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Tripod for rangefinder cameras
Old 03-23-2014   #1
bence8810
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Tripod for rangefinder cameras

Hello,

I am looking for buying a tripod for my rangefinders and TLR's.
I've always put off buying one as I never found what I wanted. That was when I had SLR's with the mirror flap etc, but this is no longer a problem. I just don't want anything heavy.

Can I now buy a lighter tripod and will it be steady under good conditions (no wind etc) ?
Thanks,
Ben
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Old 03-23-2014   #2
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The old free lunch comes into play. Heavier is always more stable. A solid tripod with little flex will be better than a cheap light wobbly unit. You will find tripods built with little flex that are not overly heavy but they are heavier than cheap and nasty tripods.

Also consider what you want the head to be like.
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Old 03-23-2014   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
The old free lunch comes into play. Heavier is always more stable. A solid tripod with little flex will be better than a cheap light wobbly unit. You will find tripods built with little flex that are not overly heavy but they are heavier than cheap and nasty tripods. Also consider what you want the head to be like.
Thanks for that.
Any suggestions?
I didn't want to buy a cheapo tripod but something maybe midrange. Used is fine. My heaviest camera is a Leica M3 plus 250 gramms of lens. Just under 1KG I think. The TLR is also a KG. None moves during exposure so I was hoping I wouldn't need the Manfrotto monster any longer. I checked many pods and I didn't like the carbon fibre ones. I don't find them stable. The good aluminum ones look great but heavy as heck. The carbon would be okay for my needs now I guess but then there's the extra price which I'd like to avoid paying if possible.

Don't know anything about heads . But again, the weight or lens length will not be a problem so a simple one is okay I hope.

Thanks,
Ben
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Old 03-24-2014   #4
Richard G
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A few of us here recently bought the Sirui T025. One review had an elaborate stability index which this tripod did very well in. It is light and packs incredibly small and it is cheap.
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Old 03-24-2014   #5
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Buy the best tripod your money can buy. Decide on what max. weight you want to carry. It doesn't help if it is a great and sturdy tripod but you are not gonna use it. On the other hand if it's wobbly, you might as well get away with just holding your breath w/o a tripod.
That said... first you need to set you budget. Then see what you can get for the money. If you can get something for 20 bucks over budget then go for it. Going cheap to save some money will cost you because after some time you will buy the better tripod anyway.
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Old 03-24-2014   #6
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There are many fine tripods out there with varying levels of build quality, sturdyness, and price range. I have had a lot of luck with Velbon aluminum channel locks. I have used them with 4x5 but that isn't recommended. They certainly work fine with my SLR and the TLR as well as my Mamiya Super Press 23 and different lenses.

I think some people overly obcess with the biggest, most expensive, and heaviest tripod, then seldom bring it due to the weight.
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Old 03-24-2014   #7
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I still like my old Tiltall tripods. They are far from perfect, but what they do, they do very well.

I prefer the Leitz branded or older ones, but believe at least some of the later ones were fine. The knock offs mostly are not so hot.
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Old 03-24-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bence8810 View Post

Can I now buy a lighter tripod and will it be steady under good conditions (no wind etc) ?
Pricey but worth it , if you think in the long term, the Gitzo Traveller line is small sturdy and lightweight.
There is a spring loaded hook on the bottom of the column - hang your bag from this and you never have to worry about the tripod blowing over in the wind or suffering from vibrations.

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Old 03-24-2014   #9
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Really Right Stuff makes the best tripods, Gitzo the second best. FLM is another good brand, they make the Leica tripods.

The Chinese copy them pretty well for a good price if you don't mind rewarding the opportunistic while depriving the originators of their due.
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Old 03-24-2014   #10
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I use a Benro Travel Angel, I think it's called. It's not the world's greatest tripod, but for it's weight and price and features, it has served me very well. I use it for my Leicas and my Rolleicord. It wouldn't handle a big dslr, but I don't need it to. I travel with it often and have never had any problems, even with long exposure stuff.
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Old 03-24-2014   #11
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I used to have an RRS TVC-33 but it was just so big that I would never consider bringing it with me on vacation.
bought a MeFoto Globetrotter and been happy with it, you can hook your bag to make it more stable, it's small and light enough that I can bring it with me, one of the legs can be used as a monopod (I use it as a hiking stick lol) and the ballhead w/ arca mount that comes with it is pretty stable (ditched my manfrotto 498).
my only complaint is that the legs is 5 sections each.
if you don't shoot MF and only shoot 35mm RF then consider the MeFoto Roadtripper for half the price

