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01-27-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
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Inexpensive and Decent Tripods

Well since I'm a beginner I've just been walking around and taking photos. So far so good! I know one of the photographers best tools is the tripod and I don't have one. I don't need something professional cuz I'm just learning, but I'd like something that isnt gonna tip over when a gust of wind blows by. And since I don't know anything about tripods I figured some of you could help me out. Today there is deal for this polaroid tripod itll end at midnight. It's a good price and I've read decent reviews on Amazon but not sure if I should jump on it.
Wireless Daily Deal, 1 Sale A Day
A little insight on me im 6'2" so im not sure if the height of the tripod comes into play here at all. Someone also suggested using a cane to me which I thought was a good idea but id ideally like both. Oh and I know ebay is filled with inexpensive tripods but I feel like its a crap shoot there if you dont know anything about tripods.

thanks in advance for the help


Last edited by vega; 01-27-2011 at 03:09 PM. Reason: tripods
01-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #2
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Polaroid=junk. I have one that i got free with some kit. (one of those ebay, buy one item get the full package for $1 more type things) Its junk though, i use it only to mount a flash in a pinch. And at $12 its not a steal considering you can pick them up all over the internet for $14.

If i were you i would keep an eye on Dolica 62 ball head. I waited a month or so and ended up finding one for $29 on amazon. They are usually around teh $60 range, but I have seen them go up to $80. Just keep your eye out. Its a great tripod if your lookin to spend=cheap quality=great. Amazon has it right now for $45 which is a great deal. Scoop it up
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001D60LG8/sr=8-1/qid=1296145980/ref=olp_pr...sr=8-1&seller=

Last edited by SlickYamaha; 01-27-2011 at 09:41 AM.
01-27-2011, 09:41 AM   #3
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it will be light weight i would think. and not the most stable thing in the world. Unfortunately you get what you pay for with a tripod. though they can cost a lot they are pretty much a one time purchase. I've had my Manfrotto 190 for close to twenty years now. It's heavier than the new carbon fiber ones but it's never failed me. The only thing i would change is the head it has and really i could do that any time I want.

You will likely end up spending a couple of hundred dollars with a good head.

edit

the Dolica looks good for the dough.

I'd look at swap meets/Junk Shops.... as well (don't know if boston has photo swap meets there are a couple a year in Toronto)
the big things to look for are the ability to unscrew the head (then you can upgrade change to a different style) solid construction (no flexibility in the legs) and the spiked/adjustable feet are nice
01-27-2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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The polaroid tripod you linked to seems more like a video tripod since it has a panning handle. Which probably wouldn't be bad if you like shooting video with any of the new Pentax line. Dolica's are a good entry level tripod, but the cheap one that everybody recommends may be a little on the short side for you at 6'2". You would have to have all the legs fully extended and the center column up a bit for it to be at your eye level. That makes for a shaky base and if you ever decide to do long exposures, you risk camera shake or blurring.

I'd recommend looking around at local stores and trying out different models. It doesn't have to be the super light carbon fiber special model or anything. Just make sure you are comfortable of the height with the camera on the tripod and the tripod is able to absorb vibrations. Then when you find one that you like, look it up online to get a better price. I realize money is a consideration when you're just beginning, but if you get a poor performing tripod you'll just end up ditching it and buying a better one later. Thus, doubling the cost of entry.

01-27-2011, 09:58 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SlickYamaha Quote
Polaroid=junk. I have one that i got free with some kit. (one of those ebay, buy one item get the full package for $1 more type things) Its junk though, i use it only to mount a flash in a pinch. And at $12 its not a steal considering you can pick them up all over the internet for $14.

If i were you i would keep an eye on Dolica 62 ball head. I waited a month or so and ended up finding one for $29 on amazon. They are usually around teh $60 range, but I have seen them go up to $80. Just keep your eye out. Its a great tripod if your lookin to spend=cheap quality=great. Amazon has it right now for $45 which is a great deal. Scoop it up
Amazon.com: Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head: Camera & Photo
I got this for $18.74 at Amazon on a promotion for myself and it's been great. A few weeks later, I went to a pro-photo shop where they had all of the greatest, lightest & expensive Tripods and heads. After playing with them for over an hour, I knew I got a good deal on a solid product. The only thing I can see for the most part that it does not do is have the middle tube come all the way out so that it can go horizontal.

Last edited by glee46; 01-27-2011 at 10:02 AM. Reason: I put in wrong price
01-27-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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Of course I can't find it now. But I read an article last year that essential said to but the best (and that doesn't mean cheap) tripod you can. The author pointed out that beginners tend to buy three tripods, the first one is a cheap one which soon get's replaced by a better and more expensive one, then ultimately, they but a quite expensive one that they use all the time (we are talking >$400 or so. The point was that when you added up the cost of all three it was more than just getting the expensive one that and that is the one you should have gotten in the first place.

Sadly, when I read that I looked at the three tripods sitting in my office, exactly in the order described by the author and wished I'd read that first.

Moral: A good, solid, versatile, and expensive tripod is as important a thing as any lens/body. Don't go cheap.
01-27-2011, 10:07 AM   #7
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Lol...

Blackcloud you're probably referring to Thom Hogan's article here

I agree with it, but again, as a beginner you never know how interested or involved you will be with photography. I also have the Dolica that everyone recommends and have since upgraded to a Feisol CT-3442. It was a night and day difference, but I'd expect that for the price I paid with tripod and ballhead together.

