Since we're talking running/hiking miles over rocks, etc, I'm not too concerned about being comfortable looking through the viewfinder. It's more a nice to have. I'm flexible and can take a knee. However, I'm concerned the camera and lens combo is too much for the little guy. Subjects will be whatever I happen to see that's interesting while I'm out there.
Yes, I've done thread searches and noticed that some around here aren't fans of Benro. Oh, I was also looking at Vanguard, but the shop said they're receive many complaints and really don't like the head.
Thoughts? ...keeping in mind I've already blown the camera budget and Freshman Tuition Bill is coming.
Just another POV... do you really need a ground based tripod? I've traveled and hiked for years with a table top tripod that is perfectly capable of supporting my heavier DSLRs and a zoom lens - it's just that what I use needs to be pressed by the user against a tree, table top, light pole, trash container, post box, etc. I've used it in the wild, in urban settings and for lots of out-back and foreign urban travel.
Mine is kind of a special hybrid unit, but you could find substitutes that might fit your budget better.
Good luck with your choice. FWIW my other travel tripod is a four section Manfrotto CF with a Markins ball head. With the head removed and the legs collapsed, the legs will fit into a standard 20" roll-aboard suit-case.
Roger It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
I'm reasonably happy with my Benro C1182T, and continue to be very happy with my Markins Q3 head. But I realize that's a big step up in price from the Sirui that you are looking at.
I did an informal test and concluded this combination was marginal but acceptable with a D800 and 70-300mm VR. I also used it last week with a spotting scope for ship-to-shore viewing of a grizzly bear, but (not suprisingly) it wasn't up to digiscoping with the same scope.
One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it. - Galen Rowell
It's aluminum, so it's heavier than the carbon fiber version. Going to carbon would save 8oz (out of 3.5 lbs, bear in mind that this includes the head also) - and cost very nearly twice as much ($485 vs $255). Is it a Gitzo? No. It's definitely not a Gitzo Systemic 3-series with a Markins head. But it also costs about 80% less, and it folds up into a carry-on suitcase.
Despite the dire warnings you'll hear, I've put a D3 with 24-70/f2.8 on this tripod and lived to tell the tale, and with good crisp shots, too. I've also put even bigger lenses on it - 200/f4 AFD Micro, for one, and 135/f2 AF DC for another (especially since the 135 doesn't have its own tripod mount). One definitely has to be more careful with a rig such as this, but I'd guess that a D7000 + 18-300 will be not much of an obstacle at all - assuming that you turn off the VR and don't encounter zoom creep problems. Of course, neither of those is peculiar to a specific tripod, either.
Edit: I should be more clear. When I travel, I routinely shoot a D3 and 24-70/f2.8, Sigma 12-24/f4-5.6 or 105/f2.8 Micro on this little tripod. It's not an exceptional case. I do avoid using this tripod for really big lenses (I haven't even tried it with the 400/f2.8, even in the living room!) but for the kind of adventure you're talking about, what I've been using is still heavier and bulkier. Obviously if possible I use a bigger and heavier Gitzo Series 3, but I have no fear of using the little one if the occasion arises.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
I don't want to interfere with the OP, but as I have a similar problem, I'm considering your suggestion on the aluminium Benro. Just a question though, when you talk on those shooting experiences, do you mean full extended legs or all but first sections collapsed?
I have a bigger carbon Benro CT3580T and I'm quite happy with it so far, but need something smaller for hiking.
I take it you meant your comment as tongue-in-cheek, judging from the emoticon! I would guess the intended meaning was "I use as few of the leg sections as I can get away with, but I do extend all three legs."
Sorry, didn't see this until now. I extend as few of the sections as I can in any given situation. If I can put the tripod on a rock or table and use only one leg segment, rather than putting the tripod on the ground and use them all, I do the former. But if I have to use all of them, I'll do that. If I have the option of shooting from a slightly lower position that's photographically equivalent than extending the whole thing, I'll shoot from the lower position. If they're NOT photographically equivalent, I'll pick the better one. But I don't use the center column unless there's just no way to get the shot otherwise. Probably it's been used for less than five shots in a year or two.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
I'm late to this thread, so I apologize for coming in now, but when I read that the Sirui T-025 was recommend for use with the D7000 and an 18-300mm lens I was flabbergasted. The top tube of this tripod is 22mm, or not even the equivalent of a Gitzo series 1 tripod leg set. I would hazard a guess that one could get decent photos with care up to a focal length of about 150mm, and I mean with care, but after that the torsional stability of the legs will cause the sharpness of the photos taken to be very much hit or miss, and the hits will be in large part a measure of luck, and a very high shutter speed.
As far as the Benro goes, I am unable to determine its suitability, having never seen it, and because I can't find enough information to even guess at it torsional stability.
I have no problem with less expensive brands of tripod legs if they are reasonably well built and can actually accomplish their task of holding a camera steady so one can consistently make photos you couldn't make hand-holding the camera/lens. I know a number of people happy with their Benro tripods, but they are using Benros capable of doing the job for their camera/lens combination.
Sometimes it's better to wait and purchase a piece of equipment which can actually do the job than buy equipment by price and waste your hard earned cash. Many of us here own a series of tripods because we bought on budget instead of spec and found the inexpensive tripod couldn't do the job. Eventually we learned to save up and purchase a tripod which will work, once we could afford it, and found we probably could have bought much sooner, had we not wasted our money earlier.
