Help! I want to buy a tripod for myself for Christmas but I'm confused. I know what sort of pics I want it for, what equipment I'll use it with, what conditions I'll be in and how much I have to spend. But despite tripod
), I just can't figure out which tripod will be the best for my criteria.
Hive mind, what would you recommend?
What I'm confused about
Ball head? Replaceable head? Carbon fibre? Aluminium? Collapsible centre column? Locking? Something to hang weights off? Bogen? Manfrotto? Panning head? Quick-release plate? A collapsible centre column sounds cool and I can see myself using it to take down low shots. But everything else is just a confusing blur – I'm not sure how much of it I need.
What I shoot with
A Nikon D2H and assortment of big heavy lenses for work. Also have a little Canon Powershot S3IS for fun at home, and as an emergency back up. Occasionally I use the Nikon for fun things at home too.
What I want to use the tripod for
Mostly fun and experimenting outside of work hours. It's storm season where I live and I want to take lightning pics! Also I live a block from the beach and it would be cool to play around more with sunsets and sunrises. There's a really amazing river and waterfall up the road. I'd love to do some long exposures from the riverbank, or maybe in the shallows. I've always wanted to experiment with star trails and pics of the moon. Oh. And light painting! To be honest, I can't see myself using a tripod at work day to day – the stuff I'm shooting is usually moving around, or I'm moving around it. But I do occasionally think ''O, if only I had a tripod''. I might use it with the Canon to shoot short, simple video at some point down the line, too. Also self portraits, for fun. And shameless Facebook narcissism.
How much I can pay
Cannot be ridiculous expensive. I am a broke journalist. I can save up about AUD $200-or so by Christmas, but much more than that would break the bank. This budget will have to include postage. There are no camera shops near me so I'll be buying over eBay (or another online vendor if anyone can recommend one). On the other hand, if something under $200 is going to be useless, then I'll save for a bit longer and get the better equipment.
Where it'll live and how much I have to lug it around
My kit lives in the tiny boot of my hatchback car and goes everywhere with me. For work, I travel a lot, occasionally to fairly challenging and remote locations, but mainly I'm in a rural area. Sometimes I fly, some
times I drive. It's a pain in the arse enough to drag all the equipment and a laptop with me as it is. So I'd rather get something fairly light. But I'm worried I'll have to trade off stability?
What I do NOT want
A job gorilla pod, or other mini / bendy tripod. To build my own tripod. A monopod.
I am in your hands photo Mefites.