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Thread: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

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    Senior Member f6cvalkyrie's Avatar
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    Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Hi,

    I'm using a G1 with some kitlenses, but also with some really heavy stuff like the Nikkor 300/2.8 IF-ED + doubler or the Enna-Muenchen Tele-Ennalyt 400/4.5
    Also available are 500mm and 1000mm mirror lenses.

    So, I'm looking for a solid tripod/ballhead combo for landscape, wildlife, close-up/macro and astro shots.

    I came across this combo that I can buy for a reasonalbe price (new !)
    Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 Carbon Fibre Tripod
    Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head with RC2

    Anybody have experience with those products ?
    They are specified about double of the real weight I'm going to put on them. Is that overkill, or just reasonable reserve ??

    Thanks for any input or other proposals that you can give us !
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by f6cvalkyrie View Post
    Hi,

    I'm using a G1 with some kitlenses, but also with some really heavy stuff like the Nikkor 300/2.8 IF-ED + doubler or the Enna-Muenchen Tele-Ennalyt 400/4.5
    Also available are 500mm and 1000mm mirror lenses.

    So, I'm looking for a solid tripod/ballhead combo for landscape, wildlife, close-up/macro and astro shots.

    I came across this combo that I can buy for a reasonalbe price (new !)
    Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 Carbon Fibre Tripod
    Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head with RC2

    Anybody have experience with those products ?
    They are specified about double of the real weight I'm going to put on them. Is that overkill, or just reasonable reserve ??

    Thanks for any input or other proposals that you can give us !
    Rafael
    Hi Rafael, I have no experience with Manfrotto.

    I bought a Benro tripod with ballhead here; http://www.fotoshopaalten.nl/benro-b...h2-p-1514.html

    I really do like it. It is sturdy (the ballhead can carry up to 8 kilo's ) and well made but not super lightweight. (2,26 kg) Not to heavy either and it comes with a nice flexible shoulder case.
    At the time it was a lot cheaper as other brands.
    This afternoon I made use of it again and took this picture with it because of this new telelens I got.

    - Six horses -

    G1 + Canon FD 300/4

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Rafael -

    I also use a Benro....mine is the carbon Travel Angel. It folds up very small and is very light.

    I have even used it with my Canon.

    Works well for me.

    Regards......R

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by f6cvalkyrie View Post
    ...I'm using a G1 with some kitlenses, but also with some really heavy stuff like the Nikkor 300/2.8 IF-ED + doubler or the Enna-Muenchen Tele-Ennalyt 400/4.5
    Also available are 500mm and 1000mm mirror lenses.

    So, I'm looking for a solid tripod/ballhead combo for landscape, wildlife, close-up/macro and astro shots.

    I came across this combo that I can buy for a reasonalbe price (new !)
    Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 Carbon Fibre Tripod
    Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head with RC2

    Anybody have experience with those products ?
    They are specified about double of the real weight I'm going to put on them. Is that overkill, or just reasonable reserve ??
    50% of the rated load is actually generous and optimistic. My tripod and head are rated for about 25 lbs and I feel comfortable putting about 6-8 lbs load on them for best results.

    The Manfrotto 055CXpro4 legs are good solid performers, equivalent to Benro and Gitzo in the same size/weight class. The 055CXpro3 model are a bit stronger and sturdier at the expense of being a little bulkier collapsed, and are a bit less expensive to boot.

    I had the 468MGRC2 ball head for a while. The head and locking mechanism is fine, but the RC2 quick release plate system isn't very good, particularly for very long/heavy lenses. It's simply neither strong enough nor precise enough for lenses the size and weight of what you've listed. After much annoyance and frustration with the mounting in the field, I tossed the head and all my RC2 plates and other accessories.

    I'd stick with an Arca-Swiss type quick release mechanism and camera/lens plates ... much stronger, much more precise.

    For light duty use of long tele lenses in the class you're talking about as well as top notch services for the lighter weight gear, the Acratech GV2 head is good: strong and sturdy enough to be useful but not really up to super-duty use with the very long focal lengths. Given the field of view on the G1 (equivalent 600, 800, 1000 and 2000 mm FOVs), for more serious use you're going to need something more like a Wimberly gimbal head and perhaps an even beefier set of legs.

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    Senior Member f6cvalkyrie's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Very interesting inputs, thanks for that !
    And very nice horse shot, Michiel !!

    I have been looking at the Wimberly gimbal head before, then, forgot about it. Maybe just considered it "overkill" or "pockets not deep enough" ?? I'll have to reconsider since I want my next purchase to be the last one in the market of tripods/heads.

    For the "beefier" legs, what would you advice, Godfrey ?

    C U,
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    If you can sit on a tripod and if it would hold your weight then that is the one you would need to use the 400/4.5 Ennalyt. Otherwise, it is unwieldy. More so on the m4/3rds.

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Looking for gimbal heads, I came across this Manfrotto/Bogen product : Manfrotto 393 (Bogen 3421) gimbal

    Anybody using/having used this equipment ?

