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Thoughts on this tripod setup?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Tony Burns, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Hi everyone! Now that I've really settled in to the direction I'd like to take with my photography, namely product shoots in my small home office studio (with that direction headed towards more macro stuff as well), one of the next steps I'm taking is going to be squaring away my tripod setup.

    After lots of research the last few days, here's what I've come up with so far:
    • Legs: Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Tripod
    • Head: Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head
    • Clamp: Hejnar Manfrotto 410 Conversion Plate w/Hejnar F63 Clamp
    • Plate: Neewer Sony a6000 L-Bracket (or convince me that the RRR plate is the way to go!)
    Total cost: ~$630

    Does this seem like a reasonable setup? Also am I missing any key components here?
     
  2. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    If the A6k in your gear list is your only camera then this tripod setup looks like overkill to me. Looks good beneath a Hassy or Rollei though.
    Next please ...
     
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  3. Mus Aziz

    Mus Aziz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    567
    Sep 3, 2015
    Mus
    The tripod and head, a bit of an overkill me thinks. I used the 055 and 410 Junior Geared Head for my 4x5 setup (which you can just about see in my avatar). The Manfrotto 190 size legs is sturdy enough for what you want to use it for, especially indoors. And the Manfrotto (or equivalent) macro sliding plate would be a useful addition.

    My 2 cents...
     
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  4. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Thanks for the advice, I had a feeling I needed someone to tell me that this might be a bit much.

    If I nix the desire for a geared head, do you guys have any recommendations for a ball head (up to $300) that would work well for the kind of shooting I'm doing? The options there are pretty bewildering!
     
  5. Mus Aziz

    Mus Aziz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    567
    Sep 3, 2015
    Mus
    Hi Tony,

    I am currently using a Kirk ballhead (can't remember the exact model though) which is (was) certainly less than $300 . Very sturdy and doesn't move when you tighten it. Cheap and cheerful ballheads tend to "creep" during the tightening up. Really Right Stuff have several great but expensive ones!
     
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  6. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Thanks for pointing me towards Kirk, it looks like the BH-3 is the one of theirs that might be good for my needs! There was an RRR one that I was also looking at, the BH-30 that looks like it would probably suit my needs as well. Between the two of those, they're pretty much exactly the same price too, so I guess I'll need to do some more research if those two end up being the ones to compare. This is one of those pieces of gear that I would love to just buy once, that I can grow into over the years. Trying to stay practical though :)

    Thanks for your advice!
     
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  7. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Also I don't know why I keep saying RRR instead of RRS...
     
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  8. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Why not get a second-hand setup (tripods can last a lifetime or two) and spend the rest of the money on glass! and maybe some lighting (Strobist) gear?
    Here's a link to a nice series of ballhead reviews: Traumflieger: 37 Kugelköpfe im Test Part 2 (use google translate)
    Note: some of those smaller ballheads (below 100€/$) have no probs whatsoever with a heavy Canon 5d Mark with a 400mm lens. (I have the Feisol CB-30C on a Mantona tripod - and a heavy Cullman Titan from my years with the Hassy).
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  9. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    I concur with the used market for tripods. There are some great buys out there on very good condition units, at a fraction of their new prices.
    The 055 is an excellent tripod, and I can understand the desire for a nice large stable tripod. As I'm fond of my vintage Manfrotto 144 that's heavy and stable for astro-photography. But unless you foresee a day you'll spread out to portraits, LE landscapes, videography...a smaller, more versatile model may be more useful, since it's your only tripod at the moment. Besides the 190, the 290 is also good for your indoor studio.

    If you're going to buy new, don't forget to research SIRUI and Induro tripods. Some of the best values in the market.

    After being burned by a Manfrotto QR6 conversion kit, I shy away from any non-standard/proprietary stuff. I'd stick with tried and true Arca-Swiss standard gear, confirmed with no compatibility issues. But I'll say, I'm not familiar with the 410 offerings.
     
  10. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    As far as the used gear goes, do you have any pointers on where to look? Buying used is a bit daunting to me due to all the different sites out there and my inexperience at purchasing smartly when it comes to places like Ebay or other used gear markets. I've poked around on B&H and Adorama's used sections, but I have no idea how to know if something is legit on a place like Ebay.
     
  11. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Research the models that best suit your needs and budget. Reviews are very helpful. Make note of caveats. Experience helps to keep from getting burned, but if you shop wisely, you'll do fine. I've had great luck via Ebay and Craigslist. Craigslist allows you to inspect hands-on. Not sure if your part of Delaware is a hot bed for photography, therefore YMMV when it comes to choices on Craigslist. Which leaves ebay.
    While ebay is mostly legit seller-wise, their 100% buyers' guarantee had made purchases less worrisome. Defects and fraudulent transactions are now assured to your satisfaction. Seller's feedback helps to gauge whether the seller is legit too.

