WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4
I need some advice and hopefully a good setup for a good price.
Have mostly shot handheld in the past w/70-200 & 2xtc, but in an attempt to better capture my local surf scene I grabbed a 200-400 to pair up w/ my d300. I have a tc14e I may use as well.
Anyway, I'm really not sure what I should be looking for. Usage will be on beach, soft sand. I'm 6'4". I see many people rave about gitzo/arca combo, but of course that seems like rolls-royce, when I only maybe need a chevy.
#1. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0MEMcD Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 09-Sep-08 08:24 PM
This may help you decide:
If you get a top flight tripod and ball head to begin with. It will actually be cheaper in the long run than getting a cheap tripod the upgrading a few times until you get the top flight rig that you should have purchased in the first place. Good Luck and Enjoy!
#2. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0reuben Nikonian since 21st Jan 2004Wed 10-Sep-08 08:18 AM
Well, I hate to tell you this, but for surfing you may want something like the Wimberley Sidekick. Once balance, it make panning and other movements not only effortless, but very smooth, which can help improve your percentage of keepers and allow you to frame your subjects better without lost pixels.
The Sidekick fits an Arca-Swiss (Markins) type head. There may be others, but I don't know about them.
#3. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0davidjon_99 Registered since 07th Nov 2005Wed 10-Sep-08 10:42 AM | edited Wed 10-Sep-08 10:49 AM by davidjon_99
I think an excellent, low cost, setup for moving subjects is the Giottos GB5200 tripod with a Bogen 3421 gimbal head. Together they cost about $390 from Adorama.
The tripod is aluminum and pretty heavy at around 6.5 lbs. But, it is very, very sturdy. Much more sturdy many of the low cost carbon fiber tripods available. It is also much more sturdy than similarly priced Manfrotto/Bogen aluminum tripods.
I've used that combination for a couple of years with my 400mm f/2.8 (with and without all three TCxxE TCs), mostly for birds in flight and other moving subjects. My biggest complaint regarding the 3421 is that you can't lock it down completely.
I just bought a full Wimberley for about $600 plus several Arca-Swiss QR plates...total cost was about $800. Still not sure whether I'm going to keep it all. It's a good head, but I'm not 100% convinced it is worth that much money. If you go for the Wimberley Sidekick, you still have to buy a very strong ballhead with Arca-Swiss QR clamp. The 3421 does most of what the Wimberley's do at a fraction of the total cost. The 3421 comes with a very good QR system and extra QR plates are a lot less expensive than Arca-Swiss QR plates.
So, in my opinion after using both, if you want the Rolls-Royce, get the Wimberley and put it on a Gitzo tripod. If you want the Cadillac, get the Giottos/Bogen combination.
BTW, here's a Nikonian's review of the Bogen 3421:
Edited to add: I'm just over 6' tall and I don't have the tripod legs extended all the way. So, it will be tall enough for you.
Visit my Nikonians Gallery
#4. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 11-Sep-08 10:17 AM | edited Thu 11-Sep-08 10:19 AM by ericbowles
I understand your desire to save money, but compromising stability by saving a couple of hundred dollars on setup for a $5000 lens may not be your solution.
Take a look at this article by Thom Hogan.
You've got decisions to make on the tripod head and the legs. The Wimberley Sidekick is a good solution for use with a high quality ballhead, but with a lower quality ballhead it may not provide enough stability. Consider ungrading the ballhead or a Mongoose 3.5 from 4th Generation Designs.
Here is a discussion of the Mongoose from Arthur Morris.
There are several good solutions for tripod legs. Gitzo is at the top end. You can probably get away with a 2 series, but for a little more money the 3 series would accomodate all your needs.
#5. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 4MarcoP Registered since 31st Aug 2007Thu 11-Sep-08 10:45 AM
There is a new head from Gitzo which is designed for long lenses and integrates beautifully with the systematic tripods: the GH5280S. I have no direcd experience but I think it is definitely worth a close look. Not much user feedback since it's quite new. Good luck, Marco
#6. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0
Hi Justin, I spent alot of time here searching and asking about the D300/200-400vr combo. For various reasons I went with the 300 2.8vr instead(had a hell of a time finding one and if I could not find one my wife was getting the 200-400).
