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I have Nikon DSLR and I am learning bit by bit about the world of photography. I am planning to purchase a tripod.

After doing some research, I am putting my eyes on Manfrotto 190CXPRO3.

Please provide your inputs about this tripod. Also I am not able to decide which Ball head I should choose. One ball head I saw is Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head Short.

My total budget for these items as of now is around 400USD.

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I own it, and love it. Mine is coupled with an acratech gp-s (which is your entire budget by itself). If you need something a bit more compact, go with the 4 segment. I mount an Olympus e5 and the ec14 w/ 50-200 on it all the time, and it's nice and stable...mostly due to the ball head IMO. If your going to have a big lens on, you might want to look at something other than the joystick.

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A friend of mine has that tripod, and likes it very much. He uses it with a D7000 and a 70-200 2.8 lens (I wouldn't recommend using a bigger lens than that on a that small of a tripod). This is a nice ball head.

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I have that exact combination and it's a decent one. I found to be a good balance between cost and performance coupled with advantage of less weight for travel and hiking. The tripod has a hook for adding weight in windy conditions, to help reduce vibration. The joystick ballhead is easy to use and I like the general motion of it when tracking, it's almost intuitive after years of video gaming!

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I have the 190CX3 and am REALLY happy with it. It's really light compared to a lot of other tripods of that size.

If you plan to travel much, note that with head removed it will not fit well inside hard carryon luggage - I bought a medium size Eagle Creek duffle bag. It fits lengthwise in there and has satisfied even airport agents with tape measures on international flights that it is exactly short enough. Inside the duffle bag you can also fit two smallish camera bags (though at that point it's a very heavy bag).

There's no such thing as a tripod a beginner cannot use well.

One other thing of note is IF (very rare, but it can happen if you are too vigorous in pulling on the legs) one of the legs comes out, you need only take off the leg clamp just above the leg that came out, and put the leg back in with the two black curved pieces that also sit over the leg at the top. There's only one way they fit on well so it's not to hard to put it back together.

If you lose the feet you'll have to buy three new ones.

Manfrotto makes a carrying strap but I did not like it. Op-Tech makes a strap (I bought one on Amazon) that is fairly compact and quick to attach.

  • Disagree with "There's no such thing as a tripod a beginner cannot use well." -- after buying used Manfrotto 190 + 496RC2 as a beginner, I can conclude that the previous Velbon M43 is a tripod that cannot be used well by a beginner. It shakes too much for 400mm equivalent focal length to be useful, I cannot manually focus @ 400mm and pictures of the moon are shaken. Aiming the camera with the ball head @ 400mm is nearly impossible as there's so much slap. It takes an expert to aim and get sharp pictures ...except an expert wouldn't tolerate this tripod either. – juhist Apr 19 at 16:01
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It works exceptionally well for my Pentax MX with the 50mm Takumar f1.4. I recommend getting a good ball head with it. The Manfrotto Junior Geared Head (410) is a complementary addition that makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.

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I happen to have an old version of Manfrotto 190 tripod, bough used. Extremely stable, I can use 250mm focal length (400mm equivalent), manually focus and take pictures at that focal length with absolutely no image stabilization needed, when the center column is not extended (haven't tried with the center column extended), but legs are fully extended.

The old version of the tripod I have is otherwise very good, but the wingnut locks on the legs are less than optimal: it's easy to have the bolt head not fully seated in the lock when tightening, and the wingnuts need to be quite tight to avoid slipping legs. I had to grease the bolt threads to avoid annoying sounds when tightening the locks (the previous owner probably put no grease in there for 10 years). It takes a bit time to fully set up the tripod to fully extended leg configuration. Newer tripods apparently have switched to a better lock system on the legs, and I assume the old versions are no longer sold.

Do remember you need a good head for the tripod+head combination to be good. I have a Manfrotto 496RC2, bough new on sale, which I can recommend. I haven't found a single problem with the 496RC2 head other than not having a bubble level, if you can call that kind of missing feature a problem.

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