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08-09-2015, 05:27 PM   #1
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Tripods in the field.

Just seeking advice regarding the best way to handle a tripod in the field when one finds oneself not always needing to use it. I took one out today but found that most of the shots I took could have been taken without it - it was VERY bright and sunny, and even with the ISO turned way, way down (80) on my K-5, my shutter speeds at narrow aperture were usually well above a hundred.

I could carry the thing, but then I'd have to put it down for every shot (using M42 SMC Takumars, so manual focus). The alternative seems to be to fold it all the way up, stuff it in its case and sling that over my shoulder, and only bring it out when I feel I really, REALLY need it.

Also, I am starting to understand why a ball head is such a useful thing. Tilt-swivel is great for level ground and for less-than-level when you're staying for a while and you don't mind taking the time to adjust things carefully, but ball-head plus spirit levels seems to be the way to go to establish a local horizontal easily and quickly. Will have to look into this next time I'm at a bricks and mortar camera store.

08-09-2015, 06:02 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Just seeking advice regarding the best way to handle a tripod in the field when one finds oneself not always needing to use it. I took one out today but found that most of the shots I took could have been taken without it - it was VERY bright and sunny, and even with the ISO turned way, way down (80) on my K-5, my shutter speeds at narrow aperture were usually well above a hundred.

I could carry the thing, but then I'd have to put it down for every shot (using M42 SMC Takumars, so manual focus). The alternative seems to be to fold it all the way up, stuff it in its case and sling that over my shoulder, and only bring it out when I feel I really, REALLY need it.

Also, I am starting to understand why a ball head is such a useful thing. Tilt-swivel is great for level ground and for less-than-level when you're staying for a while and you don't mind taking the time to adjust things carefully, but ball-head plus spirit levels seems to be the way to go to establish a local horizontal easily and quickly. Will have to look into this next time I'm at a bricks and mortar camera store.
I have a carbon-fiber traveller's tripod (4-segment legs) that is very light and compact. It easily attaches to my small backpack-type camera bag. I only take it out when I have to. If it is windy, I suspend the backpack from a hook at the bottom of the centre column to stabilize the set-up. It works well even when using my 200mm telephoto or zoom.

And yes having a ballhead with spirit levels is the next best invention after the toaster : ) I use a Vanguard SBH-300, which supports up to 32 kg. Good enough for my K5 and the bazooka --- SMC Takumar 80-210mm f/4.5.
08-09-2015, 06:05 PM   #3
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I'll jump in with an answer that is not to your original question.
I used to shoot view cameras and 120 roll film a lot, so I got used to carrying one for bigger cameras.
I find a tripod slows me down (in a good way) makes me really look at the scene and think about what I'm doing. Yes, in most good light, and with a current generation camera that has good high ISO performance, you don't need one for a steady shot. Don't think of it that way though, it's another tool to make you a better photographer. You can look at your composition, step back and look at the scene to see what is outside of the frame, and adjust. With a K5 or K3 you can use the live view and it acts like a view camera (except right-side up!).

When I'm shooting with one, I tend to leave the camera on it, and carry it, legs extended, across my shoulders. Then I can set up and start shooting pretty quickly when I find a scene I like.
If I know I'm walking for a bit, I'll pack it up, put the camera in the bag and carry the tripod in my hands or lashed to the bottom of my camera bag.

There are not many shots that can't be improved by a tripod, it's really more of a question of how inconvenient it is for a particular situation.
08-09-2015, 06:33 PM   #4
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Beware possible injury. Explore methods of carrying a tripod which minimize risk of injury. I know of one veteran photographer who has written that his chronic shoulder injury is related to how he carried a tripod. I do not know how heavy the tripod and any camera and lens were nor how long he carried the equipment.

08-09-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I could carry the thing
Time honored option.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
The alternative seems to be to fold it all the way up, stuff it in its case and sling that over my shoulder
Yep, that works too. Or you could stuff it in the top of a backpack. I lash my lighter tripod, sans case, to the outside of my day pack.


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08-09-2015, 06:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
There are not many shots that can't be improved by a tripod, it's really more of a question of how inconvenient it is for a particular situation.
Yep!


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08-09-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
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You could consider a monopod instead of a tripod. If you get a good one, you can use it as a walking stick, too. I picked up one to try that but never ended up using it, mostly because at the time I didn't have a tripod head I'd have trusted on it.

Like chmance, I use a carbon fiber tripod that collapses down pretty small. I don't tend to keep my camera attached to it. (I have an arcs-swiss plate attached to the camera, and an arca swiss clamp attached to my strap, so I can quickly switch between the strap and the tripod.

I use this one: T1205X with a perhaps excessive ball head (giving serious thought to getting a gimbal head, though)
but this other model by Sirui is more compact and very popular. It also has a carabiner clip for snapping onto your backpack or whatever. Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

08-09-2015, 06:51 PM   #8
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I actually use a Gorrilapod for light carrying use. I find it ideal for intermittent tripod shooting.
08-09-2015, 07:16 PM   #9
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I believe that a tripod would probably improve most photos I take. But a tripod can also be cumbersome, my tripod weighs over five pounds but is rock solid. Usually if I carry it it is also extended and over the shoulder. I've found if I leave it in the bag it tends to stay there. Some people can do quite well with a monopod, a skill I have not mastered.

