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Need some tripod advice

fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2007 7:07PM

Been looking around for ages for a new tripod and am in the position to actually get one now. Found what to me seem the ideal solution for me:

Velbon Sherpa Pro CF-645 EL

It's lightweight, packs down small which is good for travel, goes down real low which is essential for macro work which is most of what I do.

There is just one snag... my current ong knackered tripod (my dad's old thing from years ago) has a geared centre column which for macro work I really find extremely handy and I don't like the idea of using a non-geared one.

Does anyone know of anything similar to the Velbon but with the added benefit of a geared column? I've had a look around and it seems that most tripods these days don't have a geared column.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

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conrad 13 10.9k 116
30 Nov 2007 7:41PM
The new Sherpa 250R has a geared column, and several other new, more expensive models as well.

My wife and I looked at them the other day in a shop when she needed a new tripod, but to be honest we weren't impressed with the stability, and she ended up buying a Manfrotto.
fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2007 9:24PM
Yes I have seen these models before but as you say they are not such high quality. It seems only the cheap models have geared columns... are geared columns supposed to be poor quality? I have only ever used a geared one and can only think that a non-geared one is a lot of messing about and I'd miss a heck of a lot of shots
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2007 9:40PM
Personally I have always found the opposite. I hated the geared column on my older tripods - I found them a nuisance and often unstable. I much prefer the non geared type. Also if Macro is your bag you might find horizontal movement a BIG advantage. You really should check out the new Manfrotto range - they make this very easy. I can also recommend Benbo - but my gosh there heavy beasts!

fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2007 9:45PM
but with a non-geared column I would think it quite fiddly to make small height adjustment and would need both hands whereas I can rais the column on my current tripod whilst still looking through the viewfinder

I did have a play with one of the manfrotto tripods with the horizontal option. It seemd a good idea however with my setup (30D + Sigma 150 macro +580EX sometimes) I'd be needing a counterbalance on the other end of the arm I think. So long as the tripod goes very low, is light and folds down relatively compact that is what I want.
fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2007 9:45PM
I also like the tilt and pan type video head - again one hand adjustment
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2007 1:02AM
I see your argument about height adjustment, however I would still have thought the horizontal adjustment would give more flexability to composition: a zoom option if you will. In regard to counter balance - yes - but this depends on how far you extend the centre column sideways.

I am a little confused by how low a geared column tripod would go - certianly my manfrotto 055 goes nearly to ground level. Because the tripod comes without head you can choose your prefered head type.

fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2007 9:32AM
For horizontal adjustment I just move the tripod closer... again I think that is a quicker and potentially less obstructive method. My sigma 150 macro doesn't need to be as close to the subject as a 100mm range macro so getting close is less of an issue. I've never had the option of horizontal adjustment before and never really wished I had it tbh. I often wish I could go lower though!

Good point about if a geared column can go low. mine can't, and I am not sure if the geared column tripods I have seen (which are generally the cheap, not very good looking ones) have a splitable column to go low.

Definitely I want one without a head so I can fit whichever one (or ones!) I like.
fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2007 10:53AM
Ok, now the more I investigate the more I think that all geared column tripods don't go down very low so would be no advantage to me. therefore can anyone with one of the manfrotto pro tripods (055 or 190) with the verticle/horizontal flippy column things go down to ground level or would I need to go for the non-pro models where you can totally remove the column?

I did have a play with a 190pro I think at Park Cameras and it didn't look like it would go down low (ie the column didn't split from memory).
mrcal 13 1.0k
1 Dec 2007 12:25PM

Quote:one of the manfrotto pro tripods (055 or 190) with the verticle/horizontal flippy column things go down to ground level

I have the 190xprob with a 322RC head. With the legs in the lowest evenly-locked position, the baseplate of the head is 27cm above ground level.

The legs will splay out even further but are not in a locked position. If I do this to 2 legs and lock 1, the head is 14cm above the ground.
fishiee 14 478 3 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2007 1:37PM

Thanks for the info. I think now I'll be going for the MF055 with 4-section legs as it's the most compact and lightweight option.

And on top probably the 322RC which gives me adjustment in all 3 axes with the one control which I do like the sound of. I did play with one of those a while back (probably the lighter weight version) and it felt pretty sturdy and was quick to adjust which is important for me.

I have also read this will go very low so that is ideal.

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