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Old 11-08-2013   #11
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FROM MANFROTTO WEBSITE: “Based in Northern Italy at Bassano del Grappa, Manfrotto designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of camera and lighting support equipment for the professional photographic, film, theater, live entertainment and video markets. The product line includes an extensive range of camera tripods and heads and lighting stands…”

FROM THE GITZO WEBSITE:

via camp lonc, 34
Z.I. Villapaiera
32032 Feltre – Belluno
Italy


This information was gathered from both the Manfrotto website and the Gitzo website. I THINK (but am not sure) they are both in the same town in Northern Italy- I did a bit of map research- one mentions the town and the other mentions the province (same) It looks (possibly) like both “makes” of tripods are made in the same factory. Gitzo’s design branch is still in France. Both companies operate under a blanket group. It’s interesting, but not vital in choosing a tripod.

My Gitzo is an older carbon fiber model called the MK2 and was made in France. I have never had problems with the center column but I can not speak for the latest models. The only thing I worry about with carbon fiber tripods is the fact that the can be affected by extremes of cold and heat. Here in Canada we have both extremes at certain times of the year. I have used my Gitzo on very cold days and under very hot conditions and there were no problems, however, damage can occur if theses tripods are left in a closed car or in the trunk on very hot days in that the temperatures in those spaces can really climb.

I still have my older Monfrotto aluminum heavy duty models- they are virtually indestructible with normal care and maintenance. Nowadays, DSLR are not all that heavy as compared to camera of the past so any decent tripod built for professional use should do the trick. I like my Gitzo but to replace it nowadays, I would be looking at 700 bucks, here in Canada!

Good luck in your shopping!

Ed
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Old 11-09-2013   #12
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Boy! Am I dumb or what! Well it must have been a long senior moment! All this talk I did about brand manes, manufacturers and corporate stuff and not a word about REALLY choosing a tripod for what your needs are. In my experience, some of my worst disappointments in equipment purchases came for choosing the wrong tripod configuration for what I really needed. Good job I have a friendly neighborhood dealers who allows me to exchange stuff as long as I bring it back straight away after I find out that I did a blooper and there, of course, is no damage to the equipment.

To start with a good tripod is needed for good support so sturdy construction is an important prerequisite. There are some tripods on the market that are indeed flimsy and will not furnish good support, offer no longevity and are dangerous to the safety of your cameras and lenses in that that the may collapse or tip over and cause damage to the equipment. Things like poor locking devices on the legs and center columns or thumb screws that may sheer off should be detected and avoided.

The next thing to consider is height. If you are just using your tripod for general work and all you need is a good support, this may not be a critical issue but for certain specific needs a tripod with a limited choice of heights can be very problematic. For portraiture one has to consider the camera angles and positions that are needed to avoid distortion or unflattering camera angles. If we are photographing a head and shoulders view we need the camera to be at eye level or slightly above or below depending on the facial structure of the subject. This should be possible whether the subject is standing or seated so we need a range of heights to accommodate both circumstances. For a ¾ length view we need the camera at around chest level and for full length views we want the camera at the subject’s waist level to avoid lengthening or foreshortening of the subjects figure. For kids, we may need a very low position to accomplish all of this so a tripod that is equipped with a feature whereby the legs can be spread over a wider distance and bring the camera almost down to ground level can be a requirement. In the studio I use camera stands so I can adjust the camera’s elevation in seconds to accommodate all of theses angles. On location, however, I have to depend on my tripod.

For all kinds of assignments including architectural and interior work; a tripod that can be used on irregular surfaces and structures such as stairs, inclines or on rough terrain. Again, here we need easy adjustments of leg extension and spreads.

There are many occasions where high elevation is needed for certain kinds of work. Oftentimes photographers need to work from a step ladder so it would be handy to have a tripod that can fill that need. There are probably tripods that can get that high but they probably would carry a pretty steep price tag and might be excessively heavy to cart around. I still have my old Majestic tripod that has add on extension legs that cam be combined for just about any reasonable height. That unit has been out of manufacture for years but if any of the manufacturers have this configuration or would be well worth having for architectural photographers or anyone who needs that kind of elevation.

