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02-06-2014, 11:09 PM   #1
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First Tripod

Hi all. I just got my pentax k50 and have been starting to play with it. So far, I'm loving the experience,
but am realizing the limitation that I have because of the lack of a tripod. I'm a hula hooper and am starting
a hooping business to teach classes and sell hoops. Ideally, I would like to take some promotional photgraphs
of myself hooping and doing tricks, but to do so I need a tripod.

I've looked for tripods online, but feel like I don't know what I should be looking for. I would like a tripod in the $50-$100 range, that is collapsible, good quality, and that travels well.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what tripods they might recommend?


02-06-2014, 11:26 PM   #2
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#1: Don't overthink it - it's a tripod, as long as it's sturdy and has 3 legs it will work.

My recommendation would be to go to your nearest camera shop and have a feel of the tripods there.
Just look for one that's in the price range, and has minimal play in the parts (legs, head, etc)

The other option is a secondhand tripod, but of course, check it out first to make sure it's not worn to the point of being wobbly.

For reference, I have 2 tripods, one "verbon" lightweight one (it's shit)
and a 30 year old aluminium one (it's great, but a little wobbly from metal fatigue)
02-06-2014, 11:34 PM   #3
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Couple suggestions if you dont mind.

Slik Sprint Pro II GM Tripod with Ballhead - Supports 611-849

Magnus VT-300 Video Tripod with Fluid Head VT-300 B&H Photo

If you dont mind spending a bit more
Davis & Sanford Davis & Sanford PROVISTAGR18 PROVISTAGR18

Last edited by j2photos; 02-06-2014 at 11:42 PM. Reason: corrected spelling issue
02-07-2014, 02:08 AM   #4
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I'll second the Slik Sprint Pro II GM Tripod with ballhead. I've used one for nearly 1.5 years now. It's light, packs small, extends to a good height, and is under $100. I took it travelling in Asia for three months last year and it performed quite well. It will hold all the primes and most of the zooms except the really heavy stuff (any lens approaching 1kg probably requires a better tripod).

Check that link for B&H. The reviews are awesome. You'll find similar results at Amazon: Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod in Gun Metal With Quick Release Ball Head & Case: Camera & Photo

Good luck.

02-07-2014, 03:55 AM   #5
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Buy the best you can afford and ensure it is rated for the weight of your camera with lenses you have or may have in the future.

Stay away from tripods sold by Walmart and places like best buy even their costly tripods are cheaply made. Tripods having plastic heads are to be avoided, they can't support the camera and lense without stressing the head to near the breaking point.

A good tripod will list a max weight it can safely support it's an important factor in deciding which tripod you need.

Pay attention to the head that comes with the tripod (if it does). Look for a ball head or pistol release grip and make sure it is not fixed permanently to the tripod, inother words it should be replaceable.
02-07-2014, 08:05 AM   #6
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This buying guide covers main points well:

Tripod Buying Guide - Wex Photographic

I have an old aluminium tripod Japanese, "Daiwo" that I bought off ebay for a tenner - very decent performer. I used it to take this pic of a Jay this morning with a vintage 400mm lens and my Lumix G1. I could get better but really its fine tuning once you've got a decent one. The big deal is going from hand held to tripod.

Tripods are cheap: lots of them on ebay. As geru2000 says recognise and avoid generic superstore tripods. Go for a recognised brand name , Velbon, Gitzo, Giotto, Slik etc etc. metal head, most decent tripods DON'T have a ratchet handle to move a centre column up and down. And check the tripod seems to be the right sort of weight for its stability and load capacity - for an aluminium one thats normally about a couple of kilos/4-5 lb minimum. No problem I would suggest, picking up st decent for 50 bucks or less. Then you can always upgrade later, having figured out from the experience what your more precise requirements are.
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Last edited by marcusBMG; 02-07-2014 at 10:33 AM. Reason: added pic
02-07-2014, 08:53 AM   #7
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Look on craigslist, I see them advertised all the time. I picked up a sweet like new Manfrotto with ball head for $60.

02-12-2014, 09:50 AM   #8
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I chose heavy one:
Benro A2570F with Triopo B3 ballhead. This brand is sold in the USA as Induro - rather cheap but sturdy. I got my legs for $105 and a head for $65.

That's a 3 kilograms of pure metal and durable plastic - an Arca Swiss system.
02-13-2014, 04:26 PM   #9
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Thanks so much for all of the advice
02-14-2014, 06:55 AM   #10
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Depending upon your needs, you may need more than one tripod. A heavy one can be wonderful when you're shooting with a telephoto and transporting it with your car..but not so great when you're trying to carry it into the back-country. I divide my tripods into 2 categories...what's best...and what do I want to carry around for a few hours. Everything is a bit of a compromise. Where you choose to compromise is up to you.
02-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #11
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I do agree that you really should not over think this, however - there are some points that you may wish to consider. A lot of good information in the previous posts.
  • Size - Are you going to travel with it and does it need to fit into your luggage? 4 leg sections collapse smaller than 3 leg sections.
  • Stability - fewer leg sections are more stable.
  • Leg Locks - flip leg locks are nice and easy, twist leg logs may tire out your hands if you use your tripod a lot during the day.
I also have two tripods - one that fits into my carry on luggage (4 leg sections - Benro Travel Angle) and an old used beater tripod (heavy and 3 leg sections) that I keep in the back seat of the truck (Manfrotto 3003). I found the large one on craigslist after looking for about 6 months for what I wanted and what I wanted to pay.

The other selection decision you are going to need to make is the head. 3 way head, ballhead, geared head, etc. Some heads come with the tripod, however most twist off so that you can replace it. Other tripods come without heads, in that you are going to select the head based on what you need or want. Arca Swiss comparable heads relate to clamping interface (quick release plate/clamp assembly). Heads can be as pricey or more as the legs themselves.

02-15-2014, 07:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Heads can be as pricey or more as the legs themselves.
This is true! Legs are only part of the equation. A big question is, "How much are you going to use a tripod?" Some people love to shoot everything hand-held and only need a tripod for those rare times when they need to make an unusually long exposure. Other folks may shoot stable subjects, like landscapes or still life set-ups, so they may use a tripod all the time. If you think you'll use it a lot, decide upon what your priorities are for the majority of your shots and invest in something good that covers that area.
02-16-2014, 01:13 AM   #13
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I look for these things in a tripod
1. Can each leg be positioned and locked at different angles (Maybe you are in a tight spot and only can have to legs on the ground and one up on the wall)
2. Quick release bracket for the camera, it's a pain having to screw on and off the camera
3. Rubber and spikes on the legs.

For many years I have been using one of the Vanguard Alta+ tripods and can attest for it's build quality. :-)

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