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Old January 27th, 2007, 07:18 PM   #1
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Photography Tripod Question

Hey I guess I should post this in the "Support your Camera" section, but its more of a photography question. I'm looking into getting a tripod for my D200, and I hadn't really found one neccessary yet since most of my lenses are VR lenses. However I'd like to start doing some more shots that could be difficult to shoot handheld.

Have any of you out there in DVi land used the Bogen/Manfrotto 055MF3 legs or 322RC2 grip ballhead? I'll be mostly shooting events/weddings/ landscapes/macro/ occassional portait...pretty much I want something that would be a good all around head, but I won't be doing any QTVR stuff so I don't need anything too crazy.

Any recommendations or advice would be very helpful. Thanks
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Old January 28th, 2007, 03:25 AM   #2
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That looks pretty good to me. I have the Manfrotto 3221WN legs myself. They look similar to the 055MF3, except they're aluminum:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=217266&is=REG

I actually got these legs with a 501 video head, but later upgraded to a better video tripod and head. I've got a couple still camera heads that I use with these legs. One is the 3025 3d head which I found useful for panoramas using a smaller digital camera:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

But I recently got a Manfrotto 486 compact ball head:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

This seems like a good match for my D80. I looked at grip ball heads but they seemed kind of big and awkward, although that might just be due to the fact that they're unfamiliar to me. They also make a version of the 486 with a quick release plate:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Hi Noah,

Ball heads are great because they a simple and sturdy. I have never found grip ball heads to be as convenient as they appear.

If you like Manfrotto, then for that budget I suggest one of the 488RC heads:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
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Old January 28th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #4
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I'd be open to other brands, I just have some bogen-manfrotto gear already and haven't had any problems. I don't mind spending more for quality, but I'd rather not spend over $550 on a photo tripod unless it REALLY does something better than something in the $400-500 range. I still wanna pick up a couple other lenses this year, so I don't want to break the bank on a tripod that is unneccarily expensive. I've looked at Gtizo which is another seemingly popular brand for photo gear, but with decent heads starting at $250 and sturdy lightweight legs starting at $400...I've been avoiding them.

Basically what I need is a set of lightweight legs that will support at a maximum a D200 with the battery grip, a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, and a SB800 flash...all of which I estimate at about 6-7 pounds or so.

I'll *never* be doing QTVR, but may do some landscape panoramics, I'll definately be doing wedding/event, macro, and some portrait photography. So I need a head that fits these needs. I had originally been looking at some pan/tilt heads but someone recommended ball heads for most of what I'd be doing. I open for any suggestion, Bogen or otherwise.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #5
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Ball heads are really easy to use and don't require that the tripod itself be level. But if you want to shoot panoramas you need something level that lets you pan horizontally while locking off in the other planes.

I think the ball heads that Tom and I suggested will be fine with your camera. I just got a D80 and 70-300mm Nikkor and it works fine for that. If you want to keep the price down then a setup like mine is currently on sale for $250 after rebate:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

The 3221WN legs are made for outdoor use and have spikes that can be extended through the rubber feet and its rated for over 11 lbs. The only thing I don't particularly like is the way you can accidently pinch your fingers with the snap locks. But after the first few times you get the idea to be careful with them :-)
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Old January 28th, 2007, 12:41 PM   #6
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Noah,
I'd suggest you stay away from grip ball heads. They tend to slip when you tilt them or try to shoot vertical. Get a regular or offset ball head you'll be much happier and a lot less frustrated when your camera isn't moving by itself.

Bogen tripods are okay for the money but as a still photographer for 25 years and owner of Bogen tripods I'd suggest your money is better spent put toward a Gitzo. Gitzo pods are about 25% more then Bogen but will last you a lifetime where I've found that with heavy use Bogens are good for 8-10 years tops. Check out the G-1155 $579 @ B&H http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

It's a little more than your stated price range but it's a solid set of sticks your grandkids will appreciate.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Laronge
Check out the G-1155 $579 @ B&H http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

It's a little more than your stated price range but it's a solid set of sticks your grandkids will appreciate.
It also says that will only support up to 4.4 pounds, which wouldn't be enough for what I would potentially be loading it up with. (D200 with 70-200 would be over 4.5lbs without flash or grip) I was looking at the Gitzo page, it looks like the Basalt series is pretty nice for the money I found these legs on BH

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

Also I found a nice Gitzo head that has independant panning which would be good for landscape panoramics, would still be quick, is suppossedly rock solid vertical or horizontal, that is Gitzo's top recommended head for event/wedding stuff.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

All together this would cost about $760 at B&H...a lot more ...but if this will really last me a lifetime, I'm gonna spend more to get something I won't need to upgrade in the future. I think I'll go with that combo...however if I get a small Gitzo video head (like the G-2380), would those legs be able to handle a backup camera like an HC1 or A1U? I would think so right?
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Old January 28th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Hayes
...however if I get a small Gitzo video head (like the G-2380), would those legs be able to handle a backup camera like an HC1 or A1U? I would think so right?
With either of those cameras you would be fine.

However, stability becomes more important when panning and tilting. I prefer the aluminum Gitzos for video work because they are heavier. If I were buying a new double-duty tripod right now, I'd probably start by looking at the G-1320 Studex Mk2 for $360:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
But it weighs almost 8lbs, without a head, so if you're hiking around you can't go wrong with the basalt tripod.

Whatever you choose, Josh it right, you probably will pass on your Gitzo gear to your grandkids.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #9
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I have the 055MF3 with this head:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ared_Head.html

I also have a D200 with an assortment of lenses 18 to 200 vr 70 t0 200 i.e.

Anyway I love this setup. The sticks are really light for me and the geared head is great. It allows fine adjustments and is built like a tank..
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Old July 13th, 2007, 08:09 PM   #10
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I rarely use my Manfrottos unless I'm shooting in low light or doing a wedding. Both I haven't done for a while.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 08:39 PM   #11
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My wife uses a Manfrotto grip ball head with her Hasselblad and it's been a solid performer. No slipping issues whatever. It sees a lot of field use (out West, Alaska, etc.) There is a tension adjustment. Make sure the tensioner can be set properly as I know of one person who had trouble turning the adjusting knob on his new head and had to exchange it. Given the performance with the 'blad I wouldn't hesitate to use one with a digital camera.
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