Went out locally looking at tripods today and I have discovered one thing that they all have in common… they SUCK! I looked at and fondled several tripods. The only one I found that was stable enough for my purpose was a Dynex 65” tripod. The head was very stable and the weight was good, a very sturdy tripod. I was going to get it, but then discovered that the head only goes up, down and around, it does not flip to the side at all. I found that I love the way Dynex does their sliding heads. With the clip on heads, I am always worried that I wont get the mount secure when I latch it, or that I won’t get the mount seated properly and in either situation, the camera would be likely to fall off of the tripod, which would be very bad. I find myself unwilling to give up that basic feature of being able to rotate the camera to the side on a tripod that is $150. If the $60 tripod I looked at would have been more stable, but had that limitation (it didn’t, it would flip to the side), I would have been willing to settle for it.
In addition to looking at tripods, I also looked at camera bags after finding that I have more accessories than I know what to do with. I looked at them at Best Buy, but only found on that I really liked, it was a Lowepro Slingshot bag, but at $105, I decided I would prefer to keep looking for a bit before selecting a bag. Opteka makes a bag that is similar that I want to check out before going with a Lowepro bag. I would love to get a Nikon bag, but I have seen only negative feedback about them, and also Nikon is not making any decent sized bags anymore, they are all for the average consumer with their single lens DSLR, or perhaps a nice bridge camera (looks like those of us on a DSLR who have more than one lens or a super compact camera are pretty much screwed, even worse for those of us with one of each we would like to stick in our camera bag).
I am hoping to go out early next week to Wolf Camera to see if they have a better selection of tripods or bags. I would really like to handle a low-end ball-head tripod (sorry pro-photography purists, if I have a spare $500 I am going to buy a new lens, not buy a tripod). I want a tripod that if I am on a mountain and I have to decide between sacrificing the tripod or myself, I want to be able to confidently choose it.
So this leaves me with a thought that I intend to answer next week.. which is better, a mid-to-high end standard tripod or a low-end ballhead?