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Author Topic: Budget tripod options  (Read 2523 times)

scottydl

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Budget tripod options
« on: November 27, 2015, 09:16:50 PM »
To all of the photo experts here... what makes the differences between a $20 tripod and a $200 tripod?  I have a budget model that is probably ~10 years old and it has worked fine, although the vertical height adjustment dial has broken off (lost) and the camera platform plastic is broken (still functional though).

My 11yo son is REALLY into making short films (he has his own Youtube channel) and I want to buy him his own tripod.  Part of the reason mine is cracked/broken in places is because it has routinely been carried around to all sorts of filming locations throughout this year.  ;)  I don't necessarily think he needs a trigger-grip or ball model, but I do want something that gives him some different angle options for shooting video.  Any suggestions are appreciated!
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SeilerBird

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 09:25:40 PM »
The main difference between a cheap tripod and an expensive one is stability.  Cheap tripods like the one I own are almost impossible to keep still. The slightest breeze will cause camera shake. A more expensive tripod generally will be a lot more solidly built.
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Tom

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 09:34:22 PM »
I have a cheap (Velbond) and cheaper. The cheap is rock solid.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 10:41:22 PM by Tom »
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halfwright

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 10:20:50 PM »
You just described a cheap tripod--- this is broken and something else  is missing.  I don't think I would a spend  a hundred bucks on a tripod  for an eleven year old, but you can get a middle grade for fifty to sixty dollars. Check e-bay. craigslist or amazon. Sometimes you can find a quality used one for cheap.
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Rosebud3

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2015, 10:48:06 PM »

Larry N.

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2015, 06:49:47 AM »
Another difference between cheap and expensive is that the expensive ones tend to operate more smoothly (with some exceptions), which becomes very important for video movies. Also, the more expensive ones tend to be more rugged (again with exceptions).

I'd agree with Jim that one ion the $50-$60 range would likely be good for a typical 11 year old.
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 09:21:48 PM »
Scott, it is my understanding that a tripod used for "still photos" is different from a tripod used for  "videos".  It sounds like your son needs a video tripod for "short videos".

Since I am a still photographer I can only offer my opinions regarding tripods and heads used for stills...I would never put one of my Canon Bodies or one of my Canon lenses on a cheap tripod.

As far as the age of the photographer is concerned ... I have a ten year old granddaughter who I would trust trust with my Canon bodies and most of my lenses. 
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Scrinch

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 07:29:00 AM »
  A good tripod is an investment and will last a lifetime but for stills any tripod is better than none.   That said, for doing films I would consider getting a handheld stabilizer..  If you do go with a tripod for video you want one with fluid head.  Adding weight will help prevent shake even on a cheap tripod.  Use small sandbags or water jugs suspended from the center post.  I use weights from my sons old bodybuilding bar bells when I need extra heft.  I use Monfrontto Bogen  (sp) and have had great results, but they are not cheap.
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Larry N.

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2015, 07:30:44 AM »
Quote
...it is my understanding that a tripod used for "still photos" is different from a tripod used for  "videos".  It sounds like your son needs a video tripod for "short videos".

True. For video, you need to pan and tilt while shooting, and the smoother the operation of these, especially panning, the better. And, of course, you don't normally need the camera to be rotated 90 to go from landscape to portrait orientation.

Quote
That said, for doing films I would consider getting a handheld stabilizer..

But they are expensive and take a lot of practice to make them effective, plus an 11 year old might not have the physical strength and endurance to operate one effectively. And I suspect the cost is beyond what the OP wanted to pay, as is the Manfrotto. For an adult, especially if they're looking for professional results, then I'd agree with you.

