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07-25-2013, 10:14 AM   #1
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Tripod and Head

I am ready to be overwhelmed with direction and if I'm not I will be disappointed. This is my issue. I currently have the following tripod system. I also have some cheap systems that I use when I am doing macro or landscape but this is what I use when I pull out the big gun. I have a manfrotto 679B monopod too. I know they make the 055 in carbon which is close to 2 pounds lighter but not sure what to use for the mount so do i stay with manfrotto or go another route.
Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod
Manfrotto 393 Heavy Telephoto Lens mount
Manfrotto 357 Rapid connect Adapter with sliding Plate 357PL

I really like the setup except for the WEIGHT. It gets old carrying this around with the Sigma 500 and the pentax q or K5. It's rock solid sturdy so I feel comfortable with what I put on it. I have been looking at carbon systems but want ones that can handle the weight of the equipment and be sturdy without spending an arm and leg. I realize too many times I have tried to pinch a penny only to find out I end up buying the more expensive thing in the end. I can see me keeping this system and using it at the house but when I travel I want something that doesn't weigh soooooo much. Is it possible to find a system that I can carry anywhere that can handle the weight of the 500...Thanks in advance!!!



07-25-2013, 11:43 AM   #2
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Hi Amy!
I use the 055XPROB with a Katana gimbal and agree that it is heavy combo.
The carbon may be a lighter option but I would recommend you go to a camera store and check them out if you can
Also, it is kind of large in its closed state as well, so not really a good option for travel.

I have purchased a different tripod for travel, it is sturdy but not to the extent of 055.
It is a Benro travel angel A2692B1 unit that folds very compact and can be converted to a monopod.
It has a solid ball head, but I am going to be getting a WImberley sidekick for it since I have gotten used to the gimbal style for the long lenses.
They also make a carbon version that is more expensive if you want to save a little weight.
New Benro A2692TB1 A2692 B1 Ball Head w Plate Tripod Monopod T210 | eBay
07-25-2013, 12:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Hi Amy!
I use the 055XPROB with a Katana gimbal and agree that it is heavy combo.
The carbon may be a lighter option but I would recommend you go to a camera store and check them out if you can
Also, it is kind of large in its closed state as well, so not really a good option for travel.

I have purchased a different tripod for travel, it is sturdy but not to the extent of 055.
It is a Benro travel angel A2692B1 unit that folds very compact and can be converted to a monopod.
It has a solid ball head, but I am going to be getting a WImberley sidekick for it since I have gotten used to the gimbal style for the long lenses.
They also make a carbon version that is more expensive if you want to save a little weight.
New Benro A2692TB1 A2692 B1 Ball Head w Plate Tripod Monopod T210 | eBay
thanks larry...unfortunately there aren't alot of camera stores but will call the 1 that is in town...the benro came up in my search as well as the induro and sirui...i need to check out the sidekick too
07-26-2013, 06:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
It's rock solid sturdy so I feel comfortable with what I put on it. ]
This one sentence is oh so important......

Actually I feel the 055xprob is on the light side when using long lenses, and I ended up buying an even heavier tripod - the 475B. But your present combination must work well because your images certainly show that you have a steady mount as they are all so crisp.

My only input is to be careful with what you choose - you don't want to sacrifice any stability. How about a different avenue - find a way to carry your present system that makes it easier? There are tripod slings/straps, and also some nice tripod bags with shoulder straps.

But at the end of the day, I really am not the right person to suggest anything as I can't even carry anything anymore let alone walk 100 yards............

07-26-2013, 06:37 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
This one sentence is oh so important......

Actually I feel the 055xprob is on the light side when using long lenses, and I ended up buying an even heavier tripod - the 475B. But your present combination must work well because your images certainly show that you have a steady mount as they are all so crisp.

My only input is to be careful with what you choose - you don't want to sacrifice any stability. How about a different avenue - find a way to carry your present system that makes it easier? There are tripod slings/straps, and also some nice tripod bags with shoulder straps.

But at the end of the day, I really am not the right person to suggest anything as I can't even carry anything anymore let alone walk 100 yards............
thanks stan...the more i read the more confused i get...i thought if you got a tripod and head that could handle say 20 pounds it would be fine for the 500mm but based on what i'm reading the weight seems to not matter and people say you need a rig that can handle 40 pounds for a 10 pound 500mm....sooooo confused ...the system i have now is very steady and no concerns at the moment but i wanted light not heavier and begiining to wonder if that is unrealistic...your idea of carrying them separately is an option but i want to be ready as soon as i see something and we all know that the bird is there when you are not ready...can count the number of times i wanted to kick myself
07-26-2013, 07:07 AM   #6
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Hmmm...did I hear Katana?



The unbeatable combo for the 500 and everything else is....

055xprob or carbon version

Manfrotto 055XPROB Aluminum Tripod Legs (Black) 055XPROB B&H

Leveling Post

Manfrotto 555B Leveling Center Column - for 055 Pro and 3021

Right Angle Adapter

Manfrotto 553 Right Angle Bracket for Leveling Center Column 553

Katana

Katana Gimbal Head

Granted this entire setup is HEAVY, but light and stable don't go together.

