Home
SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

Help with tripods please
View previous topic :: View next topic  


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Help with tripods please Reply with quote

I have a very old (and very cheap) tripod I bought from Boots the Chemists in the 60s. It is not very solid and it doesn't have any fancy equipment - I just screw the camera on the top.

I want to buy a new tripod or perhaps a monopod to take away on holiday in a few weeks. I've been looking at websites and went to the local camera shop, but I couldn't wait to speak to anyone. I am totally lost on how modern tripods work and fit together and I need some really basic help and advice.

Basic questions:

1. If I buy a basic tripod, what else do I need? I've seen various fittings and bits and pieces but I don't understand their function.

2. What are the loose plates for? Do you keep them screwed onto the camera? Do I need to buy the plates separately, or do they come together with the tripod? And are they standard or do you have to stick with one make for everything?

2. It is best to get a ball-head? I don't understand the advantages of this. What other types are there?

3. What is an "equatorial" mount?

4. I'm think I'm leaning towards a monopod rather than a tripod, for ease of carrying really. Is this sensible? The thought of carrying a large tripod around doesn't really appeal.

That'll do for now -
Thanks

Oh - if you think of Viejo's wonderful pictures of Helsinki, I'll be trying to achieve something near that! (No harm in aiming high is there?)


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with tripods please Reply with quote

Quote:
1. If I buy a basic tripod, what else do I need? I've seen various fittings and bits and pieces but I don't understand their function.


Usually, nothing. Normally tripods are sold with what is necessary to use them with a camera. But for extra safety, you can ask the salesperson.
Then maybe there can be bells and whistles sold as extras, but the basic stuff should be given with the tripod

Quote:
2. What are the loose plates for? Do you keep them screwed onto the camera? Do I need to buy the plates separately, or do they come together with the tripod? And are they standard or do you have to stick with one make for everything?


The plates are a way to make tripods faster to use. Instead of screwing camera directly on the tripod, like with some older models, you just screw the plate on the camera, then lock the plate onto the tripod. You can leave the plate on the camera if you like. Sometimes with small camera like the 400D, this can even help when you handle it normally. With larger cameras like the 5D, instead, it can be annoying. I usually take it off the camera when I have done what I need to do with the tripod. But I know of people who have several cameras and have bought a plate for each to keep it permanently screwed on.

Quote:
2. It is best to get a ball-head? I don't understand the advantages of this. What other types are there?


The main advantage is that you can move the camera practically in every direction, without being constrained by the axes like you are with traditional mount.
There are also disadvantages: first, if the ball head is not of first quality, it will get loosened soon, and will not be able to hold heavy cameras steady anymore. This is why it is adviseable, if one wants a ball head tripod, to buy the best ones, like Manfrotto, althought they are more expensive.
Second disadvantage with the ball head is that by not being constrained to axes anymore, it is easier to have the camera misaligned, because when you adjust it for one axis, you may inadvertantly misalign on another axis. This is why a multiple bubble meter, which should be present on every serious tripod, is even more indispensable with a ball head tripod.
Usually multiple bubble meters are not present on cheap tripods, so have a look for those. They are of invaluable help for architectural shooting.
In my opinion, very personal, ball head tripods are better for nature or sport or wildlife shooting, because they are repositioned faster, while for architecture, I personally prefer the safe feeling of a traditional mount tripod.

Quote:
3. What is an "equatorial" mount?


I don't know, I never heard of it

Quote:
4. I'm think I'm leaning towards a monopod rather than a tripod, for ease of carrying really. Is this sensible? The thought of carrying a large tripod around doesn't really appeal.


