Need advice for a portable midrange tripod

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Mattijs Bliek, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    From May till July I will be backpacking from city to city on a weekly basis and am looking for a tripod with fluid head that's relatively small and compact. Since I will be carrying it around with me most of the time, weight is a huge consideration. Right now I'm shooting with a T2i, and my longest is a 70-200 f/4. In the next month I will be adding a follow focus to this, and therefore a small rig.

    I need to
    • Be able to put a T2i with a small rig and a long lens on it.
    • Be able to carry it with me while travelling by bus and on foot.

    I would like to
    • Mount a slider on it in the future.
    • Be able to to expand my rig with a monitor and mattebox.
    • Be able to upgrade my camera to a Canon 5D with 70-200 f/2.8 IS.
    • Be able to get it up to eye height.
    So far, I've mainly been looking at the Sachtler Ace, which looks like a decent choice, but the 4kg weight limit somewhat scares me with regards to any future upgrades to my setup. I understand that you can't have a leightweight tripod which is able to take a lot of weight, but some headroom would be nice.

    My budget is somewhere around $800.

    I have read and watched tons of reviews and comparissons, but I could still use some advice. So if anyone has any thoughts or tips I'd love to hear them.
  2. Enno Ladwig Chatty!


    I do have the Sachtler Ace and found it to work great. Certainly the best tripod I´ve ever had.
    That said, it is kind of large… if you want it to be tall it´s got to be.

    I tried mounting a slider on it and it works - just don´t slide all the way to the sides..

    An alternative company to look out for is Benro. They do normally make still tripods. but the started with one for video. It is actually super cheap - a cheap version of the Ace. I ended up fining it too plastic. But it is smaller and lighter if i remember right. So give it a try. i found this video…

    I however probably would always go back to the Ace for now.
    I´d like to hear what you go for in the end.
  3. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    Thanks for the tip. I looked into the Benro, but there don't seem to be that much reviews around. I'm particularly interested in how it performs on pans and tilts, which always seem to be a problem with cheaper tripods. So still leaning towards the Ace at the moment.
  4. Chip Burns Not quite so new!

    If you need something cheap, just to get by, that still has a good fluid motion to it, try this:

    I have one and it's amazing how well this performs to be such a cheap tripod. I have even put a 4 ft jib arm on this thing and it holds up nicely. Definitely not a long term solution, but I've used this off and on for over a year and it's still sturdy and the head is still very smooth.
  5. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    Could be an option, although it's heavier than the Sachtler, and only goes up to 140cm. But still nice to keep in mind as a cheap alternative. Thanks!
  6. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    I ordered the Sachtler Ace from B&H. It will fit my travelpack when I remove the head, and from everything I hear and read it's just quality tripod.
  7. Christina Fox I'm new!

  8. Enno Ladwig Chatty!

    Good choice Mattijs :)

  9. Jayson Martinez Chatty!

    i agree with Chip, i have that tripod and it works great. there is also have another 'cheap' alternative - check out the tripod kits from E-Image (sold on Ebay through a company called
  10. Matt Davis Administrator

    As a travel tripod and makeshift Monopod, have been using a Safari:

    On the first few jobs, the head needed regular tightening with an Allen key (not supplied, quickly purchased, taped to tripod leg).

    Compared to a £1200 head, it's not brilliant, but it will do. Very light weight, fits into a large suitcase.

    For ultimate versatility, at a special 'buy once, because you're not going to buy another one' price, are the Miller 3 Stage legs. I have the 2 stage, but want the 3 stage! Small enough (sans head) to fit in aforementioned suitcase, will go above head hight, and low (using 'tipod yoga') to pretty much hi-hat levels.

    You will need to add a tripod head. Manfrotto 704 (sic) will do to start off with, upgrade when you're ready.
  11. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    So I got the Ace yesterday, and so far I'm very pleased with it. Pans and tilts are very smooth, no jumpy stuff.

    The only thing I found was, that when you complete a pan or tilt move and release the handle, the camera will give a slight tick. You can keep some minor pressure on the handle to prevent this from happening. I guess this 'problem' is normal in this price range, but I still wanted to mention it for people looking into this tripod. I tested with a T2i and a 70-200mm f/4, which is a pretty lightweight combination. It could very well be that putting more weight on the head fixes the problem.

    Edit: the tick was caused by me pushing the handle from one side only, once I gripped it with fingers on both sides, the issue disappeared. So it was due to bad operating on my part, and doesn't have anything to do with the head itself
    Jayson Martinez likes this.
  12. Chris Watts Chatty!

    Have you balanced the tripod properly?
  13. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    Yes the tripod is properly balanced. The tick is mostly noticable when setting the drag to maximum, this is why I suspected too little weight might've been be the issue.
  14. Enno Ladwig Chatty!

    I love the Ace too. The only thing i dislike is the almost a little bit too long "lock handle" by the tripod plate. It is so long that you almost cannot do a 360 degree turn of the screw. weird to have it in a length that makes it still possible if you push hard… Either make it easy or make it impossible… (That is one of the few differences I have found when comparing to the more expensive Sachtler they have at work)
    is that the same for you?
  15. Mattijs Bliek Not quite so new!

    Do you mean the tilt lock, or the quick release lock?
  16. Zexun Tan I'm new!

    What do you mean by "tick"? Are you in fact referring to the bounce-back? In my research to get a good tripod system, the Sachtler 75mm tripods (ACE / ENG 75 MD or 2MD / 75 SL for Speedlock) are nothing to rave about as far as torsional rigidity is concerned.

    I hope to be able to loan a demo Ace from Vitec Asia this week to have a go at it filming around Singapore. I did a walkaround once two weeks ago with a loaner Vinten Vision 3 system, and that 8kg aluminum set, while extremely rigid without any bounce-back ("tick"?), was too darn heavy and I got a little tired.

    Looking to get either a Vinten Vision Blue or Sachtler Cine DSLR system soon myself, so these loaner sets really do help me find out more about how each system works. And yes, like you said, the Sachtler ACE i tried when I visited the local Vitec group offices had a very smooth head indeed.
  17. Saad Syed Chatty!

    I wish I could find just the ACE head for sale as I'd liek to use my own sticks.

    Anyway, another option is the 502HD... saw it the other day. Silky smooth from what I gathered after 30 seconds of playing.
  18. Chris Goll Not quite so new!

    Personally I love the 055 photo/movie head and 755 sticks. They aren't super light, but I can manage them strapped to a backpack. Great tripod if you shoot stills and video. Used I got the set for less than $500. A spreader is always convenient though.
  19. Dave Sullivan Not quite so new!

    Is it just me, or does the Benro video head look exactly like the Libec H40 head?
  20. Raymond Chiang I'm new!

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