Stable, reasonably priced tripod?
Please excuse me if this has been discussed before. A link to an appropriate thread would be appreciated, if so..

Prioritizing:1) Stability (no resonant vibrations with an Olympus e-510 and 50-200mm lense);2) Price;3) Weight..

What would the recomendations be for a tripod and head?.

Thanx in advance..

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comments (17)

My usual is a Manfrotto 055 Pro with a Manfrotto 322RC head. Very stable portable tripod and efficient well engineered head. Would be sensible to go to a good stockists and try before buying I thinkSimon

Comment #1

A CF tripod will do better at vibration damping than aluminum. That's were your price sensitivity comes in. You'll pay more for pretty much any CF pod than a similarly capable aluminum pod..

That's not so heavy a kit that you'd not be able to use tripods like the Bogen 190xprob or similar, maybe the 055xprob. Head? Depends on what you intend to do with the camera somewhat. I think the 488rc2 Bogens would be a good general purpose starter..

From there, it might make sense to determine if the 190 series is tall enough for you w/o extending the center post or if you need the bigger 055 series. Considering any future additions or the potential for more demanding environments may push towards the heavier as well. Not as pricy as the Gitzos, Bogen has basalt/lava and CF tripods that pretty well match up model to model with their aluminum tripods. Basalt/lava is lighter and more expensive, somewhere between CF and aluminum when it comes to damping, CF is lightest and best at damping, and costs more...

Comment #2

The tripod performance is derived from your longest focal length, 200mm, which becomes the equivalent of 400mm on a 4:3 sensor. While any tripod strong enough to support the weight is sufficient indoors on a hard floor, the real world is a bit more demanding..

I would suggest that you would want a Gitzo Series 3 (or equivalent) as a minimum requirement, either CF or aluminum. Berlebach makes wood tripods which are very stable and relatively inexpensive, but not as light nor as portable as the Gitzo. The largest Bogen/Manfrotto, a 3021, would be marginal - roughly equivalent to a Gitzo series 2..

What do you have in mind to spend? If you want a ball head, plan on spending at least $300 for that part alone. You could get the same stiffness in a 3-way head for under $100..

(The Bogen "grip" head is a joke foisted mostly on beginners. It is very tall, which tends to amplify vibrations, and has very little holding power if you need to point up or down more than a few degrees.)..

Comment #3

Ed Ingold wrote:.

(The Bogen "grip" head is a joke foisted mostly on beginners. It isvery tall, which tends to amplify vibrations, and has very littleholding power if you need to point up or down more than a fewdegrees.).

I would have to disagree. Yes, it is not quite as stable as a pan head standard ball head, but when shooting fast moving subjects such as birds, sports action, etc. It enables the use of a tripod for shots that could not be done with a pan head or standard ball head. It is still a lot more stable than shooting hand held.Joel Orlinsky.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #4

Thanx for the excellent advice. I will spend what I must after my experiences over the years with cheaper tripods..

I still don't understand why ball heads are soo expensive though....

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #5


What is that rig? Do you like it?.

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #6

Take a look a a new or used 'tiltall' tripod. They are hard to beat for the cost. Just don't extend the center column...

Comment #7

The tiltall is a blast from the past! I used one in the 70s.....

Does it dampen well?.

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #8

MontereyBayPhotog wrote:.


What is that rig? Do you like it?.

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



It is a Bushhawk shoulder stock, and there is a red dot sight mounted in the hot shoe. The Bushhawk is obviously, not as stable as a tripod, but it is comfortable, more stable than normal hand holding, and a lot faster than a tripod when shooting fast moving subjects. There is a button on the grip that connects to the camera's remote shutter release..

You can see them here

Joel Orlinsky.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #9

MontereyBayPhotog wrote:.

I still don't understand why ball heads are soo expensive though....


