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04-15-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
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tripods and ballheads - Sirui, Induro (or used Gitzo)

I am looking to update my tank like (thus heavy) circa 1980's Bogen tripods and heads with modern carbon fiber legs and magnesium or similar ballheads.

Any feedback on field use of either Induro or Sirui carbon legs (mid to high end), and Induro or Sirui ballheads (mid to high end) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any real world usage comments.

fliegenfischer


Last edited by fliegenfischer; 04-15-2013 at 09:47 AM. Reason: more clarification
04-15-2013, 07:41 AM   #2
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Tripods: I've used Induro tripods, and while pretty well put-together, they aren't all that light for carbon-fiber. No idea abour Sirui, but I've heard good things. So far, I've stuck with Feisol for light-duty, and Gitzo for heavy-duty work (but that's much more $$).
EDIT: I just compared the prices and specs on Amazon for the high-end Sirui and Induro against the comparable Gitzos... surprisingly the Gitzos aren't that much more! Either Gitzo carbon is on sale, or Amazon is not the place to buy Sirui and Induro high-end...

Ballheads: Definitely don't try to save money on a cheap one (or "bundled") here. A tripod is a much simpler to manufacture item (surprisingly), and the main difference ends up being weight and durability, while a cheaper ballhead (with ill-fitting parts and/or cheap metal) will fall about, slip, or rotate when you don't want it to, and need to be replaced after a little use. Photoclam and Feisol are decent and not too pricy... but go for the larger ball size (40-50mm), since that will increase your stability (which is what you buy a decent tripod for, so why blow it with a tiny ballhead?). And FYI: the "max load" ratings on ballheads are esoteric numbers. Your total gear load should be 1/3 to 1/4 of that "max" if you want stability with ease of ball-motion.

Last edited by panoguy; 04-15-2013 at 08:23 AM.
04-15-2013, 08:14 AM   #3
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Tripod : While not Carbon Fibre I recently did a mini review on a Sirui tripod - bottom line I do like it and would recommend it. One other update is I had to tighten the screws on one of the legs yesterday (alan wrench) - not really an issue and should be checked periodically anyway. Other than that a great mid range Tripod IMHO

First Impressions SIRUI Aluminum Tripod T2004X

I also just bought a Manfrotte ballhead magnesium but it may not fit your requirements and it's almost 3lbs

Manfrotto Ball Head MH057M0-RC4 057
04-15-2013, 08:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Tripods: I've used Induro tripods, and while pretty well put-together, they aren't all that light for carbon-fiber. No idea abour Sirui, but I've heard good things. So far, I've stuck with Feisol for light-duty, and Gitzo for heavy-duty work (but that's much more $$).
EDIT: I just compared the prices and specs on Amazon for the high-end Sirui and Induro against the comparable Gitzos... surprisingly the Gitzos aren't that much more! Either Gitzo carbon is on sale, or Amazon is not the place to buy Sirui and Induro high-end...

Ballheads: Definitely don't try to save money on a cheap one (or "bundled") here. A tripod is a much simpler to manufacture item (surprisingly), and the main difference ends up being weight and durability, while a cheaper ballhead (with ill-fitting parts and/or cheap metal) will fall about, slip, or rotate when you don't want it to, and need to be replaced after a little use. Photoclam and Feisol are decent and not too pricy... but go for the larger ball size (40-50mm), since that will increase your stability (which is what you buy a decent tripod for, so why blow it with a tiny ballhead?). And FYI: the "max load" ratings on ballheads are esoteric numbers. Your total gear load should be 1/3 to 1/4 of that "max" if you want stability with ease of ball-motion.
Sirui are cheaper shipped from HK via eBay purchase and often come with a shorter column and a G10 ball head. The cheapest in the US that I could find was B&H for the legs alone.

04-15-2013, 08:28 AM   #5
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One of the tripods that I am using: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/230863777872?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m...ht_6158wt_1167
I really like the tripod and its ballhead - sturdy, simple and efficient.
04-15-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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I'm not a fan of off-brand tripods and ball heads. Most of up the ones I've had my hands on suffer from second-rate design and/or lousy quality. There is a lot at risk when supporting expensive photo gear.

To me a carbon fiber tripod is worth getting for field use or when you are on the go. Anything in a studio context I prefer the older sturdy Bogan
Manfrotto which seem like they will last forever.

My carbon fiber tripod is a Manfrotto 190CXPro4. I ditched my Gitzo CF for this. It is smartly designed with a center column that goes horizontal within 15 seconds. The leg locks use a locking lever that is very ergonomic. I strongly prefer locking levers over twist locks because they provide visual confirmation that they engaged. Sometimes I have to rush a shot and it is easy to get distracted or overlook locking down a leg. After missing to secure a twisty lock and having that leg collapse, I was lucky to be able to catch my camera and lens in the act of falling. From then on it was locking levers for me.

This Manfrotto is also available in the more stable 3-section version. The 4-section compresses smaller and fits the tripod carrier on my bag which is important for hiking.

For a ballhead there is nothing like the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead.

M
04-15-2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Ballheads: Definitely don't try to save money on a cheap one
Amen to that.

I'm currently using a Vanguard ballhead and it's one of the best purchases I've made regarding accessories. I got it at a good price and don't regret the money it cost.

My tripod is a 40$ Dolica aluminum. A colleague has an Induro and we compared them : they are identical. Except that his tripod cost 120$.

I also have a Dynatran (Henry's chinese supplier) carbon monopod. I use my Vanguard head on it.

