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Tripod and Ball Head Selection

hkulahkula Member
edited November 2013 in general photography
I am looking for a tripod and ball head recommendation for a Nikon D800 or D700 supporting a 70-200mm f2.8 VR1 lens.


  • Hi Hkula!

    I have a D700 and also the Nikon 70-200mm VRll 2.8 and use the following combination:

    1 x Manfrotto Tripod Model: 190XPROB
    1 x Manfrotto Ball Head Model: 498RC2

    This goes without saying... but make sure to attach the lens 70-200mm to the tripod and not the camera...
    I've seen some people securing the camera to the tripod with all the weight of the lens putting to much unnecessary pressure on the camera.

    I'm sure others here can suggest other tripods even more robust than mine... But I'm happy with this combination I have
    and it supports the lens 70-200mm very well.

    Hope that helps!

  • For tripod, there are a lot of nice ones and I'd just go with a good name, such as Manfrotto or another brand with a good reputation.

    For the head, spend the money and get a Really Right Stuff head. Expensive but trust me well worth it. They make tripods too. On the head, make sure you get the L plate, not the conventional plate. If you can swing it financially, you will not regret it. I have the D700 too and the 70-200. Not sure what head I have (tripod and head not with me right now) but I think it's the BH-40. You should call and talk to the staff, they are wonderful and really knowledgeable.

    Remember, if you have two camera models, the L-plates will be different so you'll have to get two (unless they make same for D700 and D800 but I doubt it).


  • P. S. The one who told me about Really Right Stuff when I asked for head recommendation was Bryan Peterson, guru extraordinaire and author of 'Understanding Exposure.' He's almost as good as NVN. That's what he uses.
  • Thank you for the feedback.
    With my current Manfrotto Ball Head and the weight of the camera and lens, eventually the lens which is attached to the ball head adaper plate starts to rotate.
    Will the Really Right Stuff ball head prevent the lens rotation over time?
  • By rotate do you mean sag downward? If so, yes, absolutely the Really Right Stuff head will prevent that. That's a huge reason why I sought out a new head myself and why I love the RRS head. It's rock solid. And very user friedly and fast. And if you get the L plate you'll love switching to vertical mode, you pop the camera out of horizontal mode and pop it back and it still sits on top of tripod.
  • Yes sag downward is the problem I am having.
    Is the L plate necessary to realize the non sagging downward benefit.
    What would be the minimum requirement of RSS components to prevent downward sagging.
  • I use this Pistol Grip Tripod combo..EXCELLENT... Check out the reviews on it in Youtube and elsewhere. The Pistol Grip is a Ball Head by the way.

    http://www.opticsplanet.com/vanguard-alta-263at-aluminum-tripod-w-pistol-grip-ball-head-gh-100.html, and


    Love this thing! Never an issue with any lens I've ever put on it, but all personal preference.
  • I do not believe the L plate is necessary to realize the non-sagging benefit. But I am not certain since I have the L plate. I believe the value of the L plate is quick switching from horizontal to vertical orientation. But again I am not certain, that's definitely one benefit but not sure of others. I've never used the head without the L plate but I think the strength and design and quality of the head is what prevents the sagging. Perhaps the L plate too as it certainly holds the camera well. But I'd definitely call RRS and ask them, they could quickly and more properly answer these questions. I don't want to give you wrong info. I do not know about your second question -- the minimum RRS requirement to prevent sagging. But call and they can tell you right away.
  • I have a regular landscape/portrait ball head now. I'm pondering the pistol grip. But the L bracket sounds nice because then the camera wont hang off one side of the tripod when switched portrait... nice to keep the framing the same height. Hmmm..I just need more money...lol
  • Yes, that's it MikeZ. You just said it well. With the L plate, in vertical orientation, puts the camera on top of tripod, not hanging off the side, so not much adjustment is needed and it's still rock solid, only the camera moves, not the tripod head.
  • hkulahkula Member
    edited December 2013
    Anyone using a Markins Q10 ballhead with a Gitzo GT-2531 tripod?
    Is it a good combination?
    The heaviest camera and lens combination which I will use with the tripod configuration is a Nikon D700 or D800 body with the Nikon 70-200 F2.8 VR lens.
    I own the subject tripod.... but I am having a hard time deciding on which ball head to buy. I have narrowed it down to one of two possibilities.......Markins Q10 or RRS BH-40
  • I'm using the Markins Q10i and it's a very nice ball head. I was looking at an Arca Swiss but cost was too much. Although I don't have a Gitzo I am happy with my Carbon Manfrotto.

    The Arca and the RRS heads I believe to be excellent, but I'd guess the Markins is of similar quality and I've had no issues with using it. Side by side with the Arca the Markins is lighter, but quality is the same. In the UK we have no importer of RRS, so can't comment.
  • hkulahkula Member
    edited December 2013
    Thank you for your reply. Did you purchase your Q10 with a lever or screw type clamp for attaching the camera or lens?
    Have you used a 70-200 f2.8 lens or something similar with your Q10 Markins ball head. If so, with the lens attached to the ball head have you experienced any downward sag in the portrait or downward orientation?
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