Choosing a Tripod: Advice for an Outdoorsman?
A recent post here concerning the downsizing of equipment (or, more accurately, reducing the weight of the equipment one carries on one's shooting excursions) starting the "wheels turning," as it were, on the issue of tripods. As an avid outdoorsman (sic), landscape and wildlife photographer, I do a lot of shooting with some of Nikon's longer and heavier glass (300mm F2.8 ED, 400mm F3.5ED, 500mm F4 P and 600mm F4ED lenses). To date, I have been using a heavy duty Manfrotto tripod (seriously modified) originally intended for use with a view camera. The unit performs well: it is rigid and holds the long glass rock steady. BUT, it is heavy, awkward, cumbersome and, in cold weather, just a PIA. So... I am looking for an upgrade as it were. I need something lighter,easier to operate in inclement weather, that I can strap onto my backpack, yet is capable of supporting the longer, heavier glass that I use. Suggestions?
Carbon fibre is pretty unbeatable for rigidity versus weight, and does not conduct heat so it is comfortable in cold weather. I use a Gitzo CF tripod with RRS ball head for my MF camera and wide lenses. If I used your long glass I would get a Really Right Stuff TVC-33.
Last edited by andrew.roos; 04-30-2012 at 02:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Go with a ries wooden tripod and never look back
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Don't go with a wooden tripod unless you plan to shoot within 300 yards of your car. Strength to mass ratio is not high enough. I second the carbon fiber tripod. Get a decent large tripod and the head of your preference, but don't bother with wood unless your lenses don't give you enough of a workout.
I've been lurking here for a while but this is my first post. I'm also an avid outdoorsman, and as a matter of fact I used to have my own bushcraft and wilderness skills school until the economy went into the toilet and I had to close down.
Are you also packing your overnight gear along with your photography gear? The reason I ask is that you may be able to cut some weight there depending on your needs.
A carbon fiber tripod would be the best strength to weight ratio. (I'm assuming since I don't have the budget for something like that LOL)
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look for a used gitzo 1325, no center column.
I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix
I agree on the center column! I actually took a hacksaw to the center column on my aluminum Manfrotto; I cut it so it was almost flush with the bottom of the base to allow for ground-level shooting. It never served any purpose anyway, except possibly increasing vibrations.
If I had the means and the wherewithall, I would get a RRS TVC-33S (I'm short). For your 500 and 600mm, consider a Wimberly Sidekick gimbal head.
Last edited by LJSLATER; 04-30-2012 at 10:30 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: spelling & clarification
I love my Ries J600 with J250 double tilt head, largely because it has its own carrying case which I can sling over my shoulder. It will support my 8x10 camera admirably. However, the tripod and head combo weighs 10.5 lbs as opposed to a RRS TVC-33 with ballhead weighing in at 6 lbs. So for what this OP wants to do, Ries is probably not the best choice.
Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
I have to agree with you, though, that there's nothing quite like a Ries tripod. It's the best piece of photo equipment I own.
Originally Posted by c6h6o3
The Ries has no more competition than does Heinz ketchup. There's the Ries, and then there's everything else. In cold weather especially, I'll take a Ries over a metal tripod any day.
But there's no way you're going to strap a Ries to your backpack, so it doesn't fit the bill for the OP. Carbon fiber is probably the way to go.
"What drives man to create is the compulsion to, just once in his life, comprehend and record the pure, unadorned, unvarnished truth. Not some of it; all of it."
- Fred Picker
The Gitzo 8x carbon is by far the best I've used. I own and Induro at the moment (about half the cost) for the Mamiya 7 and a 4x5 and it's very easy to travel with. But, if I had the money, the Gitzo is the only way to go.