Got a manfrotto doesn't seem stable enough

Started Oct 15, 2012 | Questions thread
Rich42 Regular Member • Posts: 406
R ball head

willo78 wrote:

Hi all,

I recently upgraded from a d90 to a d800. My new camera on my Manfrotto190XProB tripod with Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head doesn't seem to be filling me with confidence. I am mostly use the D800 with a Nikkor 16-35mm, taking landscape images 90% of the time.

I think the combined wait of the camera and lens is perhaps too much for my Tripod, no falling of Tripod yet (thankfully), though it seems like it wouldn't take much.

I know people can pay a lot for Tripods and recommend that you do, I guess what I want to know for now is if my existing setup should be ok for general landscape images, or is the advice to get something more sturdy, in which case do we have any good recommendations. I would sacrifice weight for sturdiness to be honest.

Budget wise, I hope to spend no more than £400, though could possibly p/x existing setup or sell on ebay.

Any help appreciated.


I completely agree with Hogan's advice and my Gitzos and large Manfrotto's serve me well.

However, before you panic with gear envy, have you actually tested the capability of your Manfrotto equipment?

". . . doesn't seem to be filling me with confidence . . ." is pretty subjective. What actual results are you getting, using good technique? It's not just a matter of slapping a camera on a tripod and getting shake-free results. Bad tripod technique, even with larger supports can ruin shots.

I have been using my D800E on a Gitzo Explorer 2220 (a long-discontinued model - Gitzos last forever) with a very old Manfrotto 3262QR ball head. This is a small tripod by any standard, and the ball head looks very small compared to today's expectations. But with a 200mm f/4, 180mm f/2.8 or 135mm f/2.8 (the heaviest of the 3), in mirror lock-up mode, with a remote release, (a must - as important as the tripod itself), I get absolutely shake-free images. With shorter lenses, the support is as good as a concrete pier.

There is a lot to be said for knowing one's equipment and, like most aspects of photography there is a learning curve to setting up a camera on a tripod and consistently getting the right results. I can set the legs, lock the camera onto the ball head, remove it, operate the ball head and tripod with my eyes closed, half-asleep with mittens on in the snow if I have to. Before I learned that much, results were variable.

I know just how to hold the rig still, then gently let go to "let it settle down" and just how long to wait to squeeze the remote switch to get rapid, consistent results. There's nothing wrong with hanging something under to add mass. If the wind is blowing, one has to wait for a lull, or shield the gear with one's body.

Your Manfrotto gear should do the job. Unless you're still in the time period when you can exchange it, why don't you try it for a while actually producing images. Once you're confident you're getting good results, rent a larger lens and give the combination a workout. Then decide what you need.


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