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09-20-2015, 01:21 PM   #1
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New Tripod - DolicaZX600

Alright, here's my GBA conundrum... I want to spend the winnings from my MO State Fair photography competition awards on a new tripod. I have a janky old SunPak, but it is clunky and unintuitive. There are a minimum of three knobs I have to adjust to get the camera pointed the way I want, and then the weight of the camera (even with lightweight lens) causes motion from the gradual gravity-driven drift... Plus the crank handle for the upright broke in January when I took it out for night shots and it got too cold - snapped right off! - so I just pull it up and push it down. The award money is right around $100, so I'm looking at: Dolica ZX600B103 (60" carbon fiber)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008JE4S6G/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&...I22IK0HFXODY7J

I want the ball head, the durable material, and the light weightedness, plus the versatile positioning of legs and center column... Is there anything I'm not considering? Is there a better buy for my budget?

I want to use it for rural landscapes, night sky, and possibly some long exposures - think casual hikes and mostly civilized areas. I won't be taking it out in extreme conditions except rarely.

I've been researching for a while, and the Dolica seems like a good value. Thanks for any input!

09-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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Read the 1,2,and 3 star reviews on that pod. Legs are carbon nothing else is, head appears to be pretty bad, stability in light wind questionable, rubber locking rings are difficult to use, etc.

My advice is to try something Like an older aluminum Manfrotto or something like this Manfrotto Compact Advanced Tripod with Quick Release Ball Head. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010N2ATYG/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_HKX.vb0YNQNK5

My dad uses that head or a model similar to it on a monopod and window mount and I like it. I use an older aluminum Manfrotto pod that has similar quick lock legs which really helps in setup.
09-20-2015, 03:04 PM   #3
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Have a look at the Benro range, they seem to be well engineered, have alum. and carbon fibre versions, and one leg and centre post can be used as a monopod.

Whoops, just saw the $100 limit, sorry.

Cheers,
Terry

Last edited by tduell; 09-20-2015 at 03:42 PM.
09-20-2015, 03:10 PM   #4
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Tripods w/ heads under $100 that go up to 60" are not going to be a good long-term investment, unless you buy something used. That said, Dolica is among the better brands in that category. They are made by Weifeng (who also make tripods with names like Horusbennu, Nest, Amazon Basics, Desmond, and many others). My opinion, having reviewed a higher end Dolica (and many others), is that you might be better served with a smaller, lighter tripod made from aluminum, like a Mefoto Backpacker, made by Benro. That'd be definitely better than what you have, and a step up from the Dolicas... although smaller, lighter and more expensive.

PS: avoid the Q-666 kind of tripods (ZOMEI) that all look the same with gold bling and really crappy ballheads. Even your Sunpak is better!


Last edited by panoguy; 09-20-2015 at 04:10 PM.
09-20-2015, 03:45 PM   #5
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Buy a nice head. Put it on your existing legs. Put it on nice legs later. The head makes a bigger difference than the legs will, and you can use it on a monopod, too.
Sirui K-10x Ball Head BSRK10 B&H Photo Video
or Sirui C-10 Ball Head (on Amazon Warehouse Deals)

---------- Post added 09-20-15 at 06:50 PM ----------

(but if you want to get good legs at the same time, it's pretty hard to beat the Sirui T-025x, which comes with the C-10 head I linked above)
Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
http://www.amazon.com/Sirui-T-025X-Carbon-Fiber-Tripod/dp/B00BFDETS0

Last edited by narual; 09-20-2015 at 03:50 PM.
09-20-2015, 04:03 PM   #6
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I had this tripod which I gave to my niece a year later because it was simply not tall enough for me. It being CF, it's light and compact - very easy to carry around on a hike. The Ball head leaves much to be desired - tightening the ball clamp causes the ball head to shift. I replaced the ball head with the Manfrotto 3265 Joystick - mainly to increase the work height and alleviate the ball slippage. I replaced the Dolica with a Manfrotto MT294A4 legs and 496 RC2 combo from B&H to be used as a lighter weight hiking tripod.

Incidentally, my niece who is much shorter than I am, seem to like the Dolica and is still using it (3, or 4 years).
09-21-2015, 04:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm not a mad tripod user, I just want something better than I have (easier to use, and not broken). I will research your suggestions and see what the best fit is for me.