Anyway, I finally went with Markins M20, Sidekick, replacement foot and a Feisol 3471. If I could have gotten US Gitzo prices it might have been a Gitzo. I waited to order the sidekick until I knew which lens I was getting. If it had been the 200-400vr I would have gone with the full Wimberley.
I am 6 foot even and with the ballhead and sidekick mounted the 3471 is just a tad to tall for me(a couple of inches). The cost is in the $320 range(or was when I last looked). I have spent most of my life around the beach and ocean so I would go with CF and not AL. I have not had the tripod long enough to talk in terms of how long it will last but it serves its' purpose extremely well. Very solid and is the equiv. of Series 4. The 3371 (3 section leg)is slightly taller than the 3471(four section leg). I do not have center column.
Your profile does not say much. If the tripod is just for the 200-400vr the the full wimberleyII is cheaper than a good ballhead and sidekick.
There is an Indian made ripoff of the full Wimberley I on ebay at under 1/2 the price and a poster here has done a full review on it.
I decided for the money I was spending saving $250 was not worth it.
Will I regret getting the Feisol vs. Gitzo? At the moment, not at all. Will I regret not getting the 200-400vr, not yet but it is still on my list. I do not agree with a series 2 being big enough. I also have 2 series two equivs. one with 28mm diameter and one with 29.5mm. Inside a house or totally protected from the elements I could use with the 300 2.8 but I am very happy with the larger legs. I can SEE the vibration when shooting at the beach with light sea breeze on the smaller Pods but not the big one.
If you want taller then you may have to go Gitzo or the dreaded center column. The other option is to look at Berlebach wooden tripods. A good one for your height will be heavy.
Hope of some help.
Manuel Sousa - alias... T.D.Hardin
#7. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 0
>I see many people rave about gitzo/arca combo, but of course that seems like rolls-royce, when I only maybe need a chevy.
The Gitzo isn't a Rolls Royce, it's more of a Merc or Audi.
Expensive at first but built very well, firm to use, will give you years of good service and still looks professional even when 15 years old.... as opposed to a chevy which might be cheaper but it's overweight, wallows in the corners, while it's cheaper to maintain it will need plenty of it and without lots of care will rust up and look tatty.
One thing to think of before you make your final descision though: how close to the waters edge do you plan to use this tripod?
Almost all tripods have trouble with sand, some more than others.
Check how well the leg sections are sealed to ensure that sand grains don't get entrained up inside the legs. Giving the legs a wipe with a lightly damp cloth before closing them will reduce that risk as well.
Find out if your selected tripods has snow shoes available as an extra. They are wide disks which spread the load to stop the leg ends disappearing into the ground. This is not as bad a problem on wet sand but on dry sand you can quickly find your tripod has shrunk somewhat if you don't have shoes on it, especially with the weight of larger lens. You can get them for Gitzos and I think Manfrotto's shoe design allows them to be used with a wider range of other manufacturers tripods. (three plastic saucers upturned on the sand will work as a cheap alternative - you just need something to spread the load and stop then legs digging in)
Salt water is also a problem with those tripods which use thick paper shims inside the legs as part of thier locking design. Gitzo's use well-waxed card and the latest leg designs seal much better around the legs but it's an area you need to be aware of clean throughly if you get salt water into the legs. (The slim plastic bags used to protect rear windscreen wiper blades at automatic car washes can be slipped over the leg ends to keep sand and spray off the legs - even just wrapping the leg ends with clingfilm will help water seal them)
As to heads?
Well in your situation I'd also agree that while a ballhead is a good general purpose solution, for a 200-400mm you will get the most benefit from that ballhead if you fit it with a sidekick to turn it into a gimbal mount. It's not necissarily an automatic first buy if cash is tight but something that you may want to have on you persoanl wish list for later.
#8. "RE: WTB Tripod/Head for d300/200-400 f4" | In response to Reply # 7tommiejeep Nikonian since 07th Jan 2008Thu 11-Sep-08 11:21 PM
Noel brought up very good points if you are going to be using at the beach most/alot of the time. You might want to take a serious look at the Berlebachs since the leg locks are not hightec. Someone may have some experience with wooden legs used constantly by water/beach.
PedroS uses a Berlebach and posts here. I would recommend looking at their heavier range and not their photo range. There are couple of other wooden tripod manufacturers. They may not look as cool as CF but might be more functional/practical.
Just a thought.
Manuel Sousa - alias... T.D.Hardin