A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Featured Equipment Deals

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens Review Read More

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens Review

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8: Read why reviewer Rebekah Gough thinks this revolutionary lens is a "a game changer."

Latest Equipment Articles

Nikon D610 Review Read More

Nikon D610 Review

The affordable full-frame Nikon D610: how it stacks up against other Nikon cameras, how it performs, and why it might be a good choice for your next camera.

Latest Learning Articles

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops Read More

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops

These absolutely amazing macro photographs feature a tiny elemental thing that can hold a lot of mystery. Take a moment to enjoy these photographs of water drops.


Help me choosing a Manfrotto tripod

Marina Pastore , Jan 30, 2007; 11:00 a.m.

Hi I'm looking for advise, cause I don't have enough knowledge about tripods and I'm buying a Manfrotto one. I'd like you to suggest me which kind of tripod/head works the best. My needs are: a not-too-heavy tripod and still stable and good enough to support a Nikon D50 and a Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F with flash. Needless to say, I'm not a professional, but I want to get good means to learn and develop my skills. Thank you Marina

Responses

D N , Jan 30, 2007; 12:48 p.m.

Neither of those cameras are overly heavy, but you do not specify the lenses you would be using. You photos posted here do not suggest long focal length lenses, though. I am particularly fond of ball heads for their ease of use and of Arca-Swiss style quick release systems for the same reason. There have been many, many threads here at photo.net regarding tripods. You might want to search through them and read up on your options. Manfrotto does make some excellent tripods. Their website can show them to you. www.AKAJohnDoe.com

John Wright , Jan 30, 2007; 12:54 p.m.

I have an older model, labeled Bogen 3221. Manfrotto number is 055. It has a good sturdiness for the money. The latest model is the 055MF3, which is lighter and perhaps a little stronger than mine, but it is also more expensive. You will be able to grow with it.

The bogen 3001 (not sure of the Manfrotto number) is another good model, lighter than the 055, not quite as sturdy, but also very popular.

I find ballheads easiest to use. I suggest looking at some compatible with arca-swiss quick releases. Which model will depend on the lenses you plan to use. Check out acratech, arca-swiss, kirkphoto, and really right stuff.

If you are not totally sold on Manfrotto, Gitzo is sturdier but more expensive by far.

Matthew Currie , Jan 30, 2007; 04:41 p.m.

How tall are you?

This could make a difference in Manfrottos, because some, like the 3221 are pretty tall with the legs all the way out. If you're short, you may find you have to push the legs back in a bit, which is not conducive to quick setup.

My wife and I both have 3221's (used for big lenses etc.) and find that they are too tall for us. I'm about 5'8" and she's about 5'5" tall. We each have had to mark the legs on ours for correct extension. For everyday use, I prefer my Slik 400DX.

My wife also has a 3001 Pro, with 3030 head, which she finds just right. It's lighter and shorter than the 3021 or 3221, but plenty strong enough, and stable enough for her Nikon F100 and various zooms up to 300 mm. or so. Above that, or for 'big glass' it's too small for comfort, but for what you're specifying, it should be enough. The "pro" model allows mounting the column horizontally, making it nice for macro work and odd angles.

Sorry I don't have the proper Manfrotto designations for the above Bogen model numbers, but if you go to the Bogen website, I think they're cross-referenced. If you're comparing them for size, don't forget to add the height of the head, and to that, add the height from the base of the camera to the viewfinder, to see where the viewfinder will sit when you have it fully extended. When I put my old Nikon F on top of the 3221 and 3047 head, the eyepiece is at 64 1/2 inches (164 cm).

Thomas Gardner , Jan 30, 2007; 06:00 p.m.

Everybody is giving spot on info. The gold standard of the budget minded is the Bogen/Manfrotto 3021BPro w/488RC0 ballhead.

The next level is the Feisol found at:

http://feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm

They're mid-line of the carbon fiber set.

Next level is Gitzo's new GT 6X carbon fiber series, the new gold standard of the industry. There's a lotta different sets in the middle between both levels. There are those who like to argue my above so I'll leave the arguments up to them. :)

In the end, it all boils down to budget and how do you plan to use the legset and tripod head; what kinda gear in what kinda environment.

"Needless to say, I'm not a professional, but I want to get good means to learn and develop my skills."

Based upon your above comment and that comment alone, I'd do the 3021BPro for a set of legs. Now your budget becomes the deciding factor as to which way to go with what kinda head. Budget and use determines quality level, weight, flexibility and price cause price determines the first three.

Chris Nagle , Jan 31, 2007; 02:13 a.m.

If you come across a Manfrotto 144 dont bother with it. Theyre sturdy enough, but after a few years, the legs start twisting in the clamps and are a bloody niusance to put up or stow. Guess which tripod Ive got......

Mike Earussi , Jan 31, 2007; 10:44 a.m.

The 3001 Pro is a really nice and light tripod which should work well for you and is not very expensive.

Marina Pastore , Feb 01, 2007; 05:12 a.m.

I'd like to thank you all. I'm gonna buy a Manfrotto, cause I can get one new for half price.. ;) I'm 1.76 m tall, which I don't know what's gonna be in inches.. anyway I'm quite tall for an average italian woman... I've read all of your posts and I'm making my ideas clearer and clearer, at least now I understand on which elements a choice has to be done. There are many elements I just ignored.

Thomas Gardner , Feb 01, 2007; 07:49 a.m.

"I'm 1.76 m tall, which I don't know what's gonna be in inches.."

1m = 39.37" or r39". Hope that helps.

In regard to tripods and heights; measure from the floor to the middle of your eye. Add to this, the height of the ballhead plus camera body view finder.

We have a tendency to base our tripod needs on the top of our head when instead we need to base our needs on the middle of our eye plus added height of ballhead and camera body to view finder. As a personal example, I'm 5"9" or r1.75m but the height off the floor to the middle of my eye is 5'3" or 1.6m.

Hope the above helps in your choosing the right height which works best for you.

Back to top

Notify me of Responses