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05-11-2015, 11:18 AM   #1
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Tripod: Stay or Upgrade?

Hello PF Community.

I'm sure I'll get some flack for saying this, but I need some honest opinions so here it goes...

I bought a tripod from Amazon a few months back. Some cheapo Ravelli for 24$...
It showed up and I could tell it was a piece of ****.
Plastic everywhere, at full extension and locked down it would wobble and twist without anything even mounted yet!
When I added my camera the legs would bow in...

The company actually sent me a brand new tripod two days later apologizing for the previous tripod and asked for me to try out a different model and see if I would be satisfied with this, I could even keep my old crappy tripod.
The funny thing is, I never complained or emailed or even left feedback. It's like they knew they sent me crap and were trying to prevent the negative exposure before I had a chance to post something.

Anyways, the new tripod they sent me was a Ravelli APGL5 (the older model that doesn't turn into a monopod)
Here is the only website I could find with info on this tripod: Ravelli 65 Inch Ball Head Camera Photo Tripod APGL5 - Review

Seems off as this isn't even offered for sale from Amazon. So I'm not sure where they even found this thing to send to me. Oh well.

I love this thing.
Very fluid ball head, sturdy and incredibly strong for my current setup (K-30 with Sigma 8-16)

This site I posted above states that it's load capacity is 17 lbs.
I thought this was hard to believe but then I was filtering though google images and noticed a marine who was using this tripod to shoot his AR15 from.
typically AR15 weighs in around 11lbs, and he was firing from it at full extension.
That seems like a sturdy tripod IMHO...


My $1000 question, quite literally.
I just bought a Bigma and want to have a tripod that will support the weight of my K-30 with Bigma.

From the specs on the page above, am I safe to head out with my setup?
I've heard that the legs on this Ravelli APGL5 are actually very nice; should I just consider a new Ball Head?
Gimble Head?

Should I bag the whole thing and buy a new tripod in whole?


The kicker is I'd like to be able to travel with it.
My Ravelli APGL5 is compact enough to clip onto the side of my bag and take on the plane with me.

Otherwise let me know what you think and if you have suggestions for the Bigma.


Last edited by UserAccessDenied; 05-11-2015 at 07:01 PM.
05-11-2015, 11:59 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Hello PF Community.

I'm sure I'll get some flack for saying this, but I need some honest opinions so here it goes...

I bought a tripod from Amazon a few months back. Some cheapo Ravelli for 24$...
It showed up and I could tell it was a piece of ****.
Plastic everywhere, at full extension and locked down it would wobble and twist without anything even mounted yet!
When I added my camera the legs would bow in...

The company actually sent me a brand new tripod two days later apologizing for the previous tripod and asked for me to try out a different model and see if I would be satisfied with this, I could even keep my old crappy tripod.
The funny thing is, I never complained or emailed or even left feedback. It's like they knew they sent me crap and were trying to prevent the negative exposure before I had a chance to post something.

Anyways, the new tripod they sent me was a Ravelli APGL5 (the older model that doesn't turn into a monopod)
Here is the only website I could find with info on this tripod: Ravelli 65 Inch Ball Head Camera Photo Tripod APGL5 - Review

Seems off as this isn't even offered for sale from Amazon. So I'm not sure where they even found this thing to send to me. Oh well.

I love this thing.
Very fluid ball head, sturdy and incredibly strong for my current setup (K-30 with Sigma 8-16)

This site I posted above states that it's load capacity is 17 lbs.
I thought this was hard to believe but then I was filtering though google images and noticed a marine who was using this tripod to shoot his AR15 from.
typically AR15 weighs in around 11lbs, and he was firing from it at full extension.
That seems like a sturdy tripod IMHO...


My $1000 question, quite literally.
I just bought a Bigma and want to have a tripod that will support the weight of my K-30 with Bigma.

From the specs on the page above, am I safe to head out with my setup?
I've heard that the legs on this Ravelli APGL5 are actually very nice; should I just consider a new Ball Head?
Gimble Head?

Should I bag the whole thing and buy a new tripod in whole?


The kicker is I need to be able to travel with it.
My Ravelli APGL5 is compact enough to clip onto the side of my bag and take on the plane with me.

