What tripod do MFers use?

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blackmelas

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I'm looking too invest in a good steady tripod, not necessarily lightweight if that sacrifices stability. What would you recommend in the 150 to 300 euro (or $) range?
Thank you,
James
 
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I use a Manfrotto 055 for outdoors for MF and light LF and a Manfrotto 058 for the studio. I also have an old De Vere tripod if I need anything ultra-heavy-duty. I use Manfrotto heads with the hexagonal quick-release plate - 2 ball-and-socket heads (a 168 and a heavier one) and a 229 pan-and-tilt (all Manfrotto). I have the basic model 055 - I think it also comes in variants where the legs splay right out for low-level work and the center column can be used as a horizontal boom arm. I like ball-and-socket heads for everything except where the camera is so heavy that a BS head is uncontrollable.The 058 has a "triaut" feature which I love - you can hold the tripod in mid-air and twist a central release ring to make all three leg extensions drop down together.
 

Bob F.

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Another vote for the Manfrotto 055.

I use it with the 168 B&S head (hexagonal quick-release plates, which I'm not 100% happy with) for my SQ-A and 4x5 field camera (many will say teh 055 is marginal for LF use, but it works fine for me). It's not the lightest combination and depending on how you will be transporting it, the 055 is still quite long when folded so you may want to look at the setup Kevin suggested too.

I do prefer a B&S head for MF, where I use the WLF (but it can be a bit of a pain for levelling LF cameras - but that's not your problem...).

I think the main thing is to get a good make, (Manfrotto, Gitzo or Benbo mainly...) then you can be sure it will be well designed and will last many years. Like cheap shoes, cheap tripods are a bad investment: you end up paying more in the long run...


Cheers, Bob.
 
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Another vote for the 055 which I used happily for 4 1/2 years for both MF and 5x4 with a range of heads. It has just been retired due to a cracked leg casting and managing to convince myself to afford a Gitzo 1325. I intend to replace the casting and use as a spare.

I have found the Manfrotto geared heads helpful when composing landscape images, they do develop wear after a while though, for which the solution is to dismantle and rotate part of the gear which is engaged. I expect that they would be too slow for other types of shooting.
 

Lee Shively

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I used a Bogen 3021 (Manfrotto 055) for many years with everything from 35mm to 4x5. It's been a great tripod. Somewhere along the line, I bought a Gitzo 1410 and 1377M ballhead. It's an even better tripod although it is heavier.
 

jovo

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Yeah...the Bogen 3021 with the 3047 head. I've wrapped the legs with foam pipe insulation and that with duct tape in 2 places on each leg which makes it easier to shoulder and less cold to grasp. That head uses a quick release plate so I've gotten two plates, one for each camera I use, to make it easy to just grab the pod and not think about having to switch plates from one camera to another.

I'd like to get a Berlebach wooden 'pod for the 4x5 for no other reason than It'd make a nice new toy...but there're too many other more important things to commit the funds to at this point so it'll have to wait. But the 3021 is still excellent and hardly a 'settle for' piece of equipment.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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For MF, I've liked my venerable Leitz Tiltall above all, but since it's due for a replacement, I'm looking at the Giottos MT-8180.
 

colrehogan

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I have a Manfrotto 3001 and use it for everything from 35 mm to 4x5 with either a 3047 head or a Manfrotto ball head (can't remember which one, and it's at home). I also have a Manfrotto 475 for my 8x10 which I also use the Manfrotto long lens support for additional stability.
 

bobfowler

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blackmelas said:
I'm looking too invest in a good steady tripod, not necessarily lightweight if that sacrifices stability. What would you recommend in the 150 to 300 euro (or $) range?
Thank you,
James

The answer is - it depends.

Here are the tripods I have and some opinions:

Bogen 3036 w/3047 head - heavy monster that will support just about anything you can throw at it. At max height w/extended center column, it's still stable with a medium format camera. I've used this tripod for everything from 35mm to 8X10. I always keep a 10mm nut driver with me to make sure the leg locks stay tight.

Bogen 3021 w/old Linhof ball head (model ukn) - Great general purpose sticks for everything up to 4X5 (maybe 5X7 if it's a light camera). Fast set up, medium weight for all day carry. Usually my first choice for medium format. As with the 3036, I keep a nut driver handy to firm up the leg locks.

Bogen 3001 w/3055 ball head - When I bought this tripod, it had a 3025 3-way head which was one of the most horrible heads I ever used. The 3001 is an OK tripod for up to medium format IF you don't have to extend the legs all the way. A major plus is that it's very light and rather compact.

David & Sanford Model C - A beast. Not very tall, but sturdy as a tank. I use this exclusively with a Century 4a studio camera, though I tried it with smaller stuff. Not travel friendly.

