While I do a fair amount of still photography, the majority of my client work is shooting video with my DSLR and mirrorless cameras. When buying tripods and heads I need to consider their functionality from both perspectives. As I recently added a camera jib to my video equipment arsenal, I started seriously considering a heavier capacity tripod and head. My current tripods, which are capacity rated to 17.6 lbs. (8.8 Kg), were falling a bit short in terms of providing the degree of stability that I need when shooting video. And, my existing fluid video head wasn’t quite able to provide the stability I needed when using my slider kit loaded with my D800 and a heavy FX lens. I also felt that a taller tripod would allow me to get the most out of my camera jib by capturing higher, more dramatic video scenes.
There are times when virtually every photographer or videographer could make use of a small, lightweight, easy-to-use table top tripod. Like that time you were on holidays and missed that spectacular sunset in fading light. Or, that unique angle shot that would have added a lot of production value to a client video, but your regular gear was too big and bulky to get into the tight spot needed to capture it.
Recently when I was investigating ultra-lightweight and portable tripods I came across the Tamrac ZipShot. This tripod is one of the most innovative, lightweight tripod designs to hit the market in some time. The tripod comes in two sizes: the TR404 mini which extends to 28” in height, weighs 9 ounces and folds up to 9” in length. The larger model is the TR406 which extends to about 44” in height, weighs 11 ounces, and folds up to 15”. Both models are weight-rated by Tamrac to support 3 pounds.
Many of our readers frequently ask us questions about tripod heads and accessories to support heavy camera and lens combinations. Those that are especially new to super telephoto lenses quickly discover that tripod feet supplied by all manufacturers on modern lenses are simply not suitable to be mounted on regular tripod heads. Unfortunately, whether it is Nikon, Canon, Sony or a third party lens manufacturer like Sigma, they all supply non-standard tripod feet with their lenses. For new lens owners it can be a rather frustrating experience trying to figure out which tripod head would fit their large and heavy lenses, because nobody wants a lens worth thousands of dollars to end up crashing on the ground. And since most tripod plates are only equipped with a single mounting point, it can be extremely unstable and even potentially dangerous to mount anything heavier than a few pounds on them. The solution, which has become somewhat of a standard nowadays, was developed by a company called Arca-Swiss back in 1990s and since then has been popularized as “Arca-Swiss Quick Release System”. The idea behind this quick release system is quite simple, but very effective. Almost all professional photographers that use super telephoto lenses have adopted the Arca-Swiss quick release system and more photographers are converting even their regular cameras to this format for ease of use, stability and compatibility reasons.
1) Arca-Swiss Quick Release
The Arca-Swiss quick release system is based on a two piece mechanism. The first piece, generally referred to as a “plate”, is attached to a camera or a lens (or any other device). It comes in a standard, “arca-style” 35mm wide form with a 45° dovetail and can vary in length (a sample plate is illustrated above to the right of the tripod head). The second piece is the mounting base, generally referred to as a “clamp”, where the plate gets attached and secured. The clamp can be fully opened, allowing the plate to be dropped in and secured, or can be partially opened to allow the plate to be slid into the position. The biggest advantage of the Arca-Swiss quick release system is this ability to slide the plate without having to worry about mounting or dismounting anything. The 45° dovetail on the plate, as pictured below, allows equipment to be moved across the clamp and secured in a specific location using a side knob or a locking release.
This is a review of the Oben CT 2410 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with BA-1 Ball Head. As photographers, a sharp photo usually means a steady camera. Regardless of what you photograph, I think every photographer will eventually need a tripod at some point. Personally, I don’t use a tripod for any of my portrait work, but I have found them to be useful when shooting wedding details inside of a dark reception hall. Additionally, I tend to use a tripod if I’m photographing any products or even occasionally when I’m shooting personal work around the city or in the mountains. Since I don’t use a tripod that often, I prefer a smaller, lighter tripod that’s easy to take with me and doesn’t take up much room. Sometimes the trade off for a small and light tripod is a lack of stability or durability. Would this tripod be able to deliver on both size and performance?
If you need help deciding how to purchase a tripod, consider reading How to Choose and Buy a Tripod.
