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12-10-2013, 04:10 AM   #16
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Love the thread title
With mushrooms I can't really imagine a tripod other than beanbag or severely tilted tripod (even upside down center stick). Its probably simplest to just try finding mushrooms in easier locations to photography. Like on ledges, stumps.. maybe even grow your own and place them into photogenic environments

12-10-2013, 04:36 AM   #17
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The Benbo Trekker is my choice for a versatile tripod. But.......it is a love - hate thing, and not everyones choice. They are like wrestling with an octopus until you get used to them, the legs flail about and trap your fingers. Swearing and cursing helps a lot. But once you get the hang of the Benbo, nothing else compares to it.
12-10-2013, 05:25 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I cut a triangle from plywood--and mounted my ball head onto it.
Thanks for posting the pics of your set-up. As I was reading this thread, I was envisioning something along the lines of what you built, but I was thinking more along the lines of using the bottom of an old microphone stand as a base to mount the ballhead. Your design is a lot more flexible than what I was coming up with. lol I like to shoot wildflowers so I face a similar, but less restrictive problem as jatrax. My big tripod will go to ground level, but the legs are so long, they often get tangled in the brush as I'm setting up. My solution was to buy a used Gitzo 0 series tripod. I'm going to remove the center column and mount a ballhead directly to the legs. As jatrax pointed out before, even with the legs spread totally flat, this tiny rig will still leave my camera about 6 inches above the ground. That's fine for my purposes, but sounds like it won't work for mushrooms.
12-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I cut a triangle from plywood--and mounted my ball head onto it.
Thanks for this! That's sort of what I was thinking but I had not thought of just using a piece of wood. If you don't need the motion of the ball head, which I'm thinking I won't, then just mounting an Arca-Swiss clamp on it work. I was thinking of some kind of carrying handle on top, and that should not be too hard to add.

Great idea!

12-10-2013, 10:12 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Thanks for this! That's sort of what I was thinking but I had not thought of just using a piece of wood. If you don't need the motion of the ball head, which I'm thinking I won't, then just mounting an Arca-Swiss clamp on it work. I was thinking of some kind of carrying handle on top, and that should not be too hard to add.

Great idea!
I look forward to the pictures.
12-10-2013, 11:55 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
The Benbo Trekker is my choice for a versatile tripod. But.......it is a love - hate thing, and not everyones choice. They are like wrestling with an octopus until you get used to them, the legs flail about and trap your fingers. Swearing and cursing helps a lot. But once you get the hang of the Benbo, nothing else compares to it.
I'll second on the bent bolt design-- there is no more versatile camera support. I have both a Uni Loc system 1700 and a Benbo Trekker and they will allow camera positioning that is just not possible with any other tripod, but you have to sometimes be creative with counterbalancing. The legs can be positioned at any angle in relation to the others (not just in one plane) so you can position the camera where no others can get you. The big plus over table tops and other low support solutions is that they can also be used as conventional tripods. On the downside, they're not extremely tall, are a bit heavy (especially the Uni Loc) and don't fold down very compactly because of the two section legs. The legs are also completely water, mud, sand proof up to the section joint. Easily the most versatile camera support ever conceived.

I picked up both used from auctions on ebay at very significant discounts over the new prices because many people don't know about these -- Benbo Trekker 1 -- @ $75 and Uni Loc -- @ $110. There's always one in my trunk.

This vid gives you an idea of what can be done. . .

The Uni Loc is a better grade of the same design. The original designer broke from Benbo but retained the rights to the design and opened his own company.

Scott
12-10-2013, 01:24 PM   #22
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I would second the suggestion of a bean bag. The bag allows for fairly flexible positioning of the camera at a very low height, it's easy to carry and set up, and can be protected from the dirt by a washable slipcover.

- Craig

12-10-2013, 02:48 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
The Benbo Trekker is my choice for a versatile tripod
Mine too.

QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
I'll second on the bent bolt design
I was going to second it, but I'll guess I'll have to third it.

I've been using one of these for over 20 years now, it offers great flexibility in terms of use.

Due to the unique way the legs and column lock, i.e. one bent bolt, which is where I believe is where the name comes from BENt BOlt. Originally based on a early machine gun tripod mounting from WW1, but that bit info may just be hype.

The larger diameter part of the leg is at the bottom and slides over the upper part. This means the leg is effectively sealed up to the first clamp, on mine that's 0.84m (33") measured from the tip to the clamp, so you can stick it in sand, mud water, whatever you want without problems.

It takes a little getting use to, but the trick is not to loosen it too much, otherwise the legs go every which way.

It extends up to 2.56m (101") and closes down to 1.14m (45") not including any head.
12-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #24
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If I may jump in, what heads seen to work well for the Benbo Trekker? It might be a bit heavy to schlep into the high country, but Spring wildflower season here in the Southern Appalachians is just around the corner and it really seems to fit the bill.
12-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
what heads seen to work well for the Benbo Trekker
I've actually got the Trekkers big brother the Mk 2 and I use Benbos BS head with their revolving base fitted to it.
12-11-2013, 06:52 AM   #26
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Thanks for the feedback--the Benbo seems unique enough that I thought it might be a little difficult to mix-and-match components.
12-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
Thanks for the feedback--the Benbo seems unique enough that I thought it might be a little difficult to mix-and-match components.
My Benbo Trekker has a standard 3/8 unc thread and I use either a ball head or a pan / tilt on it, whichever takes my fancy on the day - if I'm likely to use a big lens then I go with pan / tilt. Both heads are Manfrotto.
The Benbo ball head is as as simple as they come, there's no damping or any fancy stuff, but it is probably the tightest head I've ever used.
12-11-2013, 06:35 PM   #28
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LLoyd-- Thanks for the feedback...I'm still in the middle of assembling my kit and have only the Manfrotto 486rc2, which seems strong enough for my K5/DA limited primes (though I'd probably want something more robust for zooms.) I do like the QR plate for my style of shooting, though, so that might be reason enough to switch out the Benbo head.

At any rate, thanks to the OP for opening up this discussion.
12-11-2013, 08:40 PM   #29
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Came across this: Amazon.com: Zeikos ZE-VH26 Deluxe Video Bracket for Camcorders, DSLR Cameras and Point and Shoot Cameras: Camera & Photo

What do you all think?
12-12-2013, 03:52 AM   #30
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That handle gets some very mixed reviews, and it is probably smaller than it looks.

The idea has some merit, although for field work - the mushroom project - that handle wouldn't sit on the ground with any adjustability. But I could see how a development of that idea might work well.
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