Should i really splurge on a tripod?

Started Mar 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
Pelagic Regular Member • Posts: 256
Re: Should i really splurge on a tripod?

Zane Chua wrote:

I was intending to get the Gitzo GT2531 + RRS BH-55 LR + RRS BMBD11-L,

I got my first tripod to support a D300 and nothing longer than 300mm. I read Thom Hogan's excellent article and swallowed the cool-aid. I've owned a GT2530 and BH-40 head since then. I couldn't live without RRS L-brackets.

I'm now moving down to micro 4/3s gear and will not even think about selling my support gear.

Go on a field trip with a crowd from a photo club. They will all tell you that their XXX brand cheaper system is as good as top flight gear, but then watch them use it. It takes some incredible amount of time to set up for a shot. While I drop the light thing off my shoulder and can have taken a 5 segment panarama before they have focused their first frame. Why?? because every piece of the system you listed is better and easier/faster to use. So better support systems get used more.

The other question is better glass versus better support system. That's an interesting question. Look at all of your images. Then ask yourself if a perfectly still base would have created better sharpness than slightly better glass. Before you answer, look at the work of many other photographers. I vote for zero camera movement. That also means using some form of remote shutter release. Hint: for stationary subjects 2 sec delay works the trick. and the wireless remote for your D7000 is dirt cheap. IMHO: People focus more carefully on a tripod than handheld.

BTW - My GT2530 has been 2feet deep in salt water, buried in farm droppings, dropped in the mountains and used as a temporary stool. It's been field stripped for cleaning and had a nice warm shower at home. You come look at it and you'll think it has never been used. I believe the Benro and Fiesol are good copies of Gitzo engineering, but the materials and machining of the original has never let me down. If it had, I probably would not be keen to carry a tripod.

Ballheads are another issue. The best are a joy to use. Anything else interupts the task at hand. I use only RRS, but Martin, Kirk and others are also good. I take panoramas and wouldn't do them with anything without the features and ease of use of RRS pano gear. Again other top flight companies also make great stuff. But like everything else ease of use makes you continue to take the types of shots that require these tools.

I forget which, but another poster asked you if you really need a tripod at all. If you shoot street, weddings and canadid family shots, why would you use a support system. Like PJs you should invest in faster glass.

An interesting counterpoint to Thom Hogan, on tripods, is Ken Rockwell. Yes, the crazy man. But he says a lot of good things. Reread his take on tripods = no one needs them. And think about his gallery. If you shoot like him then you don't need a tripod. Get better discipline, higher ISO and faster glass. But if you shoot stationary things, then you're more like Thom.

I shoot things that don't move and street. I carry a tripod for trees and buildings and leave it at home for street.

Long winded = yes. But you need to think about your needs, and forget about your wants. I want a D800, but I only really need a tiny G3.


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