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Betty LaRue

Looking for new tripod and ball head

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I want a tripod with extension for being able to shoot straight down without having the legs in the shot. I’m looking at this.

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Manfrotto vsnguard pro 263AT&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

 

With it, I need a ball head. I have an old squeeze trigger ball head that I love and I use the RC2 quick release. Have a bunch of the quick releases, don’t want to change to the Arca. 

I can’t handle ball heads with multiple knobs. I tried, we don’t get along. I ended up frustrated, sour and unhappy.  I always get confused about which knob does what, that’s why I’ve stuck with the Manfrotto squeeze heads. You can’t use anything easier to move the head around, and it was invaluable on my monopod shooting birds.  

But mine is not holding a tilt. It’s flopping sometimes. When I need a precise tilt, I want it to hold it. This is the 2nd one I’ve bought and used over 14 years that eventually developed the same problem.

I’m looking at this ball head, but without hands on, I can’t tell how easy/simple/quick it will be to adjust.

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/368325-REG/Manfrotto_468MGRC2_468MGRC2_Magnesium_Hydrostatic_Ballhead.html

 

I would appreciate input, suggestions, cheaper but great alternatives. Just keep in mind my need for simple, easy, don’t-have-to-think-about-it adjustments for the ballhead.  I think the tripod is cheap enough, but the ballhead above is pricy.  Both will be used 90% indoors.

I’ll be shooting my Fuji X-T2, probably with the 56mm, 50-140, and the new 80mm macro when it ships.  The above equipment should handle that kit fine.

Looking forward to some great input, and whether any of you have used either of the above.  Like it? Hate it? Pros, cons?

Betty

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Perhaps RRS BH30? I know you said you don’t want any Acar style but if you purchase BH30 with screw knob as opposed to lever release, you can buy Arca style quick release for USD10-20 on Amazon. It has solid grip and is really well made. 

Sung

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Betty, I trust you won't be traveling or walking around much with that tripod-ball head combo. At home or working out of a car, the bottom seems fine. Carbon fiber is pricy but lots better to carry around. 

 

The ball head I use now is a 3262 Bogen. It has just one, easy-to-turn knob. That Manfrotto scares me, and the price scares me too. 

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I do have a carbon fiber, Ed, for when I need to carry one. But here in the house, I find myself going to my older, sturdier aluminum tripod which suffers less vibration.

I will be using this one here in the house. It will go from a closet to about 6-8 feet away. It will be a specialty tripod for shooting straight down. That’s why I need the arm for the camera to keep the legs out of the shot.

I will check out your head, Ed.  :lol: Sorry, I made myself laugh with that sentence. I’m easily entertained.

 

I’m open for anything simple that won’t creep. I imagine there will be times I use it at a tilt rather than straight down.

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I have a couple of heavy Tiltalls still and a broken Gitzo. I also have a Slik carbon fiber for the trips I no longer take. In fact IC and sniper breathing are my tripod now. See my food and other tabletop shots? All handheld. 

 

Edo

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Betty,

 

I have a Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic & it's by far the best ball head I've used. Very simple to adjust & rock solid. Have to admit that I have no experience with the really expensive ones from the likes of RRS, Arca, etc. but I find it difficult to understand how they could be significantly better.

 

Have the head mounted on a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 carbon fibre tripod, the centre column can be reversed or turned through 90 deg. for vertical shots. I believed an identical model is available with aluminium legs which brings the price down a bit. Tried a number of tripod combinations over the years but this is the best one I've found so far at a reasonable price. Might be worth a look.

 

Martyn

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Oh Ed. It's sniper breathing unless you are cutting something. Oh, of course, your spellcheck made the error. Couldn't be a copy editor doing it.

 

Paulette

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1 hour ago, Archaeo said:

Betty,

 

I have a Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic & it's by far the best ball head I've used. Very simple to adjust & rock solid. Have to admit that I have no experience with the really expensive ones from the likes of RRS, Arca, etc. but I find it difficult to understand how they could be significantly better.

