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    Recommended in Tim F’s book on wild bird photography for tripod setup (written in 1996).

    "Bogen (Manfrotto) 3021 tripod () with a Bogen Super Mono-ball head 3038 This is a sturdy, smooth operating combination that is light in weight, relatively jam-free when used in mud and dirt, and about half the price of comparable tripods and heads."

    Any advice on this article/recommendation of setup?

    Saw a few 055xpro for sale in clubsnap – not sure i should get it or not…….



    Looks like you have finally made up your mind in getting the 500mm :kudos thumbsup: . I do not have experience with Manfrotto, but perrsonally, I will recommend the following:

    1) Tripod : Gitzo 3530LSV or 3540LSV (new model) or 1325 (old model). The tripod is about $1K, but the quality is great. You can get 1325 in clubsnap once in a while. The Carbon Fiber is light and help to reduce the total weight of your gears that you need to carry.
    2) Tripod Head : Wimberley Gimbal Head II. This is the most popular tripod head by far as it is light and flexible. This is also about $1K
    3) Flash Bracket : Wimberley Flash Bracket, depending on which model of the Wimberley Gimbal head you get, you can buy it together with the head. This I believe is about $2 to 300, can’t remember how much I paid a couple of years ago.
    4) Better Beamer Flash Extender : This is about $70. Depending on which flash you are using, you will need to let the shop know to get the right model.

    With the above 4 plus your 500mm, you are all set. ;)



    Yupp – final decision landed on D300 yesterday…..and a 500mm lens. Havent received the lens yet. I have lots to learn, since I am so used to compact auto mode. Playing with my new camera now. Hopefully with a tripod, I can get sharp pictures because my handheld pictures are stil shaky (24-70mm f2.8)….needs lot of practice…luckily it is digital & not film.

    thanks for the input….hoping to play with the lens first without flash for a while (is it possible or would it be too limiting?). i know i cannot do without the tripod. The lens already took both my legs, now the tripod and tripod head wanted both my arms, if i lost my head for the flash…. :worried:

    p/s is a dry cabinet a must too?


    Hi Peacefuldove,

    Congrats on your purchase. I am sure you will enjoy your new toys. Yes, Dry Cabinet is highly recommended as our weather here is quite humid. You just invested more than $10K, should just spend another 2 to 300 dollars for a minimum 80L dry cabinet.

    Hope to see you in the field with your new gears!



    thanks SC. your advice and recommendations are very good & wise..and as i reflected over them, i like it much and i felt might as well get to the position of get set…go! which brings me to the second question – there were posts in the forum about ordering on-line for the tripod head & camera accessories…Would all the items you listed up there – ie tripod, tripod head, flash bracket, beamer, is it cheaper & efficient ordering online vs shops in spore? Any good recommendation for a carry bag to carry the camera & lens to the field? Or would one just attach it to a tripod and lug all the way in the walk………Online as well??

    another novice question on wim II head – that is for the super long lens, right? so, if i have only one camera body and decided to take a landscape picture (ie shorter lens) after a few shots on the f500mm, do i have to have a different type of tripod head mounted in order to take the landscape shot?


    Hi Peacefuldove,

    Glad that you find the information useful. I too have benefited from here when I first started. :smile:

    A couple of my favorite sites in the US are:

    Both have excellent service. B&H has a better selection, but Naturescapes ships free in the US. If you are buying from a few places and use VPost to ship back to Singapore, Naturescapes is the place to buy. BTW, when you buy from the US, make sure you add in GST as part of your calculation.

    Local stores that I frequent, include TK Foto, Lords, and Cathay. You will need to check around for prices. Usually Wimberley products is cheaper to order online, also Cathay (authorised distributor here) does not carry a lot of stock. For Better Beamer, you can get in locally, price is about the same as in the US after all the shipping and hassle. I think Pegi just got one from The Camera Workshop at Peninsular for S$70.

    For bag, I am using Lowepro Photo Trekker (http://products.lowepro.com/product/Photo-Trekker-AW-II,1992,14.htm). It is good for traveling, as it will fit my 2 bodies, 500mm and 300mm plus flashes and binoculars. In normal outing, I usually do not carry the bag around, the bag will be in my car and I set up my gears and carry the trpod with the gears around to reduce weight. This bag weights about 3 or 4 kg. :P I know Con, who is using Nikon 600mm, uses the bag Nikon provided. It will work also, and it is a lot lighter as well. He just uses a smaller camera bag for other lenses, flash and camera bodies. You may want to try that to see that will work for you.

    As to using Wimberley head to take landscape with wide angle lens, you can do that, but you will need to get this:
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/Itemdesc.asp?ic=MPR-CL-II&eq=&Tp= . Con has one, you may want to PM him to see if it is useful.

    Hope the above is useful.


    Profile photo of hanYeo, Wee Han


    Glad you dove in straight! Haha! I used to order direct from Wimberley (http://www.tripodhead.com) and saved a little. The stuff came a few days so it was not a long wait.

    I would recommend getting the newer Gitzos over the 1325. The one that I use is the 3540 XLS (goes up to a height of 1.98m and no centre column) and is very tough. The older 1325 that I had is really a horror to work with in damp areas. Once water gets into the threads, swelling occurs and you will not be able to unlock the legs very easily. I once spent 2 weeks opening 3 sections and had bad blisters. I tried a strap wrench and that did help. In the end, it went back to Cathay and one tiny section costs S$180 to replace. The newer series with the G-locks are great to use.

    With regards to bags, Im using a Lowepro Computrekker Plus AW. It’s pretty big and should swallow a 500. Its light at 2kg and very cheap at less than S$200 (from TK Foto which is also where I go to). IMHO, Lowepro is more than enough and paying more for stuff like Thinktank is actually not that worth it.





    Glad you dove in straight! Haha! Han

    ha ha back! :nyah nyah:

    Han & SC – Thanks very much for the inputs – very useful as usual. :)

    Profile photo of tridenttrident

    Congrats on your purchase and welcome to the world of birding.
    That’s quite a body and lens you bought. Looking forward to your post. :razz:


    Thanks Richard! I look forward to that day(s) too….

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