[b]Beatrice in Japan Asks (a Ninja!):[/b]
…sor­ry I could­n’t help the Ask a Nin­ja Ref

Moth­er’s Day is around the cor­ner and my hus­band wants to get me a tri­pod for my gear. It is waaaaay over­due! I am on the brink of a migraine and tears try­ing to fig­ure out what to pur­chase. Could you make a rec­om­men­da­tion based on the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion?

+ Canon 20D w/battery grip
+ Canon 580EX flash
+ largest lens: Canon 70–200L IS f/2.8 w/collar
(note: and she’s on a mil­i­tary base and so can play with options much)

[b]Ken Says:[/b]
You know, I hate tripods and con­sid­er them a nec­es­sary evil… so my advice is about what I use, and not up-to-date review filled with love for tripods 🙂

I have an old, lightweight[b] Slik tripod[/b] I love. It seems like this one:
Slik U212 Uni­ver­sal Deluxe Tri­pod with 3‑Way Pan Head #212
for $99 here:

💡 I love that it’s legs can go out seper­ate­ly, has a quick release for the cam­era, lev­el, rub­ber and spiked feet and flips pret­ty eas­i­ly and ver­sa­tile­ly for copy­s­tand work, etc. Even though it’s light, it should be fine for a nor­mal dig­i­tal set­up as you describe.

😡 I used to own a Bogen/Manfroto which was super heavy. You buy those legs, then head of your choice. It was nice and sol­id, but a bit of a pain then to drag around. But do you know the real rea­son I did­n’t like it?? The stu­pid flip-style leg locks real­ly hurt when open­ing and clos­ing… Maybe I’m just a dufus, but I could­n’t find a way to not pinch my fin­gers in every pho­to ses­sion. So for­tu­nate­ly it was stolen and I did­n’t have to keep get­ting pinched 🙂

So do con­sid­er which leg lock setups it has. I don’t like the spin­ning lock as it’s hard­er to tell when they are tight, they get loose eas­i­ly, etc… YMMV. Also how the cam­era will attach and quick­ly be removed.

My life is hit and run, so I like speed releas­es. I’m also a fan of the heads that you grip to let loose, then the ball gives total swiv­el posi­tion­ing. BUT it MUST be a top-qual­i­ty, expen­sive one or it can slip or be cheesy qual­i­ty. Good ones are very easy to use and lock down tight.

I used to work at cam­era stores in col­lege and my first year out, so I’ve been around a few tripods… but that’s 20 years ago now. I am inter­est­ed that my Slik is still made. I think that’s a good sign for it. Also, tripods aren’t high tech and don’t change often.

Great hus­band, BTW to do that. Mil­i­tary and sup­port­ing the pho­to habit. Tell him I say he rocks.

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