Thursday, April 24, 2014

Samsung NX300: Tripods and Monopods

One of the essential items you will add to your photographic equipment is a tripod or monopod or both.
You need to take into account the weight of your camera with its heaviest attachments e.g. flash, largest lens etc.  A tripod is something you should invest in properly and while some cheaper tripods may work for point and shoot cameras, I would suggest investing in a decent one for your Samsung NX300.

I have a heavy duty tripod for my Canon because the weight combined with my 100mm macro tends to cause the camera to creep down on cheaper tripods/heads.  Not a good thing for photo stacking.  The Samsung NX300 is much lighter and as I can't easily carry the heavy duty tripod around I have a lighter, more compact one and a monopod.

A monopod is a single leg version of a tripod and is meant to provide more stability than handheld but doesn't provide complete hands free stability as a tripod.  It is lighter than a tripod, more compact and you will see many photographers using one.

The monopod I use is a Redged RMA-528 combined with a Redged RT-1 Professional Ball head.  The monopod itself can handle a max weight of 10kg while only weighing 0.45kg, the ball head can hold max 6kg while only weighing 0.3kg.  This monopod can easily handle the weight of the Canon and Samsung.

http://www.clikelite.co.za/products_ecwid.asp#!/~/product/category=2912989&id=12790539
http://www.clikelite.co.za/products_ecwid.asp#!/~/product/category=2912990&id=12790553

Now I once asked about getting a ball head for a monopod at a store not so long ago (before I bought the Redged series) and was given this funny look. "Why would you need a ball head for a monopod?  It's a waste."  The salesman had the typical attitude many new and old buyers face "I know more than you".

He and others also proceeded to tell me that only their balls heads will work with their tripods/monopods and other brands won't.

Suffice to say, I didn't buy from them and moved on.  As I walked to another stand I was greeted by one of the Redged team, who was at the Clik Elite stand at the Photo & Film expo, with great enthusiasm and friendliness.  I asked him the same question "Can I use another brand's ball head with your monopod?".

Expecting the same answer I was surprised when I heard him tell me that yes, I am more than welcome to use any other brand with their tripod and monopods.  SOLD.

I could only get the monopod at that stage and later bought the ballhead from Clik Elite.  For the quality and max load, both are of excellent value and I am extremely happy with my purchases.

What the others were telling me was nothing but a marketing ploy to get me to pay more for their brand.  Good thing I like to look around for the best price first.

For the Samsung NX300 you don't need such a max load but it's a good thought if you intend to add more attachments.  You can look at Manfrotto, the MM 394 for example: Takealot.  But adding a Manfrotto head to the monopod is pretty expensive depending on load max weight: http://www.ormsdirect.co.za/manfrotto-234rc-monopod-tilt-top-head.

Another alternative is the combined tripod and head where the head is permanently attached.  The max load for both starts at around 1.5kg for good but lower priced kits.  I found that the Manfrotto MKC3-H01 (the H02 is exactly the same except for the colour) works fine for the Samsung NX300 with my largest lens, the 18-55mm, attached.  It's light, portable and the tripod head moves smoothly with the ability to use for video and panning.

This isn't the full length, only two sections were opened.  There are 4 sections and the middle pole also extends.

When the legs are not extended, works well for table photography.

The head is controlled by one handle instead of two or three but this means you can't make fine adjustments.  Still, you get quite a lot of flexibility and can change position with one hand.

Something to note.  Apparently some people have been confused by this black cap.  This needs to be removed in order to fit the standard thread size for the camera.  It twists off, but keep it safe and make certain that the screw beneath it doesn't come out.

I'm used to the ability to pull the legs outward in order to get to a lower level and also rotating the middle pole.  But you can't do either with this tripod so for me that took some adjusting.  If you need to take a photo of something low on the ground you are going to have elevate the object of your photo.

A good tripod for the Samsung NX300, good enough that you won't need a monopod or anything else for stability.  It doesn't come with a bag but you can get buy bags separate however it might make carrying the tripod a bit bulky.  It would have been nice to have a bag for storage but hey, get creative and make a basic one of your own (old denim works).

Where to buy:
http://www.takealot.com/cameras/manfrotto-mkc3-h01-compact-photo-movie-kit-black,30118772

Here is a more indepth review: http://www.trustedreviews.com/manfrotto-mkc3-h01-tripod_Camera-Accessory_review_performance-and-verdict_Page-3

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