Weird results when testing new tripod setup- Please help

Started Jun 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
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net1994 Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Weird results when testing new tripod setup- Please help

Hello - I have the manfrotto classic 3021 3 leg section aluminum tripod and a Giottos 1300 ball head. Total cost ~$300. Its been great, but I damaged the legs recently and always wanted to get a better head and legs. So, I went out and bought the Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head, D800 bracket. These two items were $~600. I also got the Benro Classic A3580 4 section aluminum tripod for $180. I like the specs of the Benro as it supports 2x the weight of my manfrotto. The first thing everyone will most likely ask,"why didn't you get a carbon fiber tripod??" For all the CF tripods I looked at, I would save maybe 1lb of weight and have to pay $500-800 more vs the Benro I just got. (The CF tripods I was looking at were Gitzo's and Really Right Stuff. )

So with the new gear, I decided to test if there was any better vibration reduction. My testing consisted of putting the two different ball heads on the two different legs and tapping on the legs and lens each time to see how long it would vibrate. The methodology here involved testing a Nikon D800 at eye level, w/ Tamron 24-70 lens zoomed all the way out and using live view magnified to 100%. All manual and VR off. These are the results:

Manfrotto w/ Giottos head:

Tap on lens: 2.5 sec

Tap on latch on leg: 3.5 sec

Tap on the leg coloum: 3.5 sec

Benro w/ Giottos head:

Tap on lens: 2.5 sec

Tap on latch on leg: 4 sec

Tap on the leg colum 4.5 sec

Manfrotto w/ Really Right Stuff head

Tap on lens: 4.5 sec

Tap on latch on leg: 5+ sec

Tap on leg column: 5+ sec

Benro w/ Really Right Stuff head

Tap on lens 3.5 sec

Tap on latch on leg: 4.5 sec

Tap on leg column 4 sec

The testing above indicates the really RRS head is 'worse' than my Giottos head that cost 1/3rd the price. And the Manfrotto is a tad better than the Benro, but not by much. I was expecting the exact opposite of the above. I thought the RRS head would help reduce vibration (whereas it seemed to increase it) and the new Benro tripod would be somewhat better than the manfrotto as it can support twice the weight load vs the manfrotto. The RRS BH-55 head is considered the ultimate, premium and most stable head out there. I was stunned on that.

Can you think of why the newer, 'better' gear would actually be worse than the basic legs/head I had? I'm still willing to consider getting carbon fiber legs. If I got carbon fiber legs and used one of the heads above, would that help get me the most stable setup compared to the results above? Or, what else could you suggest?

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