>I'm late to this thread, so I apologize for coming in now, >but when I read that the Sirui T-025 was recommend for use >with the D7000 and an 18-300mm lens I was flabbergasted. The >top tube of this tripod is 22mm, or not even the equivalent of >a Gitzo series 1 tripod leg set. I would hazard a guess that >one could get decent photos with care up to a focal length of >about 150mm, and I mean with care, but after that the >torsional stability of the legs will cause the sharpness of >the photos taken to be very much hit or miss, and the hits >will be in large part a measure of luck, and a very high >shutter speed. > >As far as the Benro goes, I am unable to determine its >suitability, having never seen it, and because I can't find >enough information to even guess at it torsional stability. > >I have no problem with less expensive brands of tripod legs if >they are reasonably well built and can actually accomplish >their task of holding a camera steady so one can consistently >make photos you couldn't make hand-holding the camera/lens. I >know a number of people happy with their Benro tripods, but >they are using Benros capable of doing the job for their >camera/lens combination. > >Sometimes it's better to wait and purchase a piece of >equipment which can actually do the job than buy equipment by >price and waste your hard earned cash. Many of us here own a >series of tripods because we bought on budget instead of spec >and found the inexpensive tripod couldn't do the job. >Eventually we learned to save up and purchase a tripod which >will work, once we could afford it, and found we probably >could have bought much sooner, had we not wasted our money >earlier. > >Ned >A Nikonians Team >Member > >----------------------------- >Visit my >Travel Photography Blog and >my Galleries. +111 Kim Western burbs of Chicago
I subscribe your comment, that is better to wait until you can afford the right tool. But in some cases, for non-professional or not intensive use you can make some concessions. I have not investigated on this Sirui tripod, but if tubes are only 22 mm it can be really weak for some equipment combination. But I still believe that it could work when legs are not fully extended. That would be a usage close to the table top tripod concept also posted here.
Unfortunately in my case I have to postpone the travel-tripod issue for a while: one of my daughters, who strayed her knee and was almost recovered, 6 months after her ligaments operation (The three of them play basketball), will need a second operation to fix (I hope, definitely) it. Therefore, our hiking vacation is gone for this year. Maybe next year even economy changes and I can also afford (and use!) the right tool...
I'm very sorry to hear about your daughter. I've had multiple knee surgeries myself and know what she's going through.
I have two things I want you to think about with regard to tripods.
As a professional, spending on photographic equipment is a business expense. I generate income which pays for the equipment, and what I purchase is fully tax deductible as a business expense. Yet, precisely because it's a business, every piece of equipment I purchase must be justified, and the justification is that it has to make a positive difference in doing my work, and be cost effective once in use. For example, while a 500mm lens was affordable for me, and while it isn't for others, I didn't purchase it until I knew it would help me with my work, help me make a living. In the case of tripods, it's the same. That's why I only buy tripods which can actually perform the work for which they are intended.
As such, I believe that professionals are actually more constrained in the purchase of photographic equipment than amateurs.
If it falls within an amateur's budget, the desire to have it, coupled with it being within budget, is all the justification needed for making the purchase.
As to the specific Sirui tripod. In my opinion, the Sirui is far too expensive to purchase it as a tabletop tripod. With the top tube at 22mm it's going to be weak for many uses, even with the tubes not extended, considering the strongest tube is still only 22mm.
If you can't use a tripod as intended, I think it's a bad buy. I really think it's better to wait until one can purchase a tripod which will really work. If the tripod doesn't work, I just don't see a point in purchasing it.
I went back to the shop and discussed the two tripods, and others, with a few of the pros. They convinced me the Sirui was plenty to hold the 18-300 and they were right. It did fantastic shooting 30 sec shots with legs fully extended. Well, except for the one shot where I bumped it. Funny...that's one the Mrs really likes. It's not the easiest tripod to adjust on the fly in the dark, but it does what I want it to do while being super portable and light.
Oh yeah. Sorry I forgot to mention that as I know you were concerned about the extended length shots. It was all sub 100. I agree with you that it might be pushing it on the tripod fully extended. I don't anticipate using it at 200+. Those shots are more...hurry up and grab the camera out of the pack to get that bear way down the trail.
Also...I was really surprised at how sturdy that little guy is after comparing it to many in the store that were much larger and heavier. It's going to be great for the pack for long distance runs/hikes.
Thanks for that information. I had said above, "I would hazard a guess that one could get decent photos with care up to a focal length of about 150mm," so I'm not surprised it was okay for your sub 100mm shots. I was concerned because your lens goes to 300mm.
Thanks Jerry and Ned for your support on my daughters issue. We'll have a last review next Monday with surgeon and decide upon next operation. From ressonance test it seems meniscus is now OK . Must be a problem with ligament implant she got. It is likely to have it surged next September and would allow her light walking. In any case next basketball season would be likely gone.
I agree with Ned that professional and amateur are two different mind frames and requirements. If I were earning my life from photography I would surely make my decisions as I make them for machines and tooling when at work. Very often best return for investment implies getting the finest top notch equipment.