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Would you carry a tripod?

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Would you carry a tripod?

Old 10-31-13, 05:33 PM
  #1  
mdilthey
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Would you carry a tripod?

Photographers,

I am waffling seriously on whether to bring my tripod with me to Colorado for a 1-2 month bike tour. Part of me says "Go ultralight, balance the camera on rocks/bags" but part of me longs for the stability and convenience of a tripod, especially since I'll be traveling alone with nobody to take my picture for posterity.

How do you decide which photo gear to carry and which to leave behind on long trips?

It's a 3lb aluminum Oben, and the camera is a Nikon D7000 with a 50mm. If you were me, would you bite the weight penalty and include it?

For reference, my base weight is around 20lbs for this trip. My bags probably weigh in at another 5lbs, though...

I know not everyone on the forum travels ultralight, but assume I'll notice an extra 3lbs in terms of balance when I'm pedaling, because I have my setup really dialed in.

Thanks for any input.

Last edited by mdilthey; 11-04-13 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 10-31-13, 06:11 PM
  #2  
Erick L
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I've been reducing my camping weight so I could bring more photo stuff. I carry a tripod, two micro 4/3 cameras with three lenses, a GoPro, over 20 batteries, two chargers and accessories. All those batteries are for timelapse when backpacking. I might add a motorized panning base. The biggest problem is finding time to actually use all that.

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Old 10-31-13, 07:01 PM
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midithey, I have brought mine and the weight penalty is worth it for some photos.

Brad
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Old 10-31-13, 07:28 PM
  #4  
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I leave the DSLRs at home when biking or canoeing. Bring a superzoom (Pentax X90) along instead and use a tiny tripod that weighs about 125 grams. Recently bought a waterproof camera (Pentax WG-3) when I realized how few photos I took on wet days. I also have a very light ****pod (150 grams) that I can thread onto the tiny tripod for extra height which I sometimes use. The tiny tripod and ****pod that I sometimes carry would not handle the weight of a DSLR but can easily handle my lighter weight cameras.

Photos from a canoe trip in early October this year in Boundary Waters Canoe Area, northern Minnesota. Not biking, sorry. First two from the WG-3, second pair from the X90 (discontinued model).









All were reduced to 20 percent or original size to enable easy electronic transfer, that is the only post processing done.

That said, if you are going to carry the DLSR with a prime lens, you will be very disappointed if you try to take some long exposures without your tripod. The first one above was 4 seconds.
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Old 10-31-13, 07:38 PM
  #5  
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I use a tripod when I have a big heavy lens, when I'm shooting in low light, or for other specialized types of photos (macro, multi-frame panorama, etc). On tour, almost anything I care about shooting can be done hand-held or with the camera resting on a found object (rock, fence, picnic table, tree limb) so I leave the tripod at home.
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Old 10-31-13, 08:11 PM
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You could go with a small tripod like a Ultrapod 2. Won't be as sturdy as a regular tripod, but it does give you other mounting options since you would be able to strap to a pole.
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Old 10-31-13, 08:18 PM
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A mini tripod might give you additional stability. I have found that trying to make do with whatever is available is rarely successful because the camera often has to be tilted one way or the other, or up or down, and that means fiddling with packing under the body. And if you have nothing, except the ground, then the picture might not be quite as well composed. There also is the risk of the camera slipping from its perch, falling and being damaged.

If taking pictures is really important to you and you want them for magazine or poster reproduction, the weight penalty shouldn't be an issue. Otherwise, leave the big camera at home and get a small Nikon P&S that takes perfectly adequate pictures, in the experience of both myself and Machka.
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Old 10-31-13, 08:45 PM
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bring tripod?
I did , with my 35mm film cameras .. self timer used occasionally .. always an awkward pose ..

Found a pretty compact, light one, back then .
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Old 11-01-13, 01:20 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I am waffling seriously on whether to bring my tripod with me to Colorado for a 1-2 month bike tour. Part of me says "Go ultralight, balance the camera on rocks/bags" but part of me longs for the stability and convenience of a tripod, especially since I'll be traveling alone with nobody to take my picture for posterity.
You can have both. Get a Tamrac Zipshot.


Also handy if you do video is an Xsories Big U-Shot. But don't start looking around this site if you want to keep your credit card intact.

PS. My camera of choice for cycle touring is a Sony RX100 and a GoPro. Leave the DSLR at home and embrace the challenge of shooting with a high end point and shoot. The results can be stunning.

Last edited by ekibayno; 11-01-13 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Added comment.
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Old 11-01-13, 06:22 AM
  #10  
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I carry a small clamp mount, its a compromise but it helps, You can sometimes clamp it to a stick and use it as a ****pod.
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Old 11-01-13, 06:44 AM
  #11  
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Tourist in MSN, Lovely photos.

Brad
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Old 11-01-13, 08:00 AM
  #12  
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I'd skip a full size tripod. Consider the Pedco Ultrapod. I liked it a lot better than the Gorillapod that I had. The larger of the two models would be best for your DSLR. Personally I'd take another lens before a tripod though.

