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Tripod hunting, help choosing the right height

JMontes

Chandler, US
63 posts

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JMontes Registered since 11th Jun 2007
Wed 05-Jun-13 04:51 AM

Hi all, I'm in the market to do the big upgrade, but my hardest thing I'm dealing with is knowing what height I need my tripod to be. All I can compare it to right now is my current old Manfrotto 3021BPro. That tripod with the legs fully extended w/o the column extended is 54.5". I have a Kirk BH-3 on top of that. My D700 with a Kirk plate pretty much puts the eyepiece right at my eye level, and I'm 5'9" tall.

After doing a lot of reading the last few days, I'm thinking I have to go with the 3 series (looking at Gitzo). I have a D3 and a D700, my largest lens is a 300 f/2.8. I have only used the 300 on a monopod shooting my kids' soccer games. I'm sure at some point I could put it on a tripod, I just don't know how often I'd do it (next size down is my 70-200 and smaller). I didn't think choosing a tripod would be such a headache, but oh man it's driving me crazy. Picking a monopod is so much easier!! I have read how people give up things here or there depending on their #1 concern like "fitting in a suitcase", not having to hunch over, etc. Ideally I'd like the weight of a 2 series (wouldn't we all?) but I'm just not sure that's the best investment considering my gear. I have already decided on basically building a Magica system, it's just the legs holding me back right now.

I guess my question is, how do you determine your height requirement? Basic math tells me I need an "L" version, even at 5'9" tall. It seems that the Gitzo's are designed to use that center column. I will be doing some product photography (ideal environment) and some nature/landscape stuff. I don't see anything bigger than my 300 in my future so no bird shooting for me. I guess the stress about this comes from the cost. If the tripods were $200, I'd just buy 3 and not worry about it so much

Any input would be appreciated. And yes, I'm heading to bed and I'm going to measure the diagonal length of my carry-on

Thanks,

John

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