Advice sought about tripods  

In the panorama field, hardware is also part of the success. You can discuss here about it: camera, computer, pano head, anything
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mediavets
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Advice sought about tripods

by mediavets » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:31 pm

I want to get a new tripod.

For pano shooting it will be used with Nodal Ninja 5 Lite pano head and Nikon D40 with mainly with Nikkor 10.5mm FE, although I may also use the 18-55mm kit lens. At this stage I have no intention to use long telephoto lenses.

I want to shoot indoors and outdoors but don't intend to go hiking with it.

What do you recommend as a suitable tripod and tripod head? And why?
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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Warren Sarle
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by Warren Sarle » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:54 pm

The pano head can be attached directly to the tripod base or a levelling base, so your choice of a regular tripod head would depend on what other kinds of photos you will be taking.

You're not using a heavy camera, you're not using any long lenses, you're not going hiking--that doesn't narrow things down very much.

Would you like legs that collapse to a very short package, or legs that are quick to set up, or a built-in levelling base, or something very cheap, or ...? Are you tall or short?

If you have no other requirements, just go to a store and buy the cheapest tripod that doesn't wobble.

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by mediavets » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:19 pm

Warren Sarle wrote:The pano head can be attached directly to the tripod base or a levelling base, so your choice of a regular tripod head would depend on what other kinds of photos you will be taking.

Would you like legs that collapse to a very short package, or legs that are quick to set up, or a built-in levelling base, or something very cheap, or ...? Are you tall or short?

If you have no other requirements, just go to a store and buy the cheapest tripod that doesn't wobble.

I live in a rural village some way from a camera shop that would carry an extensive range of tripods to try out - and very limited opportunity for shopping in person - so plan to buy on-line.

Don't want to choose something cheap if it won't do the job - and most advice is that cheap tripods won't cut it for panos.

Not concernd about whther a very short package when collapsed.

Don't want to level via the legs - so either a levelling centre column or a ball head with QR plate - levelling bases have limited 'range of correction' and seem very expensive for what they are - but will a ball head with QR plate on which to mount pano head result in too much 'flex' in the whole system?

I like the idea of the Manfrotto levelling centre column. Anyone use a tripod with one of these?

How tall am I? About 5ft 10in.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by Warren Sarle » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:48 pm

If you are mainly using a fisheye lens, I don't see any need for an especially sturdy or expensive tripod.

An expensive ball head will be quite sturdy enough to put a pano head on top, but I find it awkward to pile all that stuff on top of the legs. Other people are happy with it. And I just don't like ball heads, so I'm not a good person to offer advice on them.

If you want to level the pano head accurately, a tribrach works very well. You set the legs to get roughly level (not hard at all), then adjust the wheels on the tribrach for fine adjustments. The Manfrotto tribrach is very good. The Kaidan QuickTilt II Leveler is much flimsier but probably fine if you are using fisheye lens.

I have two Gitzo carbon-fiber tripods with leveling columns. They are fine for things like wildlife photography where I want to be able to pan and tilt while keeping the camera fairly level, but I find it hard to level the base accurately. And Gitzos are way too expensive for your purposes.

Since you don't have any need for a light tripod, you can get an aluminum one and save money. Probably some low- to mid-priced aluminum Manfrotto tripod with three sections will more than meet your needs. There are other manufacturers with good reputations like Hakuba and Giotto. I've been very unimpressed by Slik.

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by klausesser » Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:19 pm

mediavets wrote:I want to get a new tripod.

For pano shooting it will be used with Nodal Ninja 5 Lite pano head and Nikon D40 with mainly with Nikkor 10.5mm FE, although I may also use the 18-55mm kit lens. At this stage I have no intention to use long telephoto lenses.

I want to shoot indoors and outdoors but don't intend to go hiking with it.

What do you recommend as a suitable tripod and tripod head? And why?

Hi Andrew!

I´d suggest one of the most widely spread tripods among panoristos: Manfrotto 055 Pro.
It´s light and very sturdy - i use it also with Hasselblad and 4x5" field cameras.
Lots of accessoiries. I would further suggest a leveling platform from Manfrotto for easy and fast levelling your NN: the MA 338 or MA 438

best, Klaus
Last edited by klausesser on Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by DrSlony » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:31 am

I use a Velbon Sherpa 200r, happy with it.

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by hankkarl » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:54 am

I use the Manfrotto 3021 pro with 3416 leveling plate (the 3021 is the US designation, its the 055 in other countries). I use the Manfrotto 303sph.

But you should look at Really Right Stuff, they have some nice systems also.

As far as heads go, there is a world of choices -- 3 way, ball head, architectural, ... its mostly personal preference.

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by mediavets » Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:29 pm

Thanks for the advice.

I think I'll go for the Manfrotto 055X(B) Pro - current model that replaces 055 Pro.

Will leave out the levelling plate (or other head) for now - and see whether I can live with adjusting the legs. As many have previously pointed out precise levelling is not that important for 360x180 shooting as one can adjust level in APP.

I like 3-way heads but they rather get in the way - make for a larger support image in the nadir - when shooting panos.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by mediavets » Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:58 pm

DrSlony wrote:I use a Velbon Sherpa 200r, happy with it.

Do you use it with the pan/tilt head that it seems to be supplied with?

Can you remove that head?
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by DrSlony » Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:43 pm

mediavets yes I use that head, it operates very smoothly and requires handling just one knob that, when loosened, allows me to adjust yaw and pitch. You can unscrew the head easily.

