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Tripod suggestion

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Chetan Tekur
user 13093897
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 20
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Hello guys, I have finally decided to ditch my crappy useless kit tripod and get a slightly better one. My budget is $150. Can anyone suggest a tripod for this price range? I was considering slik pro700dx or the manfrotto MK294A3A0RC2. Both are in the 130-140 range. Does anyone have info about these tripods? Any inputs will be highly appreciated.

john cincotta
user 13237391
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 19
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Ive got the slick 700dx its fairly good the only drawbacks that I see to it are the minimum height which is set by the central shaft and the head. Mine is now 3 years old and its getting harder to get it to make precision adjustments in point of aim. It is a sturdy tripod and I'm thinking of just replacing the head with a ball head. I understand that you can just get it without the head then add a head that you like. The central shaft has a 3/8 bolt to attach the head but it is swappable to 1/4 if thats what the head you want uses.

good luck

John Cincotta
John Klingel
user 11519562
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 1
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Check out Induro. They make knock-offs of other companies tripods and have great quality for a lot less money. I would try and increase your budget as a good tripod with a lot of stabilty is well worth it.
Steven Christenson
San Jose, CA
Post #: 671
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The Slik you're looking at also has a PTZ (Pan Tilt, Zoom) head. Overall you'll probably find a ball head lighter and easier to use for all types of photography EXCEPT video.

I don't know how crappy your current tripod is, but $150 is about the minimum I'd spend on legs... then about that much more for a good head. Someone wrote an article explaining how he could save you from spending $1200 on tripods by buying a $900 tripod FIRST. I think he was right. I have purchased a half dozen tripods (and heads) over time starting from a wobbly "Best Buy" thing, to a too-short Manfrotto, to a too-heavy Manfrotto (but with a better head), and finally a carbon fiber Gitzo.

If I were starting over, I think I'd opt for the 3-legged-thing in one of its forms. I ran into a photographer with one at Aperture Academy. The tripod is well thought out and does what my Gitzo does for about half the price... but it's still in the $480 range.

You certainly don't need to dump tons of money on legs (i.e. a Gitzo), but I'd advise you to decide how much you will use the tripod, and how far you will be carrying it. I once hauled my Manfrotto 055x with RC482 head up Half Dome. That beast weighs about 8 pounds. My Gitzo is a paltry 3.5 pounds and every bit as sturdy. The head I use is now the weakest link of my system (I'm talking TRIPOD head, though there is some question about the thing above my shoulders as well). Good legs with a mediocre head is better than a great head and wobbly legs - at least when talking tripods.

Steven Christenson
San Jose, CA
Post #: 672
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PS Avoid anything that says it is a "travel tripod". That's marketing speak for rickety and wobbly.

If you're signed up for the February Social at the San Jose Camera and Video you can put your hands on a number of tripods and see what suits you. Then DO buy from them. It won't cost you much (if any more) than buying via the internet.
Steven Christenson
San Jose, CA
Post #: 673
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Sorry to post yet again, but here is that article: http://craigingrampho...­

Oh, that appears to be a knock off of the original column which is here:­
Eric Harness
user 7994813
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 189
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My two cents is to scour Craigslist for tripods if you are budget minded. There are a lot of them on there it just might take some time. Also it can't be said enough get a quality set of legs.
Chetan Tekur
user 13093897
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 21
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Thanks for all the inputs guys. I think I might end up waiting for the February social and also check craigslist to see if I find any deals.

@Steve: Right now I have a cheap, less than $20, "rickety as hell", "I will ruin your camera", plastic tripod that came free with the camera. I would definitely like to throw money at a very good tripod but I have some impending expenses coming up including having to buy a new computer to replace my "I also work as a heat turbine" hp laptop. I will dig around some more and see if I can get a different head with the same legs and if it fits into my budget.

Thanks again for all the good advice.
Joolz Haugen
user 11625350
Santa Cruz, CA
Post #: 7
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I don't have a lot to add but as someone who had a limited tripod budget when I bought mine last year, my main advice would be to make sure the head can handle at least twice the weight of your heaviest camera and lens. I went for a Manfrotto head that isn't rated to handle twice what mine weigh but that I thought still gave me some room to grow. Then I rented a couple heavier lenses this winter and even though the weight was still within the heads' rating, the head was definitely feeling the strain. Also, the QR release mechanism is very cheaply made and feels like it could break at any time. I bought it online and definitely recommend seeing what you're buying in person! (I do highly recommend a head w/ QR though. Some cheaper heads don't have it.)

Finally, the benefit of buying cheaper equipment is that you can make all your mistakes on it and learn what not to do to the more expensive stuff when you finally get it. :)
user 13025968
Fremont, CA
Post #: 72
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As Steven already mentioned it is important how often you need the tripod, for what and where you want to carry it.
Before you look at prices decide on how portable the tripod should be (weight, folded size).
Then check the height of the tripod with and without extended center column (try to get a good/usable height without center column extended, a height where you get higher than most fences)
Then check the load capacity of tripod head and legs to support your tripod head + camera + lens + flash + spare capacity (load capacity does not need to be twice of what you use).
Tripod head as mentioned: ball head is recommended.

It is probably best if you can test the tripod before you buy it or be able to return it when you don't like it.
For $150 it will maybe hard to get a good tripod new (Where you can test/return it)
Of the two Tripod's you looked at the Manfrotto would be a better choice. But depending on what you want maybe another vendor has something better suited.
Tripod legs and head don't need to be from the same vendor but usually a complete tripod set (legs + head) is cheaper.
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