 

Have the head mounted on a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 carbon fibre tripod, the centre column can be reversed or turned through 90 deg. for vertical shots. I believed an identical model is available with aluminium legs which brings the price down a bit. Tried a number of tripod combinations over the years but this is the best one I've found so far at a reasonable price. Might be worth a look.

 

Martyn

Nice to know about that head. Makes me feel good about it.  I couldn’t find the tripod in aluminum similar to the 055CXPRO3. I searched pretty hard but I’m not always the best at ferreting things out.

Thank you, Martyn.

Betty

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2 hours ago, NYCat said:

Oh Ed. It's sniper breathing unless you are cutting something. Oh, of course, your spellcheck made the error. Couldn't be a copy editor doing it.

 

Paulette

 

:wacko: Thanks, Paauleettte

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5 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Nice to know about that head. Makes me feel good about it.  I couldn’t find the tripod in aluminum similar to the 055CXPRO3. I searched pretty hard but I’m not always the best at ferreting things out.

Thank you, Martyn.

Betty

 

It's on B&H here - https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1034139-REG/manfrotto_mt055xpro3_aluminum_tripod.html 

The aluminium version is $264.88 as opposed to $449.00 for the CF. Appears to be identical in all other respects.

 

Like to correct my earlier post - don't think the centre column can be reversed. However, definitely no problem setting it to the horizontal.

 

Anyway, it's a decent set of legs but there are probably many more that would do the job just as well.
But, I do think the hydrostatic head is exceptional.

 

Martyn

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I use a Sirui T-025X carbon Fibre tripod with Fuji X cameras. It folds small, is superbly engineered, comes with C-10X ballhead. It’s not intended for heavyweight dslrs so still use manfrotto with the nikons. The Sirui really impresses, and price here in UK was around £135.

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I have this one and like it, if you don't need a heavyweight.  It works well for most situations and I can even overload it. The center column is a two piece and is reversible.  The legs unfold almost straight out. I also have the big brother to this one.  At 2.3 lbs its lightweight.   https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1048737-REG/slik_611_875_sprint_150_tripod_with.html?sts=pi

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15 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

But mine is not holding a tilt. It’s flopping sometimes. When I need a precise tilt, I want it to hold it. This is the 2nd one I’ve bought and used over 14 years that eventually developed the same problem.

 

Have you tried cleaning and adjusting it?

 

wim

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Wim, this one is like mine.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Manfrotto-3265-Grip-Action-Joy-Stick-Ball-Tripod-Head-W-O-Quick-Release-Plate/263288946971?hash=item3d4d3e811b:g:v7sAAOSw~l1Z9-ZO

 

Not sure there are adjustments for it like in the video. 

I have lots of mentioned tripods above to look at today! Thanks!

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Two things I've found to be very helpful in dealing with the digital world: YouTube and wim.  ;)

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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

Wim, this one is like mine.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Manfrotto-3265-Grip-Action-Joy-Stick-Ball-Tripod-Head-W-O-Quick-Release-Plate/263288946971?hash=item3d4d3e811b:g:v7sAAOSw~l1Z9-ZO

 

Not sure there are adjustments for it like in the video. 

I have lots of mentioned tripods above to look at today! Thanks!

 

They all work the same. Just the allen key may be in a slightly different position.

 

I have a Gitzo carbon tripod just like the Vanguard you're linking to at B&H. It's the least stable of all my tripods, but being Gitzo, one of the most expensive ones. However for the purpose, it works. But a regular tripod with the column reversed also works. And afaik all tripods with a center column can use it reversed. Usually there's a stop or a ring that screws out and there can be the choice between just reversing the column or unscrewing the head and screwing it back in underneath.

I leave all those rings and stops at home and just tear the column out and stick it back in upside down in under 3 seconds. Much quicker even than the ones with the offset columns. The huge advantage of the Gitzo Explorer is that the legs spread stepless. That's why I always have it in the car just in case.

