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01-27-2011, 01:12 PM   #16
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I played around with cheap tripods and didn't listen to those who said to save your money, skip them and get something better. I should have listened. My latest is a Chinese brand 'Benro' with their B2 ballhead - superb quality and does everything I want it too. I should add that as I live in Shanghai I had the opportunity to see them before I bought - I was impressed then and am doubly so after 6 months with it (and the B2 ballhead).

They have a whole range (just search for Benro on EBay) but try this, looks a great deal to me, tripod and ballhead for $120 :New BENRO A-250 EX BH-00 Aluminium Tripod Kit - eBay (item 250627473112 end time Jan-30-11 02:50:04 PST)

01-27-2011, 01:14 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
I played around with cheap tripods and didn't listen to those who said to s=save your money, skip them and get something better. I should have listened. My latest is a Chinese brand 'Benro' with their B2 ballhead - superb quality and does everything I want it too.

They have a whole range (just search for Benro on EBay) but try this, looks a great deal to me :New BENRO A-250 EX BH-00 Aluminium Tripod Kit - eBay (item 250627473112 end time Jan-30-11 02:50:04 PST)
Looks like an excellent tripod for the price
01-27-2011, 03:11 PM   #18
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For the OP: basically, there is cheap, light, and stable. All tradeoffs aside, you can have two of the three.

In a budget tripod, try not to be distracted by features, (more to go wrong or be made poorly: Simple is good. ) and also don't worry so much how tall it gets. Especially a cheap one will not be as solid at its highest extension, anyway.

These Dolicas that seem to be appearing at good prices pretty often lately really do seem like a good deal, especially for beginners, and especially considering they aren't big,

Another good option is old and big ones made for video cameras, (Which used to be very big, even consumer models) A bit clunky, but you can have tall.

(Also, there's usually pretty good prices on Tiltalls: Classic design, (as in 'old') but you know what you're getting, and there's little to go wrong or be manufactured poorly in ways that'll ruin your day. I think they'll also let you stand pretty straight, if you like.

I'm not as tall as you, by a good ways, but I really do prefer to keep camera support as low as possible, avoid extending center columns, etc. Except sometimes for portraits of standing people, (Actually, if you're taller, you might want to be coming down more to eye-level, yourself, ) ...you usually don't need to be standing that high. A good height where you can come down to meet the camera comfortably is probably sufficient for most. You know, like baseball batters or something: they're not standing straight-up, but they can hang out there a long time while being quite steady. That's all you need: a comfy spot where you can be steady.

Anyway, keeping it simple is best, overall. Especially when starting out. If you need a special feature, you can find that out as easily with a simple tripod as a fancy one that doesn't work so well.

(Also, that Benro looks pretty decent. )
01-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #19
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Look on ebay for a Tiltall or one of the clones. Cheap and stable. Even better though... Every now and then Best buy outlet (on eaby) sells tripods with missing bits. The best one they sell is a stable tripod, but with a lousy video head, sells for $150 in the store. Sometimes these sell cheap on the outlet store, like in the $25 range because the handle is missing or the plate or both. Check carefully, you want the legs to be good. Scrap the video head (it unscrews and has a 3/8 thread) and get a ball head from one of the Chinese cloners like Benro and you'll have a good stable tripod for not a lot of money.

01-28-2011, 01:59 PM   #20
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I just picked a Bogen Manfrotto 3011 with a 3029 head. The head is the pan type so it uses levers, but I like the entire set up. It raises real tall; up to almost 6 feet wich I really like. It seems very stable too and the parts are not cheap at all. And, it is rather heavy, but that's all good. It cost me $85 including shipping, but I think it is much better in quality than the Sun(?) Brands at Best Buy.
01-28-2011, 03:07 PM   #21
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The Dolica tripod posted by SlickYamaha is very similar to my Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite which I love. Although the Voyager Lite has a 2 piece center post so not only will it be tall enough for your 6'2 frame it also separates so that you can spread the tripod legs out wide and get real low macro shots as well. I'm not a huge fan of the ball head included with it, but it is what can you expect from a budget head(honestly no worse than anything else in the price range or in the $100 range). A positive is that it can be replaced down the road if you like. I purchased mine for $40 during a B&H sale, but even at $55 it is well worth it imo.
01-28-2011, 04:04 PM   #22
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thanks for all the great responses, it looks like I have a lot to think about. Keep the responses coming though if there's anything more to add.
01-29-2011, 06:25 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by iwanaleya Quote
The Dolica tripod posted by SlickYamaha is very similar to my Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite which I love. Although the Voyager Lite has a 2 piece center post so not only will it be tall enough for your 6'2 frame it also separates so that you can spread the tripod legs out wide and get real low macro shots as well. I'm not a huge fan of the ball head included with it, but it is what can you expect from a budget head(honestly no worse than anything else in the price range or in the $100 range). A positive is that it can be replaced down the road if you like. I purchased mine for $40 during a B&H sale, but even at $55 it is well worth it imo.
Your Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite is the same in every way as the Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head.

