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Old 03-09-2012   #11
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The grip handle ballhead that you show is annoyingly difficult to use. It's hard to position the camera and creeps when you let go of the handle.
That's contradicts the resounding positive reviews the grip head has on amazon. Im a bit confused.

Regarding wooden tripods, how tall are they when collapsed? Whatever I get will have to fit through the straps on my medium sized slingbag, and be less than about 28" tall when collapsed. I'm on the go a lot and hike a lot so everything I'm taking has to fit in or on my slingbag and not over-encumber me if I'm on a long moutainess hike.

Thanks
Josh
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Old 03-09-2012   #12
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Thanks everyone. You've given me a lot to think about.

With a lighter weight carbon fiber tripod do I have to worry about the rig being top heavy and tipping over, or is that not something that's a realistic concern?

Cheers
Josh
I don't think tipping over is a concern unless a leg collapses or breaks. A bigger concern is the quality of the cheap carbon fiber tubes used in the affordable carbon fiber tripods. A good carbon fiber tripod is going to cost over $500 and even the it will be light duty with 4 leg segments (less sturdy) and no tripod head.
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Old 03-09-2012   #13
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I don't think tipping over is a concern unless a leg collapses or breaks. A bigger concern is the quality of the cheap carbon fiber tubes used in the affordable carbon fiber tripods. A good carbon fibes tripod is going to cost over $500 and even them it will be light duty with 4 leg segments (less sturdy) and no tripod head.
Gotcha, thanks.
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Old 03-09-2012   #14
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Default Re: Best still only tripod for under $500

Ideally, with carbon fiber you want your tripod and head to weigh at least as much as your camera and lens. The main problem is not the rig tipping over (unless your tripod is simply awful), but rather that your camera and lens will vibrate too much when shooting, blurring all of your images.

If you haven't already looked at it, Thom Hogan's article on tripods is something worth looking at, even if it's getting a bit dated. Obviously, your budget is a little lower than his ideal budget, but you can pick and choose which principles you want to apply in your search.

Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan
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Old 03-09-2012   #15
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So will fewer leg segments result in more stability? So 3 leg segments is better than 4?
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Old 03-09-2012   #16
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Thanks cyclo, I've actually read that article a few times since its a top google search.

Ill be using amazon, so whatever I can put together for around $500 on there is what I'll go with. AND it has to fit through my camera bag straps.

Cheers
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Old 03-09-2012   #17
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Default Re: Best still only tripod for under $500

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That's contradicts the resounding positive reviews the grip head has on amazon. Im a bit confused.
Looked back at the head you linked, and yes, that grip head stinks. It'll do a Rebel-type plastic DSLR and a 55-200mm kit lens at best.

Just about every affordable ball-type head and ballhead creeps a little. The lever-action/trigger action heads that they sell as "ballheads" are a pain to position precisely without some creep. At least you didn't pick the long, tall one that Manfrotto also offers.

Of course, if you can't afford anything better, the head will work in a pinch. I've just never had a great experience with it, and I've used several copies of it.

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So will fewer leg segments result in more stability? So 3 leg statements is better than 4?
Yes. Three is better than four, but four is easier to handle than three as the tripod collapses down a lot smaller. If you don't use the fourth, tiny section, you get most of the stability back, but you lose a bit of height.

Not all photographs are made at eye level anyways, but if you want the tripod to go to your eye, this is something to think about.
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Old 03-09-2012   #18
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Default Re: Best still only tripod for under $500

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgunder View Post
That's contradicts the resounding positive reviews the grip head has on amazon. Im a bit confused.

Regarding wooden tripods, how tall are they when collapsed? Whatever I get will have to fit through the straps on my medium sized slingbag, and be less than about 28" tall when collapsed. I'm on the go a lot and hike a lot so everything I'm taking has to fit in or on my slingbag and not over-encumber me if I'm on a long moutainess hike.

Thanks
Josh
My wife has that grip head (she now uses an Acrotech) and I've used it before. It's a pain in the butt compared to a real ballhead. You can buy good, less expensive 3-way tilt heads which are better than this grip head. Or go try a good ballhead in a camera store and see the difference in the smoothness and precision that a ball head should have.

One of the reasons the Berleback tripod is so sturdy and can support 26 lbs is because it has only 2 leg sections. Tripods with more leg segments are usually shorter when collapsed but by the time you extend that 4th leg segment you're looking at a very thin tripod leg. The more segments the more chance of collapse and the less strength and less support.

The collapsed size of the Berlebach is 34".
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Old 03-09-2012   #19
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Default Re: Best still only tripod for under $500

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So will fewer leg segments result in more stability? So 3 leg segments is better than 4?
Everything else being equal, three is better than four. One test of a tripod's strength is to extend the legs all the way out then push down on the top of the tripod. If you detect any movement, or can see the legs bow at all, move on to another tripod.
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Old 03-09-2012   #20
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In Amazon's inventory, what is the best tripod & head that is easily portable for $500 or under?


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