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by mediavets » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:10 pm

DrSlony wrote:mediavets yes I use that head, it operates very smoothly and requires handling just one knob that, when loosened, allows me to adjust yaw and pitch. You can unscrew the head easily.

Are you using a pano head on top of that?

If so which?

And if so, do you use a QR plate between the two?

I am currently using a large, quite rigid, tripod with simple 2-part large diameter tube legs with easy twist locks, that I got very cheaply on clearace from Kodak on-line some years back - some US brand I forget which - anyway it has a smooth 3-way head with QR plate on top of which I mount my Nodal Ninja 5L.

However there is some 'slop' in the setup - I think mostly in the QR plate area?

I like the idea of being able to mount/demount and level the pano head quickly - and the 3-way head and QR plate is good for that but I also want the setup to be more rigid when locked. And the control 'rods' for the 3-way head intrude into the nadir shot more than I would like - don't you too find that with your Velbon 200r?.

So I'm thinking it may be best to get another tripod (perhaps the Manfrotto 055X Pro which sems very popular with panographers) and do away with a tripod head and a QR plate between tripod and pano head.

I'm told that with a little practice it's quick and easy to level via tripod legs alone - if I find this too much of a hassle I'm thinking of a levelling plate or levelling centre column.
Last edited by mediavets on Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by Al » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:29 am

I use an acratech ball head on a feisol (taiwan company) carbon fiber tripod. I suppose without a budget constraint I would have bought a gitzo and a nice swiss made, or "really right stuff" head, but the money saved went towards another lens. I use the nodal ninja and the weak link in the trio is the NN, not that I have any complaints, again, for the money. You face trade offs with weight, money, and stiffness. I use a canon 5D w/ 24-105mm which is pushing the NN's rigidity when conditions are anything but optimal. This is my third setup, each time going to heavier and stiffer. The acratech head is awesome, easy and quick to level, the big rubber knob is easy to use w/ gloves on, but it's not arca swiss, the bees knees for serious gear guys.

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by mediavets » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:11 am

Al wrote:You face trade offs with weight, money, and stiffness. I use a canon 5D w/ 24-105mm which is pushing the NN's rigidity when conditions are anything but optimal.

NN3 or NN5?

If you are currently using an NN3 you will find the NN5 much stiffer and designed for heavier camera/lens configurations, yet still one of the lightest pano heads in its class.

I use an NN5L and it is not the weak link in my current setup.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by spyboy » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:06 am

I just got the NN5 with the EZ Leveler tribrach (http://www.nodalninja.com/ez-leveler.html)

I'm using a Canon 40D. Right now it's on a Manfrotto 3001BPRO but I just picked up the 190XPROB, but will return it tomorrow for the 055XPROB because it's a bit beefier (and has a longer center shaft) (only a $15 difference)

The quick tilt on the center shaft from vertical to horizontal takes about 2 seconds, and that's why I bought the new tripod. I don't have to take my camera off to shoot the nadir now :)

btw: the Nodal Ninja EZ-Leveler is a great product for $90 (with case) compared to other tribrachs.

Kirk

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by 360 Degree » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:42 pm

I use a Velbon El Varmagne 640 Carbon Fiber tripod. It's very affordable and very well made. Very professional all around. I do a lot of hiking with it and it weighs very little. It has survived lots of abuse with no signs of wear.

I use it with a terrific Gitzo G1178M Ball head. Highly recommended.

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by tived » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:54 am

NOTE: you can't just use a ball head to adjust for leveling, unless, you have a panning base on top of your ball head ...eg like Really Right Stuff, your rotation will be skewed AFAIK tell.

I use Gitzo legs, 1548 carbon the big sucker and a pair of smaller legs Gitzo Explorer 2200 metal of some sort, it is as heavy as my big legs, but I like it because it have the off centered column.
I use now a Manfrotto N300 panning base, with a Arca Swiss B1 on top, which I can attached my Really Right Stuff pano head, which I can modify in various ways, currently from 15mm FE to my 300mm f/2.8, but the Manfrotto N300 only supports up to 200mm on fullframe DSLR with N.72 clicks so....I need to work out something where i can use my 300 to make pano's with, and still have it rotating at fixed intervals, which exludes me driving it, cos I don't seem to be that accurate....try moving 2.5 degrees in the darkness of dusk or dawn! :-0

good luck.

you better give us a budget!!! so we can go shopping together :-)

Henrik

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tived
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by tived » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:56 am

Just adding to my own post....I would replace the Arca Swiss B1 ball head with a really right stuff BH-55 or if you use lighter camera's then the smaller one. and I would ad the panning quick release plate on top!!! ':-) not cheap but it is probably the best out there

Henrik

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by John_Sauter » Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:10 pm

tived wrote:...but the Manfrotto N300 only supports up to 200mm on fullframe DSLR with N.72 clicks so....I need to work out something where i can use my 300 to make pano's with, and still have it rotating at fixed intervals, which excludes me driving it, cos I don't seem to be that accurate....try moving 2.5 degrees in the darkness of dusk or dawn! :-0...

I use a Manfrotto 303SPH, which has the same 72 yaw click-stops as the N300. When I need intermediate positions I find I can position by feel to half way between the click-stops. The positioning isn't perfect, but AutoPano Pro does not need perfect positioning, since it deduces the yaw angle from the contents of the image.


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