edit:here's my friends 4x5 on the globetrotter with a manfrotto head
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Old 03-24-2014   #12
Tom A
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I use a venerable Tilt-All in black. Bought it in 1975 and it has been dragged around for decades. Now I only use it for indoor shots - or very long lenses (Telyt 400/560). I also have several Leitz table top tri-pods with various height of ball-heads. Handy for table top work or as a small, portable one. You can also use it as a "chest-pod" by spreading the legs - put it on your chest and push it hard against it. You probably need the taller of the ball-heads for it though. Works fine down to about 1-2 seconds exposure.
I also have a Tilt-All monopod with the short ball-head - again, not perfect for really long exposures - but it will stabilize the camera quite a bit.
I used to use various Gitzo tripods when I was shooting commercial work - but then you hired a "schlepper" to carry them.
For a M camera and a light SLR - don't go overboard with the head - they can be a pain in the butt to adjust and level. A good ball head works or the simple Tilt-All set up works fine.
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Old 03-24-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
Pricey but worth it , if you think in the long term, the Gitzo Traveller line is small sturdy and lightweight.
There is a spring loaded hook on the bottom of the column - hang your bag from this and you never have to worry about the tripod blowing over in the wind or suffering from vibrations.
+1 on the Gitzo traveller. Match it up with a good ball head (e.g. RRS, Markins Q Ball).
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Old 03-24-2014   #14
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In terms of tripods there are 3 basic rules, apart from one mentioned above. i.e. to buy the best you can afford.
Rule nr 1: it has to be high enough. For a TLR this is not a problem, but for a RF it is better not to have to bend over a lot when you compose, therefore, before you buy go to some shop and test a few tripods and measure the height which is enough for you, then you can buy on line if you prefer, but making sure it is not shorter.
Rule nr 2: the heavier the more steady, and the less elements the more steady - only exception to the rule are Carbon tripods, that are more steady than metal ones of greater weight.
Rule nr 3: like with cameras, best tripod will be the one you will want to carry, so you have to make a trade off between height, stability, number of elements and weight. Needless to say Carbon tripods are the best compromise between stability and weight, but usually are more expensive.
Last comment - metal tripods are also unpleasant to touch with your hands when it's cold. A good compromise between metal and carbon are Gitzo's Basalt tripods.
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Old 03-24-2014   #15
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The sirui and mephoto tripods are small light weight and very good for mirrorless and rf cameras. I would gives those a long and serious look before I go with more expensive and heavy models
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Old 03-24-2014   #16
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I saw a very compact when folded MePhoto lightweight at the shop the other day. It's probably fine for my lighter weight cameras or lenses, and packs down very small. The head looked like junk, though.

What I currently use most of the time is a set of Manfrotto 190CXpro3 carbon fiber legs fitted with an Arca-Swiss Monoball P0 head and RRS lever action quick release clamp. It's not super compact (about 27x3 inches folded) but very light (less than 3.2 pounds) and tall enough to be useful. Holds my heaviest/longest camera/lens setup very steadily (Oly E-M1 with grip plus ZD 50-200 plus EC 14 teleconverter, 580mm f/4.9 EFL max tele, about 4.5 lbs) and works fine for the Hasselblads (up to Sonnar 150/4 lens) and Sony A7/Leica R lenses too.

I've become a fan of the A-S P0 head. It's a very sensible design that just works with little fuss, and it's very compact and light weight for its load capacity, quality and price.

G
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Old 03-24-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bence8810 View Post
Thanks for that.
Any suggestions?
I didn't want to buy a cheapo tripod but something maybe midrange. Used is fine. My heaviest camera is a Leica M3 plus 250 gramms of lens. Just under 1KG I think. The TLR is also a KG. None moves during exposure so I was hoping I wouldn't need the Manfrotto monster any longer. I checked many pods and I didn't like the carbon fibre ones. I don't find them stable. The good aluminum ones look great but heavy as heck. The carbon would be okay for my needs now I guess but then there's the extra price which I'd like to avoid paying if possible.

Don't know anything about heads . But again, the weight or lens length will not be a problem so a simple one is okay I hope.

Thanks,
Ben
Dear Ben,

Highlight: that's a pretty amazing generalization. Usually, carbon fibre is better at absorbing vibration than light alloy. In what way did you find that they were not stable?