The advantage of monopods is not weight, is the encumbrance. They take less space and are more easily fit inside a sac or bag, and you can use them in situations like sport game shooting on the terraces of a stadium, where you have people near on both sides and below and you don't have the space or the commodity to mount a tripod.
Tripods of today don't have the weight as a negative thing. The contemporary metal alloys are so light, that you can have tripods even tall, that weight almost literally nothing. I have a Soligor tripod that is very cheap (about 50 euros), very basic in features (no fancies), but extremely light, I can fit it in my Tamrac back bag and not even notice that I am carrying it on my shoulders.
So my advice is: do not think weight - think encumbrance. You will find very light tripods if you want. So if you prefer the stability of tripods, go for a tripod and don't think of the weight. If instead encumbrance is an issue, then a monopod can be a better solution (although of course much less safe with regards to camera stability).

Quote:
Oh - if you think of Viejo's wonderful pictures of Helsinki, I'll be trying to achieve something near that! (No harm in aiming high is there?)


Of course not! Veijo's photographs are just enchanting and I am his n.1 fan.
But - I thought you were a fan of my Flek architectural shots Crying or Very sad
I will never forgive you for this repudiation Crying or Very sad

(just kidding) Wink


Last edited by Orio on Fri May 04, 2007 4:19 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

I just can answer some of your questions...

1) It depends. Sometimes you can get a good set, sometimes you will have to buy at least two more parts. Tripod (center post and collapsible telescoping legs) - several joints or a ball with some handles - detachable plate (to mount the cam).

2) You can keep the plates at your cam or at big lenses resp. This makes sense if you use more cams and lenses with tripod screws and/or if the plate does not bother you at the cam. Enables you a quick change.

2) Wink A ball-head is quicker and more flexible than a panhead. I guess it's a matter of preference.

3) No idea! Shocked

4) A monopod will help you with exposures under a second. For longer exposures (night shots) it is useless.

5) Ooppps...no No.5. Wink

Carsten

P.S.: Did you get my mails this time, Peter?


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy a heavy one, don't go for the expensive carbon things because you pay many dollars for a few gram's less.

As old lenses are the best old tripods are also very good.

Since we are all into vintage with our old lenses you might try
Berlebach, made off wood but as stable as a rock.

http://www.berlebach.de/

For macro a beanbag is a fine solution, I have a light inflatable in camou coulors and its almost free. Take an old pants (I'm in the army so there is the colour comming from) Cut of and sew it as shown in the picture. (might be neccesary to buy some flowers for your wife) Go to the Aldi or another shop that sels these bags filled with wine. Drink the wine. Rince the bag with water otherwise you get drunk every time you inflate it.

And your portable bean bag is a fact. I your head hurts from drinking the wine you can use it as a pillow. The shiney bag is good as a reflection screen and you can use it to sit on it after a long walk true the woods. its really a versatille tool, I should ask a patent for it.

I use the other part of the pants as a decompression bag for my poncho liner. To be honest i must say that a beanbag filled with beans or rice is much more stable for macro but filled with air its better transportable. The trick is do not inflate completely. It also works perfect for telelens pictures close to the ground.




PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still use a 20 year old Slik 88 tripod - it's big, heavy and the height suits me (I'm 6' 4")


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jigt wrote:
Buy a heavy one, don't go for the expensive carbon things because you pay many dollars for a few gram's less.


Guido, please let me disagree.
Have you tried to walk 8-10 hours a day, 10 consecutive days, through woods or botanical gardens, with a 5-7-10 kilos solid steel tripod on your back, constantly opening it, using it, closing it, packing it, again and again and again?

Well I did, with one beautiful heavy Manfrotto tripod on my back.
I was cursing it every day, both while working and in the evening, when going to bed with my back brocken. And also in the airports, paying extra for the weight, and in crowded train stations, trying to move fast to take trains and to fit into small spaces.

Believe me. If you are using a tripod at home, or in a studio, or once in a while during a simple Sunday stroll, you are right, heavy, stable tripods are better.

