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06-10-2010, 09:38 AM   #1
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Tripod Recommendations

I must admit that I have rarely used a tripod until I took a short course on photography and discovered how much better were the portraits I shot using a tripod than without one.

I have a Pentax K20D and use a battery grip, plus DA* lenses (heavy), and sometimes a flash. The total weight is about 4.5 lbs.

I am 67 and 6' tall. I like to get outdoors and walk but I am not a long hiker; a few miles at most, preferably on level ground. I do want to take my tripod with me when I travel, which isn't a problem except when I fly and like most other travelers try to get everything into the overhead bins.

So I am looking for a tripod and head that will

1. hold my camera steady;
2. be easy to set up and take down;
3. be light and fold up short;
4. and not cost a fortune.

What do you suggest?


06-10-2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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You probably won't get all 4 requirements in one tripod.

For cheap, try the Dolica.

For sturdy, try Manfroto (requires head).

Can't take them in carry-on luggage.
06-10-2010, 11:31 AM   #3
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The Slik Pro 780DX Tripod is a full size above head-level tripod that uses A.T.M., a strong aerospace alloy compromised of aluminum, magnesium and titanium. The Slik Pro 780DX tripod has a strength-to-weight ratio 40% greater than comparable tripods in its class.

Load Capacity 15 lbs (6.8 kg) Maximum Height 76.8" (195.0 cm) Maximum Height w/o Column Extended 61.8" (157.0 cm) Minimum Height 16.25" (41.3 cm) Folded Length 32.4" (82.3 cm)
Slik | Pro 780DX Tripod with 3-Way Head | 615-780 | B&H Photo

The Smith-Victor CF500 Carbon Fiber Tripod with Head bundles the Smith Victor CF5 Tripod with the BH8 Ballhead. It is best suited for all SLR, advanced or large point & shoot, medium format, and full-sized video cameras. This is the largest model of carbon fiber tripod within the Smith-Victor Black Diamond series. It has high working height and weight capacity which comes with a moderate increase in overall weight and size.

The CF5 is a solid shoulder-height tripod that uses carbon fiber technology for its leg construction. Carbon fiber is significantly lighter than aluminum, yet still maintains the same support level. It will absorb vibrations better than aluminum.

Maximum Height 65.8" (167cm) Maximum Height w/o Column Extended Not Specified by Manufacturer Minimum Height Not Specified by Manufacturer Folded Length 26.1" (66cm) Smith-Victor | CF5 Carbon Fiber Tripod with BH8 Ballhead

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06-10-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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I really like my Slik dv Pro for my hd video business, the leveling head is a saver, I'm sure they make great photo tripods as well.

06-10-2010, 01:06 PM   #5
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Some of your requirements are met nicely by the Velbon Sherpa (or Carmagne) CF tripod series. I use the small and very lightweight 540 modell, but the 630 should better suit your needs.

The 630 is a 3-section modell and the 640 a 4-section version, which folds more compact.

06-10-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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The Slik isn't bad for the price, but it isn't that light or short folded up. And it's a much better deal to get just the legs Slik | 700DX Pro Tripod Legs (Titanium Finish) | 615-900 | B&H and head of your choice. The Manfrotto 055xProb is of a good height and about a pound lighter. I'm 6'4" and have no issue with height. With a 4" high ballhead, I have to drop my head only slightly to look through the viewfinder, and that's without raising the center column a bit. When folded it's of average size, about 25" plus head height. You can get the legs for about $175 and decent head starting at about another $75. This particular version let's the center column be used in the horizontal position. There is a cheaper version without it that should run about $150.

The Dolica's are cheap, but seem a bit short, though I guess you may find a higher one. I upgraded from a Sunpak, which was a so-so tripod with regard to height and was less than $90 complete. It was about 6 pounds and stood about 6'. The drawbacks were a non-removable pan-tilt head and inability to set leg angles independently. It folded to about the same height as the Manfrotto, but was overall bulkier.

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