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09-26-2018, 08:42 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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$2 Tripod

So I was killing a little time walking around Goodwill this evening and spotted a tripod lying on its side on a shelf. I could tell at a glance that it had a quick release head and to my amazement the quick release plate was present! They're always missing. At that point, it was worth picking up off the shelf and actually examining in detail. It's a Star-D brand, no model name or number showing, but it's well built, probably designed to use with a VHS camcorder, and looked to be in great shape. The best feature was the price tag--$1.99! I didn't really need another tripod, but at that price I just couldn't leave it behind. The funny thing is when I got it home, I lifted out the quick release plate and found an older orange Goodwill price tag hidden underneath (the ones they're using now are light blue) that read $9.99. Somebody had bought it and re-donated it. The only piece that's missing is the pan-and-tilt lever but it's just a friction fit so it'll be an easy fix. For now, I've got a Bic Round Stic pen stuck in there and it works okay but flexes a bit more than I'd like so I'll probably be looking at replacing it in the near future with something else, maybe a cheap screwdriver or a slender stove bolt or a turn signal lever off of an old car. The possibilities are endless and I know right thing will come along eventually.

09-26-2018, 09:12 PM   #2
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Score! Good find.
09-26-2018, 09:20 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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That's awesome, but beware.

True story: I had a $1500 600mm telephoto mounted onto an $800 SLR. I am using a $200 monopod with a really cheap quick release head. See where this is going? The quick release failed (or I failed to respect the weight it couldn't support) and it all fell from shoulder height onto pavement, splitting the camera in two (Minolta Maxxum 9000) and shattering a $100 UV filter (82mm?).

Beware the weakest link.

Last edited by Alex645; 09-27-2018 at 10:36 AM.
09-26-2018, 09:39 PM   #4
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StarD made pretty fine tripods once, but the name was brought back and the newer offerings are not great. Older versions are very similar to the Leica tilt-all.

09-27-2018, 05:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
That's awesome, but beware.

True story: I had a $1500 600mm telephoto mounted onto an $800 SLR. I am using a $200 monopod with a really cheap quick release head. See where this is going? The quick release failed (or I failed to respect the weight it couldn't support) and it all feel from shoulder height onto pavement, splitting the camera in two (Minolta Maxxum 9000) and shattering a $100 UV filter (82mm?).

Beware the weakest link.
Very good point. The quick release plate on this one attaches very firmly in place and the latch takes a little bit of effort to operate but the assembly it goes into has the strangest attachment scheme I've ever seen. It slides over a cylindrical piece with two screws in it and you "tighten" the screws by sticking a hex key into a hole and backing the heads into the outer assembly to create tension. I'm considering getting some longer screws that will fit through the holes and tightening them from the outside.
09-27-2018, 07:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by E-man Quote
Very good point. The quick release plate on this one attaches very firmly in place and the latch takes a little bit of effort to operate but the assembly it goes into has the strangest attachment scheme I've ever seen. It slides over a cylindrical piece with two screws in it and you "tighten" the screws by sticking a hex key into a hole and backing the heads into the outer assembly to create tension. I'm considering getting some longer screws that will fit through the holes and tightening them from the outside.
Interesting. Can you post some pictures?
09-27-2018, 07:52 AM   #7
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I found an old Velbon stratos450 with the crankup center column. Pan and tilt head, not quik release. The things a tank, old and kind of clunky. But solid. I still use it for studio still life images. Payed something like $2.
09-27-2018, 09:48 AM   #8
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Seem to see many Star-D tripods on the shopgoodwill site. Maybe they are the same ones going back to the Goodwill centers.

It could be they just marked down the price since no one was buying it.

09-27-2018, 11:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Seem to see many Star-D tripods on the shopgoodwill site. Maybe they are the same ones going back to the Goodwill centers.

It could be they just marked down the price since no one was buying it.
Original star-D has a screw to mount camera, not a quick release, and it is top quality, I believe after the rights to Tilt-all were sold to Leica, the Star-D came out. Mine is black while the original Tilt-all were (all?) chrome color.

Correction--I believe they were a shiny gold color, and BTW they were commonly used for medium format as well as 35mm.

Last edited by dms; 09-27-2018 at 11:46 AM.
09-27-2018, 12:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Original star-D has a screw to mount camera, not a quick release, and it is top quality, I believe after the rights to Tilt-all were sold to Leica, the Star-D came out. Mine is black while the original Tilt-all were (all?) chrome color.

Correction--I believe they were a shiny gold color, and BTW they were commonly used for medium format as well as 35mm.
There is so much FUD around Star D and Tilt-all that it is impossible to make sense of it anymore. This is one of the places that TRIED and I think failed to come to a consensus view of the history of this stuff:

Tiltall Tripod Support: Mystery of the Star-D Tiltall

Makes for an interesting read.
09-29-2018, 03:06 PM   #11
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I managed to pick up a ProAm tripod set at goodwill for 10 bucks, full metal and solid as a rock. Only issue with it is it's missing a screw on the head but that's an easy fix.

Sometimes you can make off pretty ok at goodwill.
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