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Looking to upgrade tripod

  
 
bggary
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I got the TVC24L Versa series 2 in J...and their BH30 ballhead has been a perfect setup and easily worth $100/year..

I have the same tripod but went with the BH40 ballhead. As you say, it's a chunk of money but easily worth it when amortized over use.




Jan 17, 2023 at 03:05 PM
darrellc
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Looking to upgrade tripod


OP - I just picked up LS-324C w/ LH-40 ballhead (no center column). Just took it on my first hike. I like it, but Im 511 and will primarily use for hiking and travel, so wanted stiff and small. If I was going to use it primarily out of the car, Id want a taller tripod. It is just a bit short, but thats a tradeoff I was happy to make.

At 57 the 324C might work for you but Id measure carefully. Id be constantly annoyed working with a tripod one or two inches short if I didnt really need to save the weight.



Jan 17, 2023 at 03:20 PM
shutterbug40
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Looking to upgrade tripod


Narrowing it down a little....leaning toward:

FLM CP30-L4 II 10X Carbon Fiber Series II Tripod with some FLM ballhead
Leofoto LS-324C Ranger Series Tripod and LH-40 ball Head
Used Fotopro E-6 tripod and Used RRS BH-55



Jan 17, 2023 at 11:36 PM
formula4speed
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Looking to upgrade tripod


shutterbug40 wrote:
Narrowing it down a little....leaning toward:

FLM CP30-L4 II 10X Carbon Fiber Series II Tripod with some FLM ballhead
Leofoto LS-324C Ranger Series Tripod and LH-40 ball Head
Used Fotopro E-6 tripod and Used RRS BH-55


I'm not sure how the models compare, but the Leofoto LS-323C is currently only $144 on Amazon, and you can get another 10% off by purchasing one of their small accessories. I ordered it with a small multi-tool and the total was $140 combined, out for delivery today so I can't give any real feedback but it's been on my wishlist for a while and this is the lowest price I've seen.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07WZKKP4K?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

I honestly don't shoot tripod mounted very often these days, so I didn't want to drop the cash on RRS or Gitzo.




Jan 18, 2023 at 11:05 AM
runamuck
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Looking to upgrade tripod


Feisol 3372 works for me including the 150-600 lens.


Jan 18, 2023 at 01:05 PM
doc4x5
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I'm one of those people who could not function photographically without a tripod. I'd guess I use it 90% of the time unless I'm photographing my grandchildren.

I use two tripods; one is a Gitzo 1 series with an Acratech head. It's light, stable, and I use it when hiking or traveling on airplanes (it fits in a suitcase)... or when I'm lazy. It holds my Sony A7R4 with anything up to 135.

The other is an FLM CP34 L4 II, probably bigger than you want but it is one sturdy and tall set of legs. It will hold essentially anything I'm likely to use-my longest is the 100400GM. For a long time I wanted an RRS Versa Tripod TVC-24L MK2, but it was an is essentially eternally out of stock and also rather expensive though I do believe in the old adage about tripods, get a good one or you'll just keep buying lousy ones forever.

The FLM is highly rated on The Center Column website. I ordered it after speaking with them on the phone. The person to whom I spoke was impressively helpful and knowledgeable. I had a Gitzo 3 series aluminum (heavy!) and a 3 series carbon but the legs got loose on the carbon and I never could bring myself to try to get it fixed so I went for the FLM and am very happy.

Atop the previous Gitzo and current FLM is the greatest tripod head ever made! According to Charlie Cramer, my guru, he couldn't live without his Arca Swiss D4 geared head. It weighs a kilo but is superior to any and all ball heads I've ever seen or used and I had an Arca Swiss B1 in the day.

Good luck on your quest.



