Wed 29-Aug-12 02:02 PM | edited Thu 30-Aug-12 03:12 AM by grnzbra
I just aquired a Sigma 150-500mm lens for use with my D5100. I also got a Vanguard ABH230K ballhead. My current tripod is of unknown manufacture but seems fairly sturdy. The only problem is that I can't get the head off. The Vanguard ballhead will mount on the existing head but that arrangement seems like it would make things very unsteady, especially for that lens.
I've been looking at Vanguard tripods and the Alta+ 284CT seems like it might be good. But I'm not sure how the numbering system works in terms of giving an indication of sturdyness.
What do you folks thing of the 284CT for this application (I will not be running over hills and fields with this. Mostly in my back yard -range 15 feet to the bird feeder - or to a local park so weight isn't that much of a factor.) Does going with carbon fiber vs aluminum give you a stronger tripod for a given weight or a lighter tripod for a given strength?
PS. I guess I should add that I like the flip-over-for-macro-on-the-ground feature. Hence my interest in the Vanguard line.(As well as price range)
Thank you for the help and the references. One of those references (long lens technique, I belive it was) said "If you don't need to extend a leg section, don't." If, with three section legs, if the tripod had to be extended to height equal to fully extending one section of each leg, would it be better to extend one section fully or two sections half way?
It is generally better to leave part of a leg retracted even if it means extending more legs. it is easy to see that the leg collars generally get more rigid with some leg left inside the upper section.
I know this is true for twist collars. I don't own any modern flip lock collars (such as Manfrotto uses) so can't speak from experience. But I suspect the general idea applies.
For a 500mm lens you should try to use legs with 32mm or larger upper leg tube diameters. They are hard to come by on a budget. On a quick google I did not see that spec listed, and that is not unusual. I would personally never spend much time even researching a tripod without knowing that spec because without it I have no idea of the "relative size" of the tripod. Payload ratings are just not reliable indicators of utility at given long focal lengths.
The 284ct has been discontinued per an email I received from Vanguard support 2 weeks ago. I ordered 1 from adorama and got a back order so I contacted vanguard. That is when they told me it was discontinued and shipped their remaining supply to adorama. So I,was able to get mine about a week ago. Adorama may sill have some left in stock.