Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-10-2016, 10:12 AM   #1
Forum Member
Heavenly Creation's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Bradenton, FL
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 53
Tripod help

I have been researching which tripod I should get to start out with. Money is a factor....isnt it always. (lol)

It seems some articles say never buy a tripod for under 200$ while others say they are using a Manfrotto 170$ one.

I will be using the tripod mostly for landscape photography and I am a beginner. I have had a Pentax istDL since 05 and have used it for various pics but nothing really creative or professional.
I wanted to get into taking landscape and artistic shots so I upgraded to a K3 with extra battery grip since I have the lenses : 50-200 DA,18-55 Da and a 70-300 Quantaray lens; which I will be saving for a 24mm wide angle lens to add.

I had read that some Ball heads don't seem to hold up a heavier camera and lens. I like the Pan heads but I also figure there is a reason why most cheap tripods come standard with pan heads. I know most of it is personal preference but figured I could get some useful info from some seasoned photographers, whether hobby or pro.

I was sort of leaning towards a Slik Pro 700DX or the 780DX as I want a tall tripod since I am 6'3" and don't feel like bending over all the time. I like this Benro

I already figured on getting a remote to go along with the tripod so I can minimize vibrations.

Any help or insights would be helpful. Thanks

01-10-2016, 10:35 AM   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jatrax's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Washington Cascades
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,991
I'm firmly in the "never buy anything under $200 camp". Actually my budget is quite a bit higher than that. I use a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 with an Acratech Ball head. And I realize that is beyond your stated budget but I wanted to use it as a baseline. Check the weight capacity for that set up, I would consider that to be the minimum I would want to buy.

First the sticks. You have a choice between aluminum and carbon fiber. Carbon is much more expensive and the primary advantage is weight, so go with aluminum. You can sometimes get good aluminum 055 sticks for not much over $150 used. Other brands would also be fine, just do not skimp on the weight rating. Also check the style of connector, you can get lever snaps or twist locks. I prefer snaps but it is only preference, get what you like.

Second, weight rating. Take your camera and the heaviest lens you think you might use and double that. Now look at the weight ratings of the tripod sticks and head. Take that number and halve it, because all manufacturers are optimistic.

Third. Height is your enemy. Fully extended the 055 is about right for my height. I rarely use it that way. Mostly I am sitting on the ground or bending over with only a single section opened. Height means vibration, while it is nice to set up and stand around comfortably that is not going to give you the best image particularly if there is any wind. So buy a tripod to fit but assume you will be using it a lot lower than you thought. Also when you calculate the height remember to add the head, the tripod plate and the camera to get to your eye height. Anything higher than you absolutely need is a waste.

Fourth. The head is arguably the most important part. A good ball head is a joy to use and helps you take better pictures. A cheap ball head is your enemy, it actively tries to hurt your lenses and stabs you in the back whenever it can, it makes photography an exercise in agony rather than a joy. Use the same rules for weight capacity as you did on the sticks.

Read this before you do anything: Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan

All that said, some of the newer 'knock off' brands are producing excellent products and prices far less than the 'name' brands. Just do not be taken in by optimistic advertising, use the weight capacity rule already mentioned.

And think about this: Do you really want to put $1,000 worth of camera gear on the least expensive tripod you can buy? I love those signs that say: "Cheapest brakes in town, we will not be undersold!" Hmm...
01-10-2016, 10:36 AM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,380
As I see it, most cheap tripods come with pan heads because it's easier to build a pan head tripod that will take a given weight of mega-telephoto than a ball-head which will cope with the same lens. If someone's strapped for cash, they can at least be assured that most half-decent tripods will do the job acceptably.
01-10-2016, 10:39 AM   #4
Pentaxian
bertwert's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Golden, BC
Posts: 14,853
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
. I use a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 with an Acratech Ball head
That's what I want!
I've drooled over it for months...

Personally I use a cheapo tripod I got for $30 used as that is all I can afford, it's better than nothing.
It works good enough, especially with a bag attached for more stability.
I honestly don't need anything more, I just WANT. It has a pan head, but I prefer call heads.

