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09-22-2010, 04:57 PM   #1
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Tripod dilemma! Please help

Hi guys,

Long time browser of this wonderful forum but first time poster.
I have narrowed down my tripod choice to three, but I can't decide.
I have K100D Super and K-x, FA 50mm f/1.4, DA 16-45, DA 55-300, DA 18-55 kit lens, Raynox DCR-150 and AF540 flash.
I guess the heaviest setup will be K100D Super, DA 55-300 with raynox and AF540 flash.
I will be using the tripod for some portraits, plenty of landscape and looking to really focus on macro work too.
The three contenders are:
  • Vanguard Alta Pro AT263 with SBH-100 ball head AUD$225
  • Manfrotto 190XPROB with 486RC2 head AUD$270
  • Benro A-650EX with BH-2 ball head AUD$200
I can't get much user reviews on Vanguard or Benro unfortunately and it's making my decision more difficult. On paper at least, 190XPROB seems to be a distant last. Benro looks to be the most sturdy but that's just on paper.
I'm not concerned about the weight as none of them are overly heavy (already ruled out Slik 700DX because of weight). My main priority is a reliable head that won't droop after I tighten the knobs ruining my composition.

Can anyone please give feedback on any of these three tripods?
Vanguard is appealing because I can just pick it up from the shops today. The other two are from eBay.

Thanks

09-22-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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the manfrotto is a good tripod that is quite rugged from what my friends say. i own a lighter tripod and i would say get a heavy tripod, if you are going to put your camera on something at least make sure it is stable. also the head is something you don't want to skimp on. bring your camera in and test it out with the setups and see if there is any creep with your setup. that will help you to make the best decision.
09-22-2010, 06:42 PM   #3
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Giottos is another tripod maker to consider.
09-22-2010, 06:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Lang Quote
the manfrotto is a good tripod that is quite rugged from what my friends say. i own a lighter tripod and i would say get a heavy tripod, if you are going to put your camera on something at least make sure it is stable. also the head is something you don't want to skimp on. bring your camera in and test it out with the setups and see if there is any creep with your setup. that will help you to make the best decision.
All very good points.

I own a Slik tripod and Manfrotto head. I figure I can weight the tripod down if needed, but can't keep the tripod head creep from happening if it's too light. It handles my K10D and DA 60-250 pretty well - but I'm not sure how that compares weight-wise with your setup. If I buy another tripod head, it'll be a Manfrotto. That's how much I like the product.

09-22-2010, 07:04 PM   #5
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the manfrotto legs the OP listed can handle 11lbs and the head can hold 22lbs. His heaviest listed camera rig is about 6 to 7lbs.
09-22-2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
The 486RC2 is sturdy enough but for the extra height and a little sturdier base, if budget allows, consider the 055xProb legs. For the long haul. I'm 6'2 and it helps.
True, I forget alot that people are not as short as I am. If the OP is 6 foot (183cm) or taller, he may want to look at a larger tripod. using the center column for macro work is not recommended since it can cause wobble, even with the tightest set screw.
09-22-2010, 07:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
The 486RC2 is sturdy enough but for the extra height and a little sturdier base, if budget allows, consider the 055xProb legs. For the long haul. I'm 6'2 and it helps.
I have looked into this, but it will blow my budget by a big margin.
I think any of the three tripod legs I am considering are actually sturdy enough for my needs. Actually 190XPROB is the weakest of them all and is rated at only 10lbs. The other two are rated at around double of that, but I guess I should also bear in mind that manufacturer specs are not comparable all the time.
09-22-2010, 07:40 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by chalion Quote
True, I forget alot that people are not as short as I am. If the OP is 6 foot (183cm) or taller, he may want to look at a larger tripod. using the center column for macro work is not recommended since it can cause wobble, even with the tightest set screw.
I'm 182cm tall and I did read a few comments from users that 190XPROB is a tad too short, but then I also read from other users of similar height that they have no problem.

This is driving me crazy and I'm trying to keep my decision between these three as if I go off these three, i will start looking at million different options again.

09-22-2010, 08:16 PM   #9
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Like Andrew Lang previously stated, if you have the ability to try out the tripod you're looking at, in a store or friend/family/neighbor/etc.. do so. It's the best way to determine if it's what you are comfortable using. If they have a different tripod near the size of the others you're interested in, it may at least tell you if they would be tall enough for your usage.

I just purchased a set of Giottos MTL 9371B from ebay. It's max height is 160cm (without center column extended). It's a bit sturdier than i'll need, but I lost my last good tripod and needed a replacement. Luckily I have a manfrotto head on a monopod I can switch over.

Last edited by chalion; 09-22-2010 at 08:22 PM. Reason: wrong tripod height
09-22-2010, 08:40 PM   #10
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Take a breath, test drive a few in store and choose the one that's right for you.
I have the Manfrotto 190PROB and 486RC2 combo, and it's enough for a K20D+grip+DA* 16-50 - so more than enough stability for you.

As for height, the max WILL be shorter than your own height by a considerable margin, and without a battery grip you'll be bending your knees a little to see through the viewfinder (I have the opposite 'problem'. )
09-22-2010, 08:55 PM   #11
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Manfrotto. I have the same kit. Works awesome.


Oh...

...and with 3 choices and it being a tripod...it's a trilemma.
09-22-2010, 09:14 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...and with 3 choices and it being a tripod...it's a trilemma
Indeed!
09-22-2010, 09:19 PM   #13
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Any time this sort of thread pops up, I feel the need to put in a plug for Feisol. They really are very good tripods.
FWIW, I use a Feisol Tournament and a CB-50D head under my K7 and 60-250, and also my 200 f/4 Macro with no problems.
Neither of these lenses are especially light.
09-22-2010, 09:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Take a breath, test drive a few in store and choose the one that's right for you.
I have the Manfrotto 190PROB and 486RC2 combo, and it's enough for a K20D+grip+DA* 16-50 - so more than enough stability for you.

As for height, the max WILL be shorter than your own height by a considerable margin, and without a battery grip you'll be bending your knees a little to see through the viewfinder (I have the opposite 'problem'. )
Yeah. rightly so. I know my gear isn't that heavy, but I want this tripod to last many years and who knows what I end up buying. lol
I may be being overly picky because I want this to be future-proof.

Following the advice, I just came back from the shops and it was interesting to hear the sales guy actually recommend the AT263 over 190XPROB. He actually happens to own 190XPROB and is going to get rid of it over AT263. He said the centre column adjustment is a lot more flexible, which is better for macro.

I was quite impressed with AT263 actually and it's a lot cheaper than 190XPROB.
09-22-2010, 09:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Manfrotto. I have the same kit. Works awesome.


Oh...

...and with 3 choices and it being a tripod...it's a trilemma.
oh. haha. that's true.
Please excuse me. English isn't my first language.
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