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03-24-2012, 07:13 AM   #1
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Quality Tripod Info

I have a K-5 ,so far my heaviest lens is an 18-250mm Pentax.I am looking for name of a quality tripod that would not be too hard to carry on a backpack.I spend alot of time outdoors.I'm planning on scouring the internet for awhile to find one ...need a few names and models to look for...planning on getting a really good USED one if I can...something that I can probably put a Manfrotto Grip-Action head on. Thank you very much for reading this and for any help you may give me.

03-24-2012, 07:30 AM   #2
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Feisol offers very good bang for the buck. I'm using their 3 section Tournament and CB50 ballhead, and am very satisfied.
In the USA, they are at FEISOL USA / North America - Tripods Monopods Ball Heads
03-24-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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I'm not really into brands but as for a tip get something like Carbon or Basalt as material for your tripod when you use it outdoors.
In the summer the aluminium are fine as well but they get very cold to the touch in the winter.
03-24-2012, 07:40 AM   #4
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I have a Manfrotto Manfrotto 055xprob, nicely build, very sturdy and I love the horizontal centercolom feature but I find it a bit heavy too carry around outdoors. Don`t know what your budget is but it`s also available in carbon.

03-24-2012, 07:48 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Do understand you are chasing something that doesn't exist. the best tripod is a block of concrete sitting on 3 bricks, but it's hard to fit in a backpack. This means
that you need to compromise beetween portability and stability. If you are trendy you will want a carbon fibre one, otherwise you will be happy with an Aluminum one.

If portabiity and convenience are paramount, a mono pod is all that you need.---and vastly easier to work with where high portability is needed. Beyond that, it how
much more baggage to you want to carry.
03-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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rvannatta has the right advice and suggestion for you (monopod) if you aren't going to be doing long-exposures. A decent monopod for hiking will be carbon-fiber and between $100-200. Here are some good brands to look for if you are shopping for NEW:
Feisol
Induro

As for tripods and USED gear; you can find the Manfrotto 055 aluminums used pretty frequently, and carbon-fiber for a full tripod is really if you have the budget for it (!) and can use that last little bit of weight reduction. Tripods are, by necessity, three times the weight, size, and price of an equivalent monopod so be sure you need one... otherwise you end up taking it off your packing list at the last second because "it's so big for just occasional use!"

For my backcountry hikes, I leave my (very nice) Gitzo at home and just pack this Novoflex heavy duty mini-tripod (size of an old microphone, but holds 55 lbs!) for astro shots and long exposures. That said, I haven't gone hiking with my long lenses and gimbal yet...

Last edited by panoguy; 03-24-2012 at 10:20 AM.
03-24-2012, 10:13 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
Do understand you are chasing something that doesn't exist. the best tripod is a block of concrete sitting on 3 bricks, but it's hard to fit in a backpack. This means
that you need to compromise beetween portability and stability. If you are trendy you will want a carbon fibre one, otherwise you will be happy with an Aluminum one.

If portabiity and convenience are paramount, a mono pod is all that you need.---and vastly easier to work with where high portability is needed. Beyond that, it how
much more baggage to you want to carry.
this is so true!

I've had a few different tripods and have settled into a fairly heavy setup which i much prefer over the lighter carbon fiber one i used to use. when i am outside shooting in 15-20mph winds, i sometimes wish i had the concrete and brick rig, lol. So far, i've never gone on a hike that was so long that i regretted slinging my heavy tripod over my shoulder, however, i do have a couple of very small, very light tripods should this ever happen.
presently i use the Manfrotto 3021BPro legs with a Manfrotto 329 3-way head and it is super stable in most windy conditions.
03-24-2012, 10:58 AM   #8
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I've used a Tiltall aluminum tripod for 40 years. Nothing fancy, just simple, rigid, solid support. But not for backpacking. For that I carry a Leitz tabletop tripod with ball head. I can always find some surface to set it on, and it's more solid than a lightweight large unit.

03-24-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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Weight vs. Stability vs. Compactness vs. Stability vs. Utility vs. Stability vs. Price vs. Stability vs. Build vs. Stability vs. Capacity

ummmm...I seem to have put stability in there more than once. Go figure.

All of the above factors are in a state of dynamic tension. Emphasize one and you get a shift on the others. I am firmly convinced that there is no magic point of convergence even if price is allowed to float freely.

