A good tripod should be one of your first investments once you’ve purchased a camera. Handheld work is only one style and should never be overused. Tripods provide you the ability to position your camera at any angle and lock it off for a solid and professional looking shot. If you invest in a tripod that has a good fluid head you can do smooth pans and tilts. The weight of your camera and how far zoomed in you are will require more heavy duty fluid heads to maintain smooth movement.
This is only the second real tripod I have ever owned although I have had many of the “cheapo” tripods. When I went shopping for this tripod the Manfrotto name was one of the names at the top of my list. I knew that I wanted something sturdy, dependable, lightwieght (a carbon fiber tripod was too expensive) and something one didn’t have to go to college to use. The Manfrotto 190X PROB fits all these requirements. Being a regular guy, I got this thing out of the box…put away the instructions and started fiddling. In about 15 minutes (this tripod came with the impressive 322 grip ballhead) I was snapping pictures like a pro. Everything is where it should be…everything works like it looks like it should…intuitive I believe is the word I’m looking for here. The horizontal center piece is the bomb..I mean it is SICK! (my son told me that)…I think that means it is very cool and a great feature. What is does is make shooting straight down and at floor level a snap. I love it!! The tripod is rock steady and the adjustable legs make getting it level on any surface a snap. I wish it came with a set of spikes, but that is about all the complaining I can do. I know…my limited experience with pro level tripods makes my opinion somewhat narrow…but, that said, my inexperience speaks volumes about the intuative nature of the tripod and the ease of operation. The Manfrotto 190X PROB makes the cheapies that I have look like total junk and my old Slik look…well…old. It will serve my needs for a very long time…yours too I bet.