01-10-2016, 10:43 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Kath's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 737
I use the Manfrotto 055 tripods because they're designed well for ease of use and sturdy without being too heavy. For landscape use, you want "heavy enough", mostly to cope with situations where wind could be a factor.

With the camera/lens combinations you mention, you won't be stressing the capacity of most decent ballheads for steadiness, since the weight isn't significant. But, if you might want to get into panoramas, you'll need either a good ballhead with a panning clamp or just a good panning head. It's usually cheaper to get a good panning head than a panning ballhead, because the ballhead is multifunctional and you're paying for that.

Final word: Don't get caught in a proprietary clamp system (Manfrotto and others). It's expensive when you want to branch out to other gear and find you have to replace everything with Arca Swiss-compatible clamps and plates (don't ask me how I know). Go Arca-compatible from the start and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble and money.

Edit:
Btw, this is what I mean by a panning ballhead, aka ballhead with panning clamp. The ones I have are by Sunwayfoto, but they can be difficult to find:


Last edited by Kath; 01-10-2016 at 11:08 AM.
01-10-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jatrax's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Washington Cascades
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,991
QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
especially with a bag attached for more stability.
Forgot to mention that. Always a good idea to hang a weight off the center of any tripod. Helps make it stable and also helps with stupid accidents like someone bumping into your tripod and knocking it over.

I have had my setup simply blow over in the wind with my almost brand new k-3 on it. That is with what I consider a good stable tripod fully extended. I set up and went back to the car for a filter. A single gust blew the whole set right over. That feeling of dread in your stomach is nothing I ever want to feel again. Fortunately the only damage was to the O-ME53 which took the hit and paid the ultimate price. So yeah, hang a weight.

---------- Post added 01-10-16 at 09:48 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
Go Arca-compatible from the start and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble and money.
Another good point. Definitely go with A/S right up front and save the aggravation of changing.
01-10-2016, 11:32 AM - 1 Like   #7
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,603
Good Morning,

I agree with everything that has been posted. Funding is always a problem, however there are some workarounds - most of which takes some time....
  • KEH.com - sells used tripods. You have to research what they have currently available, or wait until they have something that you want.
  • Craigslist - I found my old Manfrotto 3001 pro legs there. It came with a head that I hated, so I sold it - which made the legs just about free. It does take some time looking (like 6 months) and waiting. Also, I was looking for a Manfrotto 410 geared head (to use for astrophotography). I was too late on a couple of them and some were more than what I wanted to pay. Then I found on that was priced right - came with the legs that I did not want, so I asked if the seller would just ship the head and keep the legs. They cut the price even more and it worked out all around. Again, it took 6 months of looking.
Some additional thoughts...
  • The center column is useless. It turn a tripod into a fancy monopod. So, I never raise the center - as it's just another source of wobble and vibration.
  • I do have to admit that I did go overboard on a ball head - with an Arcatech GP. You are able to invert it so that the panning is on TOP of the ball, so that you can pan level for stitched panos. There are now panning clamps that can go on top of any other ballhead and perform in the same way for a lot less.
  • Arca-Swiss compatible clamps and plates - along with L brackets just make life much easier. There are a lot of third party vendors out there to choose from.
  • Check out the Giottos YTL 9354. It is ~55 inches high with out the center column up. Still small enough to fit into carry on luggage (unlike my Manfrotto 3001). It goes for ~$130 for just the legs.
  • There are specialized tripods with out a center column that are TALL (6'+) - but they cost a premium.




Last edited by interested_observer; 01-10-2016 at 11:42 AM.
01-10-2016, 02:15 PM   #8
New Member




Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Crockett, Ca
Posts: 12
Wow, thanks for starting this thread. Very informative, as I'm in the market for a tripod upgrade myself
01-10-2016, 02:28 PM   #9
Forum Member
Heavenly Creation's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Bradenton, FL
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 53
Original Poster
Thanks for the insights. I think I will go with the Manfrotto w/ballhead. I saw a pan head in action on youtube and it only went backwards 30 degrees so if I wanted to take some flying bird pics while on the tripod it would be very hard.

