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Jeff A

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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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.... 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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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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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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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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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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Jeff A

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I wish I had of know about this site sooner. I will read it though. Thanks for posting.
 

garuda

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

An a7R plus a 200-600G come in at 6 lbs (~ heaviest most people put on a tripod), so Jeff has lots of wiggle room w the Manfrotto; a good buy for his purposes. And there's always a one pound weight diff betw aluminum and carbon regardless of manufacturer.

And congrats on new Head and Sirui 3213x — it's a good tripod! The only thing that may be of concern is that some Chinese manufacturers are still sometimes experiencing issues with rubber compounds, plastics, and adhesives. They haven't quite got the science down yet, but improving. In particular with 3213x — the legs' twist locks occasionally have issues. When they wear down, they can't be adjusted to tighten. Also the rubber sleeves on leg's twist lock mechanism can loosen and slip when turned or slide off. The pic below shows this issue on R-3213x specifically. Hopefully you won't experience any problems. Good luck!

Sirui R-3213X Tripod flaws-1.JPG
 

garuda

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I wish I had of know about this site sooner. I will read it though. Thanks for posting.

Manfrotto is a very good company in Italy known for their quality and craftsmanship. After all, they've been around for over a year. :giggle:

I've had my Manfrotto for twenty years and still purrs like a kitten. Nothing breaks on them. Jeff, you made a good choice!
 

Reciprocum

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An a7R plus a 200-600G come in at 6 lbs (~ heaviest most people put on a tripod), ...
Sorry to disagree: most people will end up sooner or later needing to weight down their tripods on windy days with their backpack and maybe more than that if the backpack is empty after taking the body and lens out.

edit: my gimbal head alone is 3lb.
 
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garuda

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Sorry to disagree: most people will end up sooner or later needing to weight down their tripods on windy days with their backpack and maybe more than that if the backpack is empty after taking the body and lens out.... edit: my gimbal head alone is 3lb.

Sincerely sorry if I ruffled any feathers. Jeff just recently purchase a Manfrotto tripod and my comment was to avoid having him feel badly by thinking he made a bad decision. That’s all.

And Afonso, you are correct. In 15-20 gusts, a tripod with a long lens wants to go airborne. But instead of weighting down the tripod by hanging sandbags or my grandmother’s wheelchair (with her in it) — I simply loosen the fluid head’s friction knob, keep downward pressure on left-side handgrip or on lens zoom-ring, and pan/tilt the perfectly balanced 200-600 w right hand on cam body/shutter. And just in case, since I’m a jumper, I always wear a parachute in the unlikely event gusts exceed 30mph.

Once again, congrats and good luck w your new equipment.
.
 

Jeff A

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I'm happy with my choice. Itr seems right for ME, all things considered.
 

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