Otherwise let me know what you think and if you have suggestions for the Bigma.
I'm really not trying to spend over $100. I expect more flack for that statement. But the tripod I have now went for $40 before discontinuing. I've seen tripod cost 3x as much and feel lower in quality.
If you're happy with it, and only have a $100 to spend on an upgrade, (including head, I gather), then you'd better just keep it, because I can't believe you'll find an alternative on your budget.
05-11-2015, 12:09 PM   #3
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The BIgma is quite a bit heavier than your current setup at almost 5 lbs.

The Tripod may be able to take the weight but when you are shooting telephoto you really need a stable platform, which is where I think you will see issues.

Even if you get a nice long plate and have the lens and camera perfectly balanced, you may still experience some vibration and so your long shots will suffer.

You can try it with what you have for starters and then figure out where there are gaps you will need to address, so you will be better informed then than just going out and buying a tripod now.
05-11-2015, 12:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
The BIgma is quite a bit heavier than your current setup at almost 5 lbs.

The Tripod may be able to take the weight but when you are shooting telephoto you really need a stable platform, which is where I think you will see issues.

Even if you get a nice long plate and have the lens and camera perfectly balanced, you may still experience some vibration and so your long shots will suffer.

You can try it with what you have for starters and then figure out where there are gaps you will need to address, so you will be better informed then than just going out and buying a tripod now.
This is accurate.
Appreciate the insight!

I've used a gimbal head and wasn't a fan, but it's way bulkier and wouldn't fit well for travel...

I just didn't know if anyone has had success with a ball-head in coordination with the Bigma. I'm sure there are plenty of people doing this with success!?

05-11-2015, 12:19 PM   #5
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I have used a gimbal head in the past, and now am trying out a video head.
The main thing for me is that I don't want the lens to topple over on a ball head when I need to adjust it.

On a monopod I use a tilt only head with the Bigma.

Again, use what you have for now and you may find as I have that ball heads, unless very beefy and with a smooth drag setting, may not be the best for a bigger lens like the Bigma.
05-11-2015, 12:22 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
I have used a gimbal head in the past, and now am trying out a video head.
The main thing for me is that I don't want the lens to topple over on a ball head when I need to adjust it.

On a monopod I use a tilt only head with the Bigma.

Again, use what you have for now and you may find as I have that ball heads, unless very beefy and with a smooth drag setting, may not be the best for a bigger lens like the Bigma.
Will do.
Thanks!
05-11-2015, 01:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
SNIP ... am I safe to head out with my setup? ... Should I bag the whole thing and buy a new tripod in whole?... SNIP
Regarding safety, test the tripod without a camera to make sure it won't collapse. Use a bag filled with bricks or just lean on the tripod. Put around twice the weight of your camera + Bigma to be certain.

As far as whether the tripod will give you usable photos, after you've verified the safety portion you can mount the Bigma and see how stable the combo is at 500mm. I have the newest model with optical stabilization (aka "BigmOS") and I find that I get good results keeping the OS on even when on a tripod.

I generally use my BigmOS for airshows and moving wildlife, though, so it's a handheld lens most of the time.


Last edited by DeadJohn; 05-11-2015 at 01:13 PM.
05-11-2015, 01:15 PM   #8
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I got a proline carbon fiber off Amazon for $60. Granted I am not using 10 lbs of kit. But it works great. I got the base model.
05-11-2015, 01:20 PM   #9
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You might be able to score a simple vanguard tripod at $100, if you find a good deal. It will probably be a bit better. If the maximum capacity is 17 pounds than probably you can put in 3-4 pounds of gear on it, reliably.
05-11-2015, 03:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rrstuff Quote
You might be able to score a simple vanguard tripod at $100, if you find a good deal. It will probably be a bit better. If the maximum capacity is 17 pounds than probably you can put in 3-4 pounds of gear on it, reliably.
This is kind of what I've been looking for...
How do you come up with those numbers?

I figured their "17 load capacity" rating is tested by literally adding weight until the tripod fails...
Same thing applies to those ball-heads rated at 55lbs?

Or can I literally hang a 50lb weight from a ball-head at a 45 degree angle and expect it not to creep?

I've seen Sirui ball-heads around $100 or so that have 50-60lb ratings alone.
05-11-2015, 03:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
This is kind of what I've been looking for...
How do you come up with those numbers?