Scotty, you probably also want to be aware that most inexpensive tripods, and even many expensive ones, are designed to work with lightweight cameras. That's probably what your son has, so they should work OK, but if his camcorder weighs more than a pound or two, you'll want to make sure the tripod can safely handle it.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 07:42:45 AM by Larry N. »
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scottydl

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2015, 09:26:07 AM »
You're right, he has a small digital camcorder for his videos.  Even a future replacement camera will probably be the same style, for the next several years anyway... maybe he would get into something larger if video-making continues as a serious hobby or profession in college and beyond, but that is not what I'm shopping for now.
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Lawrence M

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 09:47:44 PM »
I don't know much about photography it's my wife's thing. But I thought I would pass this on. She has a 50mm x 800mm lens. For her Cannon DSLR.
She calls the lens her Hubble telescope ;D.
It is heavy and she needed a new tripod.
This what I bought her. Mind the price it is in Canadian Dollars.
State side  it would be much cheaper.
Check it out.
http://www.amazon.com/Promaster-XC525-Professional-Tripod-Green/dp/B00I9KM7OA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455680508&sr=8-1&keywords=xc525+tripod

Larry N.

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2016, 07:41:42 AM »
...
This what I bought her. Mind the price it is in Canadian Dollars.
State side  it would be much cheaper.
Check it out.
http://www.amazon.com/Promaster-XC525-Professional-Tripod-Green/dp/B00I9KM7OA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455680508&sr=8-1&keywords=xc525+tripod

Of course it's well beyond what Scotty needed for an 11 year old a couple of months back, and too pricey, as well.
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TyCreek

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2016, 09:01:07 AM »
... what makes the differences between a $20 tripod and a $200 tripod?  ....
About $180
I have a carbon fiber tripod that I really like to use (bought and sold a few looking for one I really enjoyed using)... but I also use some ultra cheap ones without names that have worked quite fine for many years too. Example: http://amzn.com/B005KP473Q though I have no first hand experience with that specific tripod it looks quite similar to one that has worked very nicely for many years.

Fewer leg sections tend to be more stabile and I've had better long term usability (least issues) with lever locks.

scottydl

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2016, 09:17:45 AM »
Of course it's well beyond what Scotty needed for an 11 year old a couple of months back, and too pricey, as well.

And as it so happens, I bought the Amazon Basics model linked by TyCreek above for under $25... and my son could not be happier with it.  ;)
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- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Larry N.

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2016, 11:09:57 AM »
Glad it's working well for him. Thanks for the feedback.
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workerdrone

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2016, 07:18:04 PM »
With the quality of Chinese manufacturing these days, you can get some really nice tripods new for cheap.

It's pretty much a rule of thumb that cheap tripods end up being very expensive if you're serious about getting serious about photography - because your $20 tripod gets replaced with a $50 tripod that gets replaced with a $100 tripod which gets replaced by a $300 tripod plus a $100 head, which hopefully finally gets replaced with a serious tripod and head you can keep for a number of years.

Or if you do it right you just buy the $1300 tripod and head in the first place and hopefully get a good deal on a used one and spend less and never have to wonder again if your tripod is spoiling some images that would have been amazing if it actually was doing its job.  Images that you may have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars getting to some exotic or wonderful location to take.  Or images of a moment that you might never get a chance at again.

I don't expect many people to run out and buy serious tripods and certainly wouldn't recommend one for your 11 year old - a $20 tripod is far, far better than none at all.

But I'd put my $400 Chinese Induro sticks up against a $1,000+ Gitzo set any day, they're very good quality for the money!

A good tripod is a good tripod.  The tripod head, and there are a huge variety of them, needs to be correct for the application - a video head will be a "fluid" head and will have hydraulic type mechanisms built into it that allow you to pan and tilt very smoothly for nice video.  A gear head will allow you to make tiny precise adjustments for things like Architecture and macro photography.  A ball head will let you make quick adjustments in any direction and then lock down again quickly.  And a Wimberley head will allow you to easily track moving subjects like birds in flight while giving you great support with an enormous telephoto lens...
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 07:51:33 PM »
Workerdrone ... a very nice write up.

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8Muddypaws

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Re: Budget tripod options
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2016, 09:50:24 PM »
Buy a good one and it will last a long time.  I'm still using one I bought back in the 80's.  It was not cheap even back then.  I needed something that would hold a Mamiya RB67 - a monster of a camera if ever there was one.

I've never been a fan of light cameras.  Too Prone to camera shake. That really becomes obvious with small video cameras.
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