What tripod do MFers use?
I'm looking too invest in a good steady tripod, not necessarily lightweight if that sacrifices stability. What would you recommend in the 150 to 300 euro (or $) range?
There is a Manfrotto one which should be about 130 to 150 Euro - the 190 I think it is, with a 141 head.
I use a Manfrotto 055 for outdoors for MF and light LF and a Manfrotto 058 for the studio. I also have an old De Vere tripod if I need anything ultra-heavy-duty. I use Manfrotto heads with the hexagonal quick-release plate - 2 ball-and-socket heads (a 168 and a heavier one) and a 229 pan-and-tilt (all Manfrotto). I have the basic model 055 - I think it also comes in variants where the legs splay right out for low-level work and the center column can be used as a horizontal boom arm. I like ball-and-socket heads for everything except where the camera is so heavy that a BS head is uncontrollable.The 058 has a "triaut" feature which I love - you can hold the tripod in mid-air and twist a central release ring to make all three leg extensions drop down together.
Another vote for the Manfrotto 055.
I use it with the 168 B&S head (hexagonal quick-release plates, which I'm not 100% happy with) for my SQ-A and 4x5 field camera (many will say teh 055 is marginal for LF use, but it works fine for me). It's not the lightest combination and depending on how you will be transporting it, the 055 is still quite long when folded so you may want to look at the setup Kevin suggested too.
I do prefer a B&S head for MF, where I use the WLF (but it can be a bit of a pain for levelling LF cameras - but that's not your problem...).
I think the main thing is to get a good make, (Manfrotto, Gitzo or Benbo mainly...) then you can be sure it will be well designed and will last many years. Like cheap shoes, cheap tripods are a bad investment: you end up paying more in the long run...
Another vote for the 055 which I used happily for 4 1/2 years for both MF and 5x4 with a range of heads. It has just been retired due to a cracked leg casting and managing to convince myself to afford a Gitzo 1325. I intend to replace the casting and use as a spare.
I have found the Manfrotto geared heads helpful when composing landscape images, they do develop wear after a while though, for which the solution is to dismantle and rotate part of the gear which is engaged. I expect that they would be too slow for other types of shooting.
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I used a Bogen 3021 (Manfrotto 055) for many years with everything from 35mm to 4x5. It's been a great tripod. Somewhere along the line, I bought a Gitzo 1410 and 1377M ballhead. It's an even better tripod although it is heavier.
Yeah...the Bogen 3021 with the 3047 head. I've wrapped the legs with foam pipe insulation and that with duct tape in 2 places on each leg which makes it easier to shoulder and less cold to grasp. That head uses a quick release plate so I've gotten two plates, one for each camera I use, to make it easy to just grab the pod and not think about having to switch plates from one camera to another.
I'd like to get a Berlebach wooden 'pod for the 4x5 for no other reason than It'd make a nice new toy...but there're too many other more important things to commit the funds to at this point so it'll have to wait. But the 3021 is still excellent and hardly a 'settle for' piece of equipment.
For MF, I've liked my venerable Leitz Tiltall above all, but since it's due for a replacement, I'm looking at the Giottos MT-8180.
I have a Manfrotto 3001 and use it for everything from 35 mm to 4x5 with either a 3047 head or a Manfrotto ball head (can't remember which one, and it's at home). I also have a Manfrotto 475 for my 8x10 which I also use the Manfrotto long lens support for additional stability.
The answer is - it depends.
Originally Posted by blackmelas
Here are the tripods I have and some opinions:
Bogen 3036 w/3047 head - heavy monster that will support just about anything you can throw at it. At max height w/extended center column, it's still stable with a medium format camera. I've used this tripod for everything from 35mm to 8X10. I always keep a 10mm nut driver with me to make sure the leg locks stay tight.
Bogen 3021 w/old Linhof ball head (model ukn) - Great general purpose sticks for everything up to 4X5 (maybe 5X7 if it's a light camera). Fast set up, medium weight for all day carry. Usually my first choice for medium format. As with the 3036, I keep a nut driver handy to firm up the leg locks.
Bogen 3001 w/3055 ball head - When I bought this tripod, it had a 3025 3-way head which was one of the most horrible heads I ever used. The 3001 is an OK tripod for up to medium format IF you don't have to extend the legs all the way. A major plus is that it's very light and rather compact.
David & Sanford Model C - A beast. Not very tall, but sturdy as a tank. I use this exclusively with a Century 4a studio camera, though I tried it with smaller stuff. Not travel friendly.
Berlebach 2042 - I just got this one, but I think it's going to replace my 3021 for a lot of field shooting in formats from 6X6 to 5X7. VERY sturdy, excellent leg locks, and the built in leveling ball almost makes another head unnecessary. I'm shooting some head shots with this today using a Bronica SQ-A and 150mm lens.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.