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Old January 2nd, 2008, 11:02 PM   #1
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Suggestions For Buying A Tripod?

Hey everyone. Have a quick question for you. I'm in the market for my first semi-pro tripod, I say semi-pro, because I haven't got the budget for a truely professional (aka expensive) one. My price range is around $200.

Now what can I get for around that price that is an all around good tripod, a decent height, and very smooth pan and tilt. (as smooth as I can get for the price)

Any suggestions, I'm looking to get one in the next two weeks. Also if you can suggest websites/stores that I can buy these tripods from that would be great. Looks like I'll be ordering it off of the internet. (No video stores around these parts). Thanks for any help!
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 11:12 PM   #2
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Hop on a train, and get off at Penn Station (about 3 1/2 hours). B&H is right down the street. We can all offer suggestions, but until you try it hands on, you probably won't know what's right for you. The problem with the <1000 market is that there are thousands of options, few of which are good. Even the few good options seem to change model number/features on a daily basis. While it's not a huge investment, it is nonetheless something you'll have to use and like using, so it may be worth it to take the weekend trip out to NYC from where you are.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 07:15 AM   #3
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First, I have to agree with Jaron. A 'hands-on' testing is the way to be sure. If you can't get to a retailer, ask around locally. There's most likely someone in your area who'll let you come over and 'play' with their tripod.

Now, as far as suggestions go...I'm using Bogen 3046 legs, with a 3063 head on my second camera. It's big (for a Canon GL-1) and gets heavy if you have to carry it too far. But, it was my first "decent" tripod, and I bought it used from my local camera store. My main tripod is a Bogen 3021, with a 3063 head. It's much lighter, and works well with my GL-2 at weddings. The 3021 doesn't have spreaders, which allows me to stradle obstacles, as well as level it out quickly. Because it's a lighter set-up, I've even used it like a monopod, and held it over my head for short durations. I've seen updated versions of these tripods, so a visit to B&H either in person, or online should help you...

Good luck,

These are my own opinions, based on my own mistakes...
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Old January 4th, 2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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I've had the 3246 legs for a lot of years and abused the heck out of them. While they are heavy and don't allows for a bowl it is as solid a set of legs as there is. For the money i don't think you can go wrong. You might be able to find a used set on the favorite online auction site.

IIRC the 3063 head has the octogon head plate. I personally don't like it but it is inexpensive and if it works for you grat. I would thing that for about the same money you might be able to get a used 501 or 503 head. While many don't like them I do use a couple of them and once you know what you can and can't do with it, it's not bad. Again, it's pretty cost effective.
However you might need to raise your sites a bit dollar wise as the budget you mentioned is a bit on the short side to get something DECENT that you won't have to replace in a couple of years. Like i said my 3246 legs are about 6 maybe 7 years old and have gone thru a lot with me but they keep on tickin'.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 11:17 PM   #5
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I think Don is right about getting one for a bit more to last you longer. This might be the thing for you a Bogen 055 with 701 head:

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Old January 5th, 2008, 06:59 AM   #6
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I found this ad posted here this AM - not quite sure what a "Manfrotto Setup" is but this might be worth an email to the poster (check it out in the classifieds)

""Manfrotto Setup with 501 Head - 150$
shipping not included, perfect condition. great for cameras up to eight pounds.""

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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:08 AM   #7
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Good advice given here Jenna. A tripod is like a microphone - buy a good one and it'll follow you down the years while you get through countless camcorders, cars and editing computers.

The Manfrotto 503 (better than the 501) and the 525 pins is a very happy combo, and the 501 owner might simply be upgrading to the new 503HDV head. It's not a 200 combo though, but then again you won't be changing it every 4 years.

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Old January 5th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #8
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Just to provide a different point of view, I really like my Libec TH-M20. It seems that Bescor is also selling it as the TH-650.
Andy Tejral
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Old January 5th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #9
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I just got one of the lower end Libec tripods that sell at B&H

its within your budget, and I am very impressed at how smooth the head works.

It's not one of the big PRO units but its from a very reputable manufacturer that also makes the Big Boy tripods as well. craftsmanship seems to be excellent, and the system seems to be very stable as well.
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