November 24, 2011

Ask Dave, November 24

Ask Dave, November 24th
I get tons of questions each week, I respond as quickly as possible, and I might just answer them here too. If you have questions you can email me at <a href=""></a>.

A student asked...
Why don't you use any of the Really Right Stuff products? I thought they were really popular, do you think they are overhyped junk?

I have nothing against Really Right Stuff, I actually do use their "L" plate for my 5D II and a replacement foot for the 400/600.

If I was at a point where I needed more tripods/heads/supports I would consider their products. I have two nice carbon tripods (for photography), two heavy duty aluminum tripods (for video), four nice ballheads, three gimbal heads, and plenty of other gadgets.

My second answer was that I would happily use RRS products if they would give them to me, but I am not about to toss thousands of dollars in the very nice gear I have now.

The student then asked what I would use of theirs if it was given to me.
  • TVC-33L with a TA-3-LB and PG-02 FG Pano-Gimbal Head 
    • I would use this combination for my normal shooting in and around Montana/Wyoming and basically anywhere that I would be able to drive to. The added bonus of a high quality pano head would be great when I turn my focus to landscapes. 
  • I would add a BH-55 LR: Full-sized ballhead with LR to put on the 33L when traveling to remote locations. RRS needs to make something like the wimberly sidekick for travel where a ball head and gimbal head are both needed (this could be worked in to also act as a pano assist tool). 
    • Anyone that has ever taken a charter flight to remote locations know that every pound costs money and space is always at a premium. Your survival and comfort come from the gear you bring along and you need to be sure that each item you bring can serve multiple jobs (two tripods is often out of the question). 
    • I do love the aspherical ball in my Arca-Swiss Z1sp.  As the lenses angle is changed the power of gravity changes. To compensate more tension is required, but because of the aspherical ball, the Z1 automatically adjusts for off-center loads. I know of no other ball head that does this. 
  • TVC-24L Tripod with BH-40 LR Ball head 
    • A small/light tripod that is still strong enough to support a long lens in a pinch is a very important piece of gear for any photographer. When you are hiking/skiing/climbing in 10 or more miles before sunrise you need small/light gear, but at the same time if it is not strong and dependable it is worthless. 
  • MC-34 Carbon Fiber Monopod
    • I would place a QR clamp on the monopod rather than a Monopod head, as I really only use a monopod for shooting sports. I would consider using a PCL-1 rather than a QR clamp for the times I am shooting ski racing where the monopod might be buried in snow, but I still need to pan with a quick moving subject. 
  • A PCL-1 & PCL-DVTL and a 192 Precision Plus Package
    • The PCL-1 allows you to level the scene with your ball head then shoot your panorama. Often folks find that they level their tripod legs to level the ball head base, but then fail to really level the camera for a wide panoramic scene. 
    • The PCL-DVTL is just the fast way to attach the PCL-1 to your ball head. 
    • The 192 Precision Plus Package is a versatile nodal rail for all lenses weather foot or camera supported. I currently use a custom solution in place of this, that also happens to be my long lens support. 
  • B91-QR
    • For birders a flash braket is an important thing to have, and I actually really like the RRS design for putting the flash above the center of the lens (allowing easy operation on a gimbal head. 
  • Toss in feet and "L" brakets for cameras and lenses
    • RRS really does make the best feet and "L" plates. I do think that they could modify some plates to fit more cleanly on common lenses, like the 70-200s, that have feet that cannot be replaced. 
  • And if they would make a few design changes I would even consider the CB-YS-QR-Package
    • RRS's long lens support is a bit on the heavy side, and it  also could be modified to serve multiple jobs in the field. *RSS - if you want to chat about this you know how to reach me*
The gear I have and use now is excellent, so I have no plans of switching, but RRS has a long list of great products, that I often encourage students and clients to consider when making their support purchases. 

What do I use?
It is all listed on my gear page, but here are some of the highlights:
  • Gitzo GT3540XLS (amazing tripod)
  • Induro GHB2 (gimbal head, lives on the GT3540XLS)
  • Custom made long lens support (used with the GHB2)
  • Arca-Swiss Z1sp (ball head used on the 3540XLS when traveling to remote locations)
  • Wimberly Sidekick (used with the Arca-Swiss when traveling to remote locations)
  • Induro CT214
  • Actratech GP (ball head, lives on the CT214)
  • RRS L-braket for Canon 5DII
  • Induro CM34 (monopod for shooting sports with QR clamp)
  • Induro A413
  • Induro BHD2 ball head (lives on an  A413, for time lapses)
  • Induro A413
  • Manfroto 501HDV video fluid head (lives on an A413)
  • Dynamic Perception 6' time lapse dolly
  • Induro BHD1 ball head (lives on the time lapse dolly)

1 comment:

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