But if you REALLY use a tripod outdoors, and if you REALLY do phototrekking, you *WANT* a light tripod.
And no, light tripods are not necessarily expensive. As I said, I paid for mine 49 Euros. Some of the best and most thanked 49 Euros I ever spent.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, thanks for the tips. I'm a little further forward but I still don't understand everything. When you look at the Manfrotto website for example, it lists many different items but doesn't explain what they do or what you need, so it's pretty useless for somebody with no knowledge like me.

It seems that if I buy a basic tripod, assuming the thread actually fits the camera, there is still no way of adjusting the view angles, so I also need to buy a head of some sort. The 3-way pan head looks the best sort for me. The quick release plates are not vital as I only have one camera and no lenses with tripod mounts, but I can see the advantage.

The wooden tripods are beautiful. I already have two big wooden tripods for my surveying instruments (see the avatar), so I know they are very good. However I can't understand the German website and I feel a bit scared about buying something without understanding what it is!

How about the wine bag idea with army trousers! I'll have to buy one now just to try it out. I don't have any army trousers, but by the time I've drunk the wine I don't think I'll be caring about that! Smile

I found out an equatorial mount is for tracking stars across the sky - I found it on an astro-photography website.

Orio, you know I'm a fan of all your pictures! You have so many beautiful old buildings and wonderful light in Italy, I am so envious. In the 18th Century rich Englishman would spend whole summers there visiting the spa towns. I'm not a rich Englishman, so I am going with my wife for just a week to an English spa town, Buxton. But it does have some beautiful old buildings and gardens, and it's in a very picturesque area called The Peak District, about 250km from here. I was hoping to surprise you with some pictures like yours Wink

Carsten, yes I received your messages thanks. There was one I hadn't seen before - I'm not sure if it was sent via the forum or an ordinary email. I am going to reply in a few minutes.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, equatorial mounts (I had one on a telescope way back in the mists
of time) are great for tracking things across the sky: they use 2 axes:
right ascension (polar), and declination, aligned with the poles (lower case, not Polish people Wink ) . I'm not sure if that would be a boon
unless you're into birds in flight, planes, and such.

Bill


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:
Peter, equatorial mounts (I had one on a telescope way back in the mists
of time) are great for tracking things across the sky: they use 2 axes:
right ascension (polar), and declination, aligned with the poles (lower case, not Polish people Wink ) . I'm not sure if that would be a boon
unless you're into birds in flight, planes, and such.

Bill


Yes, thanks Bill. I was looking at a website about telescopes this morning. I'd really like to get one, not for planes or astronomy particularly, more for looking through neighbours' windows you understand! Laughing


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, you might want to consider increasing your life insurance Laughing

Bill


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:
Peter, you might want to consider increasing your life insurance Laughing

Bill


It's OK, don't worry. It's just that I'm obsessed by that Hitchcock movie with James Stewart, can't remember the title.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Vertigo, one of my faves with Kim Novak.

Bill


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:
Yeah, Vertigo, one of my faves with Kim Novak.

Bill


No, I'm sure Peter is talking about Rear Window, with the one and only Grace Kelly.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grace Kelly: here's a woman who would have made even the crappier photographer on earth with a $10 use-and-trash camera look like Richard Avedon.

She just shined.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
katastrofo wrote:
Yeah, Vertigo, one of my faves with Kim Novak.

Bill


No, I'm sure Peter is talking about Rear Window, with the one and only Grace Kelly.


3 points to Orio!


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hummm, now there's a Hitchcock I haven't seen! I wonder if Bernard
Hermann did the score...


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:
Hummm, now there's a Hitchcock I haven't seen! I wonder if Bernard
Hermann did the score...


No, it was Franz Waxman's.

Better know it now: you just can't beat me on Hitchcock. Laughing


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
katastrofo wrote:
Hummm, now there's a Hitchcock I haven't seen! I wonder if Bernard
Hermann did the score...


No, it was Franz Waxman's.

