Old 04-29-2011, 02:06 AM   #26
Dennis A. Livesey
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I have an aluminum Manfrotto 055 tripod and 486RC2 ball head. Since I switched out a 3 way to the ball head, I have never looked back. Since the ball head sets so fast, I use the tripod much more, particularly if the action is slow to moderate. My reward? I know the pictures will be as sharp as possible.

I find the 486RC2 plate and holder has it's limits. It is NOT solid at 200mm. A finger tip touch will show up it's lack of precision. Troy, I am curious as to how solid the Really Right Stuff and Acra is for you.

Aluminum vs carbon fiber? Well-made carbon fiber is as solid as well-made aluminum but 2/3's of the weight. Great for those hiking in. My concern, however, with carbon fibre is not rigidity but solidity in a gust of wind. Here aluminum would be the winner I think since we all have gust of wind issues in rail photography.

The next brand to consider is Gitzo, sort of the Lexus of tripods. European (Italy?), beautifully made and the heads slightly odd looking, (ever see a Chapelon Pacific locomotive?) they are the expected tripod for the more well-heeled enthusiast.

Acra, Really Right Stuff heads and Gitzo legs are the the most solid, most expensive and the gold standard combination.

Others to consider after Manfrotto and Gitzo would be Giottos, Vanguard and Slik, all of which are the most well reviewed tripods at B&H.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:20 AM   #27
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Troy, I am curious as to how solid the Really Right Stuff and Acra is for you.
It's outstanding.

I too had the 486RC2 head and QR plates and found it lacking. It was less the head than the way the plates mounted and locked in. You know what I mean.

The RRS heads use the Acra Swiss system which is really good, clamps everything very tight and stable. It's not cheap though. But I preferred to spend money on the head rather than the legs. The tradeoff of the aluminum manfrotto stuff is it's heavy and physically larger than the carbon stuff. Which normally isnt an issue, but when I fly and want to take my gear, I end up having to take my largest suitcase because it is the only one which can accommodate it and it ends up putting the bag over 50 pounds so I end up paying excess weight fee (usually $50) each way.

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Old 04-29-2011, 04:02 AM   #28
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I use a 475 which is nice and heavy for the wind I deal with in the Gorge. I just picked up one of the Manfrotto 055CXPRO carbon fiber tripods and put my Manfrotto static ball head head on it. It's nice and light, but I have open it wide and get down real low to keep it stable in the wind. It's nice when I'm climbing the rocks around Maryhill. I use a three way and six sided tripod mounts http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...k_Release.html on the 475 which will support the 200-400. I have the quick release plates on my cameras and the 200-400 and they are real stable.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:59 AM   #29
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I don't have a Manfrotto, I have a Majestic.

I also don't screw things on, or use heads.
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:01 PM   #30
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Some of us use quick release plates that we leave permanently on the bottom of the body and of any long lenses with their own tripod mounts.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Ball_Head.html
I use quick release plates with my tripods. I have found no reason to use one with a monopod, since screwing the monopod to the camera takes about as much time as using a quick release plate. It's redundant, IMO. Seriously, if you're going to take the time to screw the plate into the camera, you could already be screwed into the monopod.

And now that I know what Troy was referring to, no, it's not a pain in the ass. How frequently do you combine the usage of monopods and tripods? Rarely for me (actually...never). But as I already conveyed, screwing the monopod to the camera or lens takes seconds. There is no reason to use a mounting plate.
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:49 PM   #31
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I have plates on my bodies and lenses with feet. If I wanted to do your method, I would have to remove the plates before I could screw them to my monopod. That wastes time, and my plates mount up with an allen head bolt, so I would have to lug around an allen wrench to remove/reinstall the plates to my bodies and lenses.

No way. It's worth the 80$ I spent for the quick release head to mount to my monopod.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:18 PM   #32
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You have the plates on all the time? I only put mine on when I'm going to use a tripod, which is hardly ever, considering the majority of my shooting is during the day. I only use a tripod for night shots, and even then, the plate comes off the camera as soon as I'm done using it. The plate just gets in the way when it's on and I'm not using a tripod.

I tend to use a monopod more than a tripod anyway. No reason to have a plate on there when I can quickly screw on and off the monopod from the 100-400 lens ring.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:42 PM   #33
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You have the plates on all the time? I only put mine on when I'm going to use a tripod, which is hardly ever, considering the majority of my shooting is during the day. I only use a tripod for night shots, and even then, the plate comes off the camera as soon as I'm done using it. The plate just gets in the way when it's on and I'm not using a tripod.
Yea, I leave the plates on all the time. I have no reason to take them off, ever. When I handhold, they are not in the way, when i put them on the mono or tripod, they are already there. I am really having a hard time understanding why anyone would not do this.

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I tend to use a monopod more than a tripod anyway. No reason to have a plate on there when I can quickly screw on and off the monopod from the 100-400 lens ring.
Look at it this way, if you had a quick release head on your monopod, you would NEVER have to screw with taking the plates on/off ever again.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:06 PM   #34
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Yea, I leave the plates on all the time. I have no reason to take them off, ever. When I handhold, they are not in the way, when i put them on the mono or tripod, they are already there. I am really having a hard time understanding why anyone would not do this.
Because they are bulky and get in the way and make holding my grip a pain in the ass (well, hand actually). I am really having a hard time understanding why anyone would leave the plate on when not using a tripod...unless you use a tripod ALL the time.

