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which tripod ???

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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 19:51   #1
echo24
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which tripod ???

Hi Folks,
I'm relatively new to bird photography. I own a canon eos 400d & 100 - 400mm lens and was wondering if anyone could recommend a decent tripod which is sturdy, lightweight & practicle in the field?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Dougie
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 21:05   #2
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An idea of your budget might help a bit... I'd recommend looking at the Manfrotto 055 pro tripod legs, if you want to save weight you could get the carbon fibre version. As for a head, personally I like the Manfrotto 501 video head, it's rock solid and very smooth moving. If you've got a larger budget have a look at the Gitzo tripods, they are excellent.
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 21:22   #3
IanF
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Hi again Dougie,

As it's just the 100-400mm then maybe such a heavy head isn't required as weight isn't an issue. The 501 is a pretty hefty head more suitable to carry a scope or 500mm lens. For camera and lens some prefer just a ball head, though personally I prefer the pan-tilt fluid head such as the 128RC or 701/702.

I still think I'd be giving this outfit a go at hand holding before splashing out on a tripod or maybe trying out a monopod instead. If it was a 500mm lens or a scope then definitely a tripod, but I'm not sure the 100-400mm warrants it as you lose all the advantages of hand holding and having an IS lens.
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 21:30   #4
mike from ebbw
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I agree with Ian.It might be worth you trying it out first as you will be surprised at how low a shutter speed you could go to with IS.Personally I dont use a IS lens and find my tripod invaluable.Its a Chinon 1000 with a fluid type pan/tilt head which is very strong.I bought it for the princely sum of 2.10p from Ebay.Honest!
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 21:41   #5
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There's no substitute for trying tripods with your camera. Avoid at all costs the 322RC2 head, I made that mistake and won't make it again!
Manfrotto 055 legs are a safe bet, sturdy and reliable.
Depends a lot on budget. A 700 budget will get you the legs and a Gimball head which is the best there is for birding. A 300 budget will get you the legs and a selection of heads to choose from. Try before you buy.
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 21:54   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanF View Post
As it's just the 100-400mm then maybe such a heavy head isn't required as weight isn't an issue. The 501 is a pretty hefty head more suitable to carry a scope or 500mm lens. For camera and lens some prefer just a ball head, though personally I prefer the pan-tilt fluid head such as the 128RC or 701/702.
You are of course right that the 100-400 doesn't need a head as big as the 501, and it will work fine on a 128. However none of the smaller Manfrotto video heads (128, 700, 701) are as smooth moving as the 501. It is a head I rate very highly, although I recently moved to a gimbal head I have kept my 501 as in some situations I still prefer it. Ball heads are an aquired taste, some love them, but I hate them for birding.
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Old Wednesday 28th November 2007, 22:03   #7
Stewart J.
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Try googling Benro Tripods (E-Bay) Superb quality low prices

Stewart
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Old Monday 10th December 2007, 19:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Lex View Post
There's no substitute for trying tripods with your camera. Avoid at all costs the 322RC2 head, I made that mistake and won't make it again!
Manfrotto 055 legs are a safe bet, sturdy and reliable.
Depends a lot on budget. A 700 budget will get you the legs and a Gimball head which is the best there is for birding. A 300 budget will get you the legs and a selection of heads to choose from. Try before you buy.
Hi I'm new to the forum (and photography to an extent) and was just about to post a question on tripods when I saw this thread. I'm a bit alarmed by your comment on the 322RC2 head - I saw a chap with more or less the same set-up as I have (20D with 100-400) on a 322 and 055 aluminium legs.

He let me have a play around (it was at Donna Nook photographing the seals) and all seemed ok, especially the ease of movement that the 322 gave, it seeming to cope well with the weight of the 100-400. I have since bought the Head (an xmas gift) and am looking for suitable legs to match up - preferrably carbon fibre, as we do a lot of hiking/walking around reserves etc, and would like to keep the weight down. Thinking about 200 ish, but this could be stretched a little. Can you tell me what problems you have had with the 322, and offer any advice on which legs to go for.

Thanks in advance. Ian.
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2007, 18:17   #9
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I have a 322RC2-alike (much cheaper copy!) on my Benbo Trekker, at one end and a the standard ballhead at the other end. Find the ballhead perfect for panning type shots and the joystick ideal for macro!

Did have initial worries re. joystick with slippage (admittedly with a 100-400 lens zoomed at right angles!) but tightened the ball and all is good now
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Old Friday 14th December 2007, 19:59   #10
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For similar gear, I use the Gitzo GT2530 with a Really Right Stiff BH-55. The BH-55 is overkill for this tripod but I required this size for use on my ancient aluminium legset. The RRS BH-40 on the 2530 will work well with your 100-400 zoom.

