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09-21-2015, 05:03 PM - 1 Like   #16
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This is kind of cheap n' cheesy, but you could mount a ball head on the quick-change plate of your Sunpak. This is the ballhead from my Gorillapod attached to my Whateverpod. It seems to work fine, the only issue being there isn't enough room to flop over for portrait mode with the ball head - I would have to use the portrait hinge on the tilt/pan head.



The ballhead has a 3/8" thread, but came with a 1/4" bushing for just this sort of attachment.

09-22-2015, 05:30 AM   #17
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I really appreciate all the comments, everyone! Obviously I have a little more research to do before I make the purchase, and probably should expand my budget a little, too. (Those MeFoto Backpackers look interesting, so maybe I will broaden my search to include ~$150 tripods and see where that gets me with the other brands...)

Please continue to post suggestions, if you have them, and I will let everyone know what I end up with!
09-22-2015, 06:12 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
I really appreciate all the comments, everyone! Obviously I have a little more research to do before I make the purchase, and probably should expand my budget a little, too. (Those MeFoto Backpackers look interesting, so maybe I will broaden my search to include ~$150 tripods and see where that gets me with the other brands...)

Please continue to post suggestions, if you have them, and I will let everyone know what I end up with!
Check keh and b&h for used mefoto equipment I saw several but I'm unfamiliar with them.
09-23-2015, 05:05 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
Those MeFoto Backpackers look interesting, so maybe I will broaden my search to include ~$150 tripods and see where that gets me with the other brands...
The Sirui T-0005X (not sure about the number of zeros) has better specs and a lower price than the MeFoto aluminum heads, and the T-025X is the same for carbon.

09-24-2015, 08:46 AM   #20
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It's the T-005x, bdery -- same as the 025x but in aluminum instead of carbon fiber.

I use the T-1205x legs with the K20x head. They're basically one step up from the 025x for support, and a little bit less compact. The K20x head is much larger than the c10x that comes with the 025x, so the legs don't quite close tightly around it, but it still folds up small enough that I can fit it in my camera bag. The weight hook on the 1205x is intended for actual weight, where the 025x uses a carabinieri that I think is mostly meant as a belt clip... but damn, I kinda wish I had the belt clip because it would be a really easy way to carry the tripod around when I don't want an extra strap.

Anyway - you can probably find some workable legs for studio/minimally portable work at any thrift store (goodwill, salvation army, etc) and get some compact travel legs later, if that's your preference.
09-24-2015, 09:51 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
I use the T-1205x legs with the K20x head.
What's your opinion on that head? I'm considering replacing the C10x head with the K10x, so input about the K20x interests me.

QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
The weight hook on the 1205x is intended for actual weight, where the 025x uses a carabinieri that I think is mostly meant as a belt clip
The carabinier works very well to support extra weight, it serves a dual purpose.
09-24-2015, 10:14 AM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
The carabinier works very well to support extra weight, it serves a dual purpose.
I agree - I've used it both on a belt loop and to hold a shot bag.

While my generic 'pod (really about the same as SS's SunPak) was good enough for playing around at home, I started looking for something that I would actually take with me (because the best tripod is the one you have with you, etc.) - just about the time Heie did his review of the T-025x. I've been pleasantly surprised - not only is it small enough to live in the bottom of my daytrip backpack, there's much less vibration than the Whateverpod.

Edit: I'll just add that when I looked at Heie's in-depth review and then poked around for comparable travel pods, the less expensive ones were generally bigger folded and much heavier (almost twice the weight), and as-light ones were as expensive or more so. The T-005x aluminum version is quite a bit less money and only a couple ounces heavier, but at that point, I decided to splurge for those couple ounces.


Last edited by THoog; 09-24-2015 at 01:43 PM.
09-25-2015, 09:46 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
The T-005x aluminum version is quite a bit less money and only a couple ounces heavier, but at that point, I decided to splurge for those couple ounces.
The vibration damping will be worse with aluminum, but indeed apart from that it's a comparable tripod.
09-25-2015, 01:19 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
What's your opinion on that head? I'm considering replacing the C10x head with the K10x, so input about the K20x interests me.
It's pretty nice. It's too big for the legs to close up completely over, though. It's a bit of a pain to precisely adjust with the 60-250 + k3 & grip on it. Actually, it's a bit of a pain to precisely adjust with anything on it, but that goes for every ball head, I suppose. (I'm probably going to end up with a gimbal eventually. Just wincing at spending that much cash and giving up the portability).

It was probably overkill vs the 10x, but the price isn't that different and I figured I'd rather have excess capacity than a risk of insufficient.
09-25-2015, 01:50 PM   #25
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I'll second the used tripod route. $100 doesn't go very far in the tripod world (or the photo world for that matter).
If you could get something acceptable used that will let you change the head or legs separately, that will let you adjust and upgrade one piece at a time in the future.

