can't decide between two tripod/head combos

Started Mar 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
Toedtoes Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: can't decide between two tripod/head combos

baneling wrote:

Hi all, I'm trying to decide between two tripod/head combinations and wondering if you can help me with it. They each have features I like, but since this is my first tripod, I don't really know how important these features are. Here are the condidates:

Manfrotto 055cxpro4 with 054-Q2 head
1. had flip locks. not sure why i'd like these better than twist locks, but I do.

This is an aesthetic preference for you. (For me too - it just feels more comfortable for me.)

2. the head has a tension knob. the Vanguard BBH-200 doesn't.

Is this important to you?  Is there a practical reason? Or is it more of an aesthetic preference like above?

3. the release plate has a thumb screw, no need for a coin to tighten it to the camera as in the BBH-200.

Is this important to you?  Do you expect to want to attach and remove the release plate frequently and/or in the field when you might not have a coin?  If so, then this is a practical preference.  If not, then it is a virtual preference.

Vanguard Alta Pro 284Ct with BBH-200 head.
1. the center column can be set to different angles as opposed to either just vertical or horizontal like the Manfrotto

Do you expect to use those angles?  Or are they just something unimportant the tripod will do that others don't?  If so, then this is a practical preference.  If not, then it is a virtual preference.

2. the head has a rapid level system where it can be easily and quickly set to horizontal. I know this doesn't mean anything outside cause the ground isn't necessarily perfectly horizontal, but this would come in handy indoors when I want the head to be parallel to the floor

This is a handy option to you.  Is it  something you expect to use a lot or just occasionally.  This is a practical preference.

3. ballhead is arca-swiss compatable. but not sure if I'll ever use that.

This is a "what if" preference.  What if I want to use arca-swiss in the future...  (if you know for certain you will be using arca-swiss in the future, then this would be a practical preference.)

4. center column has a hook for weight and legs come with a bag that attaches to the legs and can hold things for extra weight. the manfrotto doesn't have either one, but not sure how important this is. if its a bit windy, can I just hold onto two legs and make sure it doesn't move?

This is a practical preference.

5. because the release plate slides into the head, you can move it back and forth a little which might come in handy when you want to just move the camera back or forth a few inches instead of moving the whole tripod.

Do you expect to need to move the camera at those minimal distances?  If so, this is a practical preference.  If not, this is a virtual preference.

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Canon T3i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
Canon EF-S 50mm f/1.8

Count up your preferences.  Practical preferences get top billing (3 points), aesthetic preferences get second billing (2 points), what if preferences get third (1 point), and virtual preferences get no billing (0 points - there isn't a real preference - it just sounds neat).  The tripod with the highest points wins.  This puts the priority on those functions that are most useful to you, but allows aesthetics and potential to break a tie.  It also eliminates all those extraneous things that sound good but don't really do anything for you.

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