Tripods ????

b08rsab08rsa Major grinsAmelia, OHPosts: 211Registered Users Major grins

In the process of looking for a nice tripod that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg. Do do you look for in choosing one?
I just recently picked up a Sigma 150-600mm |C with the MC-11 adapter for my Sony A7II. This thing is a beast.
Budget would be around $175 - $200 range. Or am I dreaming at that price point?

Sony A7ii, Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, Sony FE85mm f/1.8 Lens, Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens, Godox 860iiS Flash.

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,114Super Moderators moderator

    It's always good to list your needs and expectations when choosing a tripod/head system.

    What is the total weight you need to control? Besides the camera/adapter/lens you listed, will you also need to mount a flash and possibly a flash extender (Better Beamer, etc.)?
    Minimum and maximum height requirements? Inverted mounting option?
    Number of leg segments? Height extension option?
    What angles do you anticipate needing for the camera/lens? Do you need to point the camera/lens straight up or down, like for a macro application, etc.?
    Wind stability considerations?
    Subject matter? (Recommendations for Birds-In-Flight [BIF] are often very different from other nature/wildlife and landscape photography.)
    Is tripod/head weight a major consideration? (For instance, a quality carbon-fiber tripod can be lighter than an aluminum tripod, and carbon-fiber [CF] has some nice qualities regarding vibration dampening, but CF generally drives prices considerably up.)
    Cold weather considerations?
    Is the method of leg-locking important? (Snap latch vs twist-lock, for instance.)
    2-way/3-way head or ball head?
    Any need for an L-bracket?
    Are you hoping to produce commercial-quality results, or is this mostly for personal satisfaction?

    Anything else you can think of regarding needs and expectations, ideally listed with some sense of priorities?

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • b08rsab08rsa Major grins Amelia, OHPosts: 211Registered Users Major grins

    @ziggy53 said:
    It's always good to list your needs and expectations when choosing a tripod/head system.

    What is the total weight you need to control? Besides the camera/adapter/lens you listed, will you also need to mount a flash and possibly a flash extender (Better Beamer, etc.)?
    Minimum and maximum height requirements? Inverted mounting option? Im about 5,9" so I would like something in that height range.
    Number of leg segments? Height extension option? No preference.
    What angles do you anticipate needing for the camera/lens? Do you need to point the camera/lens straight up or down, like for a macro application, etc.?
    Wind stability considerations?
    Subject matter? (Recommendations for Birds-In-Flight [BIF] are often very different from other nature/wildlife and landscape photography.)
    Is tripod/head weight a major consideration? (For instance, a quality carbon-fiber tripod can be lighter than an aluminum tripod, and carbon-fiber [CF] has some nice qualities regarding vibration dampening, but CF generally drives prices considerably up.)
    Cold weather considerations?
    Is the method of leg-locking important? (Snap latch vs twist-lock, for instance.)
    2-way/3-way head or ball head?
    Any need for an L-bracket?
    Are you hoping to produce commercial-quality results, or is this mostly for personal satisfaction?

    Anything else you can think of regarding needs and expectations, ideally listed with some sense of priorities?

    I would say first off I need a tripod that will support my new 150-600mm Sigma |C lens that I picked up a few days ago.
    I would also like the tripod legs to be tall, enough to where I do not have to extend to much so that the camera with my 150-600mm lens becomes unstable.
    Leg segments is up in the air, so that's not a big deal for me.
    I would like to do Astrophotography when the opportunity presents itself.
    Subject matter, wildlife. Heading out west in July to Boise, Idaho, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
    Locking does not matter.
    I do like the Ball Head.
    Not sure if I need an L bracket.
    Although it is for personal satisfaction, I try to push myself to produce commercial quality results.
    Not sure on the priorities. Just not sure if going carbon fiber is worth the extra $100 ? While I like the weight of carbon fiber, it also comes with a price.

    I did look at these 2 at my LCS yesterday.
    Specialist Series SP532CK Professional Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit with Head - $399.95
    Specialist Series SP532K Professional Tripod Kit with Head - $299.95

    Sony A7ii, Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, Sony FE85mm f/1.8 Lens, Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens, Godox 860iiS Flash.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,114Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 15, 2019

    I do hope that some other users will jump in because I don't own and have never used ball heads myself. For my stuff I use a half-ball for leveling and then a 3-way pan head on top. And my tripods/heads are generally pretty big and heavy to allow large format cameras as well as dSLRs and medium format.

    With that caveat, if I were to have your camera/lens system I would probably go with a manufacturer which allows you to order parts directly so you can do your own maintenance as needed. Bogen/Manfrotto and Slik tripods with mostly Manfrotto heads are my choice for many decades, but Gitzo and RRS are great names in the business. At the lowest end that I would recommend, Benro has been around long enough to have a pretty good track-record for quality if you stay away from their very entry-level offerings. In your case, the Benro tripod and ball head that gets good reviews on B&H is the Benro TMA37AL Long Series 3 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod fitted with the Benro B3 Triple Action Ball Head. With a combined cost of $345USD and with at least two owner reviews mentioning the head as suitable for their 150-600mm zooms, it seems like a pretty safe bet.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • JonaBeth RussellJonaBeth Russell Major grins MauiPosts: 882Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 16, 2019

    I use ball head tripods daily, and can tell you, you'll need to bump that budget up a few bucks, but not tremendously. Manfrotto makes a fabulous model that holds an impressive amount of weight. I linked the tripod and mount that I use daily...very strong, will hold your rig I'm certain.

