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11-19-2011, 05:24 PM   #1
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How Much Tripod Do I Need?

I've been obsessively searching for weeks trying to find a tripod for my Kr. I've probably looked at a hundred different tripods (and some monopods too) and am still no closer to finding one.

I've read a lot of the tripod reviews on this site (and others) and they've been very helpful in teaching me about the tripods, but have still not gotten me any closer to narrowing one down.

I'm not a professional photographer (and don't aspire to be one) so I don't want to spend more than 150 on a tripod (I'd actually like to spend less than 100). I just need something that will keep my camera steady and that won't fall over if I leave it on it's own for a few seconds. I do understand that there is no "holy grail of under $100 tripods" out there.

Here's the heaviest equipment I've got:

Pentax Kr (weight is a little over a pound according to Amazon)
Pentax DA 55-300 (About a pound according to Amazon)
Metz 50 Flash (Also a pound in weight)

Any other accessories I may add (don't know what else) would probably keep the weight of the camera to less than 5 pounds, so how much tripod do I need? Do I need one that supports 15 pounds? 25 pounds? I know the more weight it supports the better, but there's got to be a limit for the casual photographer.

I would really appreciate any help anyone can offer. I'd love to put an end to this compulsive researching I've been doing so that I can move on to my next compulsive researching task. Here's some tripods I've been looking at:

Amazon.com: SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod with Panhead (615-315): Camera & Photo

Amazon.com: Dolica GX600B200 Proline GX Series 60-Inch Aluminum Tripod and Ball Head Combo for DSLR: Camera & Photo

Amazon.com: Ravelli APGL4 New Professional Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag: Camera & Photo

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping that I can get something that has good "legs" and a good "head" (I feel like I have to emphasize that I'm talking about a tripod, not person). Thanks.

11-19-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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You're just going to get 20 more suggestions.

Just buy one you like, and move on. After some time, you can look at them again with a little experience.

Dolica 620-something that gets a lot of recommendations is decent, but not for big 70-200 f2.8 lenses. Usually about $40, lately was $29.99. I got it for $18.50 :-) I changed the ball head to a pan head.
11-19-2011, 05:35 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
How Much Tripod Do I Need?
I have a couple tripods, including that Dolica Proline - for the money, the Dolica is quite simply a steal; it's not the sturdiest (when compared to the high end tripods) but man it performs extremely well, great leg configuration options when using for macro! As K said above though, won't do well with big lenses (birding, etc..).





..
11-19-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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I think as far as weight goes, 2-3x the maximum you expect you'll be using is fine. More than that is just overkill, but it's good to have some headroom.

I started out with a Manfrotto Modo 785 since I was given it, and while I loved the pistol grip head on it, it could only support 1kg, which my body and Tamron SP 90mm exceeded, so it would always flop forward. I went on and bought a Manfrotto 190 XPROB with default 402RC2 head (which I find rather annoying and will be replacing when I have spare cash) but it can support 4kg; I'm very unlikely to ever exceed 2kg, so a 4kg head is fine for me. The legs would hold a lot more (even the Modo legs can hold a few kg, but the head can't be replaced). So you have to pay attention to the head weight tolerance more than the legs; the legs are almost certain to hold, but ball heads particularly, need to be able to grip tightly and not loosen under a bit of weight.

That Dolica you linked looks quite similar to what someone in my photography class bought recently, and it's not a bad looking tripod. But really, just looking at everything you can in your pricerage; perhaps go to a local store and see if you can get a hands on, is the best way to go about it. Weigh up the features (weight hooks, ball heads, pistol grips, various other things) vs. what you think you need. At the end of the day as long as it securely holds your camera at a level you want to be using, that's what matters. Brands are much of a muchness.

I know that probably doesn't help you decide at all, but don't stress too much over high weight tolerances unless you think you'll be getting huge telephoto lenses in the future. Your price range is unrealistic in my country so I know nothing about anything in that bracket to offer specific price advice.

11-19-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
You're just going to get 20 more suggestions.

Just buy one you like, and move on. After some time, you can look at them again with a little experience.

Dolica 620-something that gets a lot of recommendations is decent, but not for big 70-200 f2.8 lenses. Usually about $40, lately was $29.99. I got it for $18.50 :-) I changed the ball head to a pan head.
Is this the one you're talking about?

