Posts Tagged ‘manfrotto’


The Infinite Road Uncorrected

Hi to all. During my exam period at the university I didn’t pass throught one exam and I’m waiting for second term. This term is planned on February 1st and my last exam was taken on January 17th. So this whole time I’m at home having nothing to do, because most of my friends are in Prague or spread around whole republic and, Slovakia, Russia, USA, UK, Austria, Australia and more countries around the world. So the only way how to keep in touch with them is using Social Network. Also because the bad weather I didn’t go out and make some pictures but today everything changed! 🙂

HDR from the Walk, Unprocessed

The temperature was quite good, about 0°C (32°F), no rain, no snow but just the sky wasn’t anything interesting. To be honest the sky was just one huge plane of grey color mixed sometimes with darker and lighter grey. And I wanted to go out in these conditions and shoot landscapes? Yes, not nature but landscapes!? I really had to be crazy ….

But really, the tip for today, and not just for today is simple. If the sky doesn’t look good, don’t put it into the scene. It is simple and effective. At least you won’t have that boring plane of grey color on the top of your images. Also sometimes this can help and you can use it to your advantage. With this plane made by clouds you get a free extra super large softbox and that is cool for portraits. This can be the plan B when weather isn’t so great outside.

In the begining of the post I put two images, both weren’t finished. The Infinite Road isn’t bad at all, but the white balance is absolutely somewhere else than it should be and with the HDR you can see a really bad blue tint. Here are the final images. For the road I used only Lightroom 3 to process it, for the HDR I had to jump into Photoshop, set black, white and grey point using curves and than I used a plug-in. The secret ingredience … Nik Software Color Efex and it’s Brillance/Warmth preset. Hope you’ll enjoy them.

The Infinite Road Processed

HDR from the Walk Processed

So after some time I had enough time to pick up my camera again and try tripod, flash, and new wireless triggers for speedlight. To be honest this wasn’t the result I was going for … Yes, the first idea was it has to be a square shape and everything else was luck 😉

For this shot I used a plaing glass, one kiwi sliced on approximately same height slices, flashgun, tripod, camera and my ACA certificate. What!? It was great as a reflection panel and I had to use something to spread the light 🙂

The glass was laying on my left and right reproductors in about 30 cm (1 feet) height and on it I put those individual slices. Then I used the “extendable” central column of my Manfrotto 190XPROB and put the camera up above the scene. I used flash in full manual mode (because I cannot use TTL) and set it to 1/8 of power. It worked better than I expected.

Here is the final shot 😉

Shot with Canon Rebel XSi / 450D with Canon 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens @52mm, 1/200s, f/8, ISO100, processed in Lightroom 3

As you might read in my previous post I bought a new tripod. But I this weekend I had the first chance to try it out. I bought this tripod especially to support my 70-200 f/4 lens from Canon so it was my first choice and first testing shots. I didn’t use the mirror lock-up feature with this lens so pictures that came out with this setup weren’t as sharp as they will be with this feature. BTW every image in this post can be seen in 1:1 size by clicking on the image itself.


The first test picture of new tripod Manfrotto 190XPROB with MA 496RC2 ballhead. For this shot I used my 70-200 at my biggest aperture f/4. Focused on the eye. For 1:1 preview click on the image.

This is the first shot I made with the tripod. Some EXIF is in the caption. Even with f/4 the glass is quite sharp and I’d like to know how it will perform in the field. To be honest I hope to find it out this weekend or during winter holiday.

I also didn’t have anything better to focus on so I used my “Lion” and focused on the eye. Quite good result.


This time I used f/11 setting on my lens and got really nice sharp shot. The tripod was really worth the money.

OK, same setup. Except this time I used f/11 so I got really nice sharp shot and again I focused on the eye of “Lion”.


The final test image this time with my 28-70 and f/11. Very sharp lens on very stable tripod. Great combination and I’m really looking forward to try it out in the field this weekend. Click for 1:1 preview.

Third and final image from this “quick test” of stability. Just changed lens to my trusty 28-70 and shot at very sharp aperture f/11. With it I got a supersharp image. I also used Mirror Lock-Up setting and fired the camera using my cable release.


So it finally happened. This Tuesday I bought a better tripod and I needed it. I went to the shop after school and checked it out again. Again I had a talk with sales rep if it is the tripod for me. When I told I will mount my Canon 450D with 70-200 lens he agreed with the legs but not with ballhead. What I didn’t say was that the lens is f/4 not f/2.8 and it was a big difference. But lets get to the point.

