Tripods and monopods


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 18:24
I have mentioned before that I have a fondness for tripods - just as nice bits of engineering, as well useful bits of kit (at least TBA is a bit cheaper than LBA). I updated my inventory photo the other day so I thought I would share, together with a few comments as to what I find them best suited for - might I suppose be useful for anyone trying to decide which tripod to buy from the vast and confusing variety in the marketplace.

Excuse the quality of the shot as it was taken in a hurry (before my wife got in from work) at 1/15th sec, camera held at arms length as high over the centre of the dining table as I could reach...

This second pic was taken last year and shows the various heights, without centre column extended. Unfortunately the tallest and shortest are not in this shot as I had not bought them yet.

O.k. here are my comments on what I use them for - though a couple of them do not get much use at all. I'll include the model numbers though in most cases they will have been superceeded.

1.Gitzo G1578L mk2 5 section carbon monopod. Nice and tall, very useful to shoot over peoples heads in crowds, at preserved steam railways for example.

2. Giottos MM5570 4 section aluminium monopod. Does not extend quite as high as no.1 and is heavier (good for use as a defensive weapon though). Neat integral tilt head/QR arrangement and a rather useless feature that allows 3 little legs to be screwed to the base to make it self supporting (but very unstable). The 3 little legs store in the base of the pod where they rattle around annoyingly unless you tape them up. Not used much since I got the Gitzo.

3. Gitzo G1566 mk2 6 section aluminium monopod. Folds nice and short so is easy to pack in a case. Can also strap to the side of a shoulder bag without injuring passers by. Extended height is o.k. for me (I'm 5'10")but anyone taller would have to stoop.

4. Cullmann shoulder pod/table tripod. Really cheap and nasty plastic construction. Very lightweight and compact.Works reasonably well as a shoulder pod, hopeless as a table tripod. Don't pay more than a tenner for one.

5. Redged RTA 320 table tripod (with Gitzo G1178M ballhead). Nicely made Gitzo copy from the Netherlands. I use it for macro but it could be handy for traveling light (for those low level UWA shots maybe?)

6. Gitzo Gilux Tatalux 4 section aluminium tripod (with Ising panhead and Manfrotto QR). At least 30 years old and beautifully made. Very compact though does not quite reach full standing height.

7. Gitzo G1027 mk2 3 section carbon fibre tripod (with Gitzo G1780QR centre ballhead). Compact, very lightweight. This is my travel tripod unless I'm using anything really heavy. Also does not quite reach full standing height.

8. Gitzo GT2940C 4 section basalt tripod (with Manfrotto 322 RC2 pistol grip head) Very compact with the head removed. Same extended height as 7 and a bit heavier but will cope with a bigger load.

9. Gitzo GT2540G 4 section carbon fibre tripod with geared centre column (with Manfrotto 468 MGRC4 hydrostatic head). My most used tripod - if anything could be described as a 'general purpose tripod' this would be it. Reasonably light, comfortable working height and good load capacity.

10. Gitzo G2220 explorer 3 section aluminium tripod (with Gitzo G1276M off-centre ballhead). A very flexible design that is good for getting to hard to reach camera positions. Quite heavy and a bit fiddly to use but useful when nothing else will do.

11. Gitzo G224 3 section aluminium tripod (with Gitzo G1372M pan/tilt head). An old warhorse that has seen much heavy use and has the scars to prove it. If I know I'm going to be shooting in mud and muck this is the tripod I use.

12. Manfrotto 058B Triaut aluminium tripod (with Manfrotto 029 pan/tilt head). My newest tripod. I bought it because on a few occasions I have needed something taller. I would have liked a Gitzo giant but even very old ones command high prices. If you are thinking of buying one of these be aware that Manfrotto have not compromised on size and weight. It is very big and very heavy. I would not choose to lug it very far and it will only just fit into the boot of my car (with head attached). That being said it is tall and sturdy, ideal for wedding receptions and other functions where your kit is likely to be under seige from kids on the loose and drunken grannies. The triaut mechanism works well, though I have my reservations about its durability - the levers are plastic and all auto mechanisms fail eventually. I would have also liked secondary locks on the leg extentions for even greater rigidity...but still an impressive bit of kit. Only time will tell how much use it will get.
Regards, Philip


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:02
I need to show these to my wife to prove that my 2 tripods and 2 momopods are just not enough

You do realise that you probably should be seeking professional help don't you Philip?

Very useful comments for anybody in the market for a tripod

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:29
oooh Sexy !!

Thanks for taking the time to show us that very interesting collection Philip. Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:29
Impressive collection of *pods.

I have been looking at replacing my old Miranda tripod, but the ones in the high street too light and haven't been able to find one where I could put the head onto the bottom of the centre tube, not used a massive amount but I did enjoy some of the results back then.
Pint o' rough & a game o' darts anyone


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:37
Good grief!

I can't believe tba is cheaper than lba.

Do you need a separate QR plate for each of them??

I have one tripod, a Velbon carbon fibre, which is tall enough without the centre column raised. And one ball head, a Markins. Combined they cost the price of a decent camera body. I have been tempted by a travel tripod, but the one I have fits in my checked bag so I haven't given in. Even if I do give in I'll transfer the head to the new tripod.


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:43
I've not been at all organised in my approach, I use 4 different styles of QR plates,plus an Arca Swiss adaptor if required...
Regards, Philip
Last Edited by smudge on 04/07/2012 - 19:44


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 19:50
smudge wrote:
I've not been at all organised in my approach, I use 4 different styles of QR plates,plus an Arca Swiss adaptor if required...

As I said Good Grief


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 21:39
If you had to trim it to three tripods (say one large heavy one, one light-ish everyday one, and a compact model), which would you keep? And, say, one Monopod?


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 22:08
The ones that get the most use are nos 1,3,7&9. 1&9 as a 'best' team - 3&7 as a travel kit. The others I could do without if I had to...

I should add that I seldom use really long or heavy lenses - if I did I might have to get another tripod - a Gitzo series 5 would be nice
Regards, Philip
Last Edited by smudge on 04/07/2012 - 22:13


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 22:17
You are well equiped



Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 22:22
Oso wrote:
You are well equiped


My wife seems to think so
Regards, Philip


Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 23:11
Does your wife know that you have this thing about legs?

Geoff (who can get by with just three tripods and two monopods)
Water can wear away a stone - but it can't cook lunch
Lenses Digital: 50-200, 18-55 KAF: 28-80.
Lenses KA & K: SMC-KA f2.0, SMC-K f1.4, SMC-K f1.7 Tokina KA 28-70 , SMC Pentax 70-210 F4, Sigma KA 75-300 , Hanimex 500mm Mirror, and the Tamron Adaptall-2 stuff.
and then there's all the M42 kit, and the accessories ...
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