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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Tripods (Giottos and Manfrotto)

    Hi everybody

    I've been looking at tripods recently, but it's still all a bit bewildering to me. I just want something with fairly good quality that can handle a small DSLR with a medium zoom lens and a flash (say 1.5-2kg) for portraits, landscapes and the occasional video.

    I think I've finally nailed it down to:

    Giottos MTL9251B + MT5011 head
    + 3 sections, 24cm-163cm height, 1.8kg weight, 5kg load
    + 3-way head, 0.4kg weight, 4kg load

    Manfrotto 190XDB + 804RC2 head
    + 3 sections, 35cm-146cm height, 1.6kg weight, 5kg load
    + 3-way head, 0.8kg weight, 4kg load

    Any thoughts about these? They're both about US$130. I know everyone raves about Manfrotto, but I feel like I'm leaning a little toward the Giottos.

    Just a few more questions:

    + Is it worth paying extra for a center column that rotates? The 9351B is only US$30 more, whereas the Manfrotto 190XPROB is about US$80 extra. It seems nice to have, especially for macro work, but I don't honestly know if I'd use it.
    + Any thoughts on ball vs. 3-way heads? I know this is a loaded question, but from what I've read, a 3-way provides a little more control for static shots and video panning right? Whereas a ball head generally provides quicker, freer movements for tracking moving subjects?
    + Any other brands or models I've missed? My budget is pretty limited, say US$150'ish, so expensive brands and carbon fiber etc. are all out.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Superangel; 01-10-2011 at 06:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Brisbane, CA
    I use a Manfrotto 055XWNB w/ a 322RC2 ballhead. The 055 is pretty much the larger version of the 190 series. I shoot mostly landscapes and the set up works very well for me (except it's a pain to carry around on hikes). I use a short center column so I can put get the tripod close to the ground when needed. I really like using a ballhead and wouldn't really consider another type of head. I can't comment on Giottos since I haven't used any of their stuff.

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Both Giottos and Manfrotto get generally good marks. I do not own either, but I use a pair of Manfrotto ball heads, with the RC2 plates on my Velbon and Vanguard tripods. I have occasionally used the 3-way pan/tilt that came with the Velbon when shooting auto races as it can make panning easier. Otherwise I would only stick with a ball head. They are smaller and easier to pack and carry.

    You do not mention if travel via plane is in your tripod's future. If so watch for collapsed size relative to packing it in your suitcase. This was the main reason I went for the 4 section Velbon. It will fit into almost any roll aboard sized bag with the head removed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanks for the comments guys, I'll be sure to bear them in mind

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    If I remember correctly the "PROB" in the Manfrotto model description means that the centre column can be made to go horizontal to the ground rather than just vertical. I find that feature very handy at times.

    You really shouldn't have any problems with either a Manfrotto of Giotto tripod in terms of quality but just think seriously about whether you are buying the correct tripod for you. For example the Manfrotto 055 tripods extend a little taller than the 190 series. That doesn't worry me at my height but I do know people for whom the 190 series tripods are too short and they end up stooping all the time to take photos.

    Tripods last a long time. I recently replaced the one I was given in 1981 that has been in use ever since so don't buy simply for today. You will not regret spending money on a good tripod.

    As far as heads are concerned I'm a ball head person. Pan and tilt heads give me the creeps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanks K1W1, that's great

    You're right about the PRO versions having the horizontal center column, and I must admit I am growing to the idea. The 190XPROB is quite a bit more expensive, but the 9351B looks like a good deal, so perhaps it's worth spending more.

    I didn't consider much about the height before, but you're right that the 190XDB is a little short (the 055XDB is a bit out of my price range, unfortunately).

    As for the ball head, I'm warming to the idea, as the majority of people seem to prefer them unless they have a specific reason for needing something else.

    Thanks again for the advice.

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