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01-16-2008, 06:24 PM   #1
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Manfrotto, Slik or Tiltall.

What is it about the Manfrotto tripods that makes everyone seem to prefer them over a say a Slik 700DX or Tiltall?

Why is a ball head more desirable than a tilt/pan head?

From everything I read the Tiltall tripods are built like tanks and I see they weigh a ton and Slik tripods have also been around forever as well and also weigh more than Manfrotto's. If weight is not a big factor why is it that those two tripod choices seem to not be very popular choices over a Manfrotto/Ball Head combo?

Thanks...Sprags

01-16-2008, 06:55 PM   #2
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I think alot of it is personal opinion,and some of it comes down to what is available at your shops. My local store does not carry tiltall or slik, but they do have promaster, gitzo, manfrotto sunpak etc etc.

I liked the build of the manfrotto,the price was right and it's gotten good reviews.I wanted something solid but not overly heavy.

As for the ball head,I believe the tilt/pan heads are a bit more awkward to maneuver for photography,and I've heard more than one person call tilt/pan heads more geared for video. Not saying it's true, just what I've heard.
I got the manfrotto that looks like an arcade or fighter jet joystick, and it is a pleasure to use

QuoteOriginally posted by Sprags Quote
What is it about the Manfrotto tripods that makes everyone seem to prefer them over a say a Slik 700DX or Tiltall?

Why is a ball head more desirable than a tilt/pan head?

From everything I read the Tiltall tripods are built like tanks and I see they weigh a ton and Slik tripods have also been around forever as well and also weigh more than Manfrotto's. If weight is not a big factor why is it that those two tripod choices seem to not be very popular choices over a Manfrotto/Ball Head combo?

Thanks...Sprags
01-16-2008, 08:12 PM   #3
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They are all good tripods. All will hold your camera steady. There are differences in design concept.
The Tiltall is a very basic tripod design that has been around decades. Think 3 legs with 3 way pan/tilt head. Want leg spreading for macro? Tough. Want to change heads? Tough. The tripod is bought the way it was designed and thats it. Very few changes can be made. It is well made.
The Slik (depending on model) allows more flexibilty of use. Many models have leg spreading, interchangeable heads, and other features. It allows more diverse types of photography and some customization by the user.
Manfrotto is a system of tripods and legs that are mostly interchangeable with each other. You might use a ball head in the morning and switch to a pan head for an afternoon in the studio. Then leave for a trip and take a smaller, lighter set of legs with one of the heads you used on the 1st set of legs. There are many ways to customize the setup. Gitzo is similar, but usually much more expensive. They also tend to be better built (same strength - lighter weight) smoother movements etc. You can even use Gitzo legs with Manfrotto heads and vice versa. They use a standardized 3/8 thread to bolt the head to the legs.
Hope this helps.
thanks
barondla
01-18-2008, 04:09 AM   #4
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Hi again, Sprags,

I'll chime in on why a photographer might prefer either a ballhead or a three-way/pan-tilt head:

I used a Manfrotto 0328 Super 3-D head (an ingeniously modified, magnesium three-way design) for many years atop both metal and carbon fiber Slik tripod legs. The reason I liked it was that the movements (pan, tilt, and horizontal-vertical orientation) were completely separated and easily controlled through rigid, quick conical joints. This head was rock solid and fast in use, but when I started to carry the combo strapped onto a photo backpack, the adjusting levers for the conical joints tended to tangle up in the bungee web used in the tripod holder (Lowepro design). That was slow and fiddly to pack and unpack, and the combo had to be oriented just so, or I'd get a handle in the side of my head if I looked around quickly.

The solution has been to replace the three-way head with a ballhead. i followed local outdoor photo guru Art Wolfe's advice and bought a Kirk BH-3 to top my Slik 813CF tripod. Love this combo! Compact and it doesn't hang up in the Lowepro's tripod holder webbing. Fast to set up and also rock solid to use in the field; quick to adjust with the big ball release knob getting most of the job done, with occasional use of the pan knob. The one drawback to a ballhead is that you've got to keep proper tension adjustment dialed in (especially when you change from short/light lenses to long/heavy glass) or your rig will flop all over as you release the ball. Mind that characteristic, though, and the ballhead is a real treat to use.

Which one is best? Depends on what makes you smile the most as you use it throughout the day!

01-18-2008, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies.
Christine: Though the ball head you have is probably quite good I am not planning on investing that much money into a tripod system.
The reason why I specified the Slick 700DX is because I see it sells for about $130 and the Tiltall sells for about $100 at adorama.com. I would rather invest the majority of my money in lenses rather than a tripod. That dollar figure of about $130 seemed like the number I am willing to invest in a tripod. I see that I can get a Manfrotto tripod/head combo that looks pretty good for about $150...so I would probably be willing to go that high if it really is a much tripod over the Slik or Tiltall.

Thanks for the help,
Sprags
01-24-2008, 05:10 AM   #6
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The Manfrotto line has plenty of good combinations, so I'm sure you'll find something that works at a price you can live with. My point was more about the pros and cons of three-way vs. ballhead options than about the specific gear I chose. It's easy to spend lots more or lots less than I did on a tripod and head, but getting the gear that works for you at an affordable price is the name of the game, isn't it?
02-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #7
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I ended up getting a Manfrotto 190XPROB and ball head for around $180. I saw some of the less expensive tripods at a local camera shop and see why the Manfrotto's are the ones to get.
02-01-2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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i got an Amnova tripod in the mail last week, for the price and features i really like it, and its pretty solidly build

but nothing compared to my friends carbon fiber manfrotto tripod, his legs only cost more than my legs and pistol-grip head, but when i use his tripod, even though we get the same thing done, his is like wearing silk vs sandpaper to operate.

so its just a refinement thing

cuz technically you can use a brick for a tripod...

02-01-2008, 05:56 PM   #9
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My first head was a Manfrotto pan-and-tilt, which looked really cool in the store, and worked really well. I found that I was constantly fiddling with knobs to make small changes and it drove me nuts. I returned that head.

Next I tried the Manfrotto 222 Head, which has a lever that allows the head to move around on the ball. Its not expensive and works great. It may be the same one as a previous poster mentioned.

I personally love this head and would never go back to Pan/Tilt unless I was trying to capture a tennis game or stock car racing.

- Andrew
02-05-2008, 06:11 PM   #10
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I've got an old Slik U212AF Tripod with there pistol grip type ball head. It's light, highly adjustable, sturdy enough for 35mm / DSLR.
I've also got a no name, metal, heavy, surveyor type tripod with a Bogen / Manfrotto 3 way head on it. The 3 way is not as fast to adjust as the ball head (especially Slik's AF head), but is very sturdy and forces you to think while you compose. It's great for a different type of photography. I used to use it with my 4X5 field camera (a different type of photography, to say the least)
Regards,
Brian
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