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I have a Canon Digital EOS 400D (XTi) and am looking into purchasing my first tripod. I was wondering whether the Manfrotto 190XPROB would be a good choice as a first tripod and what head I should get to go with it.

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1  
This will probably be closed for being too subjective: one guy might say the 190X is the best tripod ever, another might disagree. Perhaps a rewording to something more general like 'What are the properties of a good tripod'. –  ElendilTheTall Mar 23 '11 at 19:54
    
This question photo.stackexchange.com/questions/2505 has some good general advice on selecting a tripod. –  mattdm Mar 23 '11 at 23:35
    
What are you planning on using it for? e.g. nature/city/studio? walking long distances or driving to sites? macro close to the ground? landscapes on windy outcrops? etc... –  drfrogsplat Mar 24 '11 at 13:53
    
possible duplicate of How good is Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 tripod for a beginner –  mattdm Jun 15 '12 at 18:43

4 Answers 4

I have the Manfrotto 190XPROB and it is very good. Obviously it is quite heavy.

I bought a mini ball head which isn't strong enough, I regret not spending enough on the head.

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Was it the 496RC2? Do you think it would be strong enough for the XTi with a 18-55 mm lens? –  Miriam Klein-Zinstein Mar 24 '11 at 13:24
    
According to Manfrotto, the 496 head will carry a 6Kg load. It should be easily able to cope with the XTi with 18-55 lens. Martin may have been referring to the 494 which is designed for a 4Kg load. That probably can't cope well with large telephoto lenses but the 18-55 would be OK I would have thought. –  RedGrittyBrick Mar 24 '11 at 14:31
    
@Miriam, I have one with the 496RC2 ball-head. It is a well made and sturdy tripod that has met my needs for portrait, landscape, flower and macro photography. It will support your camera and lens with no problem at all. –  labnut Mar 24 '11 at 17:18
    
(+1) I'm going to agree with Martin about the head - spend some money on a good one! A bad head on my compact tripod makes it something I just don't want to use. –  Mike Mar 25 '11 at 2:29
    
... and a quick release plate makes life a lot easier. Be aware that manufacturers' plates and heads probably aren't compatible with each other. –  Mike Mar 25 '11 at 2:36

I'm quite happy with mine. I have an 804RC2 head which is good for panning, however a ball-head or trigger-grip head would allow for faster repositioning.

The 190XProb isn't a full-height tripod, though it is tall enough and steady enough for most uses. It is also a very versatile tripod because the legs can be individually adjusted to different angles and the column can be placed horizontally - which is useful for photographing documents or other objects on a table, the floor etc. It is heavier than cheap aluminium tripods I have used, but much more rigid.

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What does "not a full-height tripod" mean? I'm 5'3'' and plan to use it mostly for landscapes and portraits. –  Miriam Klein-Zinstein Mar 24 '11 at 13:10
    
@Miriam: With the centre-column raised, the 190 is 1.46m high, the 055 is 1.77m high. If you are 5' 3" the 190 will be perfect. The height of the head and of the camera added to this will bring the viewfinder up to my eye-height when I am standing fully upright. There are carbon-fibre versions which reduce the weight by about half a kilo (but are more expensive). –  RedGrittyBrick Mar 24 '11 at 14:21
    
Thank you. I'm not sure I can justify the expense of a carbon fiber tripod at this time. –  Miriam Klein-Zinstein Mar 25 '11 at 21:15

Your first comment on RedGrittyBrick's answer fills in some much-needed detail. One of the main features of the 190XPROB is the center column's ability to go horizontal (for shoot-down capability). It is a good set of legs, but you do pay a premium for that one feature. The same legs without the trick center column (the 190XB) is $40-50 dollars cheaper if you don't need the feature. Nobody, though, ever got fired for buying Manfrotto (or Bogen/Avenger, when the American version carried a different brand), and you won't feel like you've settled for something less than you deserve if you get either of those sets of legs.

That being said, don't let your own height dictate your tripod's height. You can make more interesting pictures from unusual points of view than you can from a mechanically-assisted version of "just standing there". Granted, getting down low is often more important than getting up high, but I don't think I'd ever be satisfied again with a tripod that wouldn't let me (1)get up on a step-stool for a look down on things, or (2)let me work on uneven terrain with at least one leg extended far beyond where it would have to be on level ground. Induro (AT213) and Benro (A297EX) (among others) offer tripods at about the same price level as the 190XB that are every bit as sturdy, but nearly a foot taller. Of course, they're heavier as well (as is Manfrotto's 055 model) if that's a concern -- they're not nearly as heavy as a commercial-quality video tripod would be, but they might be just a bit much for a long hike.

(Disclosure: I'm using an Induro AT213 at the moment -- well, not at this moment, obviously, since I'm sitting at the computer typing, but... -- and could only be happier when my Benbo #2 is back in action. The Benbo is an acquired taste, and I've acquired it badly. It'll go to over eight feet tall, and I can put one leg on the floor, one on the ceiling and the third on a wall if I have to. I've also been the happy owner of a number of Manfrotto 'pods over the years -- the only thing I've ever disliked about Manfrotto is that they don't believe in the ArcaSwiss QR plate system, so I either have to use someone else's head or put adapters on all of my favorite accessories. If you've ever used an L-plate, you'll never use the 90-degree tilt feature of a tripod head voluntarily again.)

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I appreciate all your advice and wisdom but I find it a bit overwhelming. Like I said , this will be my first tripod. I have never used a tripod before. I've been hand holding my XTi for years and now that I'm learning more creative approaches to my pictures it seems to be less then adequate. –  Miriam Klein-Zinstein Mar 27 '11 at 1:07
    
I plan to use my tripod for taking pictures of small children and landscapes for the most part. The ability to get low (at least in my opinion) makes for better portraits of children. –  Miriam Klein-Zinstein Mar 27 '11 at 1:13
    
Getting low is indeed important, and not just for the little ones, but most tripods will let you get very low. There's no law that says you have to extend the legs (it'll be even sturdier if you don't), and most good tripods will let you spread the legs out very wide. The XPROB system (any of them) will let you get right down to the ground (or as close as you can get with a tripod head under your camera) as will the Benbo; other tripod types make you shoot with the camera upside-down if you want a worm's-eye view. –  user2719 Mar 28 '11 at 6:14
    
That said, almost any "pro grade" tripod (one that doesn't feel like it's made of recycled '60s lawn chairs) will let you get down to a foot or a foot and a half from ground level (whatever the length of the center column happens to be). The 190XB will go low enough for most purposes; so will the taller models I mentioned. If you have a choice, it's best to go to a real photography store and have somebody demonstrate what the various 'pods can do. If you can save fifty bucks on the legs, you can spend it on the head instead, and a good ball head is worth its weight in gold. –  user2719 Mar 28 '11 at 6:27
    
Oh -- when I said "it'll be even sturdier if you don't", I meant for low-down shooting. Your tripod will always be most stable when the center column is fully collapsed, and the less you have to raise the center column, the better. That's another reason why I like tall tripods -- I rarely have to raise the center column more than an inch or so, and that's only to fine-tune the height. –  user2719 Mar 28 '11 at 6:28

The cheapest and the sturdiest would be the Dolica .

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