Tripod / Head Suggestions


Well-Known Member
Good Morning, October marks my year end review and with that I normally get a bonus. I was thinking of taking that bonus money and putting it to good use on a nice tripod and tripod head. Jim was so nice to email me some recommendations but thought I would give myself more opportunity to gather more ideas. Currently I am using one where the clips lock...I have had a lot of issues with them coming loos and not locking properly anymore. I also don't like the ball head on my tripod. I have one of the ones where you have to tighten the clip rather than the quick release. Any and all suggestions are welcomed!! @Dean I loves the tripod you had in the back of your truck when we were shooting up at owl creek. I particularly liked the ball head. Thank you all! oh and I have about a $500 budget.

David S

Well-Known Member
the problem is the tighten/loosen legs get grit and sand in the threads often leading to just as much frustration. The quick release ones can be ok if they are not cheap plastic and have serviceable screws on them. I picked up a decent Manfrotto ball head for 100$ like 10 years ago and I still use it today, they never fail it seems, I just trade out the legs every few years when the warranty runs out. The feet fall off and the clamps eventually get loose, but its a good reason to get a more recent tripod every few years.

What I do is, I just pick up tripod legs that are in the 150$ range and include a 5+ year warranty even if I have to pay 50$ for the warranty, it's a no questions asked sort of thing... they just give you the current version of what you had before. I usually stick with hollow aluminum, ; carbon fiber is nice but in a gust of wind it can fall over easily from being so light... The really right stuff is great, and will probably last until the company is no longer there, the question is whether its worth it for you to pay 1500+ for a tripod that will last 10 years, or $200 and switch it out every 4 years under warranty... Once I went like 3 sets of legs in 8 years under the same warranty, it was fun to get to change color and feel every few years for free. The head screws on/off in seconds for most tripods. Some people wouldn't like this "hassle" and would just rather have legs that never fall apart... down to personal taste I think, personally, my tripod gets dinged and scratched up so I enjoy getting a new one....


Founding Member
I agree with Ben....Really Right Stuff is as good as you can buy.
I agree on his tripod suggestion, but would recommend the LR-BH55 ball head. In my opinion the finest there is. I've had mine for over 10 years and it has never given me reason to doubt it. I would also add the appropriate L-bracket also by RRS. Makes it a snap to go from landscape to portrait orientation and keep the camera's weight directly over the tripod's center of gravity.

Kyle Jones

I use the RRS heads and agree that the BH55 is the bomb. I also have the BH40 which is also nice, but the angular control lever can get in its own way. The head is smaller and lighter though.

I've made the same mistake as everyone else and attempted to go cheaper on legs. They always let me down eventually. At the same time RRS is really expensive if you aren't ready for that yet. So...

I did by the Leofoto (look them up) equivalent of the RRS TQC-14 as some cheap travel legs. They definitely served their purpose and I think they are a reasonable bargain alternative. I don't expect them to be as reliable in the long term though. I also just bought the ProMedia Gear equivalent of the RRS 34 series tripod. There don't appear to be any compromises in these legs - they are really really nice and a couple hundred $$ less than RRS. Worth a look.
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Doug P

Well-Known Member
I ended up a blended solution. I use a Gitzo GT1545TUS tripod, an Arca Swiss P0 head with a Really Right Stuff LR II Lever Release Clamp. Very happy with that.

I also have an old Sanford and Davis that I have had since the '70s. On that I put a fluid head by Manfrotto. Great when you are near the car or have a big lens on. I don't use much over a 300mm anymore so it collects dust and dirt in the truck, but I never leave home without it.


Well-Known Member
Going to revive this thread as I need a new tripod and in 2023 what is the forums opinion on what available today? I will shoot with up to a 500mm, and I also like to setup for close to ground level imaging.


Staff member
My main tripod is from Manfrotto. I have 2 of these, a Carbon Fiber one and an aluminum one. I don't like the Manfrotto quick release mount, so I won't get the tripod with their ballhead.

It also comes in a 4 leg version.

You will notice this has leg clamps as I hate the twist lock legs. I do not want to take the chance on a leg slipping because I didn't quite twist it enough (and yes that happened many many years ago). So solid leg clamps are the way to go, and they are also faster. You can set up a clamp based tripod in half the time as a twist lock, or even faster. And as I am often just getting to a sunset, or spotting a fleeting moment, seconds count in my book.

My backpacking tripods, or travel tripods are smaller, I like the ones by K&F, and I have a similar one by Suiri.

That's the link to the K&F one. I have mounted all of my cameras and lenses on it. With a longer lens, the bigger the better, but this one will work in a pinch.

By the way, I will get my photography card taken away I am sure, but I won't buy the Really Right Stuff ballheads or gear. I find them extremely over priced. It's almost extortion what they charge. So all of my ball heads are now generic ball heads from Amazon. I just get ones with the largest ball.

PS. The Links are to Amazon
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