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sparky 02-21-2013 10:19 AM

Tripods (Big) and Tripod Heads
Alright, there is a thread going for small tripods right now, but I'm in the market for a full sized tripod. I currently am really starting to hate my current tripod, I had it for about 2.5 years, it works okay, but I find it an extreme pain the *** to do vertical images, the tripod is beginning to 'creep' (move) more and more with even a relatively light lens on it. So...

I'm in the market for an extremely lightweight tripod (lots of self powered hobbies), looking at a Gitizo Carbon fibre on on BH. It's about as lightweight as I can afford, load capacity is fine and high enough for me. About $600 bucks.

Gitzo GT1542T Series 1 Traveler 6x Carbon Fiber 4-Section

However, now I have no clue when it comes to Tripod Heads. I want to be able to shoot vertically, and might get into doing panoramic images. My rig (60D) and future rig (something full frame) won't weigh more than about 5 kg. Any ideas? Budget is around $250 or so.

ballyhoo33 02-22-2013 08:01 AM

Picking out a head is about as hard as picking out a bag. Ball vs gear vs pan vs gimbal vs etc. Different QR plates.

I have a Manfrotto 486RC head. I think it's a 496 now. It does it's job, but just ok. There is downward creep so that needs to be condiered when locking down the ball. It's also a pain, just like most other heads, when switching from landscape to portrait since the lens won't be centered to the subject.

That being said, if I ever change my tripod system, I'll take a very hard look at the Really Right Stuff or Kirk head and L brackets. They are pricey, but are well made and give me what I need.

Broch 02-22-2013 09:21 AM

Really Right Stuff. You won't be disappointed!

Luckless 02-22-2013 09:39 AM

If I was getting a new head, I would go for an arca swiss plate system for the adjustment control, rather than the fixed position plates that most other heads use. It means you can better balance your camera and lens a lot easier.

sparky 02-22-2013 01:19 PM

Looking at RRS... I really don't want to have to buy another tripod/head for a very long time. But holy heck, going to cost about as much as my 60D body and then some... about $1000 total new.

BH-30 LR: Compact ballhead with LR - BH-30-LR - Kit Configuration Page

Any thoughts?

ballyhoo33 02-22-2013 01:30 PM

That's the one that I always look at when I start thinking about upgrading my tripod system.

Frink 02-25-2013 11:28 AM

I have a RRS TVC-23 and BH-55. Absolutely love them. The BH-30 is too small for what you're looking for, do a BH-40 at a minimum.

If you want to do cheaper, Feisol has a good quality per dollar ratio for legs, you can order them at

I'm not wild on the Photoclam ballheads they sell though, I would stick with RRS, Kirk, Markins or Acratech. You're not going to go wrong with any of those brands, but I'd try to stay above 40mm for the ball itself. Vistek carries Acratech and has some versions around $300 I think.

Dr. PhunkyPants 02-25-2013 12:04 PM

I've been through the same decision making process. I am avoiding Gitzo because I think the brand spends too much on advertising and passess too much of that along to the customer.

The question is whether you'll be dragging it around in the trunk of the car...or on your shoulder. If in the car, I don't think you can beat any old heavy pair of legs you find on eBay.

Go to the store and check out the 1500 series Gitzo legs. They are not THAT stable. Aluminum is about the same, IMO. If I were going to spend that amount of dough, I'd get 3500 series legs and be done with it.

For the head, I agree that RRS BH-55 is the best if you can manage it. For my part, I got a Benro B-4 head used for $80 and haven't been so disgusted by it (yet) that I need to upgrade.

Pre Sell Benro Ball Head B 4 PU 50 or PU 60 Quick Release Pate | eBay

Dr. PhunkyPants 02-25-2013 12:05 PM

+1 on Feisol...I like companies that offer quality without glitz(o).

Steed 03-01-2013 06:30 AM

RRS is incredibly over priced for what you get, but if you're willing to drop the cash I won't stop you, just giggle abit. I've been hearing good things from Vanguard lately but personally I've been saving up for a Manfroto 058B system. As for carbon fiber goes it seems to defeat the purpose of a tripod being that light, seems for any long exposures any weight savings you'd get you loose in having to carry a sand bag around. Then again I'm not a small guy so carrying around heavy gear doesn't bother me.

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