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Tripod Recommendation

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by SteveSinclair, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member


    I posted recently about Arca Swiss compatibility problems I had with a new Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre tripod and XPRO magnesium ball head (top plate variant) I had purchased recently. That saga ended with me returning the tripod and head in frustration. Ask me about Manfrotto customer services, go on...

    I’m now back to square one and wondered if anyone had any recommendations for a tripod and head?

    I’ll be using them primarily for landscapes & seascapes. The biggest/heaviest lens I have is a 70-200mm f2.8 and it would be on a Nikon D810 body. I use Sunwayfoto L Brackets and the head has to accept them.

    Previously I liked the look of the Induro CLT204 and associated head but suppliers seemed to have problems with stock - tripod was reasonably easily obtained but the head seemed to be a problem. I liked “Really Right Stuff” but the only distributor I could find close to the UK was in Germany (not a showstopper but wanted something a bit quicker at the time - not a factor anymore after Manfrotto). Seemed expensive but I’d be willing to consider them now.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations based on personal experience? I hadn’t anticipated getting a tripod would be this difficult.

    Thanks for any suggestions or pointers.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi ( tx for the Car Park info.) , I'm not going to be much use I am afraid. I mainly use a set of Velbon Carbon Fibre legs with a Manfrotto ball head or Manfrotto gimbal head. I chose the legs and ball head by taking the camera and lens into a shop and trying them out. I think the main thing to be sure of is that you can reach and undo the leg catches. It is annoying when you stick the camera on then find one corner isn't tight and it is just out of reach .... The fewer the leg sections the better for rigidity. I don't use the centre column raised, in fact I removed most of it, pointless to carry around. With the gimbal head, which is quite tall, the camera is eye-height for me with the legs all up. I've probably shrunk a bit with age - say 5'10". With the ball head I usually use the tripod set lower with a right-angle finder on the camera. It is easier than bending. The Velbon has screw feet that can alter between flat rubber or metal points ( not good for some floors). It has foam padding on the upper sections which makes carrying it a bit warmer in winter. I have an old Aluminium Manfrotto 055 and that is freezing to carry in the cold. The Velbon isn't that light, probably the same as the Manfrotto, but is solid.
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  3. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks Pete - that might be the best approach. I’ll visit my local camera shop with camera etc and see what they’ve got or can get.
  4. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I use a red snapper and am very pleased but it is a few years old so any recommendation I make will be out of date
    I think they are internet only sales organisation
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  5. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Great thanks very much Roger, I’ll visit that site and have a look around.
  6. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    What is your budget?
    SteveSinclair and RogerMac like this.
  7. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Roger Hicks and his wife Francis are probably the forum experts on tripods and no doubt will be along soon. They will probable recommend second hand and very top of the range, but the difficulty is sourcing good S/H
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  8. Derek W

    Derek W Well-Known Member

    I use a Red Snapper tripod as well, it is very well made.

    Mind you I say use, I think I have used it maybe 3 or 4 times in total.

    By the way my Red Snapper tripod came with a carry bag as well for carrying it around in, again very well made.
    SteveSinclair and RogerMac like this.
  9. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    The Manfrotto tripod & head were about £400 so that sort of bracket. Looking for something sturdy, carbon fibre if possible.
  10. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks for the informtion Derek I’ll be having a look.
  11. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I used to think that choosing a tripod should be easy, but little need I know, I now have 7 and if possible I prefer not to use one!

    If you search on this site you will find several recommendations.

    I once read that if you are serious about tripods, get a Gitzo as you will eventually end up with one. Good advice.

    They are not cheap but you can get them used or new when the range is being updated for reasonable prices.

    I also considered Red Snapper given all the positive feedback, but they did not have the carbon fibre model when I was looking. RRS are by all accounts up there with Gitzo, but apparently the European prices are much higher than the US ones.

    Good luck.
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger,

    Thank'ee kindly. We have an e-book on the subject, but I hesitate to advertise it. It's free to Patreon $5 subscribers.

    Quick summary:

    Don't spend under £100 for a new tripod. For £200 you should get something quite good. Gitzo carbon is indeed among the best, but at a terrifying price. Then again, how often do you break or lose a tripod?

    Look at legs and heads separately. Cheap heads are usually a worse source of vibration than cheap legs.

    Avoid geared centre columns under £300 new.

    Even a wobble-pod (cheap multi-section tripod from decades ago, with cheap B+S head) is usually better than no tripod.

    Compatibility of "Arca-standard" heads is variable, because they're not very "standard".

    Buy second hand where possible. You can save 50-90% over new.


    SteveSinclair likes this.
  13. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll be following up on this at the weekend and starting the search for good used gear.
  14. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    Thanks very much for the advice. The terrifying prices around Gitzo are...terrifying but I’ll be looking at 2nd hand as you suggest.
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    And there's always Linhof. My big Linhof is currently over $4300 (legs and centre column, no head) or £3700 at B+H in New York. Maybe 20 years ago I paid £200 for the head, column and legs. See what I mean about savings?


    SteveSinclair likes this.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I've 4 Gitzos in sizes from a bit bigger than tabletop to a massive studio model. The latter cost me £20 about 10 years ago, is enormously battered, but incredibly sturdy. The others are CF. Altogether, they cost me less than half the price of one new one. I love them.
    SteveSinclair likes this.
  17. SteveSinclair

    SteveSinclair Member

    That’s my goal now I think - if I can find one in the near future I’ll grab it. If not I’ll get something but keep looking.
  18. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just a couple of final points - whatever tripod you are using use the two second shutter delay to enable any residual vibrations from your hands to die down before the actual exposure. Also if you are standing on a wooden suspended floor stand absolutely still during the exposure.

    Apologies if that seems like teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.

    Incidentally my new camera has a 50mp mode where it combines several exposures so I think that my tripod will get more use than before
  19. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Good advice Roger.
    What is your lasted camera, I missed that.
    (Or use a shutter release cable rather than the timer)
  20. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    It's an Olympus PEN-F that takes one exposure and then three more after moving the sensor slightly each time and merges the images obviously the exposures are spread out a short period so absolute stability is essential.

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