April 2009 Archives

Rant # 1: about tripods and heads - PART 2

|

(continued from part 1) 

 

I first decided that I could certainly live without the A-S system, simply because I couldn't find one single shop that sold even a generic base plate in that standard. For a country, Switzerland, that gave its national adjective to the system, that seemed pretty poor, but so it is !!!

 

I thus searched shops and catalogues, online and even, in that technological age of ours, on paper. And I chose to buy an all-Manfrotto system :

    • A 055PROB tripod ;
    • a MG468RC2 hydrostatic ballhead ;
    • a « junior elbow bracket » that I couldn't find now on Manfrotto's website - a huge piece of aluminium folded 90 degrees with two RC2 plates, allowing the camera to be mounted vertically.
    • I also bought a levelling ball, useful when doing panoramic images. 

My problem started soon : the RC2 plates took a lot of space when mounted to the lenses in the bag, the one on the D200 with the grip hurt my hand, and most of all the « elbow bracket » was so big that it was simply impossible to leave it permanently on the camera. Consequently, I never used my tripod, except on rare occasion when I had to pack a separate bag for the humongously big bracket. Of course, I'm exaggerating, but not by an immense margin!

 

To sum up the problems : the legs were ok, the head worked smoothly, but the RC2 system was a PITA (and I am being quite gentle here).

 

I refuse, to this day, to count how much I had spent (plus the D200 and a very nice 80-400VR) in the tripod system, but I was back to square one, with the bonus of good legs and a good head.

 

I decided to trust my fellow Nikonians, and I did some research. And finally, I ordered a little set from Really Right Stuff:

  • a B2 Pro2 clamp;
  • a L-bracket for my D200 with grip, notwithstanding the caveats about the flexibility of that combo;
  • lens plates for my 80-200/2.8 and 80-400VR.

The package arrived quickly, and I found myself with a very nice little set. And there is no miracle: since I have had it, I have been using my tripod a lot more than I did before...

 

 

Here  is a link to a Nikonians forum thread where I demonstrated the look of the beast once assembled:

 

I then assembled another smaller combination, with Gitzo GT1540T traveller legs, and a Foba MiniSuperBall head, for those moments when it is better/easier to carry a smaller tripod - and when I don't have my usual big array of lenses, but a "do-it-all" like the 18-200. On this, I did not err, and I made sure the Foba had an A-S compatible clamp, which it does. Normal for a Swiss brand, I guess! I also bought a generic camera plate from them, which I used on the D200 when I didn't want to have the vertical grip, and which now sits under my F100. But I had to almost litterally twist arms in my local shops before they found a way to order from Foba for me.

 

Here is another post at Nikonians with images and commentaries about the smaller combo.

 

The morality, as many a Nikonian must have found out, is that there is a reason why the A-S system is praised: it works. It may be a bit elitist or snobbish to say so, but it simply really does, and I should have listened. But I am still wondering why it is so hard to find equipment that good in shops in this country!

 

Have a great time!

 

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1