@narual - I wouldn't mind keeping the SunPak's legs, but I had a good look at it last night after your excellent suggestion... and I cannot figure out a way to get the head off of this one. I don't think it's meant to be removed, which I found very disappointing. :-(

@panoguy - are you suggesting I look for a used Benro, then? I don't mind used! I just don't want "broken". :-)


Last edited by severalsnakes; 09-21-2015 at 04:57 AM.
09-21-2015, 08:24 AM   #8
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You should also check out the Dolica LA600 Pro 60-Inch Aluminum Alloy Traveler Edition Tripod.
It is currently selling for about $80.00, is well-made, sturdy & very portable.
09-21-2015, 09:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gmiyamoto Quote
You should also check out the Dolica LA600 Pro 60-Inch Aluminum Alloy Traveler Edition Tripod.
It is currently selling for about $80.00, is well-made, sturdy & very portable.
One of the reviews indicated that the ball head is proprietary? And that you can't get replacements for it or quick release plates from Dolica for it? Is that true or will another plate fit it?

Some of the usual grumbling about bad fit and finish in the reviews is there but that's not too bad. The one gotcha I saw was that there were several complaining the ball head wasn't that good. The legs on the other hand got pretty good marks.
09-21-2015, 10:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
@narual - I wouldn't mind keeping the SunPak's legs, but I had a good look at it last night after your excellent suggestion... and I cannot figure out a way to get the head off of this one. I don't think it's meant to be removed, which I found very disappointing. :-(
With my Slik tripod, you needed to remove the extended column and use a long allen wrench to take the head off. Not sure if that would work for the sunpak or not, but if you google the model number you'll probably find info.
09-21-2015, 10:17 AM   #11
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One of the reviews indicated that the ball head is proprietary? And that you can't get replacements for it or quick release plates from Dolica for it? Is that true or will another plate fit it?

The quick release plate appears to be proprietary. I haven't purchased any extra plates but I suspect that you should be able to find them on Ebay or Amazon.

Some of the usual grumbling about bad fit and finish in the reviews is there but that's not too bad. The one gotcha I saw was that there were several complaining the ball head wasn't that good. The legs on the other hand got pretty good marks.

I've mounted my K30 w/Tokina 400 mm f5.6 lens which weighs approximately 5lbs & haven't encountered any problems with the legs or ball head.
09-21-2015, 10:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
With my Slik tripod, you needed to remove the extended column and use a long allen wrench to take the head off. Not sure if that would work for the sunpak or not, but if you google the model number you'll probably find info.
Oooh, I can't wait to take a better look at it! This could be a very good solution...

---------- Post added 09-21-15 at 01:22 PM ----------

Naughty tripod research while on the clock at work... My current tripod:

Sunpak 8001 UT Tripod with 3-Way Pan / Tilt Head 620-080 B&H

It says "head is not interchangeable"... So that's the end of that dream right?
09-21-2015, 12:32 PM   #13
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I would say "everything is interchangeable with enough JB-Weld" but considering how many places I found that claim to sell the 8001UT, but I can't find any DIY-ers that have replaced the head, I'm doubtful.

I know it's outside your budget, but when you win a couple more contests, I have to second the Sirui T-025X. I've been very impressed with it as a travel 'pod - tiny, light, but solid. It's been 'way more useful than my Whatever brand tripod (similar to the Sunpak). I saved up Amazon Rewards VISA points for several months to get it.

Last edited by THoog; 09-21-2015 at 12:37 PM.
09-21-2015, 01:08 PM   #14
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I have a Dolica tripod, I never use it and it's worth about 40$. No more.

QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
There are a minimum of three knobs I have to adjust to get the camera pointed the way I want, and then the weight of the camera (even with lightweight lens) causes motion from the gradual gravity-driven drift
If you like your current tripod, and if it can accept a replacement head, you would be better off by buying a high-quality ballhead, that will serve you well. It seems what you describe is related more to the head than the legs.

QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
The award money is right around $100
You won'T get a "good" tripod for that price. There are small variations in price (for instance Sirui tripods cost a bit less than rivals from other brands for a comparable quality) but large variations are fishy. A carbon fiber tripod for 100$ won't be very good.
09-21-2015, 05:00 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have a couple of Dolica tripods and am well-pleased with both; a $50.00 aluminum one and an older version of the carbon fiber tripod (think I paid $130.00 from Adorama) that I use with heavy lenses for moon shots, etc. I also purchased one of the carbon fiber ones for my son 3 years ago and it is still in service, too. I don't use them heavily or abuse them, but both of mine have held up well for 5+ years. Both have the provision to hang a weight for stability, so the concern about wind can be easily handled; hang your camera bag on the hook on the center upright. My carbon fiber tripod came with two quick release plates and, if you go to the Dolica website, you can purchase spare plates; they are inexpensive. You have the right idea about the Dolica tripods; they do represent a good value. A lot of tripod for the price. The model you are considering has a 5 year warranty. I have had in-person visits with the Dolica at the CES Convention people here in Las Vegas where i live, and they seem eager to please and are proud of their products.
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