This afternoon I bought a new tripod rig to replace my aging, mildly limiting and severely weathered tripod rig.
I purchased a:
- Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod;
- Manfrotto 322RC2; grip ball head and
- Manfrotto MBAG80PN 80cm padded tripod bag.
It all came bundled as a kit.
Manfrotto 055XPRO Tripod
I recently researched tripods and decided I wanted the 055XPROB, as it is taller than my old 190D, meaning I don’t need to lean forward when looking through the viewfinder. The extra height also means I don’t need to use the centre column, which is an important factor when it comes to stability.
The 055XPROB also has a great feature whereby the centre column can pivot such that it is parallel to the ground. This is enormously useful when shooting macro images in which the subject needs to be below the tripod.
I wasn’t interested in carbon fibre, as it’s lighter and therefore less stable, and given I have a habit of ending up in surging sea water, more stability is a must. Carbon fibre is also pricey, and a lightweight rig isn’t a consideration for me, as I head out specifically for photography, and don’t need a small, light tripod for incidental carry.
Manfrotto 322RC2 Grip Ball Head
I had originally planned to purchase a Manfrotto 498RC2 ball head to replace my dead 488RC2 ball head. The kit I purchased included a 322RC2, which has a single grip control to adjust all movement of the head. Upon inspecting it, I decided it was a better option, as I found the dual controls on my 488RC2 to be cumbersome and less efficient.
The beauty of the 322RC2 is that the grip can be adjusted for left hand use. I switched it to ‘left-hand-drive’ from the default right-hand drive position, and was good to go.
It’s rock-solid, and nothing budges when the ball is locked upon releasing the grip. The weight capability of the 322RC2 is 5kg, whereas the 498RC2 can support 8kg, but given my heaviest lens is a 300/2.8 (2.5kg), the extra weight support isn’t necessary.
My kit included a padded tripod bag with a shoulder strap. This, as I’ve discovered, is rather handy for lugging a heavy tripod. I hitherto never had a tripod bag, and always lugged mine by hand. Now I have a spare hand for either carrying other gear or steadying myself when rock-hopping.
All in all, I’m pleased with the new equipment I bought, and having used it tonight for a twilight cityscape shoot, it’s working quite nicely and is a joy to use.