Have you found a suitable tripod for your NEX?

Started Feb 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
Scottsphotos Junior Member • Posts: 34
Re: Have you found a suitable tripod for your NEX?

kingyee wrote:

Scottsphotos wrote:

kingyee wrote:

How to make a choice?

Buy the tripod based on your needs and the style of shooting for which you plan to use the tripod; do not base it on what people are currently using their Nex with. This could be completely different than what you need it for.

I know its hard to sift through the myriad of different tripods but its up to you to first nail down your requirements and then match those requirements to what is out there.

A few hints:

  • You generally get what you pay for.
  • Everything is a compromise.
  • Prioritize your needs and match the tripod to those that are most important.

You asked how to make a choice (that's why I didn't tell you what tripod I use).

Good luck with the process!

Thank you for your professional explanation. I'm a begginer of NEX5R with SEL18200 and 1650 lenses. I may need a tripod for day or night scene when travelling. Is it necessary to have a carbon fiber one with the bubble level and a ball head?


Got it.  (BTW - I'm just an enthusiast like you  )  Here are some thoughts...

Reality:  How much do you really plan to use your Nex-5 with a tripod?  I do about half of my landscapes with a tripod and all of my portraits.  So, its important to me.  I would not bother buying an RRS, for example, if I were not really going to use it very often.  OTOH, why buy an expensive lens and pay the cost to travel somewhere just to limit yourself with a cheap and cheaply-made tripod?

Traveling and the lenses you are using implies lighter-weight and shorter length; but only to a certain extant. I know a lot of photographers who put a bit too much emphasis on light and short.  This is one of those compromises. I've owned really small, lightweight tripods and find them limiting.  Better than nothing (kind of), but they do not compare to a sturdy tripod.

Weight: Consider that a light-weight tripod (say under 3lbs) is really nice to carry for long distances but will be inherently less stable.  This is especially noticeable in wind and if you use the tripod in running water such as shooting landscapes from a stream or in surf.  You might be surprised at the difference in the quality of your photos with a stable tripod.  Its not a problem at all inside a building or if you weight it down by hanging your backpack or camera bag (most have some kind of weight hook) beneath the head.

Height open and Length folded: The height opened without a center column is important to me in that I like my tripod to be able to rise to within 6 or 7" below my eye level without the column.  The head and the camera will make up the difference to get it to eye level.  Overall height is a comfort thing for me.  The picture will certainly dictate how high your tripod should be but its nice to be able to take shots at eye-level when it doesn't matter.  Of course, this is less a problem if you only intend to sit or kneel or compose with the screen instead of the viewfinder.

Folded length is important if you intend to hike a good distance or want to fly with it.  Not really a problem if you drive to a destination and do not walk far.  A tripod with a longer folded length (say over 22 or 23") makes it more difficult to carry while hiking and carry on a plane IMHO.  Just something to consider.  But, the shorter it is folded also means compromise:  a) it means a shorter tripod overall and maybe you wanted it higher and/or b) a tripod with 4 or 5 leg sections (more sections means more joints and smaller leg diameter and inherently less stability).

Carbon fiber is great in that it decreases the weight and has less vibration than aluminum in general.  The extra expense is very much worth it in a travel tripod where you are looking to cut down the weight. Be aware that not all carbon fiber is the same (from what I have read (I'm not an engineer)).  Its common sense, though.  A $150 carbon fiber tripod vs a $300 vs an $800 one for the same height is giving up something.  Again, we generally get what we pay for.

A spirit level on a tripod is nice.

Go with a decent ball head that is designed to support your heaviest lens.  There are plenty out there that would work well with a Nex-5R and the SEL18200.  You can read more in the Accessories Talk forum about various heads.  I wouldn't go cheap, though.  A cheap ball head will cause frustration in that the camera will eventually start to creep down and you'll end up replacing it shortly.  FWIW - I prefer one with a quick-release clamp vs a screw-knob.

Cost:  Just because your Nex and the lenses are lighter than a DSLR doesn't mean you should go extremely lightweight and doesn't mean you should go cheap.  I recommend we, as photographers, take seriously the idea that we are better off paying up for a good tripod and head instead of buying cheap now just to have to replace it shortly after.  Buy your last tripod first.

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