It's Tripod time!

Jeff A

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Oct 31, 2020
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Jeff
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So my wife put out fresh Bird Seed in the back yard and I setup my A73 with my Sigma 100-400 glass on it and waited. Once the birds started showing up it didn't take long for me to get a serious GAS attack! My tripod with a Ball Head on it absolutely sucked. The first thing I did was to order a Manfrotto XPRO 3-way Pan & Tilt Head. I'm sure that you experienced types have seen that no matter how many customer ratings give the product in question GLOWING PRAISE, another guy is going to come along and state that that product is a streaming pile of poo! Next I began to look at Tripods. I had no idea how expensive a tripod can be. Anyway, I have narrowed my choice down the Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminum 3 section tripod.....or should I get the 4 section model of the same thing? There's nothing easy, is there. So, why would Manfrotto sell both a 3 section and a 4 section tripod that is exactly the same otherwise? Anyone? While you're at it, you might as well give me your recommendations for tripods. Thank you Ladies & Gentlemen.
 

garuda

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Mike
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.... Anyone? While you're at it, you might as well give me your recommendations for tripods...
Jeff, in my opinion the head you bought is somewhat better than swivel ball, but not much better for panning, tilting, tracking --- if that's a concern of yours. Fluid heads are best for pan, tilt, tracking. I always use fluid heads, they're beefier and smoother. I suggest reviewing the following, which also seems to be cheaper overall.

502 Fluid Head (only) 16 lbs capacity – BEST $180
055 3-sec Tripod MT055XPRO3 $209
501 fluid head (only) – 9 lbs capacity $150

Entire package - MVH500AH Fluid Video Head with MT190X3 Tripod - $310
 

AlphaWorld

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Apr 8, 2021
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Tony
So my wife put out fresh Bird Seed in the back yard and I setup my A73 with my Sigma 100-400 glass on it and waited. Once the birds started showing up it didn't take long for me to get a serious GAS attack! My tripod with a Ball Head on it absolutely sucked. The first thing I did was to order a Manfrotto XPRO 3-way Pan & Tilt Head. I'm sure that you experienced types have seen that no matter how many customer ratings give the product in question GLOWING PRAISE, another guy is going to come along and state that that product is a streaming pile of poo! Next I began to look at Tripods. I had no idea how expensive a tripod can be. Anyway, I have narrowed my choice down the Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminum 3 section tripod.....or should I get the 4 section model of the same thing? There's nothing easy, is there. So, why would Manfrotto sell both a 3 section and a 4 section tripod that is exactly the same otherwise? Anyone? While you're at it, you might as well give me your recommendations for tripods. Thank you Ladies & Gentlemen.

Why do they make 3 and 4 (and 5 and 6) section tripods?

Because the more sections there are, the shorter the tripod can be when packed. So do we always want more sections? No, because the fewer the sections, the stronger and more rigid the tripod can be. Plus each section has to be smaller in diameter than the section it slides into, so the more sections there are, the narrower the final section has to be. Moreover, the more sections there are, the more locks there have to be, so the heavier the tripod will be. It's a balancing act.
 
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Jeff A

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Oct 31, 2020
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Jeff
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Elk Grove, California
Thanks Tony, I kind of figured it out for the most part. I was looking for stability, above all, and I bought a Manfrotto MT055XPRO3, which is of course, a 3 section tripod. There were numerous other Manfrotto tripods instead of the 055. They had for example a 190 and a 290. It made me dizzy trying to select one because the Specs all looked the same. Then I realized that the weights were different so I chose the heaviest one hoping for larger diameter legs. I think I got that. The tripod does seem to be very stable. The weight is a little bit more but I'm not going to be carrying it around, so the weight is a good thing.
 

AlphaWorld

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Apr 8, 2021
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Tony
Thanks Tony, I kind of figured it out for the most part. I was looking for stability, above all, and I bought a Manfrotto MT055XPRO3, which is of course, a 3 section tripod. There were numerous other Manfrotto tripods instead of the 055. They had for example a 190 and a 290. It made me dizzy trying to select one because the Specs all looked the same. Then I realized that the weights were different so I chose the heaviest one hoping for larger diameter legs. I think I got that. The tripod does seem to be very stable. The weight is a little bit more but I'm not going to be carrying it around, so the weight is a good thing.
The 055 is their original success story in tripods. It's a bit bigger and heavier than the 190 (all things being equal), but it's reliable and sturdy. I'm not sure, but I think the 290 is a bit lighter than the 190? The other parts of the name mean things, but I haven't bought a Manfrotto tripod in a while.
 

Reciprocum

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Jan 9, 2021
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Afonso Santos
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After trying my new SEL200600G on my (also new) Benro GH2 gimbal head on a (2y old) 4-section Benro FGP18A GoPlusTripod tripod I immediately knew I had to get a sturdier/stronger tripod. Air traveling with a tripod is not in my immediate plans, shooting low to the ground is, so I narrowed my search to 9x or 10x CF, 3-section, without a central columns (or at least a removable one).
Foam padded top section was also a must because, when out and about you want to carry the whole setup from point A to point B without disassembly that helps a lot on carrying comfort, putting 2 legs over the L&R shoulders, the third behind the neck, no central column poking down on your neck.
Gitzo and Manfrotto were out of my selection filter too (price and proprietary mounts/accessories respectively were the exclusion reasons). After 2 weeks of research I ended up ordering a Sirui R-3213X of wich I found nothing but rave reviews (2 design awards also). Will edit this post once I get it and use it a few times.

This was one of the more knowledgeable/specialized sites I found concerning ranking tripods.


Compared to the Manfroto MT055XPRO3 mentioned above the Sirui R-3213X is lighter and supports 2x the weight.
 
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