fine tune the friction in addition to the knob that locks it down. You can set the fredom of movement where you like it and then lock it up tight with the bigger knob.

My next tripod will be the Induro 314 with some kind of gimbal head like the Jobu Jr. Deluxe. Different tripods and heads for different jobs, but not bigger and heavier than they have to be. Big enough, and solid enough to get the job done, but no bigger.

Nov 23, 2013 at 08:00 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

I use an induro metal at213 and rrs bh30 lr2 with 70-200 2.8 and 7d\5dmk2 both have rrs l plates.....no slippage issue..
at 213 rated for 22# cost 145..... rrs bh 30 rated for 15# cost 290
the induro carbon ct 213 rated 26# is on sale for 292
rrs 40 bh lr2 is 390 rated for 18#
induro makes a nice unit.......if carbon isn't a must go with metal\at series and save a lot....the 3 series -3 section legs are heavy duty..i use the short column as well, to get real low when needed.....good luck


Nov 24, 2013 at 06:20 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

I own the Gitzo GT1542T with the Markins Q3T ballhead. Really nice, lightweight combination that just meets your budget. Can easily handle the 5D Mark III and 70-200mm.
However combination is geared towards portability. If you need something for mainly studio use, maybe get something made of metal instead of carbon fiber to save money. But if you ever travel, the GT1542T is awesome!

By the way, I have tried an Induro tripod (CT314). It's nice, but I much prefer the equivalent Gitzo version (GT3531) because the tripod locking mechanism is more refined with the Gitzo. Feels easier to lock and unlock the legs into position.

Nov 24, 2013 at 07:08 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300


Look for used tripods - you can usually come across deals on a couple of generation old gitzo or manfrotto units that often seen very little service that usually go for a fraction of what their current generation units are selling for (especially gitzo - they charge like wounded bulls for their gear now). I've picked up several gitzo 1340s that appeared to be hardly used for use in the studio for a song...

The ball head you want probably depends on your intended use as much as anything/what you like (I have an acratech gp I use in the field, a couple more original acratechs I use to hold rails in the studo, markins, manfrotto 410, etc. - they all have their uses...)

Good luck on the hunt..


(Richard George)

Nov 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM

Search in Used Dept. 

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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

Plus one for the Induro CT213 .

Nov 24, 2013 at 06:08 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

I agree with the others. I have 2 Induro tripods and they are very solid and I would put them near the top of your list.


Nov 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

Feisol Tournement CT-3443 is a nice carbon tripod for right under 400, incase you ever need to carry it for a distance you'll appreciate the weight savings.

For a head, I love my Arcaswiss Z1 but as previously suggested, the RRS Bh30 will fit the bill closer to budget and do a great job at what you need.

Nov 26, 2013 at 06:29 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

For such a light set-up...
even this combo is over kill. Benro CF358 with PhotoClam PC-40NS ~$500 for the pair if you shop around

Nov 28, 2013 at 01:43 PM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best tripod sub $500 and head sub $300

Feisol 3443 with a Markins Q3 head. Great combo and within your price range.

Nov 28, 2013 at 04:17 PM

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