1) Product Specifications
- 16.75 lb Load Capacity
- 63.9″ Maximum Height
- Extremely Lightweight at 3.2 lb
- Non-Rotating Twist-Lock Legs
- 6x Carbon Fiber Legs and Center Column
- Single-Lever Ball Head
- Dual Lock Mechanism for Quick Release
- Retractable Spikes in Feet
While tripods aren’t glamorous, are a hassle to carry and despite gains in vibration reduction/image stabilization, it is still almost essential to have one in every photographer’s tool bag. When looking to photograph landscapes or wildlife, many times the difference between a nice photo and a great photo can be whether a tripod was used or not. Long exposures and long lenses both benefit from camera stability. So if you haven’t got a tripod and you are looking to improve some of your photos I would suggest you consider adding one. A quick search for a tripod will reveal to you that there’s a wide range of styles and materials with equally wide ranging pricing. So if you are new to this and somewhat confused on what to buy, check out Nasim’s article, How to Choose and Buy a Tripod. With that said, here is a review of a good, affordable carbon fiber tripod and ball head, the Oben CT-2320 with BB-2 ball head kit which has been kindly provided by B&H Photo.
1) Product Specifications
1.1) CT-2320 Tripod:
Load Capacity: 26.4 lb (12Kg)
Maximum Height: 67.2” (170.1 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended: 57.7” (144.7 cm)
Minimum Height: 12.6” (30.4 cm)
Folded Length: 25.2” (63.5 cm)
Weight: 2.95 lb (1.330 kg)
Material: 6x carbon fiber
Head Attachment Fitting: ¼”–20 & 3/8”–16 (reversible screw)
Leg Stages/Sections: 2/3
Leg Lock Type: Twist lock
Independent Leg Spread: Yes
Spiked/Retractable Feet: Yes/Yes
Center Brace: No
Center Column Type: Rapid
Center Column Sections: 1
Bubble Level: Yes
This is a review of the Oben CC-2320L 3-Section Carbon Fiber Lateral Tripod with BB-2 Ball Head. As photographers, a sharp photo usually means a steady camera. Regardless of what you photograph, I think every photographer will eventually need a tripod at some point. Personally, I don’t use a tripod for any of my portrait work, but I have found them to be useful when shooting wedding details inside of a dark reception hall. Additionally, I tend to use a tripod if I’m photographing any products or even occasionally when I’m shooting personal work around the city or in the mountains. If you need help deciding how to purchase a tripod, consider reading How to Choose and Buy a Tripod.
1) Product Specifications
Oben CC-2320L Tripod
Load Capacity – 26.4 lb (12 kg)
Maximum Height – 68.3″ (173.5 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended – 55.7″ (141.5 cm)
Minimum Height – 10″ (25.4 cm) [legs at widest position, column at 90° position]
Folded Length – 25.4″ (64.5 cm)
Weight – 3.85 lb (1.74 kg)
This is a review of the Gitzo Traveler Tripod (GT1542T Series 1, 6x Carbon Fiber, 4-Section), a very lightweight tripod designed specifically for hiking and traveling purposes. Choosing a tripod for photography needs can be a rather frustrating experience, given how many different tripods are available on the market today. Depending on what you shoot and your budget, there are literally hundreds of different choices available – from compact “GorillaPod” to heavy duty tripod systems designed for super telephoto lenses. In this review I will write about Gitzo, a brand name that has truly become one of the most recognized among photographers, thanks to their high quality support systems designed for life-long use.
This is a quick review of the Oben AC-1410 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-0 Ball Head. While simultaneously testing a number of digital cameras from Sony, Nikon and Olympus, I realized that I need another tripod that is light, easy to use / setup and affordable. I already have a heavy duty Gitzo Systematic tripod with an Arca-Swiss ballhead that I use for my photography needs, but I found it too painful to remove the quick release plate every time I needed to mount a camera. In addition, there were situations when I wanted to use two tripods simultaneously.
This is a review of the Black Widow Jr.3 (BWG-JR3) Gimbal head by Jobu Design. A good, reliable and flexible tripod head is a must when using long telephoto lenses. While there are many different tripod heads and mounts out there, the “Gimbal” type head is preferred, because it provides excellent stability and balance with full flexibility to rotate the lens and camera with ease. Any other tripod head type, including ball-head requires constant loosening and tightening when tracking moving subjects and if not properly tightened, could potentially go off balance and damage the equipment. There is no such threat with a gimbal-type head once everything is properly balanced and the camera with a lens could rotate in all directions without the need to adjust anything.