Berlebach 2042 - I just got this one, but I think it's going to replace my 3021 for a lot of field shooting in formats from 6X6 to 5X7. VERY sturdy, excellent leg locks, and the built in leveling ball almost makes another head unnecessary. I'm shooting some head shots with this today using a Bronica SQ-A and 150mm lens.
 

Dave Parker

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Bogen 3021 with leg wraps and either an arca ball head or a wimberley, when useing my large lenses, I also have a 3047 QR for it, that gets used with the 6x6 gear,holds well and is sturdy, have used for medium and large format work, I also have two of the old very large Tiltall tripods which are rock solid and quite reasonably priced on the used market, I have one with the orginal 3 way head and have modified one to accept aftermarket heads., but I would have to say my 3021 gets the most amount of use.

Dave
 

Max Power

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After much deliberation I just ordered a Bogen 3001 and a 3030 head for my birthday (Happy Birthday to Me!!!).

I hope that it works out OK!

Kent
 

arigram

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I also use a Manfrotto 055Pro tripod in black with a three way "standard" head.
I find it very steady even in strong wind carrying my Hasselblad 501CM but light enough
to carry on my back on treks.
I got it from Athens, from the representative of Manfrotto:
Αλεξάνδρου & ΣΙΑ Ε.Ε.
Ορμηνίου 9, Αθήνα.
τηλ. 210 7236847
The whole set of tripod+head cost me about 160-170 euros.
It is highly versatile and of great construction quallity.
I also got a carrying lash and a padded bag, from the same store.
 

Nick Zentena

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I've got a Giottos 9180 and a Manfrotto 329RC4 head. Not the lightest combination. The tripod comes with a built-in head that might be good enough if you use a WL finder. Price here in Canada is less then $200 Canadian for the tripod so it should be well below your lower limit of 150 Euros. The head almost cost me what the tripod did.
 

jd callow

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I use the manfrotto/bogan 3021 w/ 3047 head and the 3001g with the ball head that uses the same plates as the 3047. The 3001 g has the foam leg wraps and is painted green (I suspect the green paint makes it less visible to the colour blind wild life that I don't shoot). I use the 3001 when travelling by plane otherwise I prefer the the greater stability and control of the 30021/3047 combination.
 

RogerBird

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I also use a black Manfrotto 055. The centre post is short (only 8inches I think) since I never raise the centre more than an inch. The ballhead is Manfrotto 308RC. It has a quick release built in.

The legs have been wrapped in pipe insulation secured with electrical tape. This is for 2 reasons: (1) holding onto the bare metal in anything less than 12 deg celcius will suck all warmth out of your entire body and; (2) for padding carrying over the shoulder.

I have used this for 35mm and MF.

Roger
 

Adrian Twiss

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I use a Manfrotto 055 with a manfrotto 029 head for 35mm and 6x6. When using 5x4 I fit a Linhof pan and tilt head with a manfrotto converter plate 120. This converter plate changes the thread on the centre column from 3/8 to 1/4 inch. I have not mounted My Kardan GT in a strong wind yet so am unsure how stable this combo will be in unfavourable condtitions.
 
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I would recommend actually handling the various brands,I own several brands but Manfrotto and Bogen are my favorites.
 

bobfowler

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The jury is in...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I just got a Berlebach 2042. Well, I've had a chance to use it for a few days now. I first thought I'd need to use a ball head on top in addition to the built-in leveling ball, but that has not proven to be the case. I've shot with my SQ-A and Eastman 5X7 on these sticks and I can now say, they are GREAT!
 
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blackmelas

blackmelas

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Thanks to everyone for your help. I went with the Manfrotto 055pro with the 329 three way head—it seems very stable and versatile.
Thanks especially to Ari for referring me to the shop in Athens. Its one of those Hellenic gems that you find less and less frequently in Athens. It’s in a semi basement with no carpet or décor or space, just the stuff on sale and it’s run by an extremely knowledgeable, polite and helpful gentleman in his 70s, Mr. Alexandrou. I found him sitting behind a desk filled with clutter and a demitasse filled with yesterday’s grinds from his Greek coffee. It’s the kind of place that makes you love Greece. I may get an enlarging lens from them later. If you are ever in Athens in need of lighting, reflectors tripods, etc they are behind the Hilton at the address Ari mentioned above.
James
 

david b

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I have been using a Bogen 3443 carbon fiber tripod with a Kirk BH-3 ball head for all of my medium format gear. Perfect for me.
 

arigram

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I am glad you are satisfied Dimitri. I too liked that place and I am happy you found it! It was a treasure hunt indeed even though the store is very close to my appartment in Athens.
Did you get the padded bag and the shoulder strap?
Both are highly recommended and I couldn't do without them.
The bag for protection during storage and transporation in the car or plane and
the strap for carrying the tripod with me on location.
 
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