Those non-interchangeable head tripods are mostly an exercise in frustration for being low quality and not having an upgrade path beside replacement. If you had a nicer one you might be more inclined to use it!
Another option if you are handy is build yourself a wooden one and just invest in a nice head. It won't be light or fold up very small but if those aren't critical features it will do the job well or hopefully well enough until you could get more compact or lighter legs.
I know a guy who shoots a 645z who still uses his homemade tripod because he prefers it to other options.
09-25-2015, 02:22 PM   #26
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Your answer will lie mostly in these two factors: a) weight of camera and lenses you're expecting to support and b) budget.

The Dolica you're looking at will be sufficient for lightweights (dslr and primes/short zooms) but not for much longer. I have two of the Dolicas and use them for lightweight hike-in scenarios. Otherwise, I use Manfrotto.

I'll second the critiques of Dolica regarding non-interchangeability of heads and questionable access to parts. If you're not going to use it much, you might never need that. In that case, your budget is adequate for these kinds of things.

I use Manfrotto for a substantive set of legs that will take just about anything I can throw at it weightwise. Their heads are also leagues beyond what you'll get in Dolica or other less-expensive tripods/heads. But, though they are generally beyond your stated increased budget, there are some on the bottom end. You're unlikely to be unhappy in the future, due to quality. They're having a sale and some hefty rebates now at Adorama. Take a look here:

Tripods & Tripod Legs for Camera & Video | Buy, Compare & Review | Adorama
09-25-2015, 06:03 PM   #27
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I'm reading all the replies and I appreciate all the input! After more research, $150 seems like it will get me something significantly better that $100, so I'm going to try to hover around that for now... I've got nothing but time. I don't NEED A TRIPOD RIGHT NOW. I just think it'll be a good investment for future shooting. I could probably get closer to $200, but higher than that will feel like overkill for what I'll use it for, and I'll regret not spending/saving the money for something else (like an astrotracer or something, which would go hand-in-hand with a decent tripod).

After looking over some of the options and just generally browsing, I'm looking at the ratings for the weight capacity and I wonder how directly this factors into stability. I understand that the carbon fiber is going to be better for vibration, but can I assume that a tripod rated for a higher weight is going to be more "stable"? I'm thinking of this in terms of minor "shake" for long, low-light or night exposures. I would not mind getting a heavier tripod if it meant it was a sturdier tripod. When I see weight ratings for 8lbs, I want to keep in mind that that's 8lbs total, right? as in, when/if I choose to add a weight? Or is the weight rating for what the ballhead can hold without loosing it? What's going to happen if I buy a legs/head combo that's rated for 13lbs, then put a head on it later that's rated for, like 40lbs? Is it still a 13lb-capacity tripod? or is the difference split?

I'm also seeing very similar ratings across brands. It seems like every brand has a tripod that's ___ height, ___ lb rating, ___ tripod weight, ___ folded size, and ___ price. Can I assume that they're likely a very similar quality, even across brands? Sirui and Benro have moved to the top of my list at the moment.

My logic (and tell me if this is flawed) tells me that, I could invest in a tripod (legs + head) that are decent, for use NOW, and always add a nicer head to it later. I will tell you, I KNOW that if I get a ball head that drifts around/doesn't stay I will be fyooooorious. Furious. But I think my imminent $150 tripod is going to be light years better than the $30 tripod I use currently.

My "big" cameras are the K-30 and K-S2, and pretty much all of my lenses are old glass, so they're metal and can be heavy. I'm using the A70-210/4 this month for Single in September and it is beastly. I put it and the K-S2 on my SunPak and there was major droopage. I want my ballhead to be able to withstand that.

Thanks, all.
09-25-2015, 08:04 PM   #28
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Another consideration: differing quick release plates and compatibility or lack thereof. I like the Arca Swiss system. It has the best compatibility across brands. Manfrotto has their own standard. So do some others (including every crappy tripod head maker, apparently, each making a slightly different proprietary system).
09-26-2015, 05:54 AM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
I will tell you, I KNOW that if I get a ball head that drifts around/doesn't stay I will be fyooooorious. Furious.
If the Sirui ballheads don't hold, I give you full permission to take it out on Heie.


(The DA 60-250 weighs about 50% more than the A 70-210.)
09-28-2015, 06:28 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
t's pretty nice. It's too big for the legs to close up completely over, though. It's a bit of a pain to precisely adjust with the 60-250 + k3 & grip on it. Actually, it's a bit of a pain to precisely adjust with anything on it, but that goes for every ball head, I suppose.
The best I've used is a Vanguard (don't remember the model) with an elliptical ball. No sag whatsoever, precise friction control. I still have it, but it's much too large for the Sirui tripod.

QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
If the Sirui ballheads don't hold, I give you full permission to take it out on Heie.
The C10x is pretty good, and once it sets, it doesn't move anymore, but there is the tiniest bit of sag, which can be annoying in some situations, plus adjustments aren't as fine as with more expensive heads.
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