Tripods, The Life Blood
Ok now that we have some of our equipment stuff out of our system. We need to talk about one of the most crutial pieces of equipment known to a budding photographer.
This piece of your armor is a underated item. But it will make a good shot into a keeper.
Key answer......spend money. Get good and solid. not this ratchet up crap from Walmart and such. Bogen and Gitzo have ruled this world for a long time. Get a good ballhead. Arca Swiss, Really Right Stuff, Kirk Enterprises is where I would shop. I also have a good monopod to be a little bit more mobil when needed.
So what say you on this item???
I have a cheap tripod, but a good one is on my list. This is an expensive hobby.
I run two tripods, a Bogen 3001 legs with a 3025 head and a Manfrotto 482. The Bogen is an OK tripod for 35mm but it's a little short for me. The Manfrotto is a mini tripod that I bought to take to Germany. It turned out to be super useful but is really limited to rangefinders and non-motordriven bodies. But it's always with me.
I went with the low/middle of the road for my tripod (manfrotto) that I really like for the money; I think it was like $120. Personally, I really like the flip-lock legs, it's just so convenient. Of course, I really do want a nicer setup if I get more serious. I do agree, this is one of the most essential pieces not to skimp on.
I didn't put enough thought into a nice ballhead, mines only OK. It' doesn't have a really positive lock on it, meaning I have to really torque it when I have a heavy lens. It's rated for enough weight (supposedly), but I think it struggles with my big glass.
I love my monopod, but nothing replaces the tripod. I shot the Teva Mtn. Games and the monopod was perfect for that. I was able to get at an awkwardly low angle and keep it stable.
on a related note...ballhead
Basically the ballhead is the attachment point from a tripod or monopod to the camera with, yes, a ball joint to allow you rotate, tilt and hold the camera in that position. typically with a quick release plate. Or another way to say that is, you don't screw the camera directly to a tripod.
What should I be looking for in my next ballhead or maybe a better question is what do YOU have and why do you like/dislike it? What say ye?:)
integrated bubble levels?
handles or knobs for adjustments?
grip-handle (seems kinda cool)?
light weight? big and burly?
I have the lower end Bogen/manfrotto and it's OK, It serves it's purpose.
I have an Arca Swiss B-1 Ballhead I bought from Kirk enterprises before they started doing there own. Really no troubles except I kept the pan knob to tight once and now it doesn't hold the rotation the best but I live with it. I use the Kirk plates for lenses and Camera bodies. Someday I will change to the Really right stuff bracket. More versitile. You can do a vertical by just remounting the camera on its side rather than moving the ball head to that position.
The tripod is a Bogen 2021 if I remember the model correctly. I choose it because I don't have to extend the head very much when I stand behind it. I'm 6'0" so I can basically look straight into the viewfinder. I put some pipe insulation on the upper legs so in cold weather it won't cool my hands.
I also have a small Gitzo tripod I use for backpacking. A heavy one but very steady. I'll carry the weight for sharp images. And a Bogen Monopod with a normal head. Again this monopod extends taller than I am so I have versatility.
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