I am currently in the market for my first Tripod for my D7100. Does anyone have any suggestions of good brands, what to look for in a tripod etc?
I'm really just after something that is going to be strong and sturdy, I'd mostly be using it for night photos and landscapes.
The best I have found so far in local shops, is the following:
#1. "RE: Tripod Help" | In response to Reply # 0ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 20-Jun-13 09:27 AM | edited Thu 20-Jun-13 09:29 AM by ericbowles
The Induro and Feisol tripods are good alternatives to Gitzo if you are on a tight budget.
I prefer at least the 2 series and the 3 series would be better. This refers to weight capacity and the diameter of the legs. You don't want to compromise here. The weight is not just your camera and lens, but your hands on the gear, any flash, and any outside force. Bigger is better here.
The main way to save money is to choose alloy over carbon fiber. You'll save 50% of the cost and add 1.5-2 pounds of weight. On a tight budget, go with alloy.
Generally you try to avoid a center column. It detracts from stability and keeps you from lowering the tripod to ground level. Columns that can be reversed or modified tend to be less stable. Sometimes your choices will be limited on the column - just know that you should avoid using it.
The number of leg sections is the next decision. In some older tripods and economy lines, 3 sections provides a little more stability. But for me, I need a 4 section to pack it in my checked bag, so I choose a 4 section model for my main tripod.
They don't make cheap ballheads. The cheap ones are not worth buying. But a good ballhead is really a treat to use. Start by avoiding a kit that includes both the legs and a head (unless it is an assembled package like the Nikonians MAGICA bundle). Many of the cheap sets of legs include a very cheap head. And the head can be hard to remove. Buy separately. A good ballhead will cost $300 or more but it is really worth it. The Markins or Really Right Stuff heads are terrific. For a lighter kit, you can go with a lighter ballhead like the Markins Q10 or RRS BH40. Bigger ballheads have more holding power but they also have a bigger ball that makes it easier to balance a heavier load.
You attach your camera or lens to the tripod head with plates. The choices are a proprietary design or a generic Arca Swiss dovetail design. Choose the Arca Swiss design. Expect to pay $100 or so for a camera plate, plus plates for some lenses.
You'll attach the plate to the ballhead using a quick release. The quick release is normally part of the ballhead, but you need to match your plates. The choices are a screw type quick release or a lever release. The lever release is much faster to mount or change gear. The screw type quick release is more durable and accommodates small variances in plate fit. This is a matter of personal choice. If you choose a lever release, try to buy plates from a single manufacturer to avoid manufacturing variances (such as the thickness of paint or anodizing).
Be sure to read the article by Thom Hogan - http://www.bythom.com/support.htm
When it comes to priority, get a good ballhead and save money with used or alloy legs. It's a lot easier to upgrade legs than a ballhead.
In the Induro line, take a look at the AT214 or CT314. I would not go with anything lighter than the AT214.
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