If i were to do it all over again, I'd just have bought the Feisol first, but at the time, all my money was going to lenses. Plus, I could never afford a Gitzo as a beginner
01-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Of course I can't find it now. But I read an article last year that essential said to but the best (and that doesn't mean cheap) tripod you can. The author pointed out that beginners tend to buy three tripods, the first one is a cheap one which soon get's replaced by a better and more expensive one, then ultimately, they but a quite expensive one that they use all the time (we are talking >$400 or so. The point was that when you added up the cost of all three it was more than just getting the expensive one that and that is the one you should have gotten in the first place.

Sadly, when I read that I looked at the three tripods sitting in my office, exactly in the order described by the author and wished I'd read that first.

Moral: A good, solid, versatile, and expensive tripod is as important a thing as any lens/body. Don't go cheap.
This is bang on. My 190 is a great tripod but I have often thought of replacing it with a much higher end tripod (if I ever get that large format I keep thinking about I'll have to)
I have the original variant on the manfrotto and it weighs far more than the newer carbon fiber stuff for one. I can remove the center pole in 2 stages tough and open up the legs to flatten down for Macro work if I want, so not too bad a deal in the end (And at close to 20 years i believe I've gotten my moneys worth and could probably resell it for around $100 so it's not a loss. the really cheap ones though you may as well just burn the money

What Tripod do you have now ?

01-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
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einstrigger - Yep, that's the article I was talking about.

eddie1960 - My current best friend is the predecessor to this guy (mine doesn't have spirit levels)
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 488RC4 Midi Ball Head with RC4 Rapid Connect System (3271): Camera & Photo

with these legs.
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black): Camera & Photo

This serves me very well for landscape photography. Carbon Fiber would be nice but that's were I went cheap.

If I did it over again, I'd get something from Really Right Stuff and have L brackets. But for landscape and some studio work, this rig is solid and I love the pan head on this guy.
01-27-2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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I've thought about changing to this type of head. this is the closest modern equivalent to mine (mine is the very first gen a little heavier and silver in colour. otherwise pretty much the same spec

Manfrotto Professional Aluminium Tripod Black without Head - 190 series

and this would be the closest to my head now (though mine is heavier closer to a kilo and a bit)

Manfrotto Basic Pan Tilt Head with Quick Lock - Three Way

Really there is no reason other than weight for me to change and I primarily use it for landscape and night photography. For any studio shots I've done I prefer to move around and shoot with either continuous lights or with a wireless trigger (usually continuous as mostly it's at events where I'm asked to provide light for the video guys as well) - tried shooting on tripod the first year i shot a local award show back stage shooting the winners. lasted about 10 minutes before I went hand held

every time i'm near the tripod section in the local shops the Gitzos start whispering to me. really never should have taken that Acid in the 70's

Edit:
just looked at that really right stuff web site

now I have new very expensive voices in my head saying panorama panorama.....
01-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #11
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A tripod has 2 parts:
One is the stabilizing parts mainly the legs and other is the mechanism [head] to turn the camera. The cheaper ones usually come together as a package and are generally useless. Here are my recommendations because this is what I use regularly [and I have 2 cheaper tripods that I never use too]:

These are current Amazon.com prices:

Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick ball head: $112.00 or if you dont have big lenses you can buy the 324RC2 which is about $99.00
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head Short: Camera & Photo

Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod: $127.81. If you can afford it you should get a carbon-fiber one as it is much lighter but those are more expensive.
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod: Camera & Photo

If you buy the above two you are looking at about $250 dollars. No point in getting a cheap tripod, they are hard to use, you will not use it! The 'joystick' ballhead is really nice, it makes moving the camera really easy. Once you get used to it you would not want other kinds of ballheads on your tripod...
01-27-2011, 11:55 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
A tripod has 2 parts:
One is the stabilizing parts mainly the legs and other is the mechanism [head] to turn the camera. The cheaper ones usually come together as a package and are generally useless. Here are my recommendations because this is what I use regularly [and I have 2 cheaper tripods that I never use too]:

These are current Amazon.com prices:

Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick ball head: $112.00 or if you dont have big lenses you can buy the 324RC2 which is about $99.00
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head Short: Camera & Photo

Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod: $127.81. If you can afford it you should get a carbon-fiber one as it is much lighter but those are more expensive.
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod: Camera & Photo

If you buy the above two you are looking at about $250 dollars. No point in getting a cheap tripod, they are hard to use, you will not use it! The 'joystick' ballhead is really nice, it makes moving the camera really easy. Once you get used to it you would not want other kinds of ballheads on your tripod...
And the Price holds, I paid about the same for my 190 close to 20 years ago so from a resale perspective you will recoup a good percentage if you decide to upgrade
01-27-2011, 12:09 PM   #13
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Alright you guys are probably scaring off the OP with these tripod suggestions. I know when I first began I was dumbfounded by how much tripods could get. A tripod that's over $100?!? Yikes, especially compared to what the OP was originally looking at for $17.99.

Between the Dolica and the Polaroid, I would get the Dolica. But I'm only 5'8". If you do decide to get more into photography, you'll realize either are just throw aways, but at least they're not too pricey.
01-27-2011, 12:41 PM   #14
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One vote for the Doleca. I found myself at your stage several months ago. It sounds like you don't want to spend $250 on a tripod, and neither did I. I read a ton of reviews on the Dolica 62" proline that's being sold on Amazon, and went for it. After multiple uses, I say it fit the bill perfectly. Lightweight, sturdy, very quick to set up, easy to use, just the right height (I'm 6'0"), and inexpensive -- no regrets.
01-27-2011, 01:11 PM   #15
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Go to a store and get the heaviest you can stand to carry a a price you can afford...
I got a Hama-Omega Premium- very 'mid-range' all metal parts... no plastic... and stable as... Just short of 80 gbp...

Don't know what name Hama go under in the US tho...
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