I finally ended up with a mix based on function:
  • Giottos MT9360 for the K10D (general use) and Chamonix field camera.
  • Giottos 1301 ballhead for the K10D (or the 645N I have been jonesing on for the last year or so)
  • Bogen 3028 3-D head for the Chamonix on the 9360. What is amazing is that it weighs no more than the ballhead. Also in its favor is that it will support any of my cameras, though at the price of flexibility and bulk. It also looks rather queer to have the tiny FED-2 or XA mounted!
  • Slik 330-DX for the backpack. It can handle anything in my quiver except for the Chamonix (various 35mm film cameras and the K10D), though it is not nearly as stable or as versatile as the Giottos.
  • Manfrotto 494 ballhead for the Slik. The combination weighs in at about 3#. For a full discussion of this setup see my posts on Hin's blog HERE and HERE
  • Cheap Giottos monopod (bundled free with the 9360) for when I need to be light/compact and even the Slik is too much.
For what its worth, the 9360 has hit the trail on occasion. The Chamonix is, after all, a field camera and a field camera must have its support.

My advice? Start off in a camera store that caters to pros and which has a decent selection (say three competing lines). Find which models seem to meet your needs and don't be afraid to come to the store with gear bag in hand to see how the support handles the load. Take notes (in writing) regarding likes/dislikes. Do not consider price at this point.

Once you have a good idea what fits your needs, go home with your notes and scour the web to find the competition for your top choice. Use the Web to make your short list of candidates. If at all possible, check out your top choice in person before making the purchase. I learned the hard way with the purchase of a laughably flimsy tripod at the same price point as the 330-DX at the price of shipping both ways. (The QR plate was about the size of my thumbnail!)

If at all possible, buy local at the brick and mortar store. Online prices for tripods are not that competitive for quality tripods and it is good to support the merchants who maintain the stock on the shelves.

Steve

BTW...exotic materials may save weight, but usually at the price of capacity, stability, and $$$...and yes, even Gitzo can and will fail in the field...great warranty though!

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-24-2012 at 11:54 AM.
03-24-2012, 12:05 PM   #10
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For backpacking, one name that has not yet been mentioned is the Benro Travel Angel series. They have several different models in both aluminum and carbon fiber. I have one that folds up small enough to easily fit in my rollaboard carry-on bag but extends high enough for me to use comfortably (I'm 6'5".) I wish I had something like it back in my backpacking days. The other thing you might consider is one of the small, compact beanbag camera supports. You can use it to stabilize the camera on a rock, log or fence post and it takes up less weight and space than any tripod. Look for the Green Pod.bean bag.
03-24-2012, 12:43 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by abmj Quote
For backpacking, one name that has not yet been mentioned
So many names aren't mentioned yet.
Gitzo, velbon, redged and Slik comes to mind.

For something cheap and good Redged might indeed be interesting.
03-24-2012, 07:48 PM   #12
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A lot depends on how tall you are, since you need a tripod that fits your height. Unlike some of the other posters I haven't found smaller tripods or beanbags generally useful, but your experience may vary.

Paul
03-25-2012, 05:40 AM   #13
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Tripods are one of those things that are worth searching out a camera store or electronics store that carries a decent camera and accessories section. Pictures in a catalog or online don't tell you much. It will have weight and size and other specs but will it be a hassle to work with? Heads especially. I want to actually see what I am getting. I backpack and xc ski and recently bought a Promaster carbon fiber tripod. Very light and sturdy enough for my uses. I have a Manfrotto 3 way head I'm currently using. I also liked the Vanguard models. They only had alumunium models in the store and that's why I opted for the Promaster. I paid around $160 with tax. I already owned the head which I used on my much heavier Quantaray tripod. You can notice the difference in weight right off in the store when picking them up. While I like my setup, it might not be satisfactory for someone else. It makes decisions much easier when you have a dozen set up in front of you to check out. I notice you're from the Adirondacks as I am also. Ray Supply in Queensbury has a very good collection of several brands in stock at prices very close to online retailers.
03-25-2012, 05:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
For something cheap and good Redged might indeed be interesting.
Aren't Redged tripods just rebadged HorusBennus? Amazing how a new badge can increase the price of something...
03-25-2012, 05:50 AM   #15
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