    Tripod: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IQ7PT50/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Mount: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L5VKX22/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Carbon fiber is great, saves a lot of weight, but you'll find that they don't hold as much weight as aluminum. Plus, you can abuse the aluminum models a bit more without consequence.

    Steer clear of twist-lock leg segments. They always wear out, requiring you to crank the snot out of them to stay tight. Plus, your wrists will get sore. Stick with lever-lock style.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,426Super Moderators moderator

    I own and use tripods made by RRS, Feisol, Manfrotto, Induro, and Gitzo, and they have all been pretty useful. I agree with JB Russel than aluminum tripods are cheaper, maybe stronger and more durable. I use mine in Yellowstone in the winter, and aluminum in the winter really SUCKS. Sucks the heat right out of your hands, literally. If you are never going to use your tripods in a cold climate ( say lower than 60℉ 😎), aluminum will be fine, but in a cold climate, carbon fibre are vastly more pleasant to use, and maybe a bit lighter. I strongly encourage carbon fibre for folks shooting wildlife in snow fields.

    If you plan to shoot astrophotography - star fields, Milky Way shots, etc, you want a heavier sturdier tripod with sharp feet that can be shoved down into the ground. or can be swapped out for hard rubber feet on hard rocks. My Feisol, my Induro, my RRS, and my Gitzo will all do this fine. They are all carbon fibre too. My Manfrotto is small, aluminum and easy to carry, but not useful for star shots. RRTS makes a nice set of alternate feet spikes.

    Funny thing, all my tripods, except the Manfrotto, are twist lock tripods and have held up well, despite that, and occasional abuse. None of mine look remotely like new.

    For your 150-600 Sigma for wildlife I would suggest you consider some type of Wimberley style head - once balanced and mounted, your heavy camera and lens are a delight to use. Or alternatively, Juan Pons like the Q ball Unique ball tripod head a lot for wildlife work. https://uniqball.eu

    One point I would like to suggest is that a good tripod will likely outlast your camera body and your lens if you care for it.

    It is a purchase you will enjoy, or rue, for a long time. Consider it carefully, and stretch your budget for it if you can. A good tripod, that you will actually carry AND use, can be a joy and improve the optical quality of your images. Or it can be left behind in a drawer because you don't like to use it.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • b08rsab08rsa Major grins Amelia, OHPosts: 211Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2019

    @pathfinder said:
    I own and use tripods made by RRS, Feisol, Manfrotto, Induro, and Gitzo, and they have all been pretty useful. I agree with JB Russel than aluminum tripods are cheaper, maybe stronger and more durable. I use mine in Yellowstone in the winter, and aluminum in the winter really SUCKS. Sucks the heat right out of your hands, literally. If you are never going to use your tripods in a cold climate ( say lower than 60℉ 😎), aluminum will be fine, but in a cold climate, carbon fibre are vastly more pleasant to use, and maybe a bit lighter. I strongly encourage carbon fibre for folks shooting wildlife in snow fields.

    If you plan to shoot astrophotography - star fields, Milky Way shots, etc, you want a heavier sturdier tripod with sharp feet that can be shoved down into the ground. or can be swapped out for hard rubber feet on hard rocks. My Feisol, my Induro, my RRS, and my Gitzo will all do this fine. They are all carbon fibre too. My Manfrotto is small, aluminum and easy to carry, but not useful for star shots. RRS makes a nice set of alternate feet spikes.

    Funny thing, all my tripods, except the Manfrotto, are twist lock tripods and have held up well, despite that, and occasional abuse. None of mine look remotely like new.

    For your 150-600 Sigma for wildlife I would suggest you consider some type of Wimberley style head - once balanced and mounted, your heavy camera and lens are a delight to use. Or alternatively, Juan Pons like the Q ball Unique ball tripod head a lot for wildlife work. https://uniqball.eu

    One point I would like to suggest is that a good tripod will likely outlast your camera body and your lens if you care for it.

    It is a purchase you will enjoy, or rue, for a long time. Consider it carefully, and stretch your budget for it if you can. A good tripod, that you will actually carry AND use, can be a joy and improve the optical quality of your images. Or it can be left behind in a drawer because you don't like to use it.

    I would not plan on shooting outdoors in winter. I like how the aluminum tripods hold up to getting beat around. I guess the good thing is, I have a little bit of time to research tripods. I have come to the conclusion, that I need to up my budget on a nice tripod. Im the kind of person that I only want to buy it once, and be done with it. I guess that is why I am taking so long to figure out what is going to give me the best bang for my buck. Everyone, thanks for all the information.

    Sony A7ii, Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, Sony FE85mm f/1.8 Lens, Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens, Godox 860iiS Flash.
  • CornflakeCornflake Major grins Posts: 2,470Registered Users Major grins

    Everyone has covered this subject well. I would just add that I used to economize on tripods until I lost a lens and a camera body because of my crappy tripod. Be smarter than I was. I have an aluminum Manfrotto and like it fine. I hike around with it on my back and the weight isn't a problem.

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