Times I don't carry the tripod: Bright days, street shooting, casual walking about, birding (slows me down enough that I miss everything) There are some people that can do very well birding with tripods, and they pretty well have to use a tripod when they are using monster lenses.

Times I always use the tripod: Night, museums and public buildings that allow it. Low level shooting when I can.

Two thing I always use with a tripod since getting a K-30, live view with focus peaking, and the electronic level (which I also use hand held), and I always use the IR remote, except last week when the batteries on both of my remotes died on the same night, then I used the timer.

I do want to get a lightweight travel tripod, I was just on a trip that I flew and did not have room to bring my tripod.. I took a few pics setting the camera on the ground or a safe object, using stones or objects to prop the lens up a little when needed. Hopefully I can get one of the Siruis some day.

---------- Post added 08-09-15 at 10:18 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I actually use a Gorrilapod for light carrying use. I find it ideal for intermittent tripod shooting.
How gig of a lens are you comfortable with on the Gorrilapod, and do you mount a head on it?
08-09-2015, 07:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I believe that a tripod would probably improve most photos I take. But a tripod can also be cumbersome, my tripod weighs over five pounds but is rock solid. Usually if I carry it it is also extended and over the shoulder. I've found if I leave it in the bag it tends to stay there. Some people can do quite well with a monopod, a skill I have not mastered.

Times I don't carry the tripod: Bright days, street shooting, casual walking about, birding (slows me down enough that I miss everything) There are some people that can do very well birding with tripods, and they pretty well have to use a tripod when they are using monster lenses.

Times I always use the tripod: Night, museums and public buildings that allow it. Low level shooting when I can.

Two thing I always use with a tripod since getting a K-30, live view with focus peaking, and the electronic level (which I also use hand held), and I always use the IR remote, except last week when the batteries on both of my remotes died on the same night, then I used the timer.

I do want to get a lightweight travel tripod, I was just on a trip that I flew and did not have room to bring my tripod.. I took a few pics setting the camera on the ground or a safe object, using stones or objects to prop the lens up a little when needed. Hopefully I can get one of the Siruis some day.

---------- Post added 08-09-15 at 10:18 PM ----------




How gig of a lens are you comfortable with on the Gorrilapod, and do you mount a head on it?

JOBY GorillaPod SLR-Zoom - Portable, flexible tripod for telephoto lens cameras


One I use. I use the 55-300 on it and do a fair bit with my 100 Macro + K-30. I just use the Joby bullhead. Works fine.

These are on the fly tripods with great versatility, but they are not precision, set shot instruments.

I have wrapped it around fence posts and poles and realigning to get good, stable shots using the remote.

They make an even more robust one, too.

Remember: They are not standing height. These are not for you if you want to set up at eye-level for your work.
08-09-2015, 08:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by smf Quote
Beware possible injury. Explore methods of carrying a tripod which minimize risk of injury.
This can mean injury to other people as well.
08-09-2015, 09:10 PM   #12
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My backpack has a slot for the tripod. Alternatively, I took a long strap and tied it to the frame of my tripod so I can tie it to my bags if needed. And it doubles as a shoulder sling.
08-09-2015, 10:52 PM   #13
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I carry a tripod and long lens, and have shoulder straps that attach to the lens. I carry the tripod attached to the lens mount, camera body and lens at about hip level and the tripod back under my arm. If I am shooting and don't need it, I spread the legs and release the body and lens. Most of the time I shoot from the tripod.

If the tripod is folded and strapped to the backpack, it more than likely won't be used, unless you are packing things up so you can hike a long distance. So I would suggest figuring out a way to carry your camera attached to the tripod in a comfortable way, and if it suits your shooting style, a way that you can quickly set up and get a shot. I use the Peak Design straps and mounting clips, they work with the quick release and tripod setup, and are flexible to quickly clip to the camera body if needed.
08-10-2015, 07:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
JOBY GorillaPod SLR-Zoom - Portable, flexible tripod for telephoto lens cameras


One I use. I use the 55-300 on it and do a fair bit with my 100 Macro + K-30. I just use the Joby bullhead. Works fine.

These are on the fly tripods with great versatility, but they are not precision, set shot instruments.

I have wrapped it around fence posts and poles and realigning to get good, stable shots using the remote.

They make an even more robust one, too.

Remember: They are not standing height. These are not for you if you want to set up at eye-level for your work.
Sounds like the Focus is a better option if you have heavy lenses.

Another option, if you know you'll have something (pipe, railing, tree branch, table, etc) to attach it to, is a Manfrotto super clamp. http://www.hdrshooter.com/reviews/manfrotto-super-clamp-review/
08-10-2015, 07:57 AM   #15
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Hmm. If I can find somewhere on the tripod body that will take a carabiner, I can do some sort of shoulder sling - perhaps even a cross-body type similar to those used for cameras. Shall go back and look at it more carefully. Thanks all for your suggestions and input so far.
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