07-26-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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Yeah, there really isn't much option when you are carrying the tripod with the camera/lens mounted - didn't think of that.

And I know exactly what you are saying about buying stuff that you think would be OK only to find you end up buying better soon after. With things like tripods it is very difficult unless you can do like Larry says and try the stuff out in person. I know for me also that is impossible unless I want to take a 250 trip to NYC.

When I first got my 475B tripod, I was amazed at the difference in stability compared to my 055xprob. I actually think the added weight is a bonus for stability. Also for stability purposes I try to only buy tripods that are tall enough for me without raising the center column - makes a big difference. But that is going in the opposite direction that you want to go as far as weight is concerned.

This gets me to thinking - what I would do is weigh the camera and lens. Let's say for arguments sake the camera and lens weigh 7 lbs. Then weigh your tripod separately - again for arguments sake lets say it weighs 6 lbs. Now look at what a comparable carbon fiber tripod weighs - lets say 4 lbs. So your total with your current setup would be 13 pounds vs. the carbon fiber weighing 11 pounds. Is 2 pounds going to make enough difference? Especially if you are taking a chance of less stability?

Just throwing out some ideas here...........

07-26-2013, 08:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Granted this entire setup is HEAVY, but light and stable don't go together.
Well, it's all a matter of how you carry the weight. It doesn't need to be a heavy tripod!

In the past, I've used an extremely heavy old Gitzo Studex 1500 (about 10lbs without a center column), but it wasn't nearly as vibration-resistant, or easy to carry, as my carbon-fiber GT3541. Granted, I'll hang a bag of rocks or sand (or a heavy camera backpack) from my center hook to "add weight" to my CF legs in windy conditions, but that's stability that can be added to almost any tripod. (Except really cheap "light tripods"... saw a friend's gimmicky "neotec" legs bend inward with a weight bag on them!)

Stan's advice above is on the money, though. Will reducing your load by ~2lbs make the difference between taking your big lens and gimbal, or not?

Personally, I've gone for two different "kits" when it comes to camera support, but both are very high quality and can handle far more than I'll ever put on them. One is small and light (Feisol 3441 & Markins Q3), and the other is (relatively) big and heavy (Gitzo GT3541, Wimberley Sidekick, and "a ball head to be named later"). The key is that neither of these is the cheapest nor the biggest, but strike a balance that works with my gear. I grab whichever fits the gear I'm going to put on top...

NB: unlike some other respondents, I don't have a Sigma 500mm f/4.5, only the (much lighter) 50-500 "BigmOS." Some of my pano-gear, however, can easily exceed the weight of a gimbal and 500/4.5, and has the unfortunate aspect of not being as balanced when you're moving it. Although I'm a pretty fit guy, I'll sometimes use a hand-cart to move the pano gear around, which might be an option for you. When seriously hiking from shot to shot, the Gitzo-ballhead-Sidekick-Bigma combo can be carried over one shoulder... if everything's screwed down and the legs are extended! (Padded Lenscoat leg wraps make it a bit more comfy!)

Last edited by panoguy; 07-26-2013 at 08:43 AM.
07-26-2013, 08:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Well, it's all a matter of how you carry the weight. It doesn't need to be a heavy tripod!

In the past, I've used an extremely heavy old Gitzo Studex 1500 (about 10lbs without a center column), but it wasn't nearly as vibration-resistant, or easy to carry, as my carbon-fiber GT3541. Granted, I'll hang a bag of rocks or sand (or a heavy camera backpack) from my center hook to "add weight" to my CF legs in windy conditions, but that's stability that can be added to almost any tripod. (Except really cheap "light tripods"... saw a friend's gimmicky "neotec" legs bend inward with a weight bag on them!)

Stan's advice above is on the money, though. Will reducing your load by ~2lbs make the difference between taking your big lens and gimbal, or not?

Personally, I've gone for two different "kits" when it comes to camera support, but both are very high quality and can handle far more than I'll ever put on them. One is small and light (Feisol 3441 & Markins Q3), and the other is (relatively) big and heavy (Gitzo GT3541, Wimberley Sidekick, and "a ball head to be named later"). I grab whichever fits the gear I'm going to put on top...
True.

I too, have several different kits, and to be honest something close to 5 different tripod/head combinations and tons of alternative mounting solutions.

I've even made modifications to what I *do* use.

Here, I replaced the stock knob with one that I can add weight to.



or

Manfrotto 555B Modifications

The combo I suggested above fits most everything I do. My "sticks" lead a very rough life and I rebuild them pretty often. I know Carbon Fiber saves weight, but I am always clamping things to my tripod legs, so I like steel or aluminum to be safe.

