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Need a Tripod

Everyone who has commented on here about my new digital camera (the Digital Rebel XT) in previous posts has been quite helpful, so I'm going to ask another question: what's a good tripod?

I've got a cheapie Kodak one now. It's got twisty legs and it's heavier than it should be. So, what I'm looking for (my preliminary list) is something that:

  • is relatively lightweight.
  • is priced competitively.
  • has a handle so I can smoothly pan.
  • has tick marks on it (for taking a series of phtoos for stitched panoramas).
  • has clip-lock, three-section legs for easy length adjustment.
  • comes to eye level with the center post seated (I'm 5'10").
  • possibly has a removable center post that can be attached horizontally.
  • has the option to be converted to a monopod (not a requirement, and probably unlikely).

Any ideas or recommendations? Feel free to link to reputable dealers like B&H.

12 Responses to "Need a Tripod"

  1. Maybe this one? I don't know…

  2. Manfrotto makes the best tripods. Get on of their cheap ones. The most important thing when buying a good tripod is make sure you get it without a head, then go buy a head. That way you can buy new heads as you need or find use for them.

    The best indication of a cheap amature tripod is a built-in head. It's kind of like buying a computer with a OS in ROM. But don't get me wrong, I loved my C64.

  3. I have a pretty old Cullmann 3400 which I've always found to do the business. I don't think they make that model anymore, but their site does list this model, which looks pretty close.

    My model has a bubble spirit level, tick marks on all axis, integral retractable handle, pretty lightweight but still sturdy, and a neat quick-release on the head. It has a really nice pan movement too, enough so I can use it with a camcorder.

    The 'monopod' centre section is itself extendable.

  4. I really like my new Manfrotto Digi. I don't really know what the difference between a regular tripod and one "designed for digital cameras" is, but... it is.

    I have this model.

    I like the black finish and it's pretty lightweight.

    The only problem here is that I had to get a bubble level separately.

  5. No need to spend $200 on a tripod, at least in my opinion. Check out garage sales... it's getting to be that time of year. I'm partial to the older-style, sturdy, heavy, tripods. They're durable, stable, and adjustable to suit my needs. If I were going on an extended hike, I'd probably look for one of the lighterweight aluminum ones, but you can find a _decent_ lightweight tripod at your local walmart for less than $50.

  6. Get ready to spend some cash!

    I have a cheap Tripod. After I bought my 2000z (and now my 300D) my parents bought it for me for xmas. It's been useful, however, with tripods you get what you pay for.

    And when you trying to get a shot, and your tripod is moving, or you can't get it to shift just where you want, and your legs hurt, and your back hurts from bending because of the damn tripod not doing what you want... you will *wish* you'd spent the extra $50 or $100 or even $200 for a very good tripod.

    Have you taken any photos with your new camera yet? Some people are receiving their new 350's, and have been posting on DPReview. Some quality shots. You can check them out with the 300D/350D Photo Aggregator

  7. Yeah, I got it about a week ago. Thanks for the advice, tf23: I read the forums there, and I'm still wondering what tripod you recommend. You didn't list any in your statement; just that I should be prepared to pay.

  8. I have a Gitzo G1228MK2 base & a Gitzo G1276M head, and love them both. I had a cheap tri-pod ($100 or so) and it was crap compared to this one. My business partner originally bought the Gitzo and I thought he was nuts to spend a lot of money on a tri-pod, but after I saw it in action, I bought one immediately... HUGE difference in my opinion. They sell models such as the one I have on EBAY sometimes... It's a one time investment and you'll have it for years, so you might as well get something worthwhile...

  9. Erik - What shutter speed are you typically using with your digital camera? The faster the speed, the less need you have for a tripod. I guess, I don't know digital.

  10. I need a tripod. There are any number of times I might want a slow shutter speed, including low light, special effects, high zoom, and so on.

  11. I'd look at the cullman's: search for cullman on bhphoto.

    a friend of mine has one, he loves it. i'm currently saving for one... hopefully someday 🙂

  12. Manfrotto makes nice tripods. I have a Carbone 441... it's a bit on the expensive side, but it's carbon fiber so it's light (which is nice when you hike 10 miles with it). You can get their AL ones for $150 or so... they're heavier but they're just as nice in quality.

    As others have said, the head makes a huge difference. However, the very nice heads (like Arca-Swiss) cost money. Real money... $350+. But the benefit is the quick release system... Arca-Swiss is the best option you have. You get a plate for your camera, and it's on and off in a couple seconds.

    Check out for some of the options on their ballheads (which are equivalent to A-S... they probably licensed it), and their plates. The L plates are awesome, but expensive. For landscape photography they are hugely valuable.