Need advice on good leg/head combination
Looking for all around tough guy for wildlife, portrait, photo-journalism, ground level macro, long exposures, and any other shots that may come along. For tack sharp shots every time (well, at least I won't be able to blame it on the tripod if they are not)
1. Gimbal head?
2. Markins ballhead?
3. RRS ballhead?
4. Gitzo balllhead?
5. Manfrotto ballhead?
6. Gitzo legs?
7. Manfrotto legs?
8. Feisol legs?
Would like ability to get low to ground I am 5'6", so does not have to go high. Would like it to fold up short for hiking, be lightweight, and very steady, very sturdy, able to hold D300 with long lens(TBD, but probably at least the Nikon 70-200 with a TC-14), with the option of a bigger lens in the future.
Should have ease of use/quick top close/open/change positions from low level to back up in decent time. Not like plants bugs run off so fast!
Is there such a beastly combination, or am I asking for the world? Money is not a problem, advice is at this point. Tired of wimpy stuff.
Well, any advice will be help and appreciated.
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#1. "RE: Need advice on good leg/head combination" | In response to Reply # 0Mark V Registered since 18th Jun 2004Sun 27-Sep-09 01:22 AM
Wait until you buy the big gun before getting a Gimbel. A ball is far more versatile. Since money is no problem scratch Manfrotto and Feisol off your list. (It's what we buy to save money.)
Gitzo Series 3 for tripod.
Ball head: Markins M20 or RRS equivalent.
#2. "RE: Need advice on good leg/head combination" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sun 27-Sep-09 10:57 AM
If your long lens will be something along the lines of a 70-200, 300/4, or maybe a Sigma xxx-500, the best gimbal is probably a WImberly Sidekick, which mounts on a ballhead. Not only does it allow you to quickly swap back and forth between gimbal and non-gimbal use, it eliminates the gimbal verses ballhead decision. A gimbal will not shoot a non-collared lens properly, although it is possible to concoct various compromises to try to do so.
I shoot Markins heads... you will also find RRS advocates here. That is a decision as to what features are most important to you and a very personal choice. I like the Markins knob layout, light weight and small size for the performance, and the smoothness of the head.
For a tripod your big decision is the leg class- in your case likely 28mm or 32mm legs. A Gitzo Series 2 is ideal for focal lengths up to 200mm. Beyond that a Series 2 will handle smaller lenses (such as the 70-200 with TC or a 300/4) but I think a Series 3 is ideal. A series 3 is a bit heavier and bulkier so that is a basic decision you can never get away from, regardless of the tripod you select. For your situation, hiking with a 70-200 + TC14, you will find varying opinions on that here, mainly based on what people want to carry. If possible you should find a Gitzo dealer and handle the various models.
I have a Gitzo G1228 (predecessor to the GT2540) for my mobile solution, with a Series 4 alloy for my long lenses (300/2.8 and 500/4). A GT3541LS would be a great alternative to my G1228 and something I've been considering myself. I shoot my 300/4 at up to 500mm with a TC17 so a light and small Series 3 for me is very attractive.