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Look at it this way, if you had a quick release head on your monopod, you would NEVER have to screw with taking the plates on/off ever again.
I don't WANT plates on my camera when I'm not using a tripod. Why would I want a plate on there when I only use a tripod when shooting at night (which is hardly ever). 99% of my shooting is during daylight hours...having a bulky plate in the way is pointless. And screwing a monopod to my camera or lens only takes seconds if I want to shoot in lower light (cloudy day, for example). In fact, it's a part of the process of walking to get a shot.

Do you really shoot with a tripod THAT much that it warrants keeping the plate on your camera at all times? I just can't fathom that when it comes to railroad photography.

Screwing on a plate or removing it literally takes ONE second. How can this be a hassle?
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:52 PM   #35
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Screwing on a plate or removing it literally takes ONE second. How can this be a hassle?
Wow, you are really gifted. It takes me more than one second just to find the plate, when it is off.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:56 PM   #36
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Ok, to each his own.
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:28 PM   #37
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I use two cameras most of the time and two tripods - having the plates attached to my cameras makes the whole process of setting up quick and easy. I think the only time I've taken a plate off of my camera was when I shot a wedding recepttion last summer. It just made it easier to set the camera down on the table while eating and socializing with relatives and friends.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:19 PM   #38
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.... I am really having a hard time understanding why anyone would leave the plate on when not using a tripod...unless you use a tripod ALL the time.....
Cause it looks cool to the noobs.

With the exception of my 100-400mm, I take the plates off.

With the telephoto, I leave it on the tripod bracket, but I only put that on the lens when I am going to use the tripod.

I don't know why people leave the tripod bracket on their telephoto when they are shooting hand held.

That I think is silly.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:46 PM   #39
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Wow, you are really gifted.
Thanks. My gf tells me that all the time.

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Cause it looks cool to the noobs.
Yes, that's it!

Troy, here's a test for you. Take the plate, put it in the palm of your hand and then keep it there when you're gripping the wheel of your car as you're driving. See how uncomfortable that feels? It feels the same way when I hold my camera vertical when shooting (which I do a LOT).

Do you also keep a flash mounted to your camera when shooting in the daytime because it's too much of a hassle to remove it?

And now that I think about it, I don't believe I've ever encountered someone shooting without a tripod and leaving the plate attached to the camera. Must be a regional thing to leave it on.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:53 PM   #40
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Talking It looks cool to the noobs....

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Thanks. My gf tells me that all the time.
If you were that talented she would be more than your GF.


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Do you also keep a flash mounted to your camera when shooting in the daytime because it's too much of a hassle to remove it?
Noobs....

See below.

Trespassing at its Finest

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Old 04-30-2011, 05:00 PM   #41
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If you were that talented she would be more than your GF.
Only a matter of time, my friend.

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Noobs....

See below.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:17 PM   #42
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Troy, here's a test for you. Take the plate, put it in the palm of your hand and then keep it there when you're gripping the wheel of your car as you're driving. See how uncomfortable that feels? It feels the same way when I hold my camera vertical when shooting (which I do a LOT).
I dont find it uncomfortable or distracting at all. I have an L plate on the camera bodies too. And leaving the plates on the lenses, at least my plates/lenses, it is barely noticeable.

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Do you also keep a flash mounted to your camera when shooting in the daytime because it's too much of a hassle to remove it?
Negative...

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And now that I think about it, I don't believe I've ever encountered someone shooting without a tripod and leaving the plate attached to the camera. Must be a regional thing to leave it on.
LoL, yea, it's a southern thing. I think if you really asked, you would be in the minority on this issue. I could be wrong though.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:34 PM   #43
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LoL, yea, it's a southern thing. I think if you really asked, you would be in the minority on this issue. I could be wrong though.
The reason I facetiously said it must be a regional thing is because I don't know anyone in my area who shoots during the day a leaves the plate on their camera.

Being in the minority...hmm...are you suggesting that the majority of daytime railroad photographers use tripods? The last daytime railroad photographer I saw using a tripod was an old man taking a wedgie shot at a crossing. I guess it would make sense for him to leave the plate on all the time.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:36 PM   #44
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How about lampshades....

Do people leave those on all the time too?
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:38 PM   #45
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How about lampshades....

Do people leave those on all the time too?
Actually, it takes more time and effort to remove the lampshade than a mounting plate for a tripod, but alas, it only goes on when I need it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:47 PM   #46
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I'm with Troy and Dan on this one: I leave my quick-release plates on all the time. I have plates for all of my bodies and telephoto lens tripod rings so that I don't have to waste any time swapping them around. I do most of my serious* shooting off a tripod, but when doing casual stuff hand-held I don't find the plate on the body to be the least bit hindering or bothersome.

(* - Serious = photos where I make a strong effort to ensure the best possible focus; my experience shooting NCAA rifle in college made it clear that my hands shake a bit.)
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:14 AM   #47
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:21 AM   #48
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I leave the QR plates on my camera bodies, 70-200L and 100-400L lenses at all times though I rarely use my tripod. To install and remove the plates each time would be a waste of time and I am more likely to end up losing the plate.

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Old 05-01-2011, 04:44 AM   #49
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I leave the plates on too. They dont get in the way and why take something off Im going to have to put back on again?
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:47 AM   #50
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I leave the plates on too. They dont get in the way and why take something off Im going to have to put back on again?
Me too - also helps protect the bottom of the camera when steadying on a wall or concrete post or whatever.
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