They all come out of the same factory. One week they will put Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite & the new week the Dolica and so on. Most major companies have been doing this for years.

01-29-2011, 06:31 AM   #24
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Where did you get it for this price?

QuoteOriginally posted by scimitar12 Quote
I just picked a Bogen Manfrotto 3011 with a 3029 head. It cost me $85 including shipping, .....
Where did you get it for this price?

Thanks
01-29-2011, 08:31 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by glee46 Quote
Your Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite is the same in every way as the Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head.

They all come out of the same factory. One week they will put Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite & the new week the Dolica and so on. Most major companies have been doing this for years.
Yup, I bought the Dolica because I travel a lot and it breaks down to less than 24" and comes with a nice travel bag. It's cheap enough that if I had to ditch it I'd have no regrets. It is quite serviceable.
01-29-2011, 09:09 AM   #26
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I would suggest looking in a brick and mortar store first for tripods. Find one that's set up and check it out. The dirt cheap ones are usually pretty flimsy and it will be obvious as you will notice some slop and excessive free play in parts when it is extended. Most important, make sure it is sturdy. A tripod that isn't sturdy is useless. A slight breeze will cause shake and defeat the purpose of using it. I bought a fairly sturdy one from Ritz a few years back for $89 including the ballhead. The drawback is the weight. It's all metal and heavy compared to carbon fiber tripods. It works for me as I don't carry it far.
01-29-2011, 05:23 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Yup, I bought the Dolica because I travel a lot and it breaks down to less than 24" and comes with a nice travel bag. It's cheap enough that if I had to ditch it I'd have no regrets. It is quite serviceable.
I got one, as I'm sure many of us did, when Amazon had them for about $18.50 a couple months back. Seems to be fine for a light camera/lens setup, but I'm still adjusting to having a ball head. I was going to swap a pan head I have, but the Dolica is 1/4" and my pan head is 3/8", or vice versa...

Also, I found the "missing" instruction sheet and a wrench in the inner pocket, eventually.
01-29-2011, 07:35 PM - 2 Likes   #28
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With me, "cheap" is almost a religion. I'd start out with the best cheap-o tripod you can find (look in thrift shops, garage sales, etc) The scratch and dent Tiltall, the Dolica, if 2nd hand isn't possible. Buy it knowing it's a temporary solution. A cheap tripod is a rite of passage. Throw your lose change in a jar and by the time you are are ready to use that tripod as a weapon to beat yourself, you'll know what you want next. Besides, you'll have all that lose change to pay for it. If you spend $25-50, it's not that big of a deal to throw it away or use it as a flash stand. You've solved a temporary problem and learned something--that's worth 25.00

All the old, well-used, and still usable tripods have expensive names on them: Gitzo, Manfrotto. For your 2nd tripod seriously consider doing the cheapskate thing--buy a tripod you'll keep for decades. A tripod isn't just made of aluminum or carbon fiber, a lot of the real value and quality of tripod comes in the parts they use to put these things together and the way they do it. Quality is rarely 1 thing--it's 100 small details that add up to make something durable. It's using the 1.00 part instead of the .50 part, it's investing 10 minutes in doing 'X' instead of 2 minutes.

But you don't need the great tripod yet. Find out how committed you are, find out if you'll hike with one or if it will mostly be in a studio. Find out if you have special needs in a tripod. After this beginner tripod, you'll know where to invest your money.
01-29-2011, 07:50 PM   #29
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Very good advice darenka.
01-29-2011, 11:27 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by glee46 Quote
Your Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite is the same in every way as the Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head.

They all come out of the same factory. One week they will put Davis and Sanford Voyager Lite & the new week the Dolica and so on. Most major companies have been doing this for years.
Yep I'm aware of that, same with items in other industries as well. I went with the D&S because it had the 2 piece center column for the same price as the Dolica at the time I picked it up.
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