 

Remember every tripod becomes stable with one or two 15lbs sandbags ;-)

 

wim

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8 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

Two things I've found to be very helpful in dealing with the digital world: YouTube and wim.  ;)

 

Aww.. blush.

Why not add cats?  ;-) There is one in that video of the Manfrotto squeeze head.

 

wim

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And a beautiful animal she is! And look at that expression on her face!

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Ok, guys. I went to my local camera shop and bought the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3. Seeing a half dozen tripods in person and how they worked is nice.  Great lady salesperson knows her stuff. After the sale, I’m sure she spent 15 minutes putting what was dragged out away.

 

I think I’ll order the ball head I linked to in the beginning that Martyn attested to.  There was one like it at the shop, but smaller, it was only rated for 8 lbs. Probably ok for my X-T2, but if I put the new Macro on it once it ships, (big and heavy lens) or the 100-400, I might not be comfortable with that parameter. I did get to see how it works, though, and I think I can grasp it.  But...before I do that, I’ll look at my old obsolete pistol grip and see if there’s any help for it per Wim.  

You need to keep in mind that I’m creative and was standing behind the post when technical/mechanical abilities were handed out.  Wim, all that stuff you were talking about with the legs and center post? I heard the whoosh as it quickly passed over my head. :D

My mother always said I was glued behind that post when she tried to hand out her sewing gene.

As usual, you guys are the best. I always know where to turn when I need advice. 

In the next few weeks I’ll begin my new photography adventure.  I’m sure I’ll suck at it in the beginning, but hopefully I’ll get better and better.  Otherwise, it’ll be an expensive misadventure.  Do I have your antennas waving? ;)

Stay tuned...

Now I’ll go stare helplessly at that old pistol grip head.

Betty

 

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Used the old head on the new tripod.  One of the heads is still pretty tight (between me and hubs we have 3 pistol grips) so that’s what I used and it held with my Fuji 56mm lens. The new tripod is as advertised and worked perfectly shooting straight down. I’m in love with this tripod. The only difference in price from my camera shop was $.11. And tax, of course.  Maybe $20.

I’ll hold off ordering the new Manfrotto ball head as long as this one works.

Wim, I do see something on them that might be tightened but it would take me a week trying to find the tool, if I even have one. 

Betty

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A note about Gitzo and Manfrotto.  in the 1980's I bought a Gitzo studix with a Gitzo ball head, I still use the ball head, I paid  $875 in 1984 and the head it came with

it also had a lifetime warrentee and one reincarnation. I did send the tripod back to Carl Heitz several times for repair.Then Gitzo's US distribution was bought by Manfrotto

and after ten years in Moscow, RU, Manfrotto told me that they wanted $300 to repair one of the broken legs on the tripod....  I do not buy any Manfrotto products new and

even though I have a used Gitzo Studix, that I bought used from a private party.  I will never buy a new Gitzo or any new product from Manfrotto.

 

Chuck

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12 hours ago, Johnnie5 said:

I have this one and like it, if you don't need a heavyweight.  It works well for most situations and I can even overload it. The center column is a two piece and is reversible.  The legs unfold almost straight out. I also have the big brother to this one.  At 2.3 lbs its lightweight.   https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1048737-REG/slik_611_875_sprint_150_tripod_with.html?sts=pi

 

I too have a lightweight Slik Sprint that I bought secondhand. Mine doesn't have the fancy legwarmers, though. It's ideal for the small, mirrorless cameras that I use now.

 

I also have a great hulking Manfrotto that now sits in the cupboard gathering dust. Going to have to sell it one of these years.

Edited by John Mitchell

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2 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Used the old head on the new tripod.  One of the heads is still pretty tight (between me and hubs we have 3 pistol grips) so that’s what I used and it held with my Fuji 56mm lens. The new tripod is as advertised and worked perfectly shooting straight down. I’m in love with this tripod. The only difference in price from my camera shop was $.11. And tax, of course.  Maybe $20.

I’ll hold off ordering the new Manfrotto ball head as long as this one works.