Jan 18, 2023 at 05:33 PM
DavidBM
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Looking to upgrade tripod


shutterbug40 wrote:
Narrowing it down a little....leaning toward:

FLM CP30-L4 II 10X Carbon Fiber Series II Tripod with some FLM ballhead
Leofoto LS-324C Ranger Series Tripod and LH-40 ball Head
Used Fotopro E-6 tripod and Used RRS BH-55


Whatever legs you use I strongly recommend the FLM ballheads.
Once you learn to use them they have precision and no drop better than any other ballheads, with some bit but not all the benefits of a geared head.

But the manual is not great. I wrote an article at phillipreeve about how to use them

https://phillipreeve.net/blog/flm-ballheads-a-rediscovery/

As for legs, centre column provides objective data. But my suspicion is that with modern mirrorless cameras with electronic or even quiet shutters, that unless in very extreme conditions , the objective differences between better legs wont be visible. But of course there is a certain p,easier if ownership in Gitzo, FLM or RRS legs that probably equivalently functional eg Leofoto doesnt have (plus possibly long term maintenance ease, but anyone predicting the photo industry over the long term is engaged in a mugs game)



Jan 18, 2023 at 06:33 PM
dbehrens
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I've have a Gitzo 1227 for maybe 20 years and it still performs great.
Bought the Feisol CT3442 in 2014 with center column and while its light - it's not so sturdy.
Then I bought the Leofoto LS-364C 2-3 yrs back - love it! Rock solid (much better than my Gitzo) and would buy it again in a heartbeat!
I use Acratech ball heads - the Ultimate and GP Ball Head with Lever Lock. The GP is the clear winner! What ever you get I would recommend getting one with a Lever Lock.



Jan 18, 2023 at 08:37 PM
 


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shutterbug40
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I've never bought a tripod legs and head separately......how do you know which head "fits" on what legs?


Jan 24, 2023 at 09:04 PM
darrellc
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Looking to upgrade tripod


shutterbug40 wrote:
I've never bought a tripod legs and head separately......how do you know which head "fits" on what legs?


Most are interchangeable. Think almost all of them are 3/8 thread. Some dinky tripods or ballheads are 1/4 thread. You can always get an adapter to put a 3/8 head on a 1/4 tripod. But there's no point putting a 2 lbs super stiff ballhead on 1 lbs wobbly legs. Here's an article on optimizing ballhead choice for a given tripod from the awesome (sadly no longer updated) thecentercolumn.com

https://thecentercolumn.com/2018/10/28/ball-head-optimization-part-i-ball-head-trends/

The Peak Design tripod I have has a proprietary ballhead but PD makes a universal ballhead adapter. Take a look, the top of almost every tripod looks like that - you can see how they'd just screw on. https://www.peakdesign.com/products/universal-head-adapter



Jan 24, 2023 at 09:43 PM
Grenache
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I swear by Gitzo tripods, aluminum and carbon fiber. I like Arca heads but have not tried dozens. Manfrotto geared 405 was great, if slow. Currently have Gitzo fiber 3-section and Arca Moonball Z1wouldnt change a thing. Just perfect.

Jim



Jan 24, 2023 at 10:26 PM
shutterbug40
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Looking to upgrade tripod


So far as buying used, any drawbacks? Some things are best bought new due to wear/tear, I didn't know if legs and/or ballheads would fall into that category.




Jan 24, 2023 at 10:35 PM
sbay
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Looking to upgrade tripod


You don't say what your budget is but I would go for a tripod on the cheaper end, maybe a carbon fiber from a mid-tier brand. I don't think splurging for RRS or gitzo is worth it (as someone with a gitzo 3-series). In fact I don't think the tripod matters very much at all anymore -- with EFCS and fully electronic shutter you can take tack sharp images on crappy tripods with the center column way extended. And I'm a pixel peeper too (shooting sony a7r4).


Jan 24, 2023 at 10:37 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Looking to upgrade tripod


I'll start by saying that I'm using both the Leofoto LS365C for general use (to / from sites in my car or on the metro) and Leofoto LS324C + extension for travel. Extremely happy with both (and the 4 Leofoto heads I now own).

I'll add that I also use a pano leveller however I prefer to buy these separately than have one built in - both for longevity and possibly quality though I can't state the later with any certainty as I've not owned a tripod with a built in pano leveller.

