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12-09-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
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Tripod for mushrooms?

I never thought I would start a "which tripod do I buy thread............."

I have a Manfrotto 055cx3pro that works for 99% of what I do. But I like to shoot mushrooms and other things that are right down on/in the ground. The shots are horizontal, not vertical so I need the camera as close to the ground as possible. I don't need extendable legs, just something to mount camera and a flash arm on. I've looked at some of those little table top tripods, but they end up a good 6 inches off the ground, plus the camera, and I want to the camera right down close.

I've also seen the "Hi Hat" tripods but for what I want they are overkill and much too expensive though they look like they would do what I want.

I'm seriously considering just building something as I have not been able to find what I want. So any ideas, suggestions would be welcome.

12-09-2013, 08:47 PM   #2
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Try using a beanbag.
12-09-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
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Hold on, I have the 190CXPro4 and the Quick center column feature goes sideways and allows you to get below grade. I use it all the time. Doesn't your model do that?

M
12-09-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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I've got a tripod where, with a twist of a lever, the legs will splay out to get the whole unit close to the ground. Alternatively, I could reverse the centre column and mount the camera upside down. Combine that with a remote control for ease of access for shutter release and it would become a question of how low do you want to go? The one I have is a Cullman Nanomax. However, I didn't like their ballhead and swapped it out for a Manfrotto 494RC2 Ball Head where I could also share the quick release plate with my monopod.

12-09-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
190CXPro4 and the Quick center column feature goes sideways and allows you to get below grade.
Yep. And it works just great. But it takes time to set up. I was thinking of something self contained that had a flexible flash arm and a mount for the camera. Maybe not even a head, just adjust the position of the "mount" (Maybe not even call it a tripod) to aim the camera.

Set it down, wiggle into place, adjust the flash and shoot.

Just thinking out loud and wondering if there is a simpler, better way than traditional tripod for this type of shot.
12-09-2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Yep. And it works just great. But it takes time to set up. I was thinking of something self contained that had a flexible flash arm and a mount for the camera. Maybe not even a head, just adjust the position of the "mount" (Maybe not even call it a tripod) to aim the camera.

Set it down, wiggle into place, adjust the flash and shoot.

Just thinking out loud and wondering if there is a simpler, better way than traditional tripod for this type of shot.
Interesting ideas, and I'm sure there are lots of ways to accomplish the shoot; personally I find the Manfrotto center system superb, convenient, and efficient enough. Fungi shooting for me is labor intensive, intentionally. I tend to use a ring light, but when I need a flexible flash arm it usually one of mine aiming a diffused flash with the other hand holding a wireless remote. You stick a flash atop one of those Joby gorilla things that can conform to strange terrain.

M
12-09-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
personally I find the Manfrotto center system superb, convenient, and efficient enough
Can't really disagree, it's what I use as well. The thing that prompted this (besides being stuck inside with snow) was that the legs on the tripod stick out and when you are busting brush keep getting snagged on things. I was just day dreaming and thought "why do I need those long legs? I have them splayed all the way out." Still might be the best plan, just thinking outside the box.

What ring flash do you use? I have the older Pentax 80C and it works OK but the light is a little flat without some sidelight.
12-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #8
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There are a number of arms available from Manfrotto that can clamp onto one tripod leg or some other convenient structure. There is a flexible one and one with a joint in the centre. I have not used either but I am considering purchase in the near future. A google search will reveal some results from Amazon, Ebay etc.

12-09-2013, 10:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
when you are busting brush keep getting snagged on things.
Know those well; when I'm local sometimes I'll take my wife's Felco knockoffs (ssshhhh!) for some clear cutting.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
What ring flash do you use?
Sigma EM 140 DG. I shoot M entirely for closeups. It works quite well, though the build quality is second rate. My second one.

M
12-09-2013, 11:21 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Have you ever looked at the Berlebach Mini? Very light and with the flexible head you don't need a ballhead just one of those flasharms. Very light too. Mini-tripod with levelling from Berlebach
12-09-2013, 11:57 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Would the Pods work? The Pod The Green Pod Camera Platform GR0079 B&H Photo Video
12-10-2013, 12:11 AM   #12
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Invert center column and shoot upside down. Alternatively use a short/no center column and full leg splay with legs NOT extended. Support flash separately and use trigger or pc cable for sync.


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12-10-2013, 01:05 AM   #13
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Maybe try Joby Gorilapod
12-10-2013, 01:59 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I cut a triangle from plywood--and mounted my ball head onto it. You can put three holes on the triangle and make short legs for it (from dowels), etc. Not my invention--got idea from Russ Kinne's "the complete book of nature photography."
12-10-2013, 02:26 AM   #15
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Here are a couple of photos--the (4) extra holes are to move the head to a new location.
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