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Thread: Heavy-Duty Tripod Suggestions

  1. #1
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    Default Heavy-Duty Tripod Suggestions

    Hey all, I'm looking for suggestions on a heavy-duty tripod. Already own a Manfrotto tripod but its a bit to light-duty for me, legs are a bit wobbly. Any suggestions make/model would be awesome. Also is there any different tripod heads that anyone likes? Thanks in advance for the input!

  2. #2
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    You didn't provide much detail as to what you really want. Generally a "heavy duty" tripod means something that can handle a large full frame DLSR with a 600mm telephoto lens. But you might not be asking about a ball head, and instead would have wanted to know about gimbal heads if that was your need.

    Tripods can be lightweight, inexpensive, or stable. But you can only get two of those three characteristics in any single model. So a good stable duty tripod is clearly going to be expensive.

    Gitzo and Really Right Stuff and are generally considered to be the best. Some say one, some say the other. Take your pick and you get quality either way.

    I happen to use Gitzo, so I'm a little more familar with models (but not much). I normally use three different tripods. At home, in the house, I have an old Majestic 4800 aluminium tripod with a gear head on top. If I go out the door I use a Gitzo carbon fiber. I have a Series 3 that is my "light weight" (most people think it's heavy duty) and a Series 5 that can mount a gimbal head. I am not into hiking, and people who are might like something lighter.

    One specific point that you need to know about and is rarely discussed in reviews or discussions, has to do with the "load" ratings. When they say 17 lbs, it means the tripod can handle that without breaking. But it will also be true that at that load the tripod will be extremely difficult to use. Expect ease of use at about 1/4 the listed load rating, and the maximum you'd ever want to go will be about 1/3rd the load rating.

    Hence if your largest camera and lens combination weights in a 6 pounds, you want a tripod that has a load rating very close to 25 pounds. For hiking you might accept one that can handle as little as 18 pounds.

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    You mention you own a Manfrotto but not which model. The one I see advertised the most is the 190 series which is fairly light duty. The 055 series is certainly stiffer, taller and heavier. I have one of each of those but they certainly have larger and sturdier ones too. I think Manfrotto is generally considered a high-end bargain tripod maker, or a a low-end quality tripod maker; take your pick. Gitzo and a few others usually considered better tripods, but they also cost more. However, I had a lightweight Gitzo Reporter series tripod that was certainly a good tripod but not nearly as tall or steady as the Manfrotto 055 I more commonly use.

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    I use a Manfrotto 190 carbon fiber (MF3) with a Leica Televid 77 spotting scope. That is not a small spotting scope. I'm trying to stay as light as possible and still have good stability. The 190MF3, does an excellent job. I have the 486RC2 ball head.

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