I figured their "17 load capacity" rating is tested by literally adding weight until the tripod fails...
Same thing applies to those ball-heads rated at 55lbs?

Or can I literally hang a 50lb weight from a ball-head at a 45 degree angle and expect it not to creep?

I've seen Sirui ball-heads around $100 or so that have 50-60lb ratings alone.
Hi,

I don't think there is a standard testing protocol, so manufacturers will find a way to give themselves the best numbers. As a result, the best you can have is an estimate. People give 'rules of thumb' for anywhere between 1/3rd and 1/5th of the maximum listed capacity as a reasonable load you should put on a tripod*. Since it is a cheap tripod, and an expensive lens, I would try to be on a safe side and use 1/5th.

Things that can happen when your camera is too heavy, is tripod wobble and the ball head creep. I doubt the tripod would fall apart and if you put the legs wide enough, it won't topple over either. If your tripod has special settings (e.g. Vanguard Alta Pro 263 AT Aluminum Alloy Tripod ALTA PRO 263AT == decent tripod) it will likely take less weight before you see some instability and creep.

* a couple sources: photonaturalist.net/tripod-load-capacity/ and video below:
05-11-2015, 03:31 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
How do you come up with those numbers? I figured their "17 load capacity" rating is tested by literally adding weight until the tripod fails... Same thing applies to those ball-heads rated at 55lbs? Or can I literally hang a 50lb weight from a ball-head at a 45 degree angle and expect it not to creep? I've seen Sirui ball-heads around $100 or so that have 50-60lb ratings alone.
Manufacturers are very optimistic on their weight ratings. I automatically discount any claims by 50% and on the cheaper ones by much more than that. I do not think there is a standard method of determining the rating so everyone is free to claim whatever. Also any claim will be with all your gear perfectly centered and locked down. Not a usual situation for a photographer.

I have used the Bigma quite easily on a ball head (the Acratech GP) but you will need a beefy setup to make that work reliably. Remember there is a difference between being able to mount your gear and not have it fall over if you don't touch it and having a tripod that holds your gear without vibration and allows you to move the lens easily and hold it still when you let go. A proper ball head, adjusted correctly should allow you to move the camera and lens around freely and when you let go to stop moving and hold precisely there without you having to touch the controls again.

With your budget I honestly do not see you getting anything heavy enough to function with the Bigma. But one thing that will help a lot is to NOT extend the tripod all the way. I have a MeFoto travel tripod I quite like and it handles most of my gear but I only extend the first set of legs when I have anything heavy on it. This might mean shooting from sitting down but that is still better than no tripod.

Travel tripods are not going to be the same as a big one capable of big glass, it is a compromise and you have to make allowances.
05-11-2015, 03:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rrstuff Quote
Hi,

I don't think there is a standard testing protocol, so manufacturers will find a way to give themselves the best numbers. As a result, the best you can have is an estimate. People give 'rules of thumb' for anywhere between 1/3rd and 1/5th of the maximum listed capacity as a reasonable load you should put on a tripod*. Since it is a cheap tripod, and an expensive lens, I would try to be on a safe side and use 1/5th.

Things that can happen when your camera is too heavy, is tripod wobble and the ball head creep. I doubt the tripod would fall apart and if you put the legs wide enough, it won't topple over either. If your tripod has special settings (e.g. Vanguard Alta Pro 263 AT Aluminum Alloy Tripod ALTA PRO 263AT == decent tripod) it will likely take less weight before you see some instability and creep.

* a couple sources: photonaturalist.net/tripod-load-capacity/ and video below: Ken Talks Tripods - YouTube
SHeesh!

That last tripod in this video looks perfect. But $750!?

Sheesh!

hahaha I never thought a tripod would cost that much!
05-11-2015, 04:22 PM   #14
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I have 2 of these.....
Amazon.com : AmazonBasics 70-Inch Pistol Grip Tripod : Camera Tripods : Camera & Photo
rock solid for time lapse even in quite gusty conditions..... I use a k-r and k-50 with a bower 14 & sears 80-200 being the heaviest lens combos
not quite the same for and maybe a gimball would be nice with this base
05-11-2015, 05:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
hahaha I never thought a tripod would cost that much!
There are certain areas of photography where the tripods START at $750.
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