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  • Gabi says:

    That was very useful, Dan. Thanks!

  • Anthony says:

    I was lucky enough to pick up a Gitzo Mountaineer with a Manfrotto ball head, for peanuts and looked like it was never used. I find I don’t often bring it along but it’s a nice piece of gear. It’s amazing how solid a nice tripod feels.

    Something like that last one looks interesting. I don’t carry or set up the tripod often so one that packs down into smaller sections might give me more reason to carry one in my pack.

    I almost always have a gorrilapod with ball head with me. Obviously not a full tripod but I was sure glad to have it this morning to take some shots of the sunrise on my way to work. It’s small and light enough that I just throw it in all the time.

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  • Marcus Bowe says:

    Your last couple articles have been great since I am about to buy my first “real” tripod. I’m going back and forth between the monfrotto aluminum 190x and the carbon 732. I do a bit of outdoors stuff including backpacking. I also want to spend some time doing some video work in the near future. It seems like the heavier tripod would be more stable for video work, but obviously the lighter carbon would be easier on the back. If you could only buy one, which would you get?

  • Dan Bailey says:

    Marcus, I did buy one last year, and I chose the Manfrotto Carbon 732CY. It’s light to pack, easy to carry and will hold a regular DLSR or smaller camera just fine. The 190X is also a great tripod, but it’s heavier. In my mind, it boils down to this: Which one are you more likely to carry more often? A heavier tripod isn’t sturdier if you leave it at home. That said, I already own an old heavier Bogen 3001, which is the old version of the 190X. However, it usually stays at home. Hope that helps!

  • Marcus Bowe says:

    Ya, it helps a lot. Thanks!

  • Paul says:

    I’d actually contend that the Vanguard 225CT is superior to the Slik tripod, being better built and the same closed length.

  • tmaxey says:

    I love VR, but sometimes you just need a tripod. I’m partial to Manfrotto, so thanks for covering those. The 732CY sounds really good for the money.

  • Peter Freeman says:

    Luminous-Landscapes categorically have found that a tripod with a centre column is simply not up to the job of holding a high definition camera with a quality lens still enough. I have to agree. Its essentially a well supported monopod, not a tripod at all. This holds true even if you retract the column all the way in!

    I am looking for a carbon fibre tripod with no centre column. This is more of a challenge to find.

  • Dan Bailey says:

    Peter, you’re right, center columns are not always stable, especially when extended.

    Following Galen Rowell’s lead, some photographers find a set of legs that they like, then ditch the center column and bolt the head directly to the tripod with a long stud and a few washers. Not only do you gain stability, you also reduce weight.

  • Paul says:

    I do think it’s plunging way deep into the weeds if you turn away from any tripod in the universe with a center column. The solution (especially since the proposed alternative would not offer a height alternative) is to simply not extend the center column! The difference between it being locked down tightly in the low position right at the base of the tripod joint, versus being the tripod joint itself, is 100% imperceptible to you, and maybe 1% perceptible to a seismograph. It has no bearing at all on the productive creation of art. That’s what this is about, right?

  • Great article – nothing wrong with any of these options compared to the more expensive ones on the market.

  • Glenn says:

    I needed a tripod to hold my Celestron Hummingbird spotting scope. I chose the 190CX. Haven’t looked back.

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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

    Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.


    Roger Sinclair

    You have done it again! Another triumph.

    Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

    Thank you, Dan.