I now use Redged carbon fibre more than any other among the 15-20 tripods I've acquired over the last 40+ years. So does my wife.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-24-2014   #18
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I have to agree with the Carbon Fiber Gitzo traveller. I also use the much underrated Magicball mini. That thing is so smooth and easy to use as well as quick. I've had every ball head made and the mini magicball is perfect for a rangefinder.

good Luck,

Joel
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Old 03-24-2014   #19
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Get one that will support your heaviest gear, and is appropriate for your height.

Or get two -- which is what I did. I have a big heavy Manfrotto monstrosity for my DSLR and long lenses, plus a gimbal head, and a light Feisol traveler for smaller gear (35mm RF and mirrorless)
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Old 03-24-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1joel1 View Post
I have to agree with the Carbon Fiber Gitzo traveller. I also use the much underrated Magicball mini. That thing is so smooth and easy to use as well as quick. I've had every ball head made and the mini magicball is perfect for a rangefinder.

good Luck,

Joel
Dear Joel,

If I've told you once, I've told you a million times: don't exaggerate.

But I'll second your endorsement of the Magicball.

Cheers,

R
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Old 03-24-2014   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
I saw a very compact when folded MePhoto lightweight at the shop the other day. It's probably fine for my lighter weight cameras or lenses, and packs down very small. The head looked like junk, though.


G
That is interesting, your thoughts on the mephoto head.

I currently have a sirui c10 head (the one they sell with the legset for ~$100) with my old Gitzo 026 legset. The head is phenomenally good for the price. No slop, solid, locks down perfectly and just as good in my opinion to the more expensive heads that are rated for the same load ie Markin Q ball. It easily holds my epm2 and rolleiflex. I think the heaviest i've tried is my D7000+12-24mm lens.

I always figured that sirui=mephoto in terms of quality. Perhaps I'am mistaken.
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Old 03-24-2014   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Ben,

Highlight: that's a pretty amazing generalization. Usually, carbon fibre is better at absorbing vibration than light alloy. In what way did you find that they were not stable?

I now use Redged carbon fibre more than any other among the 15-20 tripods I've acquired over the last 40+ years. So does my wife.

Cheers,

R.
Hi Roger,

You are right, I generalized. It's just how I felt, I went into the shops and checked them. When I put them up and try to wobble it by shaking the top with small rapid movements from left to right, the legs seemed to move more than they did on the heavy manfrotto alu pods.

But there's nothing scientific behind what I said, it was just my gut feeling, which can obviously be wrong.

Do you suggest I go for a smaller carbon fibre tripod?
I am pretty tall, 190cm (i think it translates to 6'4" if that's what you use) so like it's above mentioned for the RF I think I'll need a tripod that can elevate the camera to my eye level so I can comfortably use it. That'd be 180-185cms I think. I guess I won't get away with a smaller item unless I compromise.

I just wished this problem would have been made easier now that I dont have to worry about the mirror flap but it isn't. I'll need something though so I'll just go into Yodobashi Camera when I am back in Japan and buy something that I like.

Thanks for all the input!
Ben
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Old 03-24-2014   #23
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Two things: Roger has a great little (ok not so little) dissertation on tripods that's well worth the read but I cannot find the link on his site, perhaps he can post it in this thread.

Second, consider how you plan to use the tripod. I really needed a wee little thing as an alternative to asking a stranger to take a family photo for me. Anything is better than the dreaded stranger. A ski pole with a screw head would be better.

However, I ended up purchasing a Sirui T005 which is as cheap and small as it gets for a decent quality tripod. Itholds my M4 and Rolleiflex (3.5) with aplomb. However, even at its measly 2.5lbs of weight, it's way more than I care to schlep with me on most occasion...as a results it's spends more time at home than out.

In retrospect a cheaper and lighter crap-pod would have still provided performance superior to the infamous stranger on the street, and have been with me more times than the Sirui is.

For my use, the best tripod is the one you have with you.
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Old 03-24-2014   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
That is interesting, your thoughts on the mephoto head.

I currently have a sirui c10 head (the one they sell with the legset for ~$100) with my old Gitzo 026 legset. The head is phenomenally good for the price. No slop, solid, locks down perfectly and just as good in my opinion to the more expensive heads that are rated for the same load ie Markin Q ball. It easily holds my epm2 and rolleiflex. I think the heaviest i've tried is my D7000+12-24mm lens.