    As for sources, check KEH and Roberts Camera. I've bought many items from KEH, and all been good experiences. They are very accurate in describing the condition.
    There are also For-Sale subforums at Photography forums, just like this one. That is another source.
     
  12. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Hi Tony (welcome to the forum BTW),

    I have been researching tripods/heads lately with a slant very similar to yours. I have an interest in macro photography and may have an opportunity for some product work.

    Do you need a tripod with a dedicated lateral column? That really limits the choices. As an economical alternative to the manfrotto you mentioned, Vanguard makes the 263AT (or 263CT if you want carbon fiber) and the 283AT which have similar columns to the 190 055 manfrottos --I felt that they had more features with a similar build. In addition to the Sirui and Induro tripods that WNG mentioned, Feisol might be worth looking into as well.

    If I needed a geared head for macro work, the 410 seems like a good choice (apart from manfrotto's proprietary plate) from what I have read, but it is bulky and heavy, and would not be my choice for general photography. I have been looking into Sirui ballheads (their K-20X or K-30X) --hoping that they would be a better choice for general photography and good enough for the macro/product stuff.

    You might want to PM Jefenator here on the forum, he does product photography for his business.

    HTH,
     
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  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Manfrotto has a smaller, lighter, cheaper geared head called the "XPRO". I would have gotten that had it been available at the time I got my 410. (No regrets, though - especially since I don't take it hiking, anymore...)
    For my home studio I use my ancient set of 055 legs from the '90s. I actually prefer them over a brand new 055 set I tried because they have a long, round center column that lets me swivel while I'm raising/lowering. I'd recommend whatever is tall and sturdy enough and friendly to adjust.
    I don't use a camera body L bracket at home - I put the QR plate straight on the tripod foot on my Metabones adapter. That setup is rock solid and balances very nicely with heavy old macro lenses. (Yes, it's a bit of an extra hassle switching orientation, but it's good to check for level periodically and the geared head makes that pretty smooth.)
    When I do use an L bracket, I hate to say it but the RRS is pretty sweet. Everything the bargain ones aren't: elegant, smooth-fitting, solid, easy to put on & take off... and @&%$# expensive. (Worth holding out for used, if that's feasible for your camera model.)
     
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  14. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Funny, I was actually looking at the Sirui ballheads as well tonight, the K-10X specifically as that seems like all I'd need for my a6000 for now. After a bunch more poking around tonight, I'm continuing to lean towards the 410 as a possibility for my main head while I'm shooting product/macro, but it seems like the MT190XPRO3 is what I want and not the MT055XPRO3. I'll have to do some more research on Vanguard, Feisol and the Sirui legs and not just the heads. Induro I ended up dismissing because (please correct me if I'm wrong), all their tripods are CF and I really don't have a need for that feature.

    One thing I'll be able to do to save initially I guess will be to just hold off on the Hejner Arca Swiss conversion plate and the L-bracket for now. Once I'm clear of this tripod purchasing experience I can set my sights in on that FE 90mm macro lens... The focus distance of my 30mm macro is killing me when it comes to lighting I feel!
     
  15. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    And thanks for the welcome! :D
     
  16. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    For a little more working distance and little cashetary output (compared to the Sony 90mm), you could consider one of the legacy 50mm macros, most were quite good and are inexpensive --I find that AF on the 30mm macro is more of a hassle than a boon when working up close.
     
  17. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Another one that I had looked at in the past is the Rokinon 100mm f/2.8, half the price of the Sony 90mm.

    As far as the tripod stuff goes, at this point I'm still pretty sold on the 410 and now the MT190XPRO3 instead of the MT055XPRO3 after researching the other ones that have been suggested. I'm going to be holding off on the L-bracket and the Arca Swiss conversion though for now. In any case, going to let it all sit in the cart over the weekend :)

    Thanks for the advice, I've learned quite a bit tonight!
     
  18. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Sweet! I would like to hear how you like your set-up once you get it sorted.
     
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  19. Tony Burns

    Tony Burns TalkEmount Rookie

    19
    Jan 7, 2016
    Delaware, United States of America
    Tony Burns
    Next I can either start budgeting for that macro glass or a second Einstein :)
     
  20. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    You might want to consider some used manual macro glass to start out. Something like a razor sharp 55mm Micro-Nikkor (+ adapter) can be found for relatively little coin and still holds its own against far more expensive modern AF lenses. I did product photography for a living many years ago and would still favor manual focusing over AF for those kinds of shots.
     
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