Just my opinion, but I never especially liked the 50mm look. If going with prime lenses I'd be inclined to take a wide angle first, a short telephoto next, and leave the 50 home.
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Old 11-01-13, 09:20 AM
  #13  
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+1 for the Ultrapod II mini tripod. I've used one for years, with my Nikon D70 and now my D7000 and it does a good job. That Tamrac Zipshot looks pretty cool, too. Might have to check that out.
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Old 11-01-13, 01:06 PM
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I carry a DSLR version of the Gorilla Pod. Works for me alright. I carry a full rig of lenses and such. Makes up like 60% of my weight LOL
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Old 11-02-13, 08:15 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by SparkyGA View Post
I carry a DSLR version of the Gorilla Pod. Works for me alright. I carry a full rig of lenses and such. Makes up like 60% of my weight LOL
I don't have that kind of gear but the Gorilla Pods work well for me and fit right into my handlebar bag with a camera.

Marc
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Old 11-02-13, 09:45 AM
  #16  
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I've got a Giottos carbon fiber tripod. Its damn light, packs down to a little under a foot and a half in length, sports a ball socket head and converts to a ****pod if you want. I would carry it wherever I went.
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Old 11-02-13, 10:29 AM
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I have a tripod by Velbon that I fly with and have used on the bike. Though it is light, it is very stable. I routinely do 30 second exposures with it, and use it with my Canon 70-200 F/4 L IS with no issues. They have changed the product lineup a bit since I got mine. Mine has a ball head. Here is a link to the Ultra Series: http://www.velbon.biz/product/ultra.html
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Old 11-02-13, 10:55 AM
  #18  
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Another vote here for the Tamrac Zipshot. I have the shorter Zipshot Mini, which I carry in a water bottle. The full size Zipshot is closer to the height of a normal tripod and should still carry easily in a pannier.



I originally bought it intending to use it with my Powershot, but I've been surprised to find it will support my DSLR, as long as I am using a lightwieght lens.
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Old 11-02-13, 12:20 PM
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If you're going to stop riding multiple times for the time it takes to carefully compose a shot and fiddle with exposures, then you definitely ought to bring it. It won't break you or your bike, and it's only going to slow you down--but if you're going to stop to take careful pictures, then WTF?

Seems like an easy call.
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Old 11-02-13, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for all the info! I'm definitely into taking pictures, but given the extra water I've got to carry in the Southwest, I think I'm going to leave it at home. If I really, really, really get the bug for a night shot I'll stabilize the camera with rocks and use my remote shutter.

Thanks for the tips on lightweight tripods for the next trip!
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Old 11-02-13, 03:18 PM
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I am not a photographer by any stretch, I use point and shoot cameras or cellphone cameras. I do carry a mini- tripod, it is similar to this one.

Aaron
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Old 11-02-13, 10:05 PM
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I took my D7000, Nikkor 28-300mm and Gitzo carbon tripod with me on the most of the C&O, the GAP, Cheif, and some of the silver comet.

The weight really doesn't slow you down nearly as much as stopping, setting up working on exposures......

At this point you don't plan on taking the tripod, that is fine. Do look into using the timer on the camera. Do think about packing clothing so you can use it to put the camera on. Do consider changing out lenses. That 50mm is very limiting. I love my 28-300mm lens. It is my walking around lens. It allows me to take photos of snakes from a save distance and setup for pans. But if you don't want to drop that much money my 17-70 Sigma would be next on the list for touring.

One more note, IMHO, quick detach connector on a tripod is not an option, it is an essential.

Last edited by RWBlue01; 11-02-13 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 11-02-13, 11:12 PM
  #23  
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I've been known to carry a packable, lightweight Gitzo 1541T with Markins Q3T ballhead that I originally picked up as my dSLR backpacking tripod. A decent tripod is mandatory for landscape, low-light, and night photography. With good shutter technique on those legs, I've gotten tack sharp images with lenses as long as 300mm.
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Old 11-03-13, 01:34 AM
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I carry a point-and-shoot camera and a little tripod.
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Old 11-03-13, 06:33 AM
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If you're taking photos for yourself (i.e. no commercial purposes), I'd leave the D700 at home, and bring a slim Micro 4/3 camera or a large-sensor compact. An Olympus M4/3 is much smaller and has in-camera image stabilization; the Panasonic 20mm is an excellent and fast lens; you can easily print high-quality 8x10 or possibly 11x14. Large-sensor compacts will be very small, light, easy to use, and can print up to 8x10 with excellent quality.


If you must bring the DSLR: As far as I know, the D700 + 50mm will not have image stabilization. That will be an issue with hand-held shots.

I recommend you do a test outing, and do direct comparisons of photos taken with and without the tripod. If the hand-held shots lack critical sharpness, then bring the tripod.

You should also consider....
• The good ol' "string ****pod" trick (look it up)
• Using a lens that has image stabilization
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