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Still Crazy
You say you want resolution? The whole world is watching these digicams.


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Old August 3rd, 2003, 10:30 PM   #1
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OK, I'll be the first to start a thread on tripods in here.

Having spent so much time shopping for (and buying) video tripods, I found it interesting to see how still camera tripods and heads had developed since I last looked at them in the 1970's.

I knew I needed a tripod/head that was lightweight and compact, otherwise I would often choose not to lug it. I opted for the Manfrotto Carbon No. One (3443) legs with the Manfrotto 3437 Magnesium 3D head.

As the model name implies the legs are carbon fiber and quite lightweight but very rigid. They have two spread settings (individually selectable for each leg) and there is a built-in bubble level. The centerpost can be quickly reconfigured for right-angle shooting as well as for low-angle shooting. Clamps keep the legs together when closed. The legs come with rubber feet attached but a set of retractable spiked feet are also supplied.

The 3D head has an interesting design enabling easy adjustments in all 3 axes. It also has a bubble-level and a quick-release plate design.

The total weight of the this combo is approximately 4.7 lbs. and it's approximately 27" long when collapsed.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 01:00 AM   #2
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After the ordeal I had getting my camera, I have since gotten most of my stuff locally. So limits me a little bit. But I'm very happy when the setup I got. I went with Bogen 3001BPro sticks and the 3030 3way head. The tripod has a built in level and the sales guy threw in the optional spiked feet. The reversable column is nice, but I haven't used it laterally yet. I was also glad to see Bogen redesign their leg locks a little. I had the 3221n for video and never cared for the locking mechanism on that. I also like that the tripod can go down to ground level just about.

The head I really like, the handles are just the right size and length for me. Some heads I looked at they didn't have any handles just about or they came out close to 10". The pan action on this is actually pretty good, I thought it was going to be a bit more stiff but setting just the right amount of tension I can move freely but still keep it steady (at least with shorter lenses). The only thing I don't like on the head is the QR setup. There's a lever on the back of the head that locks the plate into place. But there's a little pin the the lever sits on, if you move it too far the pin pops up and you have to mess with it. I got used to it after a few times, but that's my only gripe.

This setup is just over 6 lbs. and collapsed it's about 27". For just under $200 I'm quite happy with it.

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Old August 4th, 2003, 01:06 AM   #3
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Matt,
Now that you mention it, I think that my head has the same plate locking mechanism. Yes, it is rather quircky and annoying, primitive compared to top-grade video head plates. I keep thinking there's some trick to using it that I've not yet learned.
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Old August 5th, 2003, 09:04 PM   #4
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I like the Bogen tripods for their durability and general ruggedness. But for the ultimate experience you have got to try a Gitzo. Their CF tripods are the absolute best. But when you recover from the $600 plus sticker shock, the Bogens start to look even better. Just for the record Manfrotto owns both Gitzo and Bogen.

I prefer a ball head for 35mm (DSLR) work. The bulk of my work the requires a tripod is nature and wildlife oriented. Ball heads allow for much quicker adjustment for rapidly changing shots. The Arca Swiss B1G is my current favorite. However, a very interesting looking and performing ball head from Acratech has caught my eye.
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Old August 5th, 2003, 09:45 PM   #5
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That ball head looks very interesting. It's so simple...why haven't the big boys introduced something like that 20+ years ago?

That little machine shop company sure looks like buy-out bait, eh?
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Old September 10th, 2003, 11:48 PM   #6
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I just bought a Kenko, yes Kenko, FP-100 ball head for my EOS set-up and for the money it's a fantastic head. It's made of machined and anadozied aluminium and is so smooth. The coolest thing is when you unlock the head not only does the ball move but the whole head can be turned. It's super sturdy for it's size/weight and is rated at 12lbs/5.4kgs. It has no problems supporting my EOS 1nRS, 70-200/2.8 and 540EZ and holding them as steady as a rock.

One the down side it doesn't have a spirit level or degree markings on the base but at around US$120 you can't have everything.

B&H has them for $US119 which gives you a lot of head for the money
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