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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Backpacker Photo School: Get A Great Tripod For Less

Ready to upgrade your tripod? Figure out which one you want because now is the time to buy.

If you’re a serious photographer, you can’t truly get by without a tripod. You can buy the best camera out there, but your low light photos will still come out blurry if you try to hand-hold the camera with a long shutter speed. You need something strong and steady, as well as light, so you can hike it in all those miles. Sounds like Carbon Fiber to me!

You’re in luck: Manufacturer Manfrotto is offering $50 back to anyone who purchases one of their Carbon Fiber tripods and a head between now and Jan. 31. They’re an excellent tripod company, but they can be pricey, so a $50 rebate is a welcome deal. Read all the details, fine print, and download the form here:
http://www.bogenimaging.us/Jahia/site/bius/pid/20741

So, you’ve got two weeks to make up your mind about what to get. First, find out the weight of your camera with its heaviest lens. This will help you know how strong a tripod and ball head you need. Manfrotto’s website gives specific details about how much each tripod and ball head can hold up, as well as the weight and size of the products themselves.

I’ve got the 190cx3 Tripod with the 484rc2 Mini Ball Head. This ball head is meant for a camera slightly lighter than what I usually use, but I chose it because it’s lighter than the next size up and I’m a wimp about carrying too many heavy things. I haven’t run into any problems with it slipping, even with a really large lens.

The brand new M-Y Carbon Tripod is slightly lighter and more compact than what I have. If you get one of these, please tell me how awesome it is!

And if you’re not quite ready to invest in Carbon Fiber, or you’ve only got a point and shoot camera, maybe the fun and functional Gorillapod (left) is right for you instead. Our staff loves these.

—Genny Fullerton

Images by Ben Fullerton (top), Courtesy

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I will tell you that I think the itty bitty Gorilla pods are not useful for full - sized DSLRs. I have an old aluminum adjustable tripod; it's jsut over one lb. and I can hook it on my compression straps. Plus it is waaaaaay cheaper than a carbon fiber tripod which is only a few oz. lighter.

Pete J.
Jan 15, 2010

I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-W290 that I use in conjunction with a Gorillapod, I have to say they work pretty well together. The Gorilla pod can take some time to get it to hold the camera exactly how you want it, but when you get the frame set it holds pretty solidly.

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