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Marteana Davidson
Lightweight and sturdy Tripods
on Jun 6, 2011 at 4:38:34 pm

Can someone recommend a lighweight and sturdy tripod. This will be used in a high school setting so it needs to withstand student use.
We currently use Libec TH M20 but I think we could go lighter in weight.
Please advise.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Lightweight and sturdy Tripods
on Jun 6, 2011 at 8:30:15 pm

[Marteana Davidson] "Can someone recommend a lighweight and sturdy tripod. This will be used in a high school setting so it needs to withstand student use.
We currently use Libec TH M20 but I think we could go lighter in weight."


Hi,
There are tripods that are a couple of pounds lighter, but does a couple of pounds really matter? Schleping gear is part of the deal, and good for students to get used to. None of the tripods in the same category as the M20 are by any means heavy. At a certain point with budget priced sticks you sacrifice stability and durability for weight savings. And part of the overall weight of the tripod is the head. And the head you choose will have a big impact on assembled tripod weight.

It's hard to recommend a tripod without know your situation, but here are some things to consider when choosing a tripod set-up.
Your budget.
How heavy is the camera you're using?
Are you just looking for a tripod, or do you need a fluid head too?
What size bowl do you want/need?
How high and low do you need it to go?
What type of feet?
Do you need a quick release?
What accessories do you need? Spreader? Pan Handle? Wheels?
Other factors are the quality of the adjustment hardware, built in levels, durability and even the type of shooting that is normally done.

In many ways there are a lot more considerations than weight. A tripod that is tough to set-up, shakes on long shots, breaks or collapses isn't worth the weight or cost savings. And often to have a nice light weight in listings, weights will be quoted without any commonly used accessories.

When you are figuring your camera weight, actually weigh your camera as you use it with all accessories attached. Mfgrs list weights can be 'optimistically' light. And make sure your camera isn't at the top end of the chosen tripod/head weight rating, it's good to leave some headroom.

As far as withstanding student use, I would place that in the same category as renter use. In reality, none of these lightweight tripods are designed with that type of use in mind, and will get beat up a lot quicker then a tripod designed for daily professional* use, that cost a lot more. I think in this environment the low cost, light weight, tripod becomes an expendable item that will need to be replaced every few years.
Light weight, low cost, or longevity. You can only have any two of these.

*I'm not implying anything about professionalism here. Many professionals like myself own and use these light weight sticks. I'm referring to tripods like the big Gitzo's, Schatlers, Oconnors, etc. are built to withstand daily use by multiple users like you would see in rental or news ops.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Marteana Davidson
Re: Lightweight and sturdy Tripods
on Jun 10, 2011 at 3:16:58 pm

Thanks Scott. You are correct when you say that part of the process of the students is to carry their gear around. 99% of the students have not complained and the 1% that does I give them the ole "I walked to school barefoot" routine but really back in the day I carried a ton of equipment which included a heavy tripod, heavy camera, heavy deck, and may be a battery belt.

Thank you for the lists. I will consider it all while shopping although I think I will keep what we've been using for now as budgets dwindle everywhere.


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