Better know it now: you just can't beat me on Hitchcock. Laughing


One of my faves by Hitchcock was "Marnie" and I'm probably the only
one in the room that liked that movie. Check Hermann's body of work
sometime, one of my favorite composers.

When it comes to acting chops between Novak and Kelly, I'll take the 3
points Peter gave you and bestow them on Novak! Laughing

Bill


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:

One of my faves by Hitchcock was "Marnie" and I'm probably the only
one in the room that liked that movie.


Wrong, we're at least two Wink

katastrofo wrote:

Check Hermann's body of work
sometime, one of my favorite composers.


Check? I even have his scores on CD! Laughing
BTW if you want to know where he got some of his best harmonic patterns... listen to the last operas by Puccini. Some passages are strikingly Herrmann.

katastrofo wrote:

When it comes to acting chops between Novak and Kelly, I'll take the 3
points Peter gave you and bestow them on Novak! Laughing
Bill


The two best acting skills of Novak were size 5th and she didn't wear anything in that movie to support them Twisted Evil


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Better know it now: you just can't beat me on Hitchcock. Laughing


OK, here's the link. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047396/

For another 3 points tell me the camera and lens Stewart is using! Laughing


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:

For another 3 points tell me the camera and lens Stewart is using! Laughing


Now that's heavy! I want 30 points for this if I get it right!

Let's see... camera, I will try this: Contarex Super.

Lens... have no idea Crying or Very sad


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops I see now that Contarex Super is a camera of the Sixties... so this rules it out.

I just give up.


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
katastrofo wrote:

One of my faves by Hitchcock was "Marnie" and I'm probably the only
one in the room that liked that movie.


Wrong, we're at least two Wink


Cool!



katastrofo wrote:

Check Hermann's body of work
sometime, one of my favorite composers.

Check? I even have his scores on CD! Laughing
BTW if you want to know where he got some of his best harmonic patterns... listen to the last operas by Puccini. Some passages are strikingly Herrmann.


Wow, I have most of his stuff on CD, too. The similarities to Puccini can
also be by chance, not design.

katastrofo wrote:

When it comes to acting chops between Novak and Kelly, I'll take the 3
points Peter gave you and bestow them on Novak! Laughing
Bill

The two best acting skills of Novak were size 5th and she didn't wear anything in that movie to support them Twisted Evil


I think it's a matter of preference. Indeed Kelly had all the advantage of
formal training, but it's been said before that some of her performances
lacked motivation, subtext. The Academy has given Oscars to some I
felt undeserving. Perhaps it's the feeling I have that Novak has more
native talent. And the package is nice, too, as is Kelly's. Wink


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrofo wrote:

I think it's a matter of preference. Indeed Kelly had all the advantage of
formal training, but it's been said before that some of her performances
lacked motivation, subtext. The Academy has given Oscars to some I
felt undeserving. Perhaps it's the feeling I have that Novak has more
native talent. And the package is nice, too, as is Kelly's. Wink


Indeed is subjective!
I don't think Kelly was a fantastic actress overall. She was very very good at comedy. And she pierced the screen. But that's about it.
What I really admire in her is the beauty, pure and simple.
But sorry I can't share the high opinion on Novak. I don't like her in that movie. She's very sexy but her character should have had a much darker side to it, that she wasn't able to convey. The lack of this diminished the whole movie, because the obsession of Stewart for her does not seem credible at all. In the original idea, Stewart was to be attracted by the dark side of her, by the evil if you want. This was supposed to be a main inner conflict within him, between his sense of the law as policeman, and his attraction for the prohibited.
As it is now, instead, he only looks like a dirty old retired man with a sexual attraction for a young woman.
A much shallower subject than Hitchcock desired.
All this in my personal opinion, obviously!


PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentle Orio, would you have wanted the pregnant Vera Miles to have
done this part? She was originally chosen. Yes, it's all a matter of
perceptions, where one will think it a bravura performance, and another
will think it sux. Wink

Bill