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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Navigating Manfrotto tripods and heads
Showing posts 1 - 9 of 9, (reverse)
10/18/2006 05:34:07 PM · #1
Well, my cheap old tripod is about ready to be thrown out. I'm missing two feet, two snaps on two of the legs, the gears are stripped (thanks to my son) and it was only $80 to start with.

Time to upgrade.

However, I find even Manfrotto's own site and the myriad of model numbers to be bewildering. I have no grasp of any system to anything. Help would be great.

I do not want a ballhead. I would like a 3-way head. In the tripod I want stability and to a secondary extent height. I'm young and vigorous and so I don't mind weight, although within reason, I will be hiking this up hills (you can ask stdavidson about the little hike we did on Saturday). Spirit levels would probably be useful.

Plus, we can all recall, I'm a cheapass. So while I don't mind spending money on quality, I refuse to spend extra money so I can have cool stripes down the side or some other useless feature. I want quality, not gimmicks.

Who wants to help?

Message edited by author 2006-10-18 17:35:22.
10/18/2006 05:40:29 PM · #2
Here ya go, Jason: Tripod - 3021 pro. Its not exactlly light weight, but still travels well and you couldn't break it with a mac truck. For the 3-way head, I finally went with the 3030 cause it's fairly affordable, works great and locks the camera in place so it can't be accidently released. I had a manfrotto ball head before (still have it in fact), but it doesn't lock and I needed the precision of the 3-way in studio.
10/18/2006 06:32:25 PM · #3
A second vote for the 3021 pro. I have the 3021B Pro, which is just the black version. Love it. Has a bubble level in the clamp section, and that can be *very* useful. Good height, not too outrageous weight, and not expensive.
I also have a 3030 head; I was a diehard 3-way head kinda guy, but I've come over to the dark side (ballhead, that is). I use the 488RC4 head. While the plate for this head is large, it locks so securely that I can't go back to smaller, less substantial plates. I know that the Arca Swiss compatible systems are supposed to be the best going, but I have no reason to spend that kind of money... yet. Perhaps I'll change my tune if/when I use anything bigger than the 70-200/2.8.
The 3030 is about $65, and 488RC4 is about $100.

Just today I set up and shot some microelectronics stuff for work. It involved documentation of the condition of an area about 3mm by 3mm on a substrate, at 150 sites, and required resolution of <=4µm. I set up next to a workbench with the center column inserted horizontally, and used the 100 macro + 1.4x converter and reversed 50mm f/1.4, obtaining a max. magnification of about 3.4x, or a resolution of about 2.2µm per pixel. Needless to say, any movement of the head at all was going to result in poor focus, given the miniscule DoF at that magnification.
The system was steady enough that maintaining focus was not problematic, and flash exposures with an off-camera 580EX yielded consistently good shots.
In the end, I got better results than we did when we tried using an industrial microscope and image acquisition system designed for the task.

Message edited by author 2006-10-18 18:45:23.
10/18/2006 06:55:17 PM · #4
The Neotec may seem a little gimicky to some? but after an hour of using it I reckon its a thing of beauty. I use it with the 410 geared head for landscapes and the trusty old 128RC pan and tilt for the longer lens
10/18/2006 09:21:47 PM · #5
I second the "no-hassle" Neotec - pricey, but absolutely worth it to me - no fiddling with twist-locks or even flip-locks. I do wish that it had a touch more torsional stiffness, but the ease of use just won me over, making it more likely that I will go ahead and use the tripod rather than leave it at home or in the car. I passed on the Manfrotto heads for a Markins Q-Ball M10-L with Really Right Stuff lever release clamp.

Message edited by author 2006-10-18 21:22:44.
10/20/2006 10:42:23 PM · #6
Thanks guys! I picked up a 3021Pro and a 804RC2 head (the replacement for the 3030). I was tempted by a 3039 that was being sold on consignment, primarily for the three way spirit levels, but it was a beast. It was easily 5x the weight of the other head. Since I am lugging these around, I went with the simpler 804RC2.

Couldn't have done it without you guys. Taking it out tomorrow morning to shoot some trains.
10/20/2006 11:03:46 PM · #7
Was just too late to pitch in. Was also going to recommend the 3021Pro.
10/20/2006 11:11:23 PM · #8
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Couldn't have done it without you guys. Taking it out tomorrow morning to shoot some trains.

Hmm, wonder If I should go try to beat Jason, or just stay home....
10/20/2006 11:20:25 PM · #9
Originally posted by wavelength:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Couldn't have done it without you guys. Taking it out tomorrow morning to shoot some trains.

Hmm, wonder If I should go try to beat Jason, or just stay home....

Go for it. C'mon. I'll be all thumbs trying to figure out the new tripod, right?
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