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Tripod Recommendation #3001184 07/31/19 05:25 PM
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Synthoid Offline OP
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I don't want to haul around my old Bogen tripod, so I was shopping for something lighter this morning.

Seems that Manfrotto is the brand to buy according to the local camera shop salesperson... what say the members here on the forum?

Wasn't Manfrotto a character in "Lord of the Rings?" idk

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Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001220 07/31/19 08:17 PM
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Mike Martin Offline
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Manfrotto makes great stuff.

What are you priorities? Do you need it to be really small or light for travel? Budget?

Benro, K&F Concept, 3 legged Thing...hard to go wrong these days.

After some recent portrait sessions, I know I'm going to be taking my tripod out more often. I think having the tripod out will slow me down and help me with composition. I have a nice, old no-name tripod and just bought a decent and inexpensive ball head for it that locks my camera down really nice.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Mike Martin] #3001224 07/31/19 08:44 PM
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Synthoid Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin
What are you priorities? Do you need it to be really small or light for travel? Budget?


Small, light but sturdy... no more than $150.


When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001276 08/01/19 12:59 AM
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I have two Manfrotto tripods: 055XPROB (newer model is the 055XPRO3) and the Befree compact aluminum travel tripod. Both are solid and well built. The Befree meets all of your requirements except for price, it's about $180. But as Mike aluded to there are other quality options out there so I'm sure there's one that will meet your budget.

Other general considerations: leg locking mechanisms. These are either twist lock or lever lock. I prefer lever lock because when the tripod is folded up, you can open all of them at once and pull the legs out.

Some tripods come with built-in heads, others are removable. Removable is nice because you can mount your preferred tripod head, however on most of the small travel tripods, the head is built-in. I like ball heads for most things because they are versatile with a wide range of motion, but fine adjustments can be difficult. Whatever you get, I recommend a head that uses quick-release plates as opposed to a built-in 1/4-20 screw that requires threading/unthreading to mount different cameras.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001287 08/01/19 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Synthoid
Originally Posted by Mike Martin
What are you priorities? Do you need it to be really small or light for travel? Budget?


Small, light but sturdy... no more than $150.


Small, light, sturdy, and cheap are pretty rare. That is considered a budget tripod, and for that price, I would look into Benro, which has the sturdiest small tripods I've seen in a budget tripod. I've attempted to use a Manfrotto (Element Traveller Small Aluminum 5-Section), but was way too nervous with it and sent it back.

I use Feisol tripods (CT-3372 and CT-3342), which for me hit the sweet spot, not really a budget tripod, but not a super expensive one like the high-end Gitzos or Really Right Stuff.

Be aware of my biases, though. I have several thousand dollars and do night photography, a form of photography that demands a rock-solid, stable tripod. There is no way I am going to go out in the middle of the night and put several thousand dollars worth of fragile glass and electronics on a spindly little cheap tripod and then do star trails in a windy desert area for hours. Uh, no. Ain't gonna happen. Other people do it and are apparently happy doing so, but I just can't do it. Buy once, cry once.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001288 08/01/19 01:42 AM
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I will say this. I am an Admin for two very large Facebook photography groups, and we have some questions that we ask people before admitting them into the group, just to make sure that they actually are photographers. One of the questions is: "What kind of tripod do you use?" And it feels like almost half the people say "Manfrotto". They are insanely popular. Just because I didn't like the Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit doesn't mean that they don't make good tripods. It was just too spindly and lightweight for me, and it didn't stop vibrations effectively, which I can't deal with when I am doing hour-long star trails. Not a great sign. But some of their other offerings might be better suited to you. Their BeFree stuff is popular.

I would first look into Benro. 3-Legged Thing apparently makes decent stuff. I have not been impressed with Vanguard so far.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001296 08/01/19 02:12 AM
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This is out of Synthoid's specified budget, but if anyone is looking for a lightweight ballhead, Accratech makes some really high-quality ones. Holds a full frame camera with a beefy 14-24mm f/2.8 lens on a tripod in windy weather for hours.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: RichieP_MechE] #3001299 08/01/19 02:24 AM
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Synthoid Offline OP
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Originally Posted by RichieP_MechE
the Befree compact.


Hmmm... Is a Leslie included? laugh


Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I use Feisol tripods (CT-3372 and CT-3342).


Sturdy-looking but pricey. And the heads are extra... frown

My old Bogen is sturdy but sooooooo heavy.


When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001304 08/01/19 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Synthoid
Originally Posted by RichieP_MechE
the Befree compact.


Hmmm... Is a Leslie included? laugh


Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
I use Feisol tripods (CT-3372 and CT-3342).


Sturdy-looking but pricey. And the heads are extra... frown

My old Bogen is sturdy but sooooooo heavy.


Yeah, those are considered mid-priced, which cost a few hundred already and do not include a head.

This is the Benro I have seen in action before, which is solid, is $130, but does not come with a head.

Also, I'm not a fan of Zomei and Neewer, but some like those. They do have plastic parts instead of metal ones, which is in part how they keep the price down, but my friend has been using a Zomei for a couple of years, and it's held up so far.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001331 08/01/19 10:28 AM
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Synthoid Offline OP
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Thanks for the input so far. There are several options I wasn't aware of...

I wish I could actually see these tripods in person. We only have a couple decent camera stores here within reasonable driving distance.


When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3001374 08/01/19 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Synthoid
Thanks for the input so far. There are several options I wasn't aware of...

I wish I could actually see these tripods in person. We only have a couple decent camera stores here within reasonable driving distance.



Seeing the tripods in person and, if possible, actually placing your camera/lens on it is huge. But I purchased mine online after considerable internal debate and research. If I had the cash, I would have opted for high-end Gitzo or RRS for the legs, but I couldn't justify the expenditure, so I went with Feisol, which was a happy medium, and probably one of the best values for the quality. The CT-3372, for instance, is an absolute beast that is surprisingly lightweight and is rated for 65 pounds but could hold my weight for a few seconds. That's what I wanted. The CT-3342 is reasonably lightweight and is what most "normal people" would be more than happy with since it's not real huge. I use this for hiking and traveling even though it's not really a travel tripod at about 24" folded up.

You have to find your own comfort level. Everyone is different, and quite often, our needs are different. Someone who is doing landscapes during the day and travels/hikes a lot is going to have different needs from a night photographer. Someone who is only going to use a tripod occasionally is going to have different needs from someone who uses it 90% of the time. Someone who has lightweight camera equipment will not need as beefy of a tripod. Someone who absolutely cannot afford to have vibrations ringing through the tripod may have different needs than someone doing precise star trails or is tracking Milky Ways over a long period of time.

For the longest time, I was using a Joby Gorillapod when I was simply doing long exposure photos of a half second or so to photograph waterfalls. Great for hiking, really small and flexible and fantastic. There are tons of options, and it can drive you insane researching everything.

Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: KenElevenShadows] #3001498 08/02/19 11:19 AM
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Synthoid Offline OP
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
You have to find your own comfort level. Everyone is different, and quite often, our needs are different.


I'm just looking for something to keep in the trunk of the car to use when the need arises. My Nikon gear is fairly light, so I hand-hold most of the time, but for those early evening shots, I could use more stabilization.

Side note: A couple days ago when I was at the local camera shop, I picked up their Canon 70-200 professional lens. OMG that thing was heavy!

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Re: Tripod Recommendation [Re: Synthoid] #3004127 08/20/19 03:30 AM
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I have a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 which is a tank. Really heavy.


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