OH MY GOD, it is so heavy! I didn’t even think about it but it is true. I thought it will be about the same weight as my old and unstable Hama Star 62 but it isn’t … and to be honest I like it a lot 🙂 As usual Manfrotto has every box labeled with their logos and it goes really well with the box color they chose but lets take a look inside.

The ballhead is Manfrotto 496RC2 model. The RC2 means it has quick release plate. That is one of the features I really enjoy and was going for with any tripod. Screwing the camera on or off the tripod isn’t working for me and with release plate is really easy. Everything is build from metal so it is heavier but better quality. The actual ball is medium sized in the Manfrotto 49xRC2 range. Another good point is friction control so when you want you can increase the friction or decrease it just depending on you and your needs. It doesn’t have a second axis lock so I can’t just loose one axis and keep my camera locked in the same position and move it just around vertical axis. This feature is great for panos but I don’t shoot them so I don’t need it at all. Really good thing is it has secure lock. You have there two levers, one will unlock the second and with the second you’ll release the camera. A good secure way to go with. When you release your plate, the mount will stay opened so you will just clip your camera back and it will lock automatically.

Now lets talk a bit about the legs …. 190XPROB. Can support up to 5 kg weigh but 1 kg is for ballhead and you have “only” 4 kg for your camera. The maximal height is 122 cm and to be honest I thought it is really small. But how I said in my previous post about choosing the right tripod height is important and I was running in the flat with meter. Now I was able to measure it. I extended the legs on maximum, added the ballhead and with the camera it will be just OK 🙂 Another good thing is the center column. You can switch it from going straight up to horizontal level and so you can shoot really nice macro shots with it because you’ll get close.

OK, that was the first look about my new tripod and I’m really looking forward to try it in the field. 🙂

As you  might know, tripod is an essential thing for photographers. You should buy a really good and sturdy one for the best support. Now, when Christmas are coming, I’m thinking about buying myself a new one. Suddenly, many questions came to my mind about what type, what should be the supported weight, what material, how much it should cost etc.

If I wasn’t a full-time student but a politician or someone really wealthy, I’d go with Gitzo tripods. That Carbon fiber technology gives you huge stability, light weight, big height and of course huge cost 😦

The tripod I have

At this time I have the Hama Star 62, a really cheap tripod (cost me about $40), but at that time I used only my Rebel XSi (450D) from Canon with 18-55 IS lens. Now, when I have much more equipment, I need more support. Especially for my 70-200 f/4 non IS with my XSi+Battery Grip. That is “heavy” combo and the tripod isn’t as good as it should be in support. When will you realize that is true?

Why I need to change my tripod?

DSLRs are taking images by flipping the mirror up (and than much electric operations happen etc.). But that is the thing I’m going to change my tripod. When the mirror flips up, it makes some camera shake. With my 70-200 tripod isn’t sturdy enough and the mirror will cause movement. For long exposures and using shorter lens my 28-70 it’s OK, I can take 20s exposure and have it tight sharp. That is because the mirror flip movement isn’t as powerful as with my 70-200. But how many times I’m shooting so long exposures? Of course, everything is possible and I’m not saying I’m not shooting those.

But mostly I’m somewhere about 1/60s or less. With better tripod I’m able to use the lens with these exposures and be sure I’ll get sharp shot. That is the most important thing. If your photos have noise, that is a bit problem. But if your photos aren’t sharp, than you cannot do anything about it! You can throw them away, delete, erase and your whole trip could be a disaster! Just because the tripod.

What I’ll buy?

In short, Manfrotto 190XPROB and Manfrotto 496RC2 ballhead. The height of the combination is same as my tripod and I’m used to it so it’s ok. I’m sure it will be more sturdy and stable. A good way to check? As someone who has it. Google it, go to B&H Photo Video website and check the reviews. Everything was fantastic. I was just thinking about getting a higher model, the 055XPROB, but after some time and a lot of calculations I decided for 190XPROB.

What was the most valuable thing for my decision?

You wouldn’t believe it, but the most valuable thing for me was …  hold on …. a meter! With it I was able to compare everything not just by using some numbers but also visually. Very important thing. Yeah, you might read that the tripod is 122cm high but is it big enough? 122 isn’t so big, but when you’ll attach ball head and camera, it will grow. Then you just have to take the meter and see where the final number is.

I’m sure I’ll have a blast with this tripod 🙂