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Thread: Tripod Usage?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Tripod Usage?

    In the past I've primarily used my tripod as a means to make long exposures that are not possible to hold steady hand held. I know when doing landscape photography I should really use the tripod as a means to shoot at ISO 100 at my DOF chosen aperture regardless of lighting levels.

    I think I am probably missing out by my photography being 98% hand held. I'm planning to use the tripod more for upcoming photography.

    I was curious for the forum members:

    a) What types of images do you use your tripod for?
    b) For what percent of your photography do you use a tripod?
    c) For those of you who have 50%+ tripod use, how heavy is your tripod/head rig?

    Thank you
    Dave

  2. #2
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    I have 4 support devices. 1 monopod (chicken foot from varizoom), ultra lightweight CF, medium weight CF, and large CF.

    Heads are

    small lightweight ball head (this really isn't a "pro" level piece, but it is very light)
    Monopod head which is pretty light but is bigger in total size - it has a pan swivel in the clamp.
    Medium ball head from Sunway - pretty good most the time
    Large Ball from Vanguard (biggest CF tripod from Vanguard) it is "OK" but really isn't at the RRS level, etc.
    RSS PG LLR -"the beast"

    The lightest set can carefully take on the 5dIII w/ the 150-600 but not unattended in a breeze - it is more of a motion smoother/load taking than anything else - not going to extend a shutter speed.

    The mono pod is really quite substantial and I used it for the most recent fireworks - no breeze, highly attended and on an intervalometer

    The medium CF tripod can hold all my gear - indeed I hang my back pack from the center hook and use straps to stabilize the load to increase the mass of the entire rig. I have hung 50 lbs from it with out a problem.

    The big CF tripod is used when I have am trying to get that ultra stable platform. It is a 3 piece that w/o head gets to 70" or so.

    The thing I would do all over again is flip locks vs. twist locks. I am much faster setting up the flip lock tripods - getting level, secure, etc.

    My 2 pennies
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  3. #3
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    Let's see: tripod gets used for several things. Tilt-shift work. Detail work. Anything where I want repeatability. HDR. "Non-mobile" work with a super-telephoto and a gimbal head. A tiny bit of "studio" type work. Blurred waterfalls.

    I have the (convenience+cost) of a wife who also shoots. We tend to collect "two of everything", but there's often a his and a hers (as you'd expect: mine is heavier but rated higher, hers is often lighter but rated less, etc.). We've now got two CF tripods (Manfrotto four-section with center post and flip locks, RRS four-section with leveling base and screw locks), two CF monopods (RRS 4-section and RRS 5-section, both screw lock), a Markins ballhead, a Wimberley head, and two RRS monopod heads. Now that I have the leveling base, and since the monopods are screw lock, I'm a lot quicker with the screw locks: extend two sections all the way, extend one leg further if needed, "toss" it in place, then level the base and I'm good to go. If I want to fiddle with the height, I can loosen a screw lock enough to slide it down a tiny bit, then tighten: can't do that easily with a flip lock.

    Still, I'd say tripod use is <2% overall, though it may have been 10% or 15% on our recent cruise (in part due to the rental of the 600/4).
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    How often do you use the tripod, Mike?

    peety3 and I appear to be in the same boat - 2% use!

    Dave

  5. #5
    Senior Member jamsus's Avatar
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    I'm using the tripod for:

    - Long exposures
    - Some kind of MACRO shots
    - Sunrise\Sunset with limit light
    - Wildlife to "rest" my arms
    Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

    Jamsus

  6. #6
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    Use tripods quite a lot. Product photography, macro outdoors, landscapes, sports shooting, architectural, studio portraiture with cable release so I can still engage with clients, and the list could go on for a while. The short list is I try to use a tripod as much as possible. Preferred is an Auctus 323 in studio and short trips, Gitzo 3 series for travelling, monopod, and very compact folding tripod for ultimate in light weight.
    Heads I use in order of most use: Manfrotto 410 a geared head for precision alignment, Arca Swiss Z1, Sirui gimble head.
    Did I mention that I really like that big heavy beast of an Auctus for its sturdiness?

  7. #7
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    I am probably going to be the odd one here, but most of my shots are on a tripod (90%+). The only time the camera is off the tripod is when I am in the kayak, and then I have to shot completely different. The only other time is snap shots, and those typically just get erased (they do not make it past the first cull). Most of my shots are planned, and then I react to (or take advantage of) the changes in lighting and conditions. Although, I have to admit, my framing is usually different than I planned.

    I am almost always shooting sunrises or sunsets +/- an hour (even on the kayak), or late at night. So, low light conditions. Macros and animals are my opportunistic shots, but even then it is fairly low light and I try to use a tripod if I can.

    I use a 1.4 lb Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 sp ball head, and a 6.3 lb Induro CT-414 tripod

    More specifically to your questions:
    a) What types of images do you use your tripod for?(Landscape, Macro, and Wildlife)
    b) For what percent of your photography do you use a tripod?(90%+)
    c) For those of you who have 50%+ tripod use, how heavy is your tripod/head rig?(7.7 lbs w/o camera and lens)
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
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  8. #8
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    Well more than 2% probably closer to 10% overall. But that isn't the way to measure it I don't think. I use it 95% of the time I am planning to use a tripod - that sounds obvious but I plan whole efforts/trips expecting to use a tripod for the types of shots I am taking. Sometimes I don't bother if the shutter speeds are up.

    There are trips/efforts that I know I am not going to use it and typically don't. When I don't have specific plan and I take one along, it is very much an element of the time I have available to take either the pix, or ground that I have to cover.

    If I am going to the local botanical garden then 80%+, If I am covering a new area and can return, then I usually bring it but don't use it often as I will return w/ a plan.

    The thing that I found is that when I do want to use it, having to fiddle w/ the less capable models is really frustrating - go with quality.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  9. #9
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    I have a tripod, but I use it less than 10% of the time. It's a Manfrotto CF with a Giottos head. When used it is mainly for macro, some portraits, and wildlife with a Wimberley Sidekick. Maybe I should make that a goal of mine this year, to get up to 50% use with a tripod - probably improve my shots

  10. #10
    Zach
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    Hi Dave, I haven't had a tripod for long, well i did have one when I started out but it soon broke and so for 10 months now I've just been shooting handheld, I did get another one a few weeks ago though and I am using it quite a bit now, I'd say 65% time I use it and mostly for Macro, close up, product shots, landscape, and some portraits (if I can get someone to pose), and it a all-in-one tripod and about 3-4 pounds, 30$ US but it's much better quality than the last though, proof that you don't need a 100-700$ tripod.

    thanks for reading

    i'll add this for funnies

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