Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I'm looking at buying my first tripod for my D7000 and don't have a lot of cash. What I do have is some REI gift cards and they carry Vanguard tripods.

I haven't been able to find an abundance of reviews on them, but most of what I have found has been positive.

The majority of the use would be for photos and videos of phones and tablets as I do reviews of Android devices for a website. That usage probably wouldn't require anything that hardy, but I also drag my d7000 with me almost everywhere I go (lots of hiking, but nothing long enough that weight is a big concern) so I'd like something that can stand up to a little wind and uneven ground.

One of these three would be my preference.

Breaking the bank a little would be this option, but if it's better than any of the above options by a large margin then I could make it work.

Of course if the answer is that Vanguard makes terrible products that no one should buy then I'll just keep saving until I can afford something else.

Having little experience with tripods, part of the issue is not knowing the appropriate questions. I guess I am mainly hoping to hear about durability and ease of operation from those who have used Vanguard tripods, and if possible whether they felt that any of the above options were more suitable for my intended uses for product photography and occasional general purpose use outdoors.

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Sorry, having little experience with tripods part of the issue is not knowing the appropriate questions. I guess I was mainly hoping to hear about durability and ease of operation from those that have used Vanguard and if possible whether they felt that any of the above options were more suitable for my intended uses for product photography and occasional general purpose use outdoors. If that's still unclear please let me know. Thanks. –  Sean Riley Nov 24 '11 at 20:50
    
That clarifies things for me, thanks. –  Flimzy Nov 24 '11 at 20:54
1  
I ordered a 283CB 100 (same as 284CT with ballhead and 3 section legs instead of 4) a few hours before this question was posted. I first got excited about a 264AT in shop, investigated further and chose the 283 for its sturdier construction (less leg sections) and lighter weight (carbon instead of aluminium). My friend has a good, but heavy tripod, so I know those mostly stay in car trunk :) I'll post a reply when receiving and trying out mine. –  Imre Nov 25 '11 at 8:38
    
Thanks, I've got at least a week until I'm going to make a decision so I'd love to get your feedback. –  Sean Riley Nov 26 '11 at 17:27
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't have any long-term experience with them, but I've given them a good going-over in the store. (That means, in my case, putting a lot more weight and torque on them than they're actually meant to handle, getting an idea of their intrinsic stability -- I hate springy or wobbly 'pods -- and their weight. Light sounds good, but frankly things need to be heavy enough not to blow over easily.) They're not horrrible.

Let me qualify that a bit: the two cheapest are about par for the course, and by that I mean you really can't expect much at that price level at all.

The model 264 is sturdy, and the ball head is acceptable if not spectacular. I don't know how well the leg locks will hold up over the long run, but they didn't display any slippage at all when I tested them. (That's essentially holding up a photographer rather than a camera.) It's not the tallest 'pod on the market, but it's not outrageously short either. The head will also stay where you put it, but the action feels just a little grainy. But you're not going to do significantly better at that price range. If your budget only stretches to this level using your gift cards, then it's a lot better than you'd do with another brand sans the gift card value. The only real drawback (to some folks -- I actually consider it an advantage) is the weight.

The 284 (the carbon fiber tripod) is actually quite a bit more expensive than you think it is -- that price is just the legs; it doesn't include a head. You'd need to spend another couple of hundred at least to get a decent head to go with the legs. The legs might be nice to have, but if it means putting a crappy, weak $50 head on it to make it work, it won't be any better than a $100 toy tripod.

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I own the Espod Plus 204AP with a ball head. Its sturdy at mid-length, stable even. But if you push it to its maximum height, I have had bad experiences with shakes. So for around 38-44 inches it is very reliable. But beyond that, I wouldn't count on it.

Many friends have recommended the Dolica. At $39 its pretty cheap and quite sturdy.

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