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Thread: Tripods and Ball heads

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Tripods and Ball heads

    Well we have the bags and straps . Let's talk about the real important stuff . Tripods and Ball heads . i know no M shooter should be using tripods.

    I use the BH -40 head and the GT 2541L legs. i find this just about perfect for the M8 system
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I have two different tripod/head combs.

    My main pod is a newer Gitzo 1340 XLS with an Arca Cube head --- IMO this is about the closest thing to an ideal combo for most cameras up through and including 4x5. However, it is Leica-expensive. Here is a review of the Cube: http://www.getdpi.com/cube.html

    My second pod is my smaller travel pod. This combo is a Gitzo 1228 LVL and a Linhof Medium Profi head. I add an RRS QR clamp to it which can be removed for use with a camera without an Arca style plate. This is a very useful combo as well, and the tilting center column allows some interesting flexibility for shooting positions, especially low angles or macro.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    light weight set: gitzo 1157; RRS small ball and sometimes pano head on top of that, so you can level with the ball and then do pans in a level plane.

    also Gitzo 1327 and Acratech ball for the 5D;
    sometimes use the old silver Tiltall copy, Star D, although that is mostly for site construction work with a laser.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I second Guy's setup ! RRS stuff is really excellent. BH 55 for all other gear. It should hold the ALPA also

    Jim on iPhone

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    LOL , you are going to get that Alps i can feel it. LOL

    Another I Phone junkie. it really works great on our site folks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    A topic worth discussion... though I'm not a Leica shooter.

    RRS plates everywhere of course.

    My lightweight setup is a Gitzo Mountaineer 1128 (roughly similar to today's GT1540 I believe?) with cutoff center column. It has a FHM 38 ballhead (similar in size to an Acratech) with a RRS clamp. This setup works well for travel (which assumes that the camera and lens are light enough to carry). I used it with 4x5 when trekking in Chile for three months, but it was on the light side in strong mountain winds.

    [Off topic] The heavy rig is a Gitzo Mountaineer 1548 with a Burzunski ballhead. This is for the 8x10 monorail. The Burzunski head is an interesting contraption. Doesn't tilt more than 45 degrees, but handles the 30lb monorail with ease. The head replaces the head mounting plate of the Gitzo, so the ball is actually sunk down.

    When using my longest lenses (473 and 645 mm) on the 8x10 I use two tripods. The original center column of the 1128 has a carpenter's clamp attached to it, that grabs the front of the monorail. This dampens any oscillations.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I have a Gitzo 1548CF and a smaller Velbon 540 (I think). Which I use depends on the camera that goes on it, how far I have to carry it, and how windy it is...

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    For me it's the Manfrotto Carbone One and the Novoflex MiniMagicBall. Very light, very stable, way tall enough and the Novo has a great tactile feel with a single action to lock the ball head.

    But I do lust after a Gitzo ...

    Pete.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Hey Jack- do you think/know that the "Cubes" machining has improved or is it still just a fact of life and new buyers have to live with it re the release lever...I would appreciate any links you may have pointing me to the Kirk slider..

    In fact I think it may be useful for the forum to have a seperate section called links..where people can post useful stuff/gadgets /gizmos and etc etc and where to get it..

    woudl be especially useful for people liek me who have to live wth the reality that we order from OS ourselves to get teh good stuff. -

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Well we have the bags and straps . Let's talk about the real important stuff . Tripods and Ball heads . i know no M shooter should be using tripods.

    I use the BH -40 head and the GT 2541L legs. i find this just about perfect for the M8 system
    ROFLMAO - you knew before February I was going to ask this question.

  11. #11
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Hey Jack- do you think/know that the "Cubes" machining has improved or is it still just a fact of life and new buyers have to live with it re the release lever...I would appreciate any links you may have pointing me to the Kirk slider..

    In fact I think it may be useful for the forum to have a seperate section called links..where people can post useful stuff/gadgets /gizmos and etc etc and where to get it..

    woudl be especially useful for people liek me who have to live wth the reality that we order from OS ourselves to get teh good stuff. -
    Hi Peter:

    I cannot say for sure, but I doubt it... My solution was to pull it off and sell it, then mount a RRS screw-lock QR clamp for the Arca heads. Unfortunately RRS stopped making them shortly after they started making their own ballheads.