Choosing that tripod just sets me back a month but better to get what you need rather than get what you want... lol
01-10-2016, 02:32 PM   #10
pjv
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
pjv's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 7,919
With in 4 hours of posting, years of knowledge and practical experience shared. I knew I was in the right place !!!
01-10-2016, 04:05 PM   #11
Pentaxian
KiloHotelphoto's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Glen Mills, PA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 908
What ever you decide checkout B&H used selection, I got a great deal on a showroom model.
01-10-2016, 04:27 PM   #12
Veteran Member
Grippy's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 816
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote

I have had my setup simply blow over in the wind with my almost brand new k-3 on it. That is with what I consider a good stable tripod fully extended. I set up and went back to the car for a filter. A single gust blew the whole set right over. That feeling of dread in your stomach is nothing I ever want to feel again. Fortunately the only damage was to the O-ME53 which took the hit and paid the ultimate price. .
I had this happen, the quick release plate gave way very early one morning sent my Oly E-3 and nice Zuiko glass smashing to the ground, them tumbling under the little wooden fence I was next to and rolling 3 metres down a wet and slippery grass bank towards the Torrens River here in Adelaide, this saw me diving under the fence and luckily grabbing the strap before she went over the edge, it came off wet and muddy but was a tough bugger and worked like a champ ever since.

As for the pan vs ball head, I actually prefer the pan head, I've had both, my Manfrotto is nice and easy to "loosen" just the right amount to allow slight movements. Go with a decent brand to start with and you will be happy.
01-10-2016, 05:25 PM   #13
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2014
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 165
I have a cheap tripod and shopping for better one. I would not risk your camera and lens because of a cheap tripod, nearly found out!
I use a weight with my long lens setup, also do alot of landscapes and outdoor photography on uneven ground.
Also prefer the snap legs over the twist personal choice, but get a good head that will support your largest setup and then some.
HC you will be much happier in the end, if you buy a good tripod and head! Good luck on your purchase
01-10-2016, 10:39 PM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jatrax's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Washington Cascades
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,991
Pan heads have their place and in some situations they can be very nice. The problem with them is that you can build a VERY cheap pan head that still works, sort of. A ball head that cheap would not work at all. So I've nothing against pan heads, as long as they are of good quality. Unfortunately too many of them are just toys because they can be built so cheaply.

For serious video they are almost required I would think.
01-10-2016, 10:45 PM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Canada_Rockies's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sparwood, BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,200
When I bought my M 400 back in the early 1980's (used) I took a trip to Cranbrook Photo in Cranbrook, BC. I showed the KX (film) and M 400 and what tripod? I walked out with my wallet lighter by C$208 plus tax and Manfrotto 055 aluminum legs with a Manfrotto 0168 ball head. You can see them in my Avatar. I am about to make a modification to my gear: a gimbal head. Other than buying a new quick release plate because the cork had worn down so far it didn't hold the camera and lens without unscrewing itself due to lack of friction, I have had zero other problems with it. The Manfrotto even has a handle that is a wrench to tighten things up in the field.

Replacing a user changeable part after nearly 30 years meant you didn't lead me up the garden path. Thanks Brian! I asked, you answered, and it was a perfectly good answer. Last year Brian retired, but the store is still there.

What I am saying in typical long winded old Phart style is that you never regret buying the right equipment. It costs more to buy cheap, and then buy the right stuff later by whatever you paid for the cheap stuff. Ask someone who knows. And still makes the same stupid mistake from time to time. Yes dear.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
heads, help, landscape, lens, pan, tripod
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
**BENRO tripod broke! How can I fix? Please Help** iNicole Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 13 02-01-2015 03:43 AM
Help! with stuck tripod screw sholtzma Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 5 01-19-2015 03:27 PM
Help me choose tripod for K3 kref Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 10 10-15-2014 06:07 PM
tripod help! TaoMaas Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 7 02-18-2008 05:40 AM
Tripod help.... clarenceclose Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 7 02-02-2008 11:11 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:36 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top