    C U
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    If you can sit on a tripod and if it would hold your weight then that is the one you would need to use the 400/4.5 Ennalyt. Otherwise, it is unwieldy. More so on the m4/3rds.


    Actually, Vivek, I weighted my heaviest stuff and came to this :

    Enna-München Tele-Ennalyt 400/4.5 : 2195 gr
    Nikkor 300/2.8 IF-ED + doubler : 3055 gr

    So, I think the Nikkor + doubler is going to be the toughest challenge.

    C U,
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by f6cvalkyrie View Post
    ...
    I have been looking at the Wimberly gimbal head before, then, forgot about it. Maybe just considered it "overkill" or "pockets not deep enough" ?? I'll have to reconsider since I want my next purchase to be the last one in the market of tripods/heads.

    For the "beefier" legs, what would you advice, Godfrey ?
    I don't know that it's possible to consider equipment as a "last time 'round" purchase. I have three tripods and two heads for them ... sold my beefier head as I didn't need it any more for the lenses I'm using today. But as what I use does change over time, I'll buy whatever equipment is needed to use it properly.

    Regards beefier legs, not sure what to recommend at the moment as I haven't been looking (due to lack of need). The Berlebach wooden legs are very sturdy, however, and would be worth looking at. Then there's the very nice legs now being made by Really Right Stuff specifically for longer lenses, and such.

    Ultra-long focal length lens support equipment is a specialty area that I don't spend a lot of time looking at since I so rarely use much in way of long lenses.

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Thanks for mentioning Berlebach, Godfrey
    I would never have looked into wood as a material for tripods, but I read their documentation, and some reports of users on the web, to find only happy news.
    Furthermore, they come with a 10 years manufacturer's warranty, and they look very sexy

    Some european resellers actually are doing some discount actions on them, and I came across a brandnew 2042 for only 124 Euro !!!

    That would leave budget for the ballhead and the gimbal for the big lenses !!!

    C U,
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Just to let you know that a Berlebach 2042 and a 540 head found their way into my direction. Total amount of purchase : 298 Euro !
    Considering the (in the mean time, just a little bit tested) sturdiness, a real bargain, and a solid proof that a solid tripod doesn't necessarily mean a very expensive one.

    As Jack wrote : if sturdy and not expensive, then : heavy. And heavy it is
    All together tripod + head : 3.65 kg
    But, what a pleasure to work with

    Thanks again for mentioning, Godfrey !

    C U,
    Rafael
    Last edited by f6cvalkyrie; 17th October 2010 at 03:09.
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by f6cvalkyrie View Post
    Just to let you know that a Berlebach 2042 and a 540 head found their way into my direction. Total amount of purchase : 298 Euro !
    ...
    Thanks again for mentioning, Godfrey !
    My pleasure, enjoy that setup. Should be a treat in the field. :-)

    Godfrey

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Should be a treat in the field. :-)
    Godfrey
    First tests in the field today, tripod loaded with G1 and Reflex-Nikkor 500/8

    Here's some pics :









    The tripod is stable to the point that it avoids all shaking of the image when focusing, even when the magnifying view is used.
    Very pleasant to carry around also, because of the wooden legs, you avoid the cold hands ...

    Comments and critique highly appreciated !

    C U
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    Very nice photos indeed!

    Looks like the tripod is working out well for you. And very nice use of a 500mm mirror lens too.

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    Re: Looking for a tripod/ballhead combo for my stuff

    I've had and still have a number of tripods. I'm now down to about 6; it had gotten up to 14. After some early disappointments with Linhof, Foba and some others I largely concentrated on Gitzo and that is what I have used now for the last 35 years except for one Manfrotto, one of the 055 models.

    A number of years ago I did some tests with long lenses. Specifically, with a 400/5.6 Nikkor and 301 converter. The converter was not the best, but that is beside the point. I used a #5 Gitzo head on a 504 Geant tripod, which weighs a ton and goes up to over 3m. I used this tripod successfully for my architectural photography with an 8x10 camera with the tripod fully extended. However, this tripod alone was not enough to properly steady the 800mm effective combination. When I added a second tripod unter the camera body, it was steady but incredibly unwieldy. I could also shoot handheld and get sharp shots at 1/250sec, but 1/250 sec was not useable on the big tripod alone. That tripod can hold me easily, but it couldn't adequately steady that lens combo. On the other hand, a 500 and even a 800 mirror lens were not a problem. The 400 alone was fine on that tripod and also on some smaller ones.

    Wood tripods and carbon fibre tripods are a lot better at damping vibrations, but depending on the resonances in the system you can have a lot of problems with any tripod. You have to try it, preferably with some wind. The best way is to set up the system and tape a mirror onto the lens or camera somewhere. From about 10 meters, shine a laser onto the mirror and have someone lightly tap the camera, or fire the shutter. See how much the reflection vibrates. You'll be amazed.

    Hanging a heavy camera bag from the bottom of the center post or even better over top of the lens where it is mounted on the tripod can dampen the system very effectively sometimes.

    The weight ratings are not a true indicator for camera capacity, especially if you use long focal lengths.

    Henning

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