    However, the fix is pretty simple, especially for a fabricator like you. Worst case is you'll just need to re-shape the release lever profile to allow more clamp clearance with the lever flipped open. The lever unscrews from the clamp completely and is a Delrin or other thermal-plastic piece, so easy to shape with a mill file. Once fixed it worked well. I just prefer a traditional screw-down clamp I can feel tighten Alternatively, you can buy an Arca screw clamp for any Arca head and replace it with that.

    We discussed a links section, but the problem is the new ones come in and the old ones change or redirect, and after several months you end up a huge database of useless links. And frankly, neither Guy nor I are organized enough to keep them current
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Thanks for the info Jack. Re teh Arca the idea of paying 1500 US so that i can pull the thing apart and fix it on my milling machine - doesnt suit LOL

    re links - i guess I'l just ASK you guys!!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    re links - i guess I'l just ASK you guys!!
    OR.....


    We'll let YOU moderate that section!

    ,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I have the earlier model of the Gitzo GT-1550T 6x carbon fiber tripod. It was very pricey, but worth every penny. I can carry it in one hand, so I tend to use it more. It goes everywhere with me. I replaced the included tiny ballhead with a bigger Gitzo G1177M, but it isn't an elegant solution and I will be replacing it. I highly recommend the tripod for a travel tripod (it fits in a carry-on). It works great with the Leica M and I can even put my Canon on it in a pinch.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Can I suggest that you guys take a look at the Novoflex Magic Ball.

    I had the RRS BH 40 for the M8 but switched to this as it is smaller, very stable, and just more versatile plus faster in actual use.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Ray,
    That is an interesting design. Do you use it without a quick release? I see that there are 3 sizes: magicball, magicball 50 and mini-magicball. Which one are you referring to for your M8?

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Hi Cindy,

    I use the mini for the M8, with absolutely no problems. The system comes in basically three pieces. You will need to get the ball, then whichever quickrelease system of theirs you like, and the plate. Relative to the plate, you can use whatever you already have such as ArcaSwiss, RRS, NovoFlex, etc...

    Even though the mini doesn't have a unique fine friction adjustment, the screw works fine enough with the weight of the M8 and lens as if it does.

    The Novoflex system is a little more expense than the RRS options put I really like the complete flexability of movement in any direction as needed due to the surface you are on.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by harmsr View Post
    Can I suggest that you guys take a look at the Novoflex Magic Ball.

    I had the RRS BH 40 for the M8 but switched to this as it is smaller, very stable, and just more versatile plus faster in actual use.
    Best,
    Ray
    Ray,
    The mini-ball "features" says that you can use it without a clamp because the thumb-wheel makes on/off easy. I was wondering if you had tried it and what you thought? Leaving off the clamp and the two plates on my M's might be an attractive option, if it is not too hard to take them off and on.
    Have you found any need for the panoramic head for panning ability?
    Last question: If you lock down tight with a heavy lens like the 75 lux, is there any creep? That is what my present gitzo ball suffers from prompting my search for something that works as good as my Markins Q10L did with my SLR kit.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Cindy,

    I have not tried it without the clamping system. I have the clamp plate with the screw knob and use the plate on the camera.

    I sometimes use the Leica table-top tripod and Leica small ball head when traveling, which mounts as you are asking. It is a "PITA" for an attachment method.

    I don't have a 75 Lux, but have used the M8 with the 90 Cron ASPH or 50 Nocti on it and have no creep. I agree creep also drives me nuts.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Ray,
    Thanks for all the information on the Novoflex. It sounds like it might work well for me.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Looking at the Gitzo catalog, the 2540LVL looks pretty interesting.
    Does anybody have any experience with the Gitzo leveling tripods?
    thanks
    -bob

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Hi Bob:

