Here's some good reading material....
There are a lot of considerations to determine the tripod and head including how large your largest lenses are, etc. If versatility is a big goal, check out the Gitzo Explorer series. Personally, I like ball heads and prefer the arca quick release systems...
Read, digest, learn.Rob.
Everyone, everywhere, has to do everything for a first time. There is no failure in failure, only in failing to learn...
I have one that reaches a height that permits me to stand up and use it (if I want) vers a tripod that leaves you hunched over at it's max height. Saves my back from some abuse. I have a strong soft tripod case as well that mostly protects everything else from the many pointy edges on the tripod. A ball head is the way to go...ball head weight ratings (ability to hold weight) are often over rated buy the manufactures. Good Luck..
When I bought my newest tripod, my objectives were to: 1) get one that is absolutely sturdy; 2) get one tall enough that I don't need to bend over; 3) get one that can support a telephoto without the dreaded "lens droop"; 4) try to avoid one that is too heavy. After much research, I bought the Bogan/Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod legs with the 488RC2 midi ballhead. Total cost was $291. I am very pleased with this rig..
Jan M wrote:.
Ive decided that it's time to buy a tripod and I have no idea of whatI should get. It needs to be strong and rock steady but at the sametime I don't want it to weigh a ton. I also don't know what type ofhead to get, ball, pan, ect. Of coarse I don't want to spend anymorethan I have to but I can go to the $700 range if need be..
I shoot lots of different things from macro to portraits tolandscapes so I need something that is versatile. Thanks in advance..
Jan, I don't want to knock your desire to own a tripod but before you rush out and buy one I would like to suggest the practical alternative of using natural camera supports such as lamp posts, trees, railings, even the ground. As a pro wedding photographer and photo journalist I've learnt to do without a tripod, they are way too slow. For landscapes a tripod is rarely necessary, except perhaps in very poor light, and even then some of the techniques I'd suggest would suffice to render images equally as sharp..
Some time ago I prepared a tutorial to illustrate the technique, and if you should choose practice it, then I can promise that you'll capture many great shots that you'd simply miss by being encumbered with a tripod..
Handheld Camera Techniquehttp://albums.photo.epson.com/...j/AlbumIndex?u=4131682&a=32337333&f=.
I wanted to thank everyone for the advice. I had originally wanted to stay under $700 but decided to spend the extra money to get the best I can afford now so that I wont have to upgrade in the future..
I decided to go with a Gitzo GT2541L Mountaineer along with a Acratech V2 ball head, I also ordered a RRS quick release L plate. I just got the tripod and head today and I am very happy, I think I made the right choice (at least for me), with reasonable care this should last me a life time and then some....
Spending the extra money to buy quality the first time, saves you from spending more later when you find you need to upgrade..