Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Landscape & Nature Photography => Topic started by: boku on March 07, 2004, 04:44:11 pm

Title: tripod for macro
Post by: boku on March 07, 2004, 04:44:11 pm

You might have a look at the Gitzo Explorer series. The main post is on a pivot that articulates. There is a review of it on this site.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: QuaqQuao on March 07, 2004, 10:21:48 pm
Gitzo explorer 2220 with a ballhead is, I think, the most versatile tripod around. It's light enough to drag around, although this version is aliminium. The legs can be spread out 90 degrees and the of-center column can be moved freely.
It takes a wee bit more time to level it for ordinary shooting because the legs doesn't have detents, but it is a minor annoyance imo.
I have not tested it with your kind of gear though, only a Minolta A1 which is quite a light camera. The tripos is rated for 6 kg. It feels stable and solid and I think It should be able to handle a, lets say canon 10d, 100mm macro combo with some weight to spare. You'll have to get a second opinion on that though
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Howard Smith on March 08, 2004, 01:17:31 pm
If you want to really close to the ground, it is hard to beat a bean bag.  Very cheap and you can eat it later.  Set on the ground, position the camera where you want it, and use either the self timer or a cable release.  A rock or log will allow you to raise it a bit if needed.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Howard Smith on March 08, 2004, 03:54:33 pm
It has been my experience while hunting mushrooms that the ground is usually wet and very soft.  It is difficult to find solid footing for tripods.  Small table top tripods have a fairly narrow stance and can be rather unstable on soft forest ground (mud, rotting leaves, etc.).
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Mark Muller on March 09, 2004, 12:34:14 pm
I happily use a Bogen 3021 pro (outside of the US:  Manfrotto 055 Pro).  It goes low to the ground.  It also has the option of holding the column horizontally instead of vertically, which is useful if you want to position the camera facing downwards.  It is a bit cheaper than the the equivalent Gitzo model, and use quick release lever leg locks instead of gitzos' twist locks.  Which is better is a matter of personal preference.  Personally, I hate twist locks.  The base 3021 (055) costs a bit less, weighs a bit less, and doesn't have the horizontal column holding feature.

For less money and weight, there are the 3001 series Bogens (Manfrotto 190).  For me, they aren't tall enough when doing non-macro photography.  They also aren't as sturdy as the 3021/055 models, which may be an issue when using a large macro lens, plus some extension, plus an unwieldy flash set up.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Brien Sz on March 10, 2004, 06:40:19 am
The Gitzo Explorer G2220 is a tremendous tripod.  It weighs just under 8 ounces more than the G2227 at half the cost.  Save the $200+ dollars and get yourself the angled viewfinder, as it is very handy, and you'll have some change in your pocket to boot.

I had the Benbo for years.  A good tripod but a bit cumbersome if you are not used to using uni-lock tripods.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Howard Smith on March 10, 2004, 02:04:29 pm
I once had a tripod (can't remember what it was) with a camera mount screw on the bottom of the center column.  The camera hung up-side-down.  By raising and lowering the center column,you could adjust the hight of the camera above the ground.  I couldn't get used to using the camera up-side-down and gave it up.  Then I got a view camera and had to learn to word up-side-down.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: maggie on March 07, 2004, 02:29:41 pm
Can anyone piont me to a nice tripod set up for photographing mushrooms. A tripod device that will allow me to be almost on the ground level, but also will hold relatively heavy ballhead and body with macro-twin flashlight.

Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Image Northwest on March 07, 2004, 09:42:10 pm
Another one is made by Benbo.  It will put your camera right on the ground, it needed. It's a different sort of tripod than the standard variety.  I've used one for several years, and it's great for flowers and such. But if you intend to use the tripod beyond marco work, it's too cumbersome and I would go with the traditional type.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: jabberwocky on March 08, 2004, 11:37:34 am
Have a look at the Gitzo 2227. Michael's review (this site) has image of it being used. Looks like it might fit the bill.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: BJL on March 08, 2004, 02:28:09 pm
Welcome fellow mushroom lover! I have hundred of "fungus photos" than I plan to put on a web-page some day.

   There are lots of good ideas already, but for working close to the ground, has anyone tried a mini-tripod, the type mainly intended for table top usage? You could fairly comfortable walk around with it dangling from the tripod mount.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Howard Smith on March 08, 2004, 04:32:40 pm
I forgot to add:

A very important and useful piece of equipment is a angled finder.  Your camera will be nearly on the ground.  Use an angled finder to keep from having to stick your face in the mud and rotting vegitation.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: BJL on March 08, 2004, 04:52:56 pm
A very important and useful piece of equipment is a angled finder.  
Good points. As an alternative to an angled finder, a digicam with tiltable LCD screen or EVF. Or a medium format camera with top-down viewfinder, for those with more traditional tastes.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Paulo on March 10, 2004, 01:57:10 am
FWIW, I use a Gitzo carbon fiber 325, the one without a centre column, fitted with a Kirk ballhead.. It goes flat on the ground.
Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Richard Dawson on March 10, 2004, 01:31:57 pm

Another option to consider is the Low Pod from Kirk.  I have no experience with it, but it looks like it might work.  You can check it out at (

I believe that Arthur Morris once experimented with a homemade device of a similar nature.  It was made with a plywood base, with a ball head mounted on it.  His issue was getting a very low viewpoint when photographing birds.  It seems to me that he discussed this in an article with the title "Getting Down and Dirty with Birds", or something like that.  Despite what I considered to be a misleading title, I still found it to be informative after I recovered from my initial disapointment.

Howard's suggestion regarding the angle finder is excellent.  It's one of those devices that at first looks extravagant, but quickly pays for itself in convenience.  The Canon variety also permits a 2.5x magnification, which helps with focusing.

Title: tripod for macro
Post by: Hank on March 10, 2004, 04:03:09 pm
The cheapest (around $30), and for my needs most functional and effective means of shooting close to the ground is a Bogen Super Clamp.  Merely screw on your tripod head, then clamp at any position along the tripod leg.  They are useful enough I always keep one clamped to the tripod- out of the way but ready for use.  As for supporting a load, we use them all the time to mount heavy studio lights in awkward spots on location shoots.  They open to clamp around things up to 2 inches or so in diameter, as I recall.  We also use them regularly to mount a tripod head to the top of step ladders when more height is called for-  Quadropod?