    I have a leveling head for my 3-series pod. I really like it, but found it un-necessary when I got my Arca Cube head, so I removed it. It's definitley a handy feature for use with regular ballheads IMO and allows you to level the camera quickly.
    Jack
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Jack,
    I have the leveling head for the Series 3 systematic that I use from my home base.
    I am toying with the idea of a series 3 with a leveling feature as a travel alternative.
    How do you think that the cube would fit on top of a series 2 or is it too large or heavy?
    thanks
    -bob

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by rwfreund View Post
    Jack,
    I have the leveling head for the Series 3 systematic that I use from my home base.
    I am toying with the idea of a series 3 with a leveling feature as a travel alternative.
    How do you think that the cube would fit on top of a series 2 or is it too large or heavy?
    thanks
    -bob

    I don't think the one for the 3,4,5 series will fit the 2 or 1 series. On the newest 1 and 2 series leveling pods, the bowl is built-in...

    The 3 series is probably ideal for the Cube, the 2 series is probably okay but maybe a bit small-ish --- the Cube weighs in at about 2 pounds, so I keep a lightweight ballhead on my 2 series...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Workshop Member ChrisDauer's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    The 3 series is probably ideal for the Cube, the 2 series is probably okay but maybe a bit small-ish --- the Cube weighs in at about 2 pounds, so I keep a lightweight ballhead on my 2 series...
    Do you think the cube would be too much for a 1540?
    I was using the BH-40 on it and it seemed just about perfect.

    Actually, the 1540's leg locking mechanisms are so good it's making me want to upgrade my 1325 legs.

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    Gitzo's compared

    Following the advice here and some Q&A with Guy and Jack I just went to B&H to pick up a new tripod to get christened in Moab. I bought the Gitzo 2541L.

    Here is my take on the different models. I did some advance research and concentrated on these:

    1550T (traveler)
    1540T (traveler)
    1540
    2541L

    1550 - tripod legs can flip 180 degrees so you can fold them around the ball head for protection. Very light. BUT - 5 sections of legs and the bottom ones are thinner than my pinky finger. I don't think this tripod is sturdy enough and IMHO I just wouldn't feel comfortable putting really expensive gear on it. Tripod is very short fully extended. Even with center column extended (which I was advised against) you will be bending over a lot to frame your shots. $640 (includes ballhead)

    1540T - four leg extentions but even shorter. Didn't actually see this one. $560

    1540 - nice but just about at eye level fully extened without center column really raised and I am only 5'5". However the legs didn't reverse like the traveler. Felt reasonably sturdy. Significantly sturdier than the 1550T. $535

    2541L - the few extra inches when tripod at full height felt significantly better to me. The small wieight difference really didn't feel like a problem at all. Seems much sturdier with each equivalent leg being slightly larger on the 2540 than the 1540. The clincher was collapsed it is maybe and inch or two longer than the 1540. $640

    This past summer I started using a tripod in the city doing some night shooting. The max height of the tripod I was using was just about 59". There were numerous instances that I really wanted to go higher to get something out of the frame (bushes, railings, fences etc.). My advice get a tall tripod! It also is much easier on your back.

    Now off to order the ball head and quick release plates from Really Right Stuff.

    Hope this helps someone who can't get to a store to see the different models.

    terry

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Well we have the bags and straps . Let's talk about the real important stuff . Tripods and Ball heads . i know no M shooter should be using tripods.
    As you say, no M user should be using tripods and ball heads.


    My Tripod:

    two legs
    head (usually wedged against tree trunk / post etc.)


    Just this guy you know

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Jono i was really waiting for a answer like that
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Did we mention the Leica table top tripod . Small enough to fit in your back pocket well almost but you can use it as a chest pod too. Works a charm and gives you about 2 stops or more on the shutter
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  30. #30
    Digital Dude
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    Red face Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I have a very cheap Silk U6600 tripod that cost me 35-bucks and it’s quite adequate for those occasions when I use it in my home for on-line postings. Likewise, it’s remarkably stable for use with the M8.
    Regards,
    Last edited by Digital Dude; 9th December 2007 at 11:19.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Guy,

    Here's one that really will fit in your pocket: the Manfrotto 3007. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ipod_Legs.html

    With a RRS BH-25 installed it weighs only ten ounces (384 grams).

