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06-23-2014, 09:50 PM   #1
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Recommend a tripod for me!

So, I recently graduated (with a BA in photography i might add ) and it my parents said tha they would give me a grad present and so ive had my mind set on a tripod. Im looking for something relatively light, in the $100-$200 range and i want something that has that locking mechanism for the legs when you turn a thing until it locks. Its kind of hard to desribe so here is a picture of it
http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/3860/gitzolocks.jpg

I first saw this in a video review for a gitzo but their tripods are pretty expensive to say the least and im wondering if anyone knows of any other, cheapter tripods that have a similar feature. Ide also rather not have one with a ball head. They are quick to adjust but the one that i have on my ravelli tripod doesnt do a really job of supporting ,my full frame D600.

So, if anyone has any recommendations it would be much appreciated!

06-23-2014, 10:06 PM   #2
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I just bought one of these....haven't got it yet...

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction - PF Reviews


Check out the revew section if you aven't yet.....
06-23-2014, 10:29 PM   #3
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I have 3 Benro tripods I really like - two of them are Travel Angels.

Choose A Tripod
06-23-2014, 10:50 PM   #4
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Most good tripods are just the legs. You buy the head separate.

I bought a second-hand set of legs (tripod), figuring they never wear out. A few scratches on the legs don't affect your pictures! Then bought a new ball head and quick release plate. In defence of ball heads, it's just a matter of buying one with a big enough ball.... although you have to be sure to hold the camera when you loosen it.

06-24-2014, 04:16 AM   #5
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I was just looking at very totable tripods among the ePhotozine reviews yesterday. I'm not so sure those were sufficiently critical reviews, but they came up with some interesting and relatively innovative tripod options to consider among those they rated well; and the review approach leaned toward the personal, subjective take. I think that's generally useful, even if you disagree.

I started with the Vanguard Alta Pro and followed links for the site's suggested alternatives from there. I ended up taking a fair number of notes to guide further investigation.
06-24-2014, 05:19 AM   #6
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I have an Alta Pro and I love it!
06-24-2014, 06:51 AM   #7
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That's really a pretty tight budget for a tripod for a FF Nikon. With a degree in photography I'm assuming that you are going to be getting quite a bit of use out of this tripod and I can virtually assure you that something in that price range is not going to be a long-term solution for you. Also, don't be so quick to discount ball-heads. A quality ball-head with adjustable friction is the absolute best way to go, unless you have some specific need for a gimbal or something. You just get your friction set once then move your camera where you want and it stays there, no messing with any controls. Need to move the camera again? Just move it and it stays, again without touching any controls. There are plenty of ball-heads that are strong enough to support your camera. Look at Vanguard as a starting point. The specs will tell you how much load they can handle. As for legs, I would recommend Feisol. Gitzo quality (and light weight, which you will come to appreciate) at a more reasonable price. They also have twist-locks, just like Gitzos.

This forum is full of folks that can tell you that they learned the hard way that futzing around with cheaper tripods is a waste of time and money. I am one of them. Spending more now to buy something of quality will save you lots of both. I sincerely wish that had been drilled into my head about ten years ago.

06-24-2014, 07:22 AM   #8
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I second the Feisol recommendation. Good stuff for sure.
06-24-2014, 08:02 AM   #9
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This may not be quite mainstream, but hey it works for me and has done for many years now.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/accessoryreviews/benbo-clasic-no-2.html
06-24-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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When I was shopping for my first tripod, I read an article (sorry can't remember whose) whose author said, in effect, "Spend the money and get it right the first time. Because you're going to be disappointed with cheap, light tripods and you'll end up spending as much (or more) than the good tripod cost, when you end up dissatisfied with lesser tripods."

Well, I didn't follow that advice (because I was focused on getting the lightest, smallest tripod I could find) and I ended up doing exactly what the author said would happen. Now Mr frogoutofwater and I have about 5 tripods, and only two of them are decent (one's awesome, and one's decent).

So do your research and focus on finding a sturdy, easy-to-set-up and manoevre tripod and ball head - even if it's a somewhat bulky or heavy. If you can't afford a brand new one, get one second-hand.

And for FWIW, I tried the Sirui T-025X and really disliked it. In particular, I didn't like the screw/unscrew locking mechanisms on the legs - it took too much time to set up and was too hard to use when it was cold. I much prefer levers (on tripod legs and the tripod ball head).
06-24-2014, 01:47 PM   #11
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This was the tripod I was previously using
Amazon.com : Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head and Heavy Duty Carry Bag : Camera Tripod : Camera & Photo

Its built like a tank but wooow was it heavy or what. It was ok, for taking it our of my dorm and doing some sunset shots outside outside but there wasn't really much mobility. The ball head was very quick to adjust and it was all fine andw good until i tried to use in a portrait orientation. The head would start dipping down. I don't think it was designed to support a camera like mine.. and i haven't even tried it with my huge tamron 100-300... It was also pretty tedious to get the head to turn side ways. It would only do so when turned in a certain way.


Looking around on the feisol and the vanguard site, i came across these that look pretty nice. I dont know if they are compatible with each other though

NEW FEISOL Classic Tripod CT-3401 Rapid
Amazon.com : VANGUARD BBH-100 Tripod Heads : Camera & Photo

Thanks for the feedback everyone!
06-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #12
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I also bought the Sirui after the review on this site and it's fantastic, and comes with a great ball head. Of all the research I did it is the smallest and lightest I could find and has great features such as leg positions which allow it to go really low down. Having owned it for around 6 months it is fantastic, great solid build and so portable. Also had no issues with the ball head, performed brilliantly and it is also tiny. Can't imagine a better option if you want something portable, which was my priority.

I'm sure if you want something really heavy and rock solid for windy days etc then there would be better options though. Depends on priorities.
06-24-2014, 02:40 PM   #13
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I say keep an eye on the used market as well. I got about a 50% savings on my last tripod and head buying used off craiglist.
06-24-2014, 02:58 PM   #14
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I'm not familiar with that exact model of Vanguard head, but it does have some unique features. Can't tell if it has adjustable friction, which is an absolute must, IMO. If you decide to go with that line, though, I'd probably spend the extra $30 and go to the next model up since you're working with a larger, heavier body and have some heavy lenses.

As far as the Feisol legs go, my personal preference is for 3-section legs as they allow for quicker, easier set-up/take-down. Also may be a bit lighter since you have one less set of locks. Plus, with 3 sections your smallest section is thicker than with 4 sections. That, plus eliminating that third joint leads to a stronger, more stable set up. The downside is slightly longer collapsed length. Mine still seems pretty compact to me, but might become an issue if you are trying to fit it inside a particular bag, etc..

Just noticed Feisol is now available at B&H. That makes them so much easier to get and can get you free shipping. Much better than days past when you had to deal directly with Feisol. Also, I noticed that the model you linked to is part of the "classic" series which is their cheapest. That is the correct series for you, IMO. Don't feel like you have to go to either of the more expensive series' to get quality. With Feisol, even the basic models are quality. Also, you can get one without the center column and add it later if you feel like you need it. I don't need it and love not having to mess with it or carry it.

Last edited by DogLover; 06-24-2014 at 03:19 PM.
06-24-2014, 03:13 PM   #15
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You didn't specify what lenses you use. I just bought a Feisol and am impressed with how light and solid it is for the price. I think your budget is too low unless you pick up a used one.
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