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Old Thursday 9th March 2017, 18:38   #9
rdcny
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New York City
Posts: 117
I have the Swarovski 85ATX - I use a three section Benro Carbon Fiber tripod (equivalent of the 35xx series Gitzo, perhaps even the 55xx series). New it was about $400 on Ebay from China (including shipping). I would not get a 4 section tripod...that extra section is a pain to open and close. But a heavy duty tripod (carbon fiber) that is rated to at least 25 pounds carrying strength - that is the minimum. ( As a rough guide I use for my telephoto lenses...a 600mm F4 II Canon and a 400mm F2.8 II Canon - I use 3x the weight of the lens as a guide to a stable tripod. So the 600mm F4 II lens weighs about 8 pounds...so select a tripod with 3x that carrying capacity. And be advised that this rating is a number the manufacturers came up with - who knows how they derive it...but it has worked for me in the past.

As for ballheads...I like video (pan-tilt) heads from Really Right Stuff (too expensive) and Acratech:

Perhaps the best one can buy (RRS): http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/FH-3...l-or-Ball-Base

better price...quality very good: http://www.acratech.net/video-produc...ideo-ballhead/

I have the Acratech...it is fine but at $600 or so, not for everyone. I just wish the handle was more secure...I have to tighten that knob that keeps the handle tight on the scope, every 5 minutes or so...Otherwise a fine pan=tilt (video) head. I also need an Arca-Swiss mount because all my camera lenses take that mount...it is different than the Manfretto-style mount. (And Arca-Swiss mount is generally thought to be more secure/stable/better.)
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