Rocks, sand, drops and scrapes are part of my tripod's life so even though I have close to 5 different combos, I have zero carbon fiber in any of my kits.
07-26-2013, 09:26 AM   #10
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Morning Amy,

I too, have two tripods - one for travel (that fits in my carry-on luggage) and one for everything else (that resides in the fold down rear seat in my pickup truck). Each will easily hold the load that I put on them. I use Arca Swiss for everything (to the extent of switching out the very nice Fanotech clamp on my NN3 for their new AS one). I primary do wide angle stitching, however now starting to do telephoto land/city scapes in ambient low light - or night. Telephoto is definitely heavier, and is bring me into another whole level of "mechanical $upport item$". I am also in the midst of putting together head set #3 for lenses without collars.

I originally picked up a Benro 160 Travel Angel (it collapses to fit into my carry-on luggage). It is lighter but meets my needs even with the Sigma 8-16 on it. The Benro head that came with it, I used exactly once - clunkly (a very technical engineering term) and very small (but they have since gone to their current) ballhead offerings/pairings. Then I started looking for something used - my beater legs and found a Manfrotto 3001 - used, old, heavy in excellent condition. The legs are all aluminum as I did not feel the need for carbon fiber.

The Acratech GP ballhead is my main head for everything. I also acquired an Acratech leveling base for my NN3 Panohead. I am currently putting together an rail set with a Y rest and AS clamp to support my A* 300/4 - which is my longest and heaviest lens (which just beats my K 28 shift lens). One of the smartest things I did was to go with AS clamps and plates everywhere, so that everything is interchangeable. Its a bit more expen$ive initially, however cheaper in the long run.

I do not have the "Big Heavy Monster" lenses the rest of the folks have, but I have found that a 2x safety margin is more than sufficient (for my needs). I will admit that most of the time I am running with a 4x to 5x safety margin. I am also careful where I set things up at, just to be a bit safer. I am an engineer and have done my time in statics and dynamics classes (thermo does not really apply here - well at least until it hits 130 here in Aridzona).

I am shooting with a K5 and Q. The only other accessory I have is an L bracket for the K5 - that along with my GP are my most trusted item$.

I will say that I can not see a large Gimble on the Benro. There is a matter of the weight, but also the arrangement with the lever arms distributing the weight. I would just not feel too comfortable with that unwieldy sized mass up on top of the legs.

07-26-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Although I'm a pretty fit guy, I'll sometimes use a hand-cart to move the pano gear around, which might be an option for you. When seriously hiking from shot to shot, the Gitzo-ballhead-Sidekick-Bigma combo can be carried over one shoulder... if everything's screwed down and the legs are extended! (Padded Lenscoat leg wraps make it a bit more comfy!)
When you mention the hand cart, it reminded me of a photo I saw a while back where someone used one of those big wheeled strollers (for infants/toddlers) to move their big rig around - seemed to work quite well.

Back when I could do it, I also tried carrying the tripod with camera/lens mounted over my shoulder, but for some reason never felt totally comfortable doing that - always afraid of the head loosening up or something.

Also like you Panoguy, I have two tripod setups. I have a Manfrotto 055xprob with my Manfrotto 468MG ball head which I use for light lens work along with getting down for macro. The I have my nice heavy Manfrotto 475B with gimbal head for the longer lens work. But, I am getting off topic what Amy is asking here as I don't carry any of my gear anywhere.
07-26-2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
When you mention the hand cart, it reminded me of a photo I saw a while back where someone used one of those big wheeled strollers (for infants/toddlers) to move their big rig around - seemed to work quite well.
Oh yeah, now we are talking!

I started with one of these -

Northern Tool & Equipment Steel Cart — 34in.L x 18in.W, 400-Lb. Capacity, Model# NTE110 | Hand Pull Wagons| Northern Tool + Equipment

and heavily modified it.

When I'm not flying and I can take this, it ROCKS to shoot from a wagon like this!
07-26-2013, 11:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Oh yeah, now we are talking!

I started with one of these -

Northern Tool & Equipment Steel Cart 34in.L x 18in.W, 400-Lb. Capacity, Model# NTE110 | Hand Pull Wagons| Northern Tool + Equipment

and heavily modified it.

When I'm not flying and I can take this, it ROCKS to shoot from a wagon like this!
Oh come on.......we've got to see some pics of this! Actually it might help give me some ideas on how I can move about a little bit with a tripod mounted camera/lens.
07-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #14
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OMG guys this is great...i have been laughing as much as learning...i have also wondered if i needed multiple tripods and starting to thing that might be the case...i do like the cart idea and must admit the baby carriage had me on the floor (my what a cute XXX baby you have ) ...i have so many heads and adapters i was trying not to expand on my room needed for my equipment but i think it may not be possible....interested observer the engineer comments are very helpful so that helps to put some things in perspective...you all have wonderful ideas...lauren the weight knob is great...i'm beginning to think we need to start a section for things i bought that i thought would be great but.......your feedback is very helpful though so keep em coming...my other issue is the adapter which i like is the manfrotto but not arc swiss and hate the thought of the cost to transfer over...so many things to consider...i think i need a four wheeler so i can drive up and down the mountains and beaches....and i was worrying about spending to buy a nice tripod and head
07-26-2013, 12:54 PM   #15
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Rent or buy one of these?

http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/outdoor/a-rocky-mountain-llama-pack-20130405
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