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Benro C1182T first shoot (long)


Boston Area, US
10293 posts

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous suppport to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002
Thu 17-May-12 11:56 PM | edited Fri 18-May-12 03:14 AM by benveniste

There have been a couple of recent threads about travel tripods where I stated I was going to take mine out for a spin. I finally got a chance to do so today.

My philosophy on a travel tripod is simple. It's what I take along after I've lightened up on other equipment and still can't fit a standard sized tripod into my kit. This usually involves air travel, and even then I'll try to rent a full-sized tripod if I can. For an upcoming trip to Alaska, neither is an option. This is a small boat cruise -- passengers are advised to carry duffle bags because there's no room to stow suitcases. Here's a comparison shot of the Benro and a full-sized Vanguard (with appropriate ball heads):

Click on image to view larger version

I think that pretty well tells the story. However, unless a tripod gives me better results than handheld, why carry it at all? So out I went with my D800, a 70-300mm VR lens, the Benro and two different heads. The first was a Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip head. It's typically about a $100 item, but I got it for ~$10 as part of a bundle at Adorama. The second was a Markins Q3 "Emile," which a great combination of light weight and high performance, but not as quick to use as the pistol grip.

I started with my standard "brick wall" shot of my local public library. This is a north facing wall and was in shadows, so at ISO 100 and f/10 I was in the danger zone for mirror slap. So here are the "best case" 300mm results, using mirror lock-up and a remote release.

Click on image to view larger version

Here's the "pub" in "Public" at a 100% crop:

Click on image to view larger version

Next, it was time for a little rock and roll. I set the camera to CH mode, cranked the ISO to 320, shot a series of 6 shots, and compared the 1st and 6th shots in the series. Not surprisingly none were as good as the MUP shot, but all were acceptable.

I also did a quick comparisons of the two heads. The Markins performed wonderfully as expected. The Vanguard did fine horizontally, but when I tried to shoot verticals with the D800/70-300mm combination things fell apart. Simply put, the round "anti-slip" plate couldn't handle the torque imposed by the lens. (No tripod mount on a 70-300mm). With the weight of the camera over the mount, no problem. But with it on the side, the GH-100 wasn't up to the task.

A "tap test" of the C1182T/Q3 combination gave me about a 1.5 second result. This isn't optimal and to me indicates that this is only barely acceptable for a 70-300mm. I'm not even going to try to mount my 70-200mm or 300mm f/4 on this thing -- again, that's what the big tripod is for.

As for the trip, the Benro and Markins are coming along for the ride. I think the GH-100 will probably stay home.

If you want to photograph a man spinning, give some thought to why he spins. Understanding for a photographer is as important as the equipment he uses. - Margaret Bourke-White

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