As promised in the title, this is a piece of ranting, the first one here and probably not the last at all! And this will be about tripods, or about an aspect of them.
When I joined Nikonians, I was by heritage the proud owner of an aluminium Manfrotto 190 with a Manfrotto ballhead using the big hexagonal RC0 plates. It was cumbersome, but it looked darned good to me. Until the day I found myself at the right place and the right light for a photo of a castle nearby: I opened the tripod bag, got the legs out of it, placed them right, and didn't find a single plate in the same bag or in the one for the camera and lenses. I ended up taking handheld photos that all had that Hamiltonian softness - except it was motion blur, my motion! Sorry, can't find one example, I have trashed them all since then!
Being at the time a "young Nikonian" full of enthusiasm, I also began to be interested in panoramic photography. Visiting my local shop, I fell in love with a much newer-looking Manfrotto 190DB on top of which was a very technical-looking three-way head using the much smaller and hand-friendly RC2 plates. I sold the old gear and bought this new one, only to notice how impossible it was to adjust the head to horizontal. When I made a row of photos for a pano, all the images were horizontal all right, but they never coincided since the head was not level... I got frustrated. A lot.
At about the same time, I started browsing the forum tripod at Nikonians...
Three things appeared important:
- I started to understand that for general photography and even panos, the best starting point would be a ball head. Preferably a Markins, judging by the contents of the forum.
- For pano work, the ability to use the camera in portrait orientation gave a wider image, making a L-bracket important.
- Finally, the graal seemed to be the Arca-Swiss compatible system of camera plates and quick-release mounts.
I started thinking of a serious upgrade. This will be the object of the rest of this post, at a later moment today!