Other details to consider are the locking mechanisms and the feet. I am not worried about, brand names, knockoffs or less expensive units unless the less costly units have poor locking rings, inner sleeves or shims or clamps. Sometimes we pay extra for the “brand names” or the intense international advertising of the popular models whereas good value can be found in less glamorous products. If you need a tripod for heavy duty use; theses are important considerations to examine before making the purchase.

The feet of the tripod are important as well. Rubber feet will help in isolating the tripod for vibration that may occur where there is high vehicular traffic or machinery in use. I sometimes have to ad a few small pieces of carpeting to help absorb some of this vibration. The rubber tips will also prevent damage to floors when working in homes or private venues. The spiked tips are handy for working out of doors but they are not usually long enough to offer very much additional stabilization. In certain conditions, I still need some weights such as sand bags or some heavy metal weights such as old barbell plates- I place them on the ground and set the legs in the holes. A tripod with a hook at the bottom of the center shaft is also good feature for stabilization.

I hope this is more helpful than my other post.

Ed
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Old 11-09-2013   #13
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Thank you everyone for your great posts.

My daughter had managed to break my carbon fibre tripod by leaning it up against something and letting it fall over.
The centre screw was slightly damaged and wouldn't screw into the head anymore.
I tried to get another screw from the company I bought it from and they weren't interested at all in helping.

Thankfully I have managed to fix the screw and it is now back together again.

I will be getting a new tripod eventually, but can now delay it for a while and give something else priority.
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Old 11-09-2013   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BambersImages View Post
My camera is a 7D (821g) and my heaviest lens is a 70-300L (1 kg).
Unlikely that I will get a heavier lens.

I'm 5' 8" so not a massively tall one.

Not sure about a centre column. Old one had one that could be swapped for a shorter one.

Budget...not sure, but not top of the range.
I am realy happy with my Manfrotto 055CXPro carbon legs, added 2 legwarmers and 'dual feet' (rubber foot that you can screw in to get a spike) instead of the rubber 'caps'. Works for me

And if a part should fail, Manfrotto has a decent technical service that delivers spare parts at decent, not over-the-top prices.



...*my* €0.02...

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Old 11-09-2013   #15
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Max, I just checked out that one on Amazon and like the look of it. Will put it into my wishlist for later...maybe a Christmas present.
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Old 11-09-2013   #16
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thanks for K , and FWIW: the 'swivel-center-column' feature operates smooth and is really nice for Macro like work (for which the 70-300L is also a very nice tool, do get the tripod mount ring C-WII for it, pri$ey as h€ll, but 'alas' worth it)



...again, *my* €0.02...

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Old 11-09-2013   #17
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Yes, I noticed that and liked the feature. My current tripod isn't good for macro work when you need to shoot straight down.
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Old 11-09-2013   #18
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I selected a tripod without a center column so I could go low, and also for max stability. That said, I like a center column when doing studio work so I can tweak the camera height without adjusting legs.
I bought an RRS tripod and added the removable center column. Takes a minute or two max to remove the column. Can also hang the camera from the column when that makes sense.
I looked at the swinging center column on other tripods and felt it was a significant compromise relative to rigidity.
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Old 11-09-2013   #19
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Yes, I noticed that and liked the feature. My current tripod isn't good for macro work when you need to shoot straight down.
...with the stick handle attached (like above photo), the center column levelled, and the stick 'pointing upward', it is almost as using a macro-rail/sliding device

BTW: the stick on the photo was my previous Manfrotto 222 , I now use a dual-useable (top and side connector plates) Manfrotto 322RC+RA grip

...again, €0.02...

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Old 11-09-2013   #20
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I looked at the swinging center column on other tripods and felt it was a significant compromise relative to rigidity.
True, in 'swing-mode' it is less rigid, and you have to watch how you set the legs beneath it, but as said it works *for me* and within my budget, and I chose it for the convenience, your mileage (& budget) obviously varies.

...€0.02...

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