Incense

by Bart Arondson

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I've recently bought my first medium format camera (Bronica ETRs), but before I go out taking landscape pictures I'm in desperate need of a tripod that can support it.

My requirements:

  • Weight is not an issue (The camera weighs so much that it's unlikely I'll be doing long hikes with it)
  • Can hold a reasonably heavy MF camera with ease. By way of comparison, I'd say anything that could hold a 5D + 200mm lens will be ample.
  • Stability is important. I've had my share of wobbly tripods and would like to get one that will last and be suitable for long exposures.
  • Need to be able to accurately level or make fine adjustments
  • Nothing fancy. I just want one that works, it doesn't necessarily need to be Swiss-made or gold plated. I'm aiming at the meaty bit of the price/performance curve.

What I want to know:

  • What kind of head should I be looking at for landscape photography with this camera?
  • Are carbon fibre legs an advantage in this situation? Why?
  • What should my budget be? Ideally I'd like to keep this well under US$1000, especially as I'm willing to sacrifice on weight / portability / brand status
  • What brands should I be looking at? Are there any that don't carry prestige but are still known for producing quality, functional tripods?
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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Normally I would recommend a geared head for precision work, particularly for a heavy camera, but I assume $1000 is your total budget.

So, instead, you should look at a Hydrostatic head. This will prevent shifting while tightening the ballhead but you still need to support the camera's weight while adjusting its position.

Carbon Fiber legs are awesome but from your requirements will only cost you more. Velbon makes high quality tripods at roughly half the price of the Manfrotto equivalent. They are generally a little more bulky and heavier but do the job very well. There is also Slik that has reputable tripods but I have not tried any of their high-end ones.

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Thanks for the hydrostatic head suggestion! Sounds like a decent middle ground between an expensive geared head and a potentially dangerous (with that much weight on it) standard ball head. –  jozzas Oct 4 '11 at 3:01
    
Ended up with hefty Giottos aluminium legs that can take up to 16kgs, and will be getting a ball head to suit. Cheers! –  jozzas Oct 17 '11 at 23:29

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