Even though I with CSOB from heart problems, this tripod and ball head do not over burden me on a short (2.5 mile) hikes.

If you do not compromise on your gear, you will not be replacing it with better gear later on.

Check these sites:

http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

http://www.gitzo.com/Jahia/site/gitzo/pid/13803

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/index.asp
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 10:47   #11
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I am about to invest in a tripod and head for my D200 and 80-400mm lens. Despite comments made earlier in this thread, you get better pictures using a tripod and I have decided it's a priority investment. I am thinking along the lines of the Manfrotto 55Pro and the 222 pistol grip ball head which works well with a smaller lens like mine.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 20:31   #12
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Tripod and Head

Great thread, and what a fantastic forum. Relatively new to bird photography. Have EOS 350D and Sigma 170-500mm lens and need a more sturdy tripod than my Velbon or similar. Reading everything on this forum it seems Manfrotto 055 for me (is it worth bothering with the pro version for long lense bird stuff ?) but not sure about head.
Interesting comments PostcardCV re: ball heads being acquired taste. Havent tried these as yet. Dont want to spend a fortune but equally want something that works well.
Other than the 501 is there any others you'd consider with long lense ?
Thanks a lot
Nick
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 20:57   #13
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I have a Manfrotto 055 ProB Tripod with 488RC2 ball head and this combo works very well with my 400mm f5.6.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 22:30   #14
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The Manfrotto 222 head is great for many things but If you are thinking of tilting up more than about 45 degrees I find I need a fairly tall tripod and/or a right angle finder etc. to use a conventional viewfinder on an slr while adjusting it because of its length above its pivot point. A conventional head , or indeed the 322 suffers less. I prefer a heavy ball for high angle work but that is just a personal view.

This is in no way a criticism of a superb head that is fabulous for much wildlife work but more of a caution that as with most things - one size does not fit all and where possible try before you buy.

Our non-replying fellow poster may have had a little trouble with his 322 in accurately positioning a long lens as there is no question that far more precise positioning is possible with a long handled video head compared to the faster acting but less precise trigger on the 322. However it works well for many people.

All boils down to what is right for you. Again.
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Old Monday 31st December 2007, 09:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickb View Post
Great thread, and what a fantastic forum. Relatively new to bird photography. Have EOS 350D and Sigma 170-500mm lens and need a more sturdy tripod than my Velbon or similar. Reading everything on this forum it seems Manfrotto 055 for me (is it worth bothering with the pro version for long lense bird stuff ?) but not sure about head.
Interesting comments PostcardCV re: ball heads being acquired taste. Havent tried these as yet. Dont want to spend a fortune but equally want something that works well.
Other than the 501 is there any others you'd consider with long lense ?
Thanks a lot
Nick
Personally I think that it is worth going for the Pro version of the 055 legs. The splitable central column is very handy if you want to get down low for eye level shots of waders and the likes. I think that many years of birding using a scope have made me veryused to using 'video' heads on tripods. I do have a ball head and find it very useful for macro and portrait work, but just cannot get the hang of using it with a long lens.
A cheaper, lighter option to the 501 is the classic 128. This head will comfortably hold your camera/lens combo and is very easy to use. It's just not quite as smooth or rock solid as the 501, and woudl struggle if you ever get a heavier lens.
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Old Monday 31st December 2007, 10:25   #16
Dave Williams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iveljay View Post
The Manfrotto 222 head is great for many things but If you are thinking of tilting up more than about 45 degrees I find I need a fairly tall tripod and/or a right angle finder etc. to use a conventional viewfinder on an slr while adjusting it because of its length above its pivot point. A conventional head , or indeed the 322 suffers less. I prefer a heavy ball for high angle work but that is just a personal view.

This is in no way a criticism of a superb head that is fabulous for much wildlife work but more of a caution that as with most things - one size does not fit all and where possible try before you buy.

Our non-replying fellow poster may have had a little trouble with his 322 in accurately positioning a long lens as there is no question that far more precise positioning is possible with a long handled video head compared to the faster acting but less precise trigger on the 322. However it works well for many people.

All boils down to what is right for you. Again.
I am not sure that I would need a tripod for angles above 45 degrees would I ? Flight shots are more likely to be hand held with my set up.
I have been looking at the 322 on the internet but I haven't seen or tried one whereas I have the 222 which I found to be excellent.
I considered the more expensive carbon fibre version of the 055PROB tripod too, but considering the extra cost, the saving on weight is minimal. I would ask if anyone knows which is better for outdoor work in terms of durability, rust (?) etc.
I don't really consider the Nikon 80-400 or the Sigma 170-500 as being long lenses really. Line them up next to a 500 or 600 prime and they are like pea shooters.
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