Thursday, March 12, 2009

My New Tripod

I have been yearning for a new tripod, ever since I found the old one was not sturdy enough for a DSLR.

I did a lot of research, some of it probably useful but in the end there is no substitute for actually getting your hands on something like this ...... and there lay the first problem, actually finding somewhere that keeps stuff in stock at a shop, where you can go ...... you'd think, living in London that this would be easy but even professional suppliers would have everything in their online catalogues but next to nothing in their physical shops.

In the last few months I watched different photographers use tripods in different situations, doing astonishing things with them, easily ..... they were all Gitzos, so that began to narrow the field, except Gitzo seem to have a ludicrously huge range.

I eventually found one in a shop in Tottenham Court Road, it had a broken leg, so I could not buy it but I had a chance to play.
It was one of their levelling range, there is a gimbal holding the centre column, which has a spirit level at the bottom, so you can adjust the level of the camera after setting up the legs. This interested me, I like low light panoramas.

You can do a lot with it. It's light and strong. No catches to catch my fingers. The legs are easy to use, they can lock at different angles so you don't just have to use the floor. I can place the camera anywhere from taller then me, to ground level.

I found this one, end-of-line, big discount.

So, it finally arrived. The first thing I tried was to get it really level, level enough so that when you rotate the camera, it stays level.

No way.

Maybe my eyesight is not as good as it was, maybe the spirit level is too small, maybe it's the slight nudge it gives as you clamp the gimbal, so far I have been unable to get it level enough for a panorama that did not drift.

The leveling is really useful for fine tuning your framing, but my expectations were too high regards panoramas.

So I went out on my first night shoot with it.

I was very pleased. It was a very windy night and I was doing long exposures, not a good combination but I could do what I needed and work quickly with it.

The unexpected problem was the law.

I got moved on by renta-cops from the South Bank. Later I heard Lambeth Council requires anyone using a tripod in the street to have a permit and pay by the hour, because if you use a tripod you must be (a) professional and (b) causing a potential public liability insurance issue.

Paranoia Britain, don't you love it.

2 comments:

Crafty said...

Mate, thanks for posting your tripod thoughts, I'm actually going through the same process at the moment looking at tripods... and yep, Gitzo's seem to be it - I only want to buy a tripod once :)

Looking forward to seeing your shots and technique with the new gear.

Ugo Cei said...

Curiously I just ordered a new tripod myself, but a Manfrotto instead of a Gitzo. It's in the mail now, hope it arrives soon and will post my impressions about it when I have had time to use it.

Thanks for the hint about using it in Britain. I will probably leave it at home if I come up there again.