Amazon.com: Dolica Proline Tripod: Camera & Photo

I've seen that one but I've gotten so paranoid about "not spending enough" on a tripod so I completely erased it from my memory bank.

I'm not planning on doing landscape photography or anything like that. Just the occasional family photo, and possibly some sporting events.
11-19-2011, 05:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
That Dolica you linked looks quite similar to what someone in my photography class bought recently, and it's not a bad looking tripod. But really, just looking at everything you can in your pricerage; perhaps go to a local store and see if you can get a hands on, is the best way to go about it. Weigh up the features (weight hooks, ball heads, pistol grips, various other things) vs. what you think you need. At the end of the day as long as it securely holds your camera at a level you want to be using, that's what matters. Brands are much of a muchness.
The closest photography store to me is about 2 hours away. That kind of forces me to depend on the advice and experience from others. I will definitely consider the head weight. Thanks.
11-19-2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
I have a couple tripods, including that Dolica Proline - for the money, the Dolica is quite simply a steal; it's not the sturdiest (when compared to the high end tripods) but man it performs extremely well, great leg configuration options when using for macro! As K said above though, won't do well with big lenses (birding, etc..).





..
What do you mean by big lenses?
11-19-2011, 06:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
What do you mean by big lenses?
Not really heavy, but big, long lenses, and here is why; imagine you and a friend outside on a windy day, you are holding one side of a twin size sheet and your friend holding the other side, you and your friend will be able to hold that with ease. Now, imagine the same scenario (same wind, etc) holding a king size sheet, it will be a little tougher to hold in the wind as more of the sheet is being struck by the wind - the same thought can be put into a small flat lens compared to a 2-foot long birding lens, the more cubic inches there is for the wind to strike, the more vibration you will get in the tripod and that is why cheaper tripods don't work well in certain shooting environments. Top tripods these days are usually constructed of carbon fiber, not only are they super light and really really strong, they also absorb vibrations better than aluminum and other metals...

11-19-2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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Make sure you get something that is correct for your height. If you can't stand up straight and look in your viewfinder, it's too short. I took Moose Peterson's advice in an article that I read about choosing a tripod. He suggests that your tripod should be forehead high. For a 6' guy like myself that took buying a 77' set of legs but it truly helps.

I would also suggest raising your budget a little. Buying a good tripod is going to cost you at least a couple hundred bucks but is is money well spent. Once you have a good tripod setup you'll thank yourself and I would definitely look into carbon fiber.
11-19-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Is this the one you're talking about?

Amazon.com: Dolica Proline Tripod: Camera & Photo
That's it. At one time, it was on a good sale at $24.99, plus Amazon had a 25% off any Dolica product.
11-19-2011, 07:52 PM   #11
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Go to your local BestBuy, see what they have for about 70 bucks. Might be all you need.
11-19-2011, 08:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Go to your local BestBuy, see what they have for about 70 bucks. Might be all you need.
Sadly, I had not thought of that. I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
11-19-2011, 08:05 PM   #13
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Don't think for one moment you are going to get away buying just ONE tripod ! Look at some of these very experienced togs above - so buy one now and start saving for the next one

You don't need carbon fibre (and the expense) if it is going to used close to your car/home, however if you will be walking/trekking then you'll want a light but sturdy tripod which means going for CF.
11-19-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Sadly, I had not thought of that. I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
Here - you can get a head start....
11-20-2011, 04:02 AM   #15
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Consider that tripods come in different lengths.

I didn't consider the length when I purchased mine but was lucky
enough to have purchased one that fit me.

I'm 74.5" tall and using one that extends to less than 72" is difficult and
makes it's use uncomfortable. Especially since the Kr doesn't have a flip screen.

Another thing I've found with tripods and monopods is that you don't use them as much as you think
might. I use mine in less than 30% of the photos I take so spending a lot of money on
a pro type tripod or monopod at this point in your photography journey is a waste of money.

If you're going to use a tripod then I suggest you purchase a remote also they really go hand in hand
in steadying the shot.

Either of these Pentax remotes does the job and they're inexpensive.
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