Wim, I do see something on them that might be tightened but it would take me a week trying to find the tool, if I even have one. 

Betty

 

It's called a hex key or an Allen key. Gitzo always provides the keys with the ball and tripods. 

Manfrotto owns Gitzo. Not sure if Manfrotto ball heads ship with keys though. I stopped using Manfrotto long time ago. No not true: I stopped buying them, not using them, because I do use Manfrotto a lot, just not their ball heads and tripods.

And the stuff lasts a lifetime. That's why you don't have to throw away a perfectly good Manfrotto head, just because you don't know how to turn a key.

The camera shop person (m/f) will know.

 

If you need to buy one, they're 55 cts at your Home Depot or 99 at your Ace Hardware. Free at Ikea.

 

TS560x560%7E1415395.jpg

 

That's the screw there on the left of the red slider. You'll need a 3mm metric key. Turn it clock wise to fasten.

The other thing to do: clean the ball with alcohol, because the whole thing usually starts with leaving your tripod in a hot car and the silicone grease getting all over the ball.

In your case don't unscrew the whole thing to clean it, they're a pain to put back together again, because of the strong spring. Just clean it as far as you can turn that ball around.

 

wim

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2 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

A note about Gitzo and Manfrotto.  in the 1980's I bought a Gitzo studix with a Gitzo ball head, I still use the ball head, I paid  $875 in 1984 and the head it came with

it also had a lifetime warrentee and one reincarnation. I did send the tripod back to Carl Heitz several times for repair.Then Gitzo's US distribution was bought by Manfrotto

and after ten years in Moscow, RU, Manfrotto told me that they wanted $300 to repair one of the broken legs on the tripod....  I do not buy any Manfrotto products new and

even though I have a used Gitzo Studix, that I bought used from a private party.  I will never buy a new Gitzo or any new product from Manfrotto.

 

Chuck

 

I feel your pain ;-)

There are perfect replacements nowadays for both Gitzo and Manfrotto.

On the cheap side of things the Chinese have made good Gitzo copies. Like Benro. Manfrotto light stands have been copied too, initially in Thailand, but now all over China as well.

On the expensive side, there's nothing better than Really Right Stuff from San Luis Obispo, California.

 

wim

 

 

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45 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

It's called a hex key or an Allen key. Gitzo always provides the keys with the ball and tripods. 

Manfrotto owns Gitzo. Not sure if Manfrotto ball heads ship with keys though. I stopped using Manfrotto long time ago. No not true: I stopped buying them, not using them, because I do use Manfrotto a lot, just not their ball heads and tripods.

And the stuff lasts a lifetime. That's why you don't have to throw away a perfectly good Manfrotto head, just because you don't know how to turn a key.

The camera shop person (m/f) will know.

 

If you need to buy one, they're 55 cts at your Home Depot or 99 at your Ace Hardware. Free at Ikea.

 

TS560x560%7E1415395.jpg

 

That's the screw there on the left of the red slider. You'll need a 3mm metric key. Turn it clock wise to fasten.

The other thing to do: clean the ball with alcohol, because the whole thing usually starts with leaving your tripod in a hot car and the silicone grease getting all over the ball.

In your case don't unscrew the whole thing to clean it, they're a pain to put back together again, because of the strong spring. Just clean it as far as you can turn that ball around.

 

wim

Those instructions are simple enough , Wim, even for me.  I’ll try my hardware store. I know I’ve seen an Allen key around here somewhere. I’ll do a rummage through my photography cabinet before shopping. You are very kind and patient. Not to say, extremely helpful/informative. 

Once upon a time, my husband would have helped me out with these things, but is no longer capable. I’m having to learn to go into uncharted territory. In years past, I’ve stripped and refinished a room paneled with knotty pine, learned to lay a sand base, grade it, then lay a new brick courtyard. Installed flagstones in the yard to park the boat on.  Painted the house inside and out.

But the ball head isn’t in my wheelhouse.

Betty

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