Anyway ... here is my standard Cut & Paste on the subject of tripods :

This is for the OP as most long time posters will already have seen this and either agreed or disagreed. Nothing new here so you can scroll on by

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I'm going to throw this observation below into any discussion which descends into people recommending a big bucks investment (usually RRS or Gitzo) - especially when the OP has specifically requested lower priced options.

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The tripod is virtually the simplest of the major equipment purchases to design and make. It's hardly an engineering masterpiece that some punters and manufacturers both would have you believe. It does a job, and most well built tripods can do that job very well (look back to when wooden tripods were de rigueur and exposures were always long) ! Of course sticking a brand label (RRS, Gitzo etc.) on the side will enable you to triple/quadruple the price but that is far far away from a doubling/quadrupling of the performance.

I literally struggle to find an unsharp shot in over 15+ years of my 'on tripod' photography (NB. I use a tripod for the vast majority of my landscape work, and now astro, and with long exposures up to or exceeding 3 mins) and any showing vibration was almost certainly not due to tripod inadequacy but user-error (far & away the most likely cause for anyone). Shielding the camera/tripod from the elements (which I usually do with my body unless into a head wind) will make far (far far far) more difference to the result than a tripod x3 the price.

In fact there are more ways to improve your tripod performance than just buying a new (often expensive) tripod, these methods for starters will almost always make a far greater improvement :
a) Shielding (use your body or other implement)
b) Making a solid base for the tripod (on a beach setting into the sand, on a mountain-side adding rocks to the base for example, in a stream pushing the legs into the gravel) etc.
c) In towns - shooting in between large vehicles passing by and not shooting off of high vibration structures (which no tripod can cope with).

As for a tripod *that will last you 10 years*, well some people may indeed keep them that long, but we all know that the vast majority of photographers buy and sell gear whenever the next fad comes along or maybe because their circumstances/requirements have changed and they need another.

At least with a tripod that doesn't cost the best part of $1,000 I am never worried about loss/theft/damage aside from the inconvenience (not everyone is able, or feel it necessary, to buy insurance to cover them).

And if the worst comes to pass (theft/loss/damage) then I know I can buy a new tripod to the very latest specifications and still have paid (for two tripods) roughly 50-70% of what one Gitzo/RRS would have cost me (and which now resides in a thief's bag / at the bottom of a ravine/lake or requires expensive repairs).

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I'm currently (mostly) using the Leofoto Ranger LS-284C (I took a 3.5 min shot with it just a few days ago - photo was very sharp) and the Leofoto LS-365C, both are cracking tripods (of 4 that I own : the Leofotos, a very small Sirui and a large Manfrotto that I bought years ago). None of these tripods has ever let me down however I now use just the two Leofotos (one for multiday hiking and the other for everything else) which is far better than having just the one expensive tripod that doesn't suit every situation.

The Sirui & the Manfrotto have not been used for a long time. On my last trip to Tibetan-Sichuan I took the Leofoto LS-284C, it was superb and fitted the bill perfectly.

My advice would be to buy a tripod in the top 10 or 20 on The Center Column (website) rankings, dedicated for your use, but to avoid the over-priced tripods offering just a 10-15% benefit for a x3 to x4 price investment.



Jan 25, 2023 at 12:18 AM
shutterbug40
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Looking to upgrade tripod


Thanks to everyone for the great advice. Ending up buying an FLM CP30-L4 II tripod and FLM CB-38FTR w/QLB-50 ball head. Hopefully will be delivered by this weekend.


Jan 31, 2023 at 10:09 PM
jharter
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Looking to upgrade tripod


Tons of threads on this. I have gone through this many times until I bit the bullet and got RRS. Even the 1 series could handle the 100-400 if you truly needed small and light. Otherwise 2 series. For ballheads: RRS, Acratech, Arca Swiss are hard to beat. Pay now or pay later.


Jan 31, 2023 at 10:56 PM
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