Author Topic: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work  (Read 629 times)

Snoogly

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Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« on: February 21, 2021, 00:08:20 »
I have recently become addicted to looking at the ground, or near ground level, when I am out walking in the boonies, looking for ideal close-up photos. Not surprisingly it is hard to take sharp photos, as even a cm of movement throws things out of whack! So I would like to buy a lightweight 'travel' tripod with a center column that can be angled and inverted.

The BENRO FGP28C seemed (no longer available) an ideal candidate, but I am keen to hear about other recommendations.

Of course a table-top tripod might suffice, but if I am going to carry a tripod around with me, it may as well be a 'normal' one too!


MFloyd

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2021, 09:46:31 »
Central columns, even in normal position, are already not recommended, with regard to overall stability. I doubt, that in horizontal position, it gives good results. I would rather aim for a tripod where the angle of each pod can be adjusted.

Example with my TVC34L of Really Right Stuff, where you can go as low as 10 cm (and as high as 174 cm):



Link: https://www.reallyrightstuff.com/images/products/Spec%20Diagrams/Vera_34L.png
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HCS

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2021, 10:15:09 »
Centre column up is typically less stable.

I do use the centre column on one of my tripods reversed, i.e. straight down. This means having the camera upside down. It does get me closer to the ground than with the legs all the way spread and the camera in regular position.

Once something "leaves" the centre of the tripod, like hanging the column off to one side, everything becomes severely unstable.

YMMV
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Snoogly

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 10:46:55 »
This looks interesting.

https://www.3leggedthing.com/corey

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 11:21:51 »
Get a tripod that can splay its legs fully out to 90 degrees or more, and no centre column.  Even my larger Sachtler tripods can do that, as witnessed by this overview of an improvised field studio in the back of my car :)

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 12:24:30 »
I recently bought a Leofoto Ranger RF-224C it is very light, no center column, so can go really low, approx 13cm to the Arca Swiss plate.

Fons Baerken

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2021, 12:31:44 »
Gitzo gt3541xls, no central column modified with bottom plate and an Arca Swiss monoball z ballhead.
Had i had the penge i would have gone for a Sachtler.

MFloyd

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2021, 12:35:29 »
Get a tripod that can splay its legs fully out to 90 degrees or more, and no centre column.  Even my larger Sachtler tripods can do that, as witnessed by this overview of an improvised field studio in the back of my car :)

The quest for maximum entropy, I guess  ;D

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MILLIREHM

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 12:43:46 »
I recommend a Feisol Tournament 3442 Rapid (no center column of course). I use it together with a Markins Q3 Emille ballhead
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Akira

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 14:05:07 »
For the low-level work, I assembled some easy-to-find photo accessories.   From left to right: a small ball head (this is Sunwayfoto FB-28, but others like RRS BH-25 or Leofoto LH-25 will work), Manfrotto DADO kit consisting of the red ball, three double-sided 3/8" bolts and three (or six) rods, RRS 3/8" threaded shaft and three rubber feet compatible with the DADO rod or Gitzo series 1 tripods.

The second image shows how the above mentioned parts can be assembled.  You can make the tripod even lower by using other threads on the red ball.

And the third image shows how the kit can be disassembled and packed into a small soft case designed for compact digital cameras.  The red ball stays attached to the ballhead.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

Matthew Currie

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 17:12:08 »
Up until the pandemic (and I hope soon again) I have done a lot of world traveling, very light, with no checked baggage.  Needless to say that makes photo equipment a problem, and I've long sought the most portable support possible to carry.

What I've taken on a number of occasions is a Promaster clamp.  This comes in two sizes, of which I believe this is the larger.  It is quite versatile, clamping to chair backs, railings, trees, etc., as well as serving as a table tripod.  It's disadvantage is that the screws must be very very tight to keep from sagging. Right now it has an Arca Swiss clamp added, but I usually travel without pads on the camera and just screw it on.

Long ago when I actually did check a bag on a Hawaii honeymoon, I took the Linhof clamp.  This has the advantage of size, and can be set up as a stable table tripod, as well as clamping, and has a screw whereby one an screw it into a tree or fencepost.  The disadvantage is the large top, which is not readily adaptable to quick releases, and it's a little big for carry-on.  I've seen others with smaller top pads.  If you don't need to economize on space, this is well made and surprisingly stable.  Used ones can be found here and there.  The clamp is good and doesn't need to be overtightened.

Finally, not yet taken on a trip, is this little Braun clamp I just got for next to nothing.  It is tiny, 35 grams, maximum 7 x 13 cm when flat.  The ball head is tiny, and yet it clamps very securely, and allows table top stability easily.  It also has a screw for attaching to a fence post or tree.  This will likely go in the bag next time I travel. 

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 17:33:32 »
I usually air-travel with a cut-down Sachtler tripod. I have several of these cut to different sizes. The larger goes easily inside my checked luggage and the smaller might even be disassembled to be inside a large lady's purse. Like the other Sachtlers, they can be set up with legs splayed 90 degrees or more for a really low vantage point.

I do like Akira's approach -- a very cute mini-tripod there.

Matthew Currie

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 17:50:52 »
If we regularly checked luggage, the decision would be much easier.  I have a nifty little Sirui tripod that's light, and sturdy enough for most use, and it would easily go right into a checked bag.  Or, if that didn't work, I could engineer or cut down something short and sturdy.  Unfortunately, I live in rural Vermont, where no flight to anywhere can be begun without a connecting flight to somewhere else.  That flight is often on a 9-seat puddle jumper to Boston. Other times it's a little jet from Burlington that may or may not leave on schedule, and rarely flies directly to anywhere without yet another connection.  It's three legs to get from here to nearly anywhere just in the US.  So, avoiding lost luggage is a challenge, and thus the search continues for a good camera support that takes no space and weighs nothing.

For many trips it's a challenge to figure out how to carry a DX camera and two lenses, much less a proper tripod. 

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 19:23:57 »
It'll be the purse, then.

Snoogly

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Re: Seeking advice about a tripod ideal for low-level work
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 19:26:00 »
Thanks everyone - some really great ideas!!

Can I ask Akira where you obtained those parts? As I am in Tokyo, maybe I can buy from the same place.