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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Accessories (Tripod, Remote release) for A65

    Since I like shooting night scenes, I am looking to invest in a tripod and remote release.

    Regarding the tripod, I am almost set on a Gitzo. I am planning to hike Mt Fuji this summer, so I would like to invest in a carbon fibre tripod. I reckon that I should go with a series 2, since I do not have any massive lens. Still, I am not sure how to narrow down from there.

    1. But I am not too sure whether to go 3 sections or 4 sections: is the size difference really significant? Is the difference in stability that different (I hear that 3 section is more stable)?

    2. How does one decide on the series to go for?

    3. What does the last digit refers to (e.g. Gitzo 2531 vs 2532). As I understand, it refers to the "generation" of the tripod, but what does the newer version bring to the table?

    4. I am told that heavier is generally better when it comes to tripods. Yet the benefit of carbon fibre is that it's lighter. Some of the 2-series is under 1.5kg without head, is that really better than heavier aluminium / basalt?

    5. How does one decide on the height of the tripod? Is it dependent on my own height? What I shoot?

    Regarding the remote release, what are the benefits of going wired / wireless, Sony vs third party?
    Last edited by TooNice; 06-02-2012 at 07:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Yes, less sections are more stable. Unless you are buying one exclusively for studio use they are a compromise between size, weight, your maximum gear weight and how much you need to carry it. You cannot use the weight difference between carbon and aluminum as a sign of differences in stability. The materials have very different characteristics in the damping of vibrations. As for tripod height that too is a personal decision and another compromise tied to folded size and weight as well as usage.

    For most people taller is better, and not just to prevent stooping down. A taller tripod lets you shoot over obstacles like walls, fences or window sills. But even more useful is a greater range of adjustment in the legs if you are trying to setup on a steep hill or a location where the tripod might be on a ledge or rock a foot below where you can safely stand.

    Personally my tripod choices have been tied mainly to portability and packability. I currently have two carbon fiber tripods. My gear is all Olympus 4/3rd's so it tends to be a bit lighter than other DSLR kits. My true backpacking tripod is a Vanguard Alta+ 255CT. This thing is similar to the Gitzo Mountaineer series 5 section. Small enough to fit inside a small day pack or my carry on bag. I use it for macro and landscape work so the 8lb load limit is not much problem. I recently replaced my larger 4 section Velbon CF640 with a Manfrotto 190CXpro4. It has a decent working height and will hold my largest body/lens combo, although just barely. It is much more stable than the smaller Vanguard for night shots. The Velbon was better still until it suffered a failure in the leg spyder when it fell off a luggage cart.

    For me the primary criteria was packed size and carrying weight. I want my tripod to be under 20" without the head so it will fit inside any suitcase I might travel with. That has driven me to 4 section tripods. I have carried these tripods on extended hikes in the Andes and Alaska for multiple days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Thanks for your insight. I've been reading for a few hours and I am overwhelmed. At the moment, I am using an A65 with a Tamron 18-270mm and Sony 50mm (f/1.4). 1.2kg plus the weight of the head (which I have also spent time reading and ended up even more overwhelmed). I wonder if I could get away with a Series 1 Gitzo. The Mt Fuji hike may not be my only "project", I am contemplating a much larger one in autumn, involving a 1200km walk. So the logic is getting a light Series 1 Gitzo now, then a Series 3 later on if I do end up getting the 70-400mm lens one day. Option 2 (cheaper) is to just get a Series 2, and hope it can cop with any lens I can throw at it.

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