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Suggestion for a light, but tall, tripod


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#1 stoppingdown

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:12 AM

In these days I'm accompanying my mother, who has been ill for a somewhat long time and is now slowly recovering, in a few short walks along a path that is at the border between the town and the countryside. I'm trying to kill two birds with a stone also taking some photography opportunities. Landscape isn't an option, because while the hike is agreeable, you see the town in background almost everywhere. Instead, the place is filled with flowers (very common species) and it makes sense I do some exercise with macro. In particular I'm working with the Helios 44-2, which is a recent bought, and extension tubes. I'm doing the thing in a totally relaxed fashion: if I get some keeper, fine, otherwise fine the same; it's not the kind of subject that you won't be able to find again, with which it's a pity to lose an opportunity. For this reason, I'm going ultra-light (also because I have to assist my mother): just the NEX-6 and the Helios mounted. As you can imagine, the critical thing is manual focusing: most of the photos that could be good are ruined by the lack of steadiness: I could have even got the DoF correctly placed, but the minimal motion of the camera when I shoot change things. Also, there's always at least a slight wind, that moves flowers, and I should be able to compose, focus, stay put and wait for a pause of the wind.

 

So a tripod is advisable, but my carbon-fiber Gitzo is designed for keeping a DSLR + a medium size tele, and it's overkill for the job (that is, it weights too much for the relaxed approach). So I'm searching for a cheap and light replacement just for this kind of situation. It must be tall, as in this case I'm mostly operating standing up - I'm 178cm - and possibly quick to extend and retract.  

 

The problem is that there are so many cheap choices that I'm unable to pick one. I'd like to hear some reputable suggestion here. 

 

Thanks.

 

PS For the curious ones, I've posted some considerations about the Helios 44-2 and flower macro photography:

 

http://stoppingdown....ro-photography/


stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#2 obican

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:47 AM

There are some Chinese-brand Carbon Fiber tripods on aliexpress.com, which are also being sold in some dealers in Europe and the US. Brand name varies but the models are called Q666C and Q999C. I've heard good things about them and I've been willing to give them a try for a long time, maybe you can have a look. They cost about 100$ with the ballhead included and weigh less than 1.5kg. Should be fine for your Nex 6 and Helios (Gorgeous lens btw).

 

There is also the Mantona Carbon Titanium that you can find within EU. Much more expensive but it seemed alright when I had tried it at the store.

 

Both Mantona and Q666C models can also be turned into monopods, which make them even lighter but I don't think that'd be suitable for macro work.



#3 JoJu

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:55 PM

My first question: are you sure your mother will be happy to wait until you finished manual focus macro shots including waiting for the wind to stop blowing?

My second question: have you thought about setting up three legs and head? Or is this monopod with damped tiny legs as well a possibility? https://www.manfrott...-mit-fluid-base

It's quicker set up and maybe the single leg leaves you more freedom to move the camera instead of turning the focus ring all the time?

Almost forgot. There are copies of that damped leg by Sirui. Having a Sirui tripod, I need to add, handling and stability is not as good as Gitzo. But I wanted one with seals, to be able to put it into the water and the ocean series of Gitzo is just madness.

#4 Brightcolours

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:45 PM

Very good thought out post, JoJu. I might add another thing I wonder about: most flowers I come across are low to the ground, how does a high tripod come into play there, especially with a short 58mm focal length? Or is the height requirement for general other use?

 

I tend to shoot handheld, taking a thing to put my knees on to prevent getting green stains on my pants' knees all the time, and use my elbows as support when I need to go really low.



#5 stoppingdown

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 07:49 PM

My first question: are you sure your mother will be happy to wait until you finished manual focus macro shots including waiting for the wind to stop blowing?

 

 

I mostly do my photos when she stops and seats on a bench. I think that with a tripod I'll spend less time focusing than now, considering that I'm trying to compensate the lack of a tripod with a lot of redundant shots.

 

I might add another thing I wonder about: most flowers I come across are low to the ground, how does a high tripod come into play there, especially with a short 58mm focal length?

 

 

 

I should have written it. The path has on one side, for large portions of its length, a dry stone wall: many flowers directly come out of it, others are on the meadow that is contained by the wall, so they are at eye level (or a few decimetres below). That's why is so relaxing: I even don't have to bend  :) .

 

For what concerns a monopod, I already have a carbon fiber one, excellent for landscape in low light or long focals... but I'd like to have something that stays put even if I don't hold it.

 

Going to check your suggestions.


stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#6 obican

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 10:25 PM

Oh btw, if you want to use a monopod, I'd sugges getting a L bracket for your camera and a compatible plate for the monopod. 

 

249925.jpg

 

I use something like this on my tripod so that I can put my camera in portrait orientation when I want to. It's much lighter than even the lightest head and I can easily attach and remove my camera in both orientations.



#7 Rover

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:15 PM

I'm not really a tripod aficionado (I only got my first one last year...) but the thread title made me think... "light, but tall, tripod" sounds to these ears (eyes?) like a possible disaster for stability. I know my tripod has problems when the top portion is extended - with a heavy camera and lens there is sometimes a bit of flex. Not to mention the very elevated center of gravity means that extra care needs to be taken.

 

Of course it may be just that I'm too inexperienced with tripods...



#8 toni-a

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:43 PM

Well at the local hiking club, we have a very practical solution: A hiking pole with on the extremity a screw that can gets into the camera base, same one as on the tripod plate. It adds no weight the downside it's perfect for horizontal angle like group photo, but you can't use it for flowers or heavy cameras like SLRs since it needs the other extremity to be fixed in the soil, I can post pictures of it,

#9 stoppingdown

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 11:51 AM

"light, but tall, tripod" sounds to these ears (eyes?) like a possible disaster for stability.

 

 

It's correct to fear a problem. The point is that the tripod qualities should be proportionated to its task: if you have to hold a long lens, you can't ask for the tripod to be light. But if you have to hold a mirrorless plus a short, light lens, the tripod can be lighter. Not too much, of course.


stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#10 JoJu

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:08 PM

I became aware that no matter how rigid or stiff a tripod is, there's always a reaction to shutter and mirror slap of DSLR. Touch your tripod and release the shutter, you will feel it. We can work aroud with mirror up and cable release, but this is minimising the problem. It doesn't disappear and depending on lens and sensor resolution it can become visible. Weight capacity of a tripod can be 40 kg, I still can see the effect in only 4 m distance by mounting a laser pointer on the hotshoe.

What I like to say, with DSLRs stabilty of tripods is a fairytale and we still believe a lot of old legends. For your case, stoppingdown, a high enough tripod also needs some space on the ground. Hope, the path you will be walkiing is big enough. Imagining the wall I would say the tripod should have some legs to spread horizontally, or a column you can turn from vertical direction to horizontal. But the latter is a very swinging thing...




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