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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎01-04-2013

Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

I have zero experience with tripods and would appreciate some help.  Wanting to try some sky photography, I will need a tripod.  A couple from Manfrotto, the MT190XPRO3 and the MT190XPRO4 are recommended in an on-line website, along with one of the Manfrotto ball heads.  Does anyone have experience with either of these?  Are there others that might be better or more versatile, but still in this price range?

 

Thank you for your comments!

 

Edward

 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,412
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

Do you already have a tracker?

VIP
Posts: 11,121
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

[ Edited ]

Define Milky Way photography. Wide angle with landscapes or long focal length long exposures. In either case, I think you may find the Manfrotto 190s to be not quite enough.

You want a tripod that is very sturdy and robust you want one that will [not] budge in wind gusts, which almost rules out any tripod with a long center column. If you have a center column, then you will want to keep it fully lowered for long exposures. I use a Induro alloy video tripod, which has 75mm bowl and flat base bowl adapter.

When it comes to a tripod head you will want the strongest head you can afford. Have ever taken photos of the Moon before, and the head may shift ever so slightly as you tighten it down in place? That is called backlash, which is caused by heavy off-acid loads like a big lens pointing up at the Moon. My favorite ball head is a Benro B3 or V3, but I prefer to use a heavy duty pan-tilt, or the Benro geared head, for shots of night landscapes. Because they suffer from less backlash than ball heads.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎01-04-2013

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

No, I will not be using a tracker.  I want to use a 14 mm or 16 mm f.l. wide angle lens and keep exposure times short enough to minimize star trailing (I estimate that, with my APS-C sensor, a star's image will shift by one pixel in slightly less than 4 seconds, so I'll experiment and see how long an exposure I can get away with.) I know that there are some decent, inexpensive lenses with f/ numbers of 2.0 or 2.8.

VIP
Posts: 11,121
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

[ Edited ]

There is no need to experiment when the work has already been done. Use the 500 Rule, which says “FL * SS <= 500”

Since the FL is the [full] frame equivalent of 16mm, 24mm on APS-C sensors, you could use a shutter of up to 20 seconds. In practice I would go with 15 seconds, which Is a long time for the average tripod.

Using a heavy duty tripod makes a big difference in how detail you capture. I do not recommend a tripod kit that includes a head and tripod together in one package.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
VIP
Posts: 13,561
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

"... the MT190XPRO3 and the MT190XPRO4 are recommended..."

 

These are good choices. I have the  MT190XPRO3.  It is a very good tripod and will be useful with general photography too.  In formal shots with a DSLR is probably going to be exposures of 30 seconds or less. This makes any heavy duty tripod workable.  The  MT190XPRO3 is a great choice.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎01-04-2013

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

[ Edited ]

Thank you and Waddizzle for your helpful comments.  

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,853
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

I do astrophotography somewhat regularly.  There are "tiers" of complexity depending on your goals.

 

High-end deep-sky long-exposure astrophotography is very complicated and, frankly, expensive (bring your suitcase full of money).

 

But there are many types of astrophotography you can do that don't require the "suitecase full of money" to achieve good results.

 

At the base level... a simple photographic tripod, camera, and a fairly wide-angle lens with a low-focal ratio can achieve good result if you are shooting with "moonless" sky and using the "500 Rule" while shooting in a location far away from urba light pollution.

 

It really helps if your photo tripod is "solid".  Vibrations are not your friend.  If there is absolutley no wind ... you can get away with weaker tripods.  But typically you want the most solid tripod you can possibly get.  

 

The most popular tripods from Manfrotto are the "190" series and the "055" series.  The 190 series is thinner/lighter and not as solid as the "055" series.  (I own an "057" series tripod which is even beefier).  

 

If I get attacked in a dark alley and I have only my 057 series tripod as a defense... I can pummel my attacker without fear that the tripod will take any damage after the fitght.  The 057 series is that strong.   While I've never had to test this idea... I hope you get the point.  If you need to handle the tripod with the "white glove" treatment... this is NOT a tripod to use for astrophotography.  You want a tripod that you can use as a substitute to drive in post-holes to put up a fence because you didn't have a hammer... and the tripod took absolutely no damage as a result of this abuse.

 

What you WANT... is the heaviest most burdensome tripod such that you should be uttering expletives about how heavy it is and how much you dread having to carry it... THAT is the tripod you want.  If it's lightweight... it's probably going to shake in a slight breeze.

 

Up to this point we're just talking about "photo" tripods... but for deep-sky asttophtography your telescope "mount" will probably cost more than your "telescope".  If you want to achieve good results, I cannot over-stress the emphasis on a "solid" mount for your camera.

 

 

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
VIP
Posts: 11,121
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tripod Recommendation for Milky Way Photography

"The most popular tripods from Manfrotto are the "190" series and the "055" series.  The 190 series is thinner/lighter and not as solid as the "055" series.  (I own an "057" series tripod which is even beefier).  

 

If I get attacked in a dark alley and I have only my 057 series tripod as a defense... I can pummel my attacker without fear that the tripod will take any damage after the fitght.  The 057 series is that strong.   While I've never had to test this idea... I hope you get the point.  If you need to handle the tripod with the "white glove" treatment... this is NOT a tripod to use for astrophotography.  You want a tripod that you can use as a substitute to drive in post-holes to put up a fence because you didn't have a hammer... and the tripod took absolutely no damage as a result of this abuse."

 

I agree about the 190 Series.  The 055 Series is a much beefier tripod for not a lot more money.  Even with an 055 Series tripod, I would still shoot long exposures with the center column fully lowered.  

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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