The simple ballhead isn't too complex. Basically, a ball, a post and a plate. The ball fits within a surrounding slotted cup, then the tightening mechanism forces the ball against the cup. Then it may or may not have a separate panning base - that may well just require a screw to tighten against another surface to lock it up. Tolerances need to be maintained, appropriate materials selected, smoothness maintained, etc. The Bogen 486, 488 types are good examples of a simpler head done well.

The "$300" heads go two different steps past that. One is typically they add an Arca Swiss compatible plate system - which separately usually runs $60 - $100 itself. The other is that the tolerances and materials and designs add the ability to control tension on the ball so that it moves smoothly when "loose" and the tension can be increased to the point is can be set to move with a "nudge" without further controls adjustments - with sufficent control finesses to do so with a wide variety of loads and directions of travel. Now consider that most do this with essentially no motion imparted during tightening/tensioning. And with loads which range from a smallish dslr and a simple, light prime - like a plastic 50mm/1.7 all the way up to a fast 500mm or 600mm monster. It requires very precise manufacturing controls on many of the pieces/parts...

Comment #10

Well, I went and tried the Manfrotto MAGFIBER Pro Tripod 0055MF3, reasonably priced at $168 locally, here in Monterey. 4.4 lbs. 25.2 inches in carry mode. Definately stable as all get out. A nice, basic tripod. Of course, one also needs a head.....

I also tried the Gitzo GT1540T, at a whopping $676 (of course it includes it's own mini ball head). 2.2 lbs of engineering marvel. 14.2" long folded up. A little short but probably stable with a camera bag hung from the center post..

The other full size Gitzos seem to run around $600 without heads. Very beautiful works of art and function - but big sticker shock. The GT2540LVL even has a centerpost that allows the tripod to be set up on a slope and then leveled by moving the centerpost. 3.7 lbs. Too complicated..

The search continues. I need to find some way to see and feel Feisols and Benros.....

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #11

That 055mf3 sounds mispriced - or a special. That's tyically the price range of the 3021proB or 055xprob, the aluminum versions. Yep, Gitzo is $$$. Feisol is pretty much direct sale so other than knowingg someone or seeing someone with one, it's kind of a buy on reputation - although they are very responsive. Benros (and many of the others, Induro, Giottos, etc.) are hard to find in stores, not a lot of retail penetration yet...

Comment #12

I think you're right about the mistake on the pricing. I think it was mistagged. It felt like aluminum... It probably was a 3021..

Are the Feisols high quality?.

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #13

People I've shot with that have them like them - a lot...

Comment #14


Thanx for the great tripod link. You have me pegged completely. You have convinced me though, to skip the 3021 evolutionary step. Thanx for that..

Now, should I skip the Gitzo GT1540T step? Is this tripod stable enough for an Olympus 50-200 (thats a 35mm equiv 100-400mm)? I am a traveler so the compact size is a draw. I have no idea if it's little head will be sufficient though....

Final question. Besides Hakuba, are there any other Gitzo clones you trust?.

Thanx.E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, FL-50.



Comment #15

I decided to try and make this the last tripod purchase would ever have to make so I went with a Gitzo GT2541L Mountaineer, Acratech V2 Ball Head and a RRS (Really Right Stuff) quick release L plate..

The GT2541L supports 26.4 lbs, folds down to 24 inches and weighs 3.3 lbs.The Acratech Ball head supports 25lbs, is 4.25 inches and weighs 1 lb..

I just received everything yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to get outside yet and test everything in the real world but I have checked things out in my living room and I am more than happy with my choices. The heaviest lens I use is a Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF ED and the tripod is rock solid with this lens, the head is very smooth and when tightened is also rock steady..

It was more than what I originally wanted to spend, but it's light overall weight (4.3 lbs) and overall folded length (28.25 inches) along with the high quality and preformance leaves me with no doubt that it was the right set up for me..

I hope this helps and good luck!.

I hope this helps.Jan M..

Comment #16

If it was just a little shorter folded up.....

E-510, 14-54, 14-42, 40-150, 50-200, FL-50.



Comment #17

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