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06-08-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
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Tripod Choices

Hey all, a while since I've been here, but I could use some help in selecting a tripod for my K10D.

The catalyst for the purchase is that my old one fell apart, and we have a trip planned to Niagara Falls. While that's the immediate use, my more normal use for a tripod is to shoot birds out of my window (set up on the kitchen counter) and to take on hikes. Versatility to take macro shots with it is important (i.e., the tripod can be configured for low shooting, both for macros and the kitchen counter).

I have some Amazon gift cards and noticed a few that looked interesting:
Dolica AX620B100
Dolica GX600B200
Ravelli Professional

A thought was to get one of those now for the trip, and then get Sunpak 620-PISTOLGRPQR later. Does that work with the three tripods listed?

This all started with a deal I saw on B&H, but after looking at the other three, this one doesn't seem very flexible.

Thoughts and opinions appreciated...

06-08-2013, 10:22 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Sounds like you need something completely different. You need a Bembo tripod, trekker or Clasic. See: Benbo Clasic No 2 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database in the "Accessories" reviews. They don't look "cool" or don't carry a fancy name but talk about versatility...
06-08-2013, 10:24 AM   #3
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Our current choice, a tad expensive, but as far as we can tell, the best travel tripod out there.

Velbon Ultrek UT43DII

VELBON ULTREK SERIES W/QHD-63D TRIPOD VEL-UT63DII

It was simply an awesome tripod, and we looked at a lot of tripods. Unfortuantely it's a pre-order at the moment. At the Henry's EXPOsure photoshow they had one to impress us with, but not one to sell us.
06-08-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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I cannot tell if the Ravelli can accept other heads or if it is fixed. If it is a fixed head then you would not be able to add the pistol head later. It looks like both of the Dolicia ones can change out heads. I cannot be sure but the AX620B100 looks like it has a proprietary QR and the GX600B200 looks like Arca-Swiss QR. But I can't be sure, just something to check on. Ideally you would get the same QR style for both heads so you do not have to change camera plates. Arca-Swiss is my preference but there are others, just stick to all the same.

Personally I would question buying a tripod in that price range. It depends on your camera, what lenses you use, your budget and how much you will use it, but putting $1,000 of camera gear on a $50 tripod is scary to me. Maybe these are fine, I've never tried them but I don't see how they do the same job as ones costing 4-5 times as much. Something has to be different, these might be great for video cameras or P&S but can they support a DSLR? You should read the reviews carefully and find out what gear the reviewers are putting on them. A five star review does not mean much to you if they are using a little P&S camera. If they can support your camera, that's great. But buying one and having it not be up to the job is a waste of money when you have to go out and buy another one in a year. Just a caution to do your homework.

06-08-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by applejax Quote
Hey all, a while since I've been here, but I could use some help in selecting a tripod for my K10D.

The catalyst for the purchase is that my old one fell apart, and we have a trip planned to Niagara Falls. While that's the immediate use, my more normal use for a tripod is to shoot birds out of my window (set up on the kitchen counter) and to take on hikes. Versatility to take macro shots with it is important (i.e., the tripod can be configured for low shooting, both for macros and the kitchen counter).

I have some Amazon gift cards and noticed a few that looked interesting:
Dolica AX620B100
Dolica GX600B200
Ravelli Professional

A thought was to get one of those now for the trip, and then get Sunpak 620-PISTOLGRPQR later. Does that work with the three tripods listed?

This all started with a deal I saw on B&H, but after looking at the other three, this one doesn't seem very flexible.

Thoughts and opinions appreciated...
I have the DolicaAX620B100 and the Sunpak Pistol grip ,(the big one I dont remember the model), it works perfect for me for traveling, I have been using this set up mainly for landscape, HDR, Nightscapes for a few years now, I been with the legs in the water, salt water no problem so far.
Hope this helps
Jorge.
06-08-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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I've always been a fan of Slik tripods. I had a Slik 88 back in the UK before I emigrated and that was a fantastic tripod for the money. I have a Slik U8000 now and while it's good it's not as good as the old 88 IMHO and I really miss the built-in bubble level that was standard on the 88.

Before I left the UK I taught video making classes at a local college and we used Manfrotto tripods in the CCTV suite, partly due to their rugged build quality as they were more than capable of putting up with student abuses. They also had true 'fluid' heads for video work but that's a bit of an overkill for stills photography.
06-08-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tako Kichi Quote
I've always been a fan of Slik tripods. I had a Slik 88 back in the UK before I emigrated and that was a fantastic tripod for the money. I have a Slik U8000 now and while it's good it's not as good as the old 88 IMHO and I really miss the built-in bubble level that was standard on the 88.

Before I left the UK I taught video making classes at a local college and we used Manfrotto tripods in the CCTV suite, partly due to their rugged build quality as they were more than capable of putting up with student abuses. They also had true 'fluid' heads for video work but that's a bit of an overkill for stills photography.
Hear hear! I have a Slik Master 'Standard' (silver brushed anodized) and it's still in use for more than 15 years. It is now sold as 'Master Classic'. SLIK CORPORATION - The most copied line of tripods today

06-08-2013, 03:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rnovo Quote
Sounds like you need something completely different.
+1

A tripod is meant to support your camera so you have less vibration and motion to take longer exposures and steadier shots. One thing you don't mention is what lenses you'll be putting on your K10D to take these shots. The focal length and weight make a big difference to what kind of tripod you need. Plus, for shorter focal lengths in bright light, your K10D will be fine without a tripod, unless you want to do long exposures...

If your budget truly is "under $40" you might be better off forgoing the tripod and just putting a beanbag under your camera whenever you need stability (and hey, it goes even lower than a tripod!). Most of the tripods you linked to will last maybe a year with mild use, and some have such skinny legs that they will probably add vibration blur instead of steadying your camera for you. Really, there are excellent aluminum tripods for not much more (~$150), and IMHO stay away from anything with those "cross braces" in them, unless they are high-end video tripods (which cost $1000+).

Or, for the truly budget conscious, look at Monopods. They are smaller, cheaper, easier to carry, and offer a good deal of stability if your legs are the other two parts of the "tri." Get it before your trip and try it out, though, since they take some getting used to...

Last edited by panoguy; 06-08-2013 at 03:50 PM.
06-08-2013, 04:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
IMHO stay away from anything with those "cross braces" in them, unless they are high-end video tripods (which cost $1000+).
If you mean the braces from the legs to the centre column then they can add a lot of extra rigidity IF they are designed correctly (but many aren't). My Slik U8000 has them and when you open the legs to the full extent (in terms of spread not height) the braces are still slightly slack. If you then push down gently on the centre column ring so that the braces drop below horizontal they snap into the 'locked' position and the rigidity of the tripod increases dramatically. What you are actually doing is introducing tension into the system and that tension is focused at the base of the centre column. The old 'hang your camera bag from the centre column' trick does the same thing.
06-08-2013, 07:03 PM   #10
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Amazon.com: Dolica ZX600B300 Proline ZX Series 60-Inch Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head: Camera & Photo
06-09-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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I bought the Ravelli model, but in the carbon fiber version. The tripod is very good but not a great one. The twist locks are a bit touchy, but w/ usual care, they should be fine. One of my main reasons for getting this one besides the great "value" it offers is that it folds down enough to fit in carryon luggage.

I can also confirm that the ballhead is removeable if you want to replace it later. The ballhead is actually excellent, and I have had no problems with it.

BTW, the prices on these were about what they are listed for now on Amazon a couple years ago. When I finally needed one, the price had gone up $20+. It was still a good deal then, and even better now for either that aluminum or carbon fiber model.
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