A Tripod question

Joined
Mar 18, 2004
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571
Location
Lawrence, KS
I have been using a tripod that is pretty light weight and seems to not be able to hold up in strong winds when chasing. I am pondering the idea of possibly buying a more heavy-set tripod to chase with. The legs on the tripod are hollow and I was thinking today that a cheaper alternative might be to fill the legs with something along the lines of metal rods or even the idea of filling them will cement to make them heavier and more durable. Does anyone have any ideas of what I could use to accomplish this or would buying a new tripod be the easier alternative?
 
I wouldn't mess with the lightweight Wal-Mart specials ... you can get a heavy-duty, good quality tripod with a video head for under $100 ... (I got one a while back at the camera store in Metro North - they have a pretty good selection, as does another camera store just west of I-29 on 64th street in Parkville ... it's in that little shopping center across the street from McDonalds) ... if you need, you can hang a weight from the bottom to help in heavy winds - I've done that before, but it's a pain dragging it in and out of the car. I'd just go with a heavier duty model myself. Check Ebay - -
 
Bogen/Manfrotto are the most common and reasonably priced tripods out there. The also make about the best priced professional camera heads. The Model 3044 that Fred (fplowman) has is about the standard for most type of light and medium duty photography.

You can usually pick up a used (in good shape) tripod/head combo on e-Bay for about $150 or less. I wouldn't skimp on the tripod though, Remember, this is your platform and the more stable it is, the better your shots will be. I just picked up a Bogen 3190 amd a very nice fluid head for about $200. It's way more than what I need, but I'm hoping to graduate beyond the single ship camera sometime in the neat future.

For standard field video work on just about any single chip camera, the 3021/3044 will work fine.
 
I have been using a tripod that is pretty light weight and seems to not be able to hold up in strong winds when chasing. I am pondering the idea of possibly buying a more heavy-set tripod to chase with. The legs on the tripod are hollow and I was thinking today that a cheaper alternative might be to fill the legs with something along the lines of metal rods or even the idea of filling them will cement to make them heavier and more durable. Does anyone have any ideas of what I could use to accomplish this or would buying a new tripod be the easier alternative?

If you want to keep the tripod you have another thing you can do to minimize shakiness is to keep the tripod's profile as low as possible. Also if possible try to use your vehicle as a windbreak.
 
I've used a cheapo tripod for the last five years. The lower profile is a suggestion I have used several times. The other thing I've done is to set my camera bag, or something else with weight, under the tripod. Mine actually has a hook at the bottom of the shaft where I can hang the bag (or some other weight). That gives it good stability at a lower center of gravity. Without the hook, you could attach it to the bars coming from the legs to the main shaft. A small bungee strap or piece of rope would be sufficient.

Just a tip from the "poor man's book" :wink:

Tim
 
On previous chases, I had my 10lb barbell weighing down the tripod with twine attached to the hook at the bottom...but now that same 10lb barbell is helping my plumber's mobile computer desk stay sturdy! A cheap tripod can work, as long as you have weight on the bottom, and I bought the cheap $28 tripod from Wal-Mart.
 
I have a cheap tripod that was bought for an old VHS full size video camera- not the most stable but I found keeping a small sand bag in the car and putting it across the lower cross braces helped a lot.-the cheap way out.

Don't bother with the idea of filling the legs with anything. What happens if it comes loose and you cannot then collapse it!
 
Of course we have all seen a camera ona tripod fall to the ground with some wind.. Fortunately I havent had it happen to me.. I keep it low as Tim says .. and its pretty sturdy..

Realistically.. I would like one even heavier.. but this one (3221/3443 bogen) will work fine.. I have seen it rock though with a good gust.. My heart sank a little. lol

I need something i can carry long distances though.. dual purpose.. So a 15lb behometh has drawbacks in my situation.
 
Thank you all very much for the feedback. I guess I am going to start tripod shopping. I don't think spending $300 on a tripod is going to be allowed with my budget right now though I am going to check out ebay and see if I can get a decent price on something a little less expensive.

Thanks,

Darin
 
I haven't been able to personally justify spending too much money on tripods... I typically get the cheaper ones at Wal-Mart and they often do well enough. I have watched my tripod on several occasions (on March 27, 2004) eat the dirt with my camera attached.. fortunately tripod and camera are doing fine! :lol:

I've eyeballed tripods on eBay and have thought about spending some serious cash for one, but to be honest, I do just fine with what I have and likely won't spend the mega cash for one any time soon. If you can rig your tripod to hold itself steady in strong wind, you're set! 8)
 
Nick Grillo had/has a good video of a tripod taking a fall in a strong wind gust. OUCH!!
The thing I don't like about cheaper tripods is while recording, if you decide to pan or tilt you get that lovely plastic friction sound. Save your money and purchase a heavier and better built one.
 
FWIW, I've got a Slik DX700. It's plenty sturdy for my large 35mm and I've even had a 4x5 perched on it, although that is a bit of a reach. The unit is well built and has survived several 'dropsies' and a 10 ft fall onto rocks without complaint. I'm not in love with kinematics of tilt/pan heads and am yearning to replace it with a Bogen 322RC2. IMO, the head is at least as important as the 'pod. Try before you buy.

As for ballasting your tripod's lower sections, I'd recommend a mix of lead shot and epoxy. Clean the inside of the leg with a bottle brush and scouring powder to remove any resiudal oils, dust and dirt before filling. Don't forget to rinse well, epoxies need a clean surface to adhere well.

IMO, a heavy, well made tripod is well worth the extra $50 vs. a Kmart/Ritz cheapo.

-Greg
 
Anyone want to see my vid of my XL-1 taking a dive?

Ooouuuuuccccchhhhh.

No damage, however, thankfully.

Soon after I discovered the "low profile" approach, and I NEVER extend the legs of my tripod more than about halfway now. I like the ballast idea, too. I never thought of that before. Thanks, all.

Bob
 
I just picked up the tripod that my dad has had for 10-15 years. Looks like it is in good shape...

It is the Velbon brand and decent tripod or a piece of crap? I know nothing about them.
 
Most Velbon's are cheaply made and not worth the cash paid. However, I've seen some of the higher level models that seem to be better made. These are not available at Wal-Mart. Most likely only online somewhere. If it's aluminum and Plastic, most likely it's not a very good tripod.

On the other hand... A cheap tripod is better than no tripod at all. Just be aware of the limitations. If you don't have the money for a Bogen (about the best reasonably priced tripods going) Tripod, then get what you can and start saving your pennies for the better stuff. Vivitar actually makes 3 Pro model tripods that aren't bad for the price. Expect to pay about $100 to $250 though. Check (dare I say it?) e-Bay as they routinely have used bogen tripods going for pretty good prices.
 
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