    Steve

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Guy,

    Here's one that really will fit in your pocket: the Manfrotto 3007. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ipod_Legs.html

    With a RRS BH-25 installed it weighs only ten ounces (384 grams).

    Steve
    Steve,
    I have that one. Great little tripod.

    Terry

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Looks nice too.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Gitzo's compared

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post

    1550 - tripod legs can flip 180 degrees so you can fold them around the ball head for protection. Very light. BUT - 5 sections of legs and the bottom ones are thinner than my pinky finger. I don't think this tripod is sturdy enough and IMHO I just wouldn't feel comfortable putting really expensive gear on it. Tripod is very short fully extended. Even with center column extended (which I was advised against) you will be bending over a lot to frame your shots. $640 (includes ballhead)



    terry
    I have this tripod and really like it. I take it everywhere because it is so small and light. I think it is sturdier than it looks (I agree about not extending the center column). I have heard that it can support a man leaning on it. The included ballhead is not very useful and I replaced it with a better ballhead. I am 5'9" and I don't feel that I have to lean over too much.
    I have used it extensively with the M6 and M8 with lenses as heavy as the 75 lux.
    I can understand why someone would be skeptical by looking at those thin legs, but it does work well. Most of the time I don't extend the thinnest leg section.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I have learned a lot from peopel posting their preferences re bags/tripods and other gadgets and gizmos - for example I have often thought I'd liek a 'bespoke suit' for my M8 from Luigi - buthave never got around to it..

    After seeing Cindy's Luigi case in a thread I want exactly the same one for Christmas - similarly, I like Jack's camera bag set-up - the pictures are very helpful as well.

    So just a quick thanks to people who post shots illustrating their gear choices and links etc - it is very helpful.

  36. #36
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I also use the same bags as Jack. Yes i copied it and darn proud of it too. LOL

    Going to get mine embroidered with GetDpi workshops logo on it
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  37. #37
    Digital Dude
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    Red face Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    With my bag in tow, I’ll be standing along side the road with a cardboard sign “Disabled Vet – will work for camera gear”. Actually, I’m still waiting for my b-laika to arrive.
    Regards,

  38. #38
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Though I still didn't use a tripod when using the M8 (of course... LOL ) I do own a Gitzo 1257 with a Markins head, L-plates for my D2xs and a M8 plate which - as I said - still didn't see any use... Love Gitzos, coming from Manfrotto tripods they are IMHO on a different league - not than Manfrottos are bad, of course.
    Vieri Bottazzini
    Leica Ambassador | Formatt-Hitech Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER | VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS | VIERI BOTTAZZINI FINE ART

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    If you don't need a tripod it only means that you don't see the early pre-light which means that you don't ever see the fresh new day just prior to its searing birth sending daggers of light across the firmament..

    I'd rather carry a tripod than miss that.
    -bob

    Anything that is faster than 4 seconds at 160 iso and f4.0 seems like an unusually fast exposure to me now, sort of rushing to close the shutter before you let the image in.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I use the GT1550T traveller with the included Gitzo head for my M8. It works perfectly. I use a cable release or 2 second self timer, so it doesn't have to be totally, absolutely rock solid. I've shot at 16 seconds with tack-sharp results. The best feature is that it folds up to 14" which fits inside my laptop bag for travel.

    I use the GT2540 with Gitzo G1376 Offset Ball Head or Manfrotto 468MGRC0 Hydrostatic Ball Head for larger cameras like the DMR or D2X. I do a little demo with the GT2540 in our store (we're a Gitzo 5 Star dealer, btw) where I support myself hanging from the top of the tripod and swing back and forth. The 2540 doesn't budge, bend, or flex. Good thing I only weigh 17.6 lbs, huh?

    If you have an older 1228, 1258 or similiar, you owe it to yourself to try out the new GT25xx tripods. G-Lock is awesome, new threaded bolt design and milled aluminum mounting plate is a nice improvement, and the Ground-Level Set removable column is brilliant. The new 2-series is as sturdy as the old 3-series.

    The hydrostatic ball head is amazing. If you haven't tried one, it really is amazing. It goes from totally loose and smooth to locked down with a zero resistance flick of the wrist. Manfrotto used the same principle as power brakes in a car to make it one of the strongest heads, period.

