Thu 27-Dec-12 03:44 AM | edited Thu 27-Dec-12 03:46 AM by jrp
Stay away from the "PRO" models. As soon as you move the center column just a bit you will defeat all its stability. The 055XB is much better. More so if you eliminate its center column.
Although we recommend for starters a pan/tilt head, the 498 RC2 should work for that light load of yours. If you can find and "architectural" plate (with a lip), even better, drastically reducing their tendency to twist due to the cork interface.
Both have a center column. The PRO's center column is off-center. On the other models it is dead center. In either case, the center column should not be used at all and preferably removed. It is like placing a monopod on top of a tripod.
The center column of the PRO is only off center if it is put on the horizontal surely? My 055PROB has a central column - now removed and replaced with the low angle adapter allowing my 3-way head to be mounted directly on top of the legs.
A center column adds incremental height and also provides a means to more quickly set a very precise height. Typically precise height is required more for macro.
I think it is wrong to buy a tripod if you are planning to use the center column simply to provide additional height, especially if you need 6 inches or more additional height.
I have mixed feelings about using it for precise height adjustments. I don't believe an inch or two of extension creates a problem for a well designed tripod. That inch or two of adjustment can save a lot of time and frustration. On the other hand it is very difficult to test the real world degradation in your images and the results are very dependent on the gear and your technique and shutter speeds.
I do not use center columns on my 3 tripods but there are times when I wish I had one installed . Mostly for macro but that is where stability is most critical.
If you remove the column then you can get down low without being forced to articulate the arm side ways.
When you articulate the arm the head is also flipped side ways and then the function of the head is flipped- the ball acts as a pan base of sorts, and the pan base acts like a ball of sorts. Heads (at least ball heads for sure) work better when right side up as intended.
In other words, you don't want to have to articulate the arm simply to get low. Articulating the arm only makes sense if you are going to use it as a boom, and in that case you need to be prepared for the vibration and off balance center of gravity that must accompany that lever type mechanical setup.
The PROB adapter is basically a very short center column that does not externd below the mount. It does not change the method of head attachment. A similar arrangement is used on the XB model.
If you leave the column in place but do not raise it, the stability should be the same as if you used the adapter but you cannot get down low without articulating the column.
And at that point, if you never use the column, you are in the situation Jrp mentions below - why pay extra for the articulating arm (and possibly the short column adapter) and carry a bit more weight if you never use it? It pays to think this part through before selecting a model.
You cannot directly attach the head to the 055 base because the mount is designed to accept some sort of "tube" of a specified diameter (28mm), either the stock center column or something much shorter. In either case that tube needs to have a platform on top, with a 3/8" exposed male threaded stud, to attach the ballhead.
I think the part you need is 055XCCSB. That is a short ~17cm center column (about 7" long).
It is unclear to me if that column is short enough to get fully down as low as possible (or as low as you could get by articulating the arm). I don't own an 055 or that accessory. I just read this stuff on the net so it must be true . (Actually this has been discussed in the forum here but I cannot locate the posts).
I also recall reading at least one post here fairly recently suggesting a member bought an 055 that included the short column in the box. But again could not locate the post.
This is actually one of the great mysteries related to camera support, mainly because Manfrotto has not exactly gone out of their way to document this on the 055 product pages. In years past many 055XPROB owners have come here searching for a short column we did not think existed, and at some point this accessory was mentioned, and then the suggestion it was part of the stock kit.
I would check with the dealer to verify if that part is actually in the box, and if not the availability and cost of the accessory part I linked to.
Since the part is relatively inexpensive, a hack saw could convert it easily into an even shorter column without hacking up the stock parts. A hack saw was the traditional solution to this problem. Reading Manfrotto's linked product page, they seem to think a couple extra inches adds some flexibility in terms of tweaking height and I cannot disagree with that idea as long as it does not conflict with the lowest leg angle. Again, not owning one I can't say for sure. I can only say with certainty that hack saws are cheap too
Just for completeness I located the thread discussing a "gadget" that acts like the shortest possible center column here. I'm going to add this to one of the FAQ threads to save myself some time nbext time this comes up
Sat 29-Dec-12 07:01 PM | edited Sat 29-Dec-12 08:30 PM by J_Harris
>Just for completeness I located the thread discussing a >"gadget" that acts like the shortest possible center >column >here. > I'm going to add this to one of the FAQ threads to save >myself some time nbext time this comes up
My first Tripod (sold long ago) was the Manfrotto 055XB Aluminum Tripod mentioned by Alexis in post #12.
Neil, the "gadget" you referenced in your link above is included with the 055XB - a separate purchase is not required. The "gadget" comes attached to one end of the center column via a ball detent pin. You remove the "gadget", slide the center column off and place the "gadget" into the tripod base. Now it is just like any other non-center column tripod .
The "gadget" is unfortunately made of plastic and not aluminum, but It does have a "built-in" 3/8-inch metal stud/post that the ball head attaches to. A plastic cap is included to protect the threads when not used. I have attached the 055XB "parts" manual (PDF) below that shows the "gadget". It is part #RO55,525.
I have never seen or used the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, but looking at the parts manual (also attached below) it doesn't look like it has the same type of part included with the center column or as an optional accessory.
Thanks, Jerry. In reviewing the old thread I linked above, our member said he received that adapter with an 055 PROB but I suspect he meant 055 XB. The XB is specified to have a ground level set adapter, while the PROB is not.
I think that solves this minor mystery, which has been rattling around for a while now . I guess that 7" short column would be the only option for the PROB model.
Mine is the 055 PROB model - to get the arm to sit horizontally you have to take it out completely and slot it into the collar manually; it doesn't articulate. The gadget thing sits in the collar and supports the head. I would like to remove the collar to make it a better fit but as yet cannot figure out how to do this. The system works fine up to a 80-200mm f2.8 (I don't have anything longer) but I suspect it would not be OK with the long telephotos. For macro work with a 105+TC and a speedlight is is fine...
Sun 30-Dec-12 09:08 PM | edited Sun 30-Dec-12 09:28 PM by J_Harris
You said in the linked thread, post #12 "I bought the tripod in 2002"...
I bought my Manfrotto 055XB 16 DEC 2011. My thoughts are if your model is the 055XB and was bought in 2002, Manfrotto may have changed the "gadget" from aluminum to plastic as a manufacturing cost cutting measure.
I (we) are eagerly looking forward to the delivery of your Manfrotto 055XB so we can solve the mystery.
If you don't mind the little extra weight of aluminum over carbon fiber the 055XB is a very nice tripod, you will be pleased with its performance.
Do you think it is time to begin calling the "gadget" a "low angle adapter" / "ground level set adapter"? I kind of like the sound of "gadget".
JRP, are you thinking about the Gitzo Explorer off center column? All images I've seen of the PROB models indicate a well centered column (but it can only be used vertical or horizontal, not continuously adjustable like a Gitzo Explorer).