From: RichA on 3 Apr 2010 05:20
Doesn't matter if it's a $100 Manfrotto or a $1000 Gitzo, they are all
compromised. It is sad. The article below cites one typical example,
the head "sag" problem. Where despite tightening everything, flexure
occurs. But there are lots of other problems with support units.
Tripods are often chosen that are too light to really do the job. The
tripod design is inherently strong, but there are limits. If you are
using a 300-500mm lens on a crop camera, it is almost impossible, with
any tripod, to avoid vibration. You basically live with the image
being less sharp than it could have been. Modern Photography did
experiments in the 1970's that showed image blur (and they were just
using film and 35mm cameras with resolutions not much better than a 6
megapixel digital) with long lenses was universal when using photo
The major issues center around leg flexure, head flexure and the
mounts available that hold long camera lenses. We can't see it, or
even sense it, but these things bend under stress. Legs tend to bend
at the smallest diameter extension which with most tripods is closer
to the ground. This also sets up vibrations, some too high in
frequency to be seen or felt, but enough to blur and image. The fact
the leg-head connection point induces strain into a tripod assembly
(often poorly compensated for in the design) also causes vibration. If
you're curious about your tripod and vibration, you can set-up a
couple of mirrors and a laser and actually see it in action.
Heads bend mostly at the stalk that attaches the head base to the part
that attaches to the camera's base-plate. Head design in many cases
is just plain poor. Thin stalks attaching balls to the base-plate
connection point. crappy-open lattice and L-shaped pieces that make-
up most 3-axis heads. Poor designs that inherently flex. And the sad
part? A properly designed head wouldn't weight more at all.
Another thing that causes flexure and instability is the use of any
plastic in load-bearing or stressed areas. NEVER use a tripod that
uses plastic like this.
Torsional flexure comes from the fact legs are not unified at any
point but the connection to the head. Oddly enough, even a thin,
light Y-shaped chain under tension, about 1/2 way down and unifying
the legs adds stability.
Cheap tripods have parts that have poor fit, and they should be
Another design error, too many parts to couple the camera to the
tripod and too many moving head parts. Every one of them adds one
more chance for instability.
Lastly, the worst thing about tripods pertains to long camera
lenses. Their mounting brackets or blocks INVITE instability. I'm
surprised there isn't an even more robust market for aftermaket lens
supports, though there are some. The common rule for supporting a
tube properly is to use two tube rings, spaced no less than 1/3 of the
total length of the tube.
The best tripods I've seen are those used with good astronomical
telescopes. Their legs tend to use few extensions. The tubes are
large diameter and often unified about 1/2 way down their lengths with
locking triangles or other methods. When you "lock out" a triangle
(complete it) it's stability increases 5-10 fold. Surveyor's tripods
are also very good. They have 2-section legs of wide dimension and
are very stable because the devices used on them require it. There
are German camera tripods from Berlebach and Ries that are designed
from surveyor's tripods.
Pure tragedy? Check out the spindly Novoflex legs on the $1700 head
attached to the D3x at the bottom of this article.
From: Bruce on 3 Apr 2010 10:52
On Sat, 3 Apr 2010 15:39:51 +0100, "SS" <nonense50(a)blueyonder.co.uk>
>I suppose it depends on the % of perfection you want, I use a tripods
>because I always get camera shake so even with the cheapest tripod I get a
>vast improvement in pictures. The truth is to get 100% stability it would an
>extremely heavy and costly device I fear.
Have you tried a monopod?
A monopod gives you a very useful increase in stability at a much
lower penalty than a tripod in terms of bulk and weight.
From: GGBrowne on 3 Apr 2010 12:04
On Sat, 3 Apr 2010 02:20:27 -0700 (PDT), RichA <rander3127(a)gmail.com>
>Doesn't matter if it's a $100 Manfrotto or a $1000 Gitzo, they are all
>compromised. It is sad.
No, what's sad are people who buy cameras and lenses so bulky that using
costly and even heavier tripods are required to make those cameras and
lenses the least bit functional. Instead of teaching themselves standard
hand-held camera skills they think the art of photography is all in their
purchasable crutches. Crippled photographers, one and all.
From: Vance on 3 Apr 2010 13:53
On Apr 3, 9:04 am, GGBrowne <ggbro...(a)repliesnotwanted.net> wrote:
> On Sat, 3 Apr 2010 02:20:27 -0700 (PDT), RichA <rander3...(a)gmail.com>
> >Doesn't matter if it's a $100 Manfrotto or a $1000 Gitzo, they are all
> >compromised. It is sad.
> No, what's sad are people who buy cameras and lenses so bulky that using
> costly and even heavier tripods are required to make those cameras and
> lenses the least bit functional. Instead of teaching themselves standard
> hand-held camera skills they think the art of photography is all in their
> purchasable crutches. Crippled photographers, one and all.
I was wondering when you would be back. Would you like to walk
through the details of your Ibis image and why your story about it is
BS? Several people were kind enough to provide me with the image
after you took it down, so you won 't have to go to the trouble of
putting it back up. I'm very accomodating and want to make things
easy for you.
From: SS on 3 Apr 2010 16:40
"Bruce" <docnews2011(a)gmail.com> wrote in message
> On Sat, 3 Apr 2010 15:39:51 +0100, "SS" <nonense50(a)blueyonder.co.uk>
>>I suppose it depends on the % of perfection you want, I use a tripods
>>because I always get camera shake so even with the cheapest tripod I get a
>>vast improvement in pictures. The truth is to get 100% stability it would
>>extremely heavy and costly device I fear.
> Have you tried a monopod?
> A monopod gives you a very useful increase in stability at a much
> lower penalty than a tripod in terms of bulk and weight.
Good shout, thats worth a try.