    The Gitzo G1376 is also one of my favorites as it allows for a lot more adjustment than a traditional ball. Nice big plate, sturdy head, exceptional build quality. It is especially well suited for holding a camera with ringflash using the long plate.

    I love playing with this stuff...

    David

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    We know and your killing our budgets.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Gitzo's compared

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    2541L - the few extra inches when tripod at full height felt significantly better to me. The small wieight difference really didn't feel like a problem at all. Seems much sturdier with each equivalent leg being slightly larger on the 2540 than the 1540. The clincher was collapsed it is maybe and inch or two longer than the 1540. $640

    This past summer I started using a tripod in the city doing some night shooting. The max height of the tripod I was using was just about 59". There were numerous instances that I really wanted to go higher to get something out of the frame (bushes, railings, fences etc.). My advice get a tall tripod! It also is much easier on your back.
    Terry,
    I am looking at the 2541L as well but I had some concerns about its minimum height with the center column collapsed and with the legs fully extended. My eye height is 64.5 inches off the ground, and if I take the center column collapsed spec of 59.4 inches and add six inches for camera and ball head, that puts it at an inch over my eye-height.
    Is this a problem for you or do you only partially extend the legs?
    thanks
    -bob

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    Re: Gitzo's compared

    Quote Originally Posted by rwfreund View Post
    Terry,
    I am looking at the 2541L as well but I had some concerns about its minimum height with the center column collapsed and with the legs fully extended. My eye height is 64.5 inches off the ground, and if I take the center column collapsed spec of 59.4 inches and add six inches for camera and ball head, that puts it at an inch over my eye-height.
    Is this a problem for you or do you only partially extend the legs?
    thanks
    -bob
    It felt good to me. Yes, if camera and ballhead are on and it is too high I won't extend the legs fully. My old tripod went to 59.4 with the center column fully up. This past summer I did a whole series of night shooting and took a number of shots with the center column fully up as I needed the height for things in the city (like not cutting off the top of a bridge) and could not step back into traffic to get the shot. So, I knew I wanted higher than what I had. When I was speaking with Jack he also said there are a lot of instances where you have uneven surfaces and may have one leg a little bit down hill costing you some overall height.

    I don't generally just carry a tripod around with me all the time nor do I do extensive hiking. When I know that I am going somewhere that I will be shooting with a tripod I take it for that shoot. So, unlike some, the absolute smallest, lightest system was less important than the frustration of it being too short. So, for something like Moab where we will be hiking about 20 minutes to our location the extra length and few ounces (or perhaps a pound) didn't bother me. The only thing that would probably change my opinion was if I traveled a lot and I could not fit the tripod into a regularly used suitcase but I think this one will be OK diagonally. I know the traveler series fits into almost any bag.

    Guy uses the 2541L and somewhere in the posts told me his height. I'm sure he will see this and respond or send him a PM.

    terry
    Last edited by Terry; 10th December 2007 at 04:15. Reason: typos of course!

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    5'8" when I jump.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Just ordered a 2541L and RRS 40pcl head myself. Looked at a few models with leveling bases and also the Acratech heads. Still may get a little traveler at some point for use on my bike.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Exactly what I have Tim , you will like that setup with the M8
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I was going to order the LR model and not the PCL. Is it worth getting the PCL for panoramas if that is not your primary use?

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Terry I like the quick release myself. You can still do Pano's with the pan adjustment at the bottom. Just need to be level . Frankly i would opt for a focusing rail to do stitching as a option, just shoot along the rail. Or panos' with this rail

    http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/pano/04.html
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    I am not all that keen on the quick release and I think the pcl version is worthwhile just to easily level the camera. This will replace a mountaineer version with a Kirk head I bought a couple of years ago. One thing I always found a pain was getting the thing level.

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    Re: Tripods and Ball heads

    Am using a Gitzo GT2530 and I removed the center column and added in the tripod base from Krik. Head is the Arca Swiss Z1 (quick release). I find this combination just nice for my height and very light, yet strong.

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