As you can see I'm not a big fan of expensive lengs. As long as there are three of them, that the heigth is good and the weigth acceptable, then I wouldn't spend a fortune on legs. I might change my mind if I ever get a very expensive tripod but I doubt it... I don't see what could be so very different. I've used a laser bubble level tripod for a while and it also served me well.

So in short, my advice is : get a great head, a decent set of legs, and be done with it

EDIT : and get a head with an arca-swiss compatible plate. Absolutely.

04-15-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Amen to that.

I'm currently using a Vanguard ballhead and it's one of the best purchases I've made regarding accessories. I got it at a good price and don't regret the money it cost.

My tripod is a 40$ Dolica aluminum. A colleague has an Induro and we compared them : they are identical. Except that his tripod cost 120$.

I also have a Dynatran (Henry's chinese supplier) carbon monopod. I use my Vanguard head on it.

As you can see I'm not a big fan of expensive lengs. As long as there are three of them, that the heigth is good and the weigth acceptable, then I wouldn't spend a fortune on legs. I might change my mind if I ever get a very expensive tripod but I doubt it... I don't see what could be so very different. I've used a laser bubble level tripod for a while and it also served me well.

So in short, my advice is : get a great head, a decent set of legs, and be done with it

EDIT : and get a head with an arca-swiss compatible plate. Absolutely.
I own the same Dolica and got it a couple years ago for <$20 on a killer sale. It served me well for a couple years but I found it to be limited for anything other than portrait-type use. I got a Manfrotto 055XPROB and it is a LOT more solid. I got it used from Amazon Warehouse for around $60 so it too was a steal (one scratch on one leg - heck, I would have done that within an hour of opening it anyway ). It also allows the column to be put into the horizontal position and is much more useful for my macro shots as a result. It also has a variety of OEM options like shorter center column, different feet, etc. that make it even more versatile. Finally, we've had some reports from folks that have purchased off-brand tripods like our Dolica's that needed service/parts/support and there was nothing available. With name brands like Manfrotto, etc. parts are readily available. Features on a tripod are a significant factor, not just material (alum vs. carbon) and height. The Manfrotto features are significantly more useful for me in some aspects of my photography, but if I were just doing standup shots the Dolica has been just fine for years.
04-15-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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I have a Sirui K30 ballhead and absolutely love it. I traded some old gear into a shop in Winnipeg and got the Sirui head and a couple bucks to boot. Sirui has some very well produced products that won't empty your bank account at the same time. The head is solid as a rock and incredibly fluid when set-up. One thing I didn't notice about the head until I purchased it is that they have 2 built in bubble levels on the side of the clamp that work rather well. I also recently purchased one of their carbon fiber monopods for a good price on ebay and it is well worth it as well.
04-15-2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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I went for an Oben carbon fibre - it is nice and light and sturdy enough for a big Indruo gimble to hold my sigma 500mm. I went for a cheapish Vanguard ball head sbh-250 - a large lump of a ball head that fits well to the tripod. The ballhead is quite stiff which I think is probably a good thing compared with my small sloppy one.

I think in the long run I will be happy with my setup. I am not a great user of tripods so i won't wear it out in my life time. But in a few months I have used it more than my other tripods which I have had for years.
04-15-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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If you look for a bigger ballhead I think my Feisol is absolutely wonderful and super sturdy. FEISOL Ball Head CB-50DC Carbon Fiber with Release Plate QP-144750
04-16-2013, 05:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I own the same Dolica and got it a couple years ago for <$20 on a killer sale. It served me well for a couple years but I found it to be limited for anything other than portrait-type use.
I've been doing portraits, landscapes, macro, long exposures with mine, no problems. Not sure what you mean by "limited".

QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
It also allows the column to be put into the horizontal position and is much more useful for my macro shots as a result.
That, I believe, is a specialized spec. Many expensive tripods don't have that particular feature. And you could argue that many cheaper tripods can reverse the center column, which is a comparable solution (to some extend).

QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
With name brands like Manfrotto, etc. parts are readily available
True. And usually as expensive as a cheaper tripod

I'm not saying expensive tripods are bad, but investing in a good head is much more important, I believe.
04-16-2013, 09:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I've been doing portraits, landscapes, macro, long exposures with mine, no problems. Not sure what you mean by "limited".



That, I believe, is a specialized spec. Many expensive tripods don't have that particular feature. And you could argue that many cheaper tripods can reverse the center column, which is a comparable solution (to some extend).



True. And usually as expensive as a cheaper tripod

I'm not saying expensive tripods are bad, but investing in a good head is much more important, I believe.
I found that for Macros I was having problems with certain angles that the new tripod does with ease.

Reversing the column can be a solution but is not always.

Parts are not always that expensive, I've bought a part for a head from Manfrotto and it was $9 inclusive.

I'm not slamming my Dolica, its setup right now for some work I'm doing, but it is not as functional as the 055XPROB and I did not have to break the bank to move up to the 055 either.
04-16-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I did not have to break the bank to move up to the 055 either.
In Canada the story is sadly different, availability of these prodcts, and good deals like what you have, are pretty rare.
04-16-2013, 10:19 AM   #15
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My local B&M shop just had a "garage sale" and I lucked into a new Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT set of carbon fiber legs. These have the multi-angle center column. I paired this with a Sunwayfoto FB-36 ball head and L bracket. I only just got this but I have to say I'm very happy so far. I'd recommend looking into Sunwayfoto. Their products received very high reviews and their pricing is reasonable. I purchased from an Amazon reseller OEC Camera who quickly answered all of my questions.
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