I always figured that sirui=mephoto in terms of quality. Perhaps I'am mistaken.
I'm not familiar with Sirui gear. The local camera shop just started carrying the MePhoto line and I was impressed with the CF model legs they had ... it's something I could easily fit into my carryon rollaway. But the head was pretty crude far as I could see, didn't like the feel of the controls etc.

G
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Old 03-24-2014   #25
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Many people buy really light and too short tripods because they want to minimize weight and expense but... Even the best lightweight tripod is a hassle to bring along compared to not bringing one at all.

So perhaps consider 1. a camera that handles higher ISOs well, or 2. a monopod, which is often far easier and quite useful at moderate speeds... And get a purposefully tall and solid tripod for determinate use.
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Old 03-24-2014   #26
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Get a Gitzo!

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Old 03-25-2014   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bence8810 View Post
Hi Roger,

You are right, I generalized. It's just how I felt, I went into the shops and checked them. When I put them up and try to wobble it by shaking the top with small rapid movements from left to right, the legs seemed to move more than they did on the heavy manfrotto alu pods.

But there's nothing scientific behind what I said, it was just my gut feeling, which can obviously be wrong.

Do you suggest I go for a smaller carbon fibre tripod?
I am pretty tall, 190cm (i think it translates to 6'4" if that's what you use) so like it's above mentioned for the RF I think I'll need a tripod that can elevate the camera to my eye level so I can comfortably use it. That'd be 180-185cms I think. I guess I won't get away with a smaller item unless I compromise.

I just wished this problem would have been made easier now that I dont have to worry about the mirror flap but it isn't. I'll need something though so I'll just go into Yodobashi Camera when I am back in Japan and buy something that I like.

Thanks for all the input!
Ben
Dear Ben,

First of all, note that tripod heights may or may not include head height, and that the head can add up to about 20 cm (unusual but not impossible) and then you have the camera eyepiece above that --though only about 5-6 cm with an M-series.

Second, I don't mind stooping a little: eyepiece at chin level, rather than eye level.

I would utterly and wholeheartedly recommend NOT buying a tripod by mail order. By all means check basic specifications on-line but then find someone (like Yodobashi) who has the tripods on your shortlist and try them for size.

I'd also recommend carbon fibre, Gitzo if you can find the money, but otherwise I like Redged's "Our tripods are only 90% as good as Gitzo, but then, they're only 50% of the price."

Go to http://www.rogerandfrances.com/taste...s%20Taster.pdf for a free "taster" of my $2.99 e-book on tripods and camera supports (the full book is 25,000 words with over 100 pictures).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-25-2014   #28
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Two things: Roger has a great little (ok not so little) dissertation on tripods that's well worth the read but I cannot find the link on his site, perhaps he can post it in this thread.

Second, consider how you plan to use the tripod. I really needed a wee little thing as an alternative to asking a stranger to take a family photo for me. Anything is better than the dreaded stranger. A ski pole with a screw head would be better.

However, I ended up purchasing a Sirui T005 which is as cheap and small as it gets for a decent quality tripod. Itholds my M4 and Rolleiflex (3.5) with aplomb. However, even at its measly 2.5lbs of weight, it's way more than I care to schlep with me on most occasion...as a results it's spends more time at home than out.

In retrospect a cheaper and lighter crap-pod would have still provided performance superior to the infamous stranger on the street, and have been with me more times than the Sirui is.

For my use, the best tripod is the one you have with you.
Thank'ee kindly for the recommendation. I've posted the link to the "taster" above: the "dissertation" is, as I noted there, a 25,000 word 100-picture e-book. It's based on my 40+ years of photography and my wife Frances's 20+ years covering tripods for Shutterbug. The link to the e-books is on the home page of our site: "Our E-Books".

I really can't agree about getting anything much lighter than the Sirui, though. It's nothing to do with what it can hold or even how steady it is: it's simple fragility. Anything new at less than about 1 Kg and $100-150 is likely to break distressingly soon. Last summer I gave away two tripods to friends whose tripods had broken (and irreparable) leg locks. Siruis, on the other hand, looked like good tripods when we tried them at photokina 2012. Though there are always elderly "wobble-pods" (see link). You can often find 'em for under $10 at a camera fair.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-25-2014   #29
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Here's a good review of the Sirui, with that 'stability test' I mentioned. Mine cost $219 AUD which is now under $200 US. It might not be quite tall enough for me at 6' (1.83m) but it packs so small, and has the Gitzo style anti-rotation legs and reversal for packing, and the ballhead that comes with it has a panning lock and I just love everything about it.

http://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/...stability.html
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