Bogen 3001, 3021 and 3051 tripodsBogen make a bunch of tripods but the one most often used by nature photographers is the 3021 (3221 if you want it in black). I've also used the 3001 and 3051 tripods, so I've included them here too.
Bogen 3021Almost the "standard" tripod for any nature shooter not using really long lenses. At $100 or less it's the best value tripod out there. It's stable, tall enough for most people (under 6ft tall) even without the center column extended, the leg locks are fast and easy to operate, it's not too heavy (5.75 lbs), the leg angles are individually adjustable and it's cheap! What more could you ask for? Well, it could be a bit lighter and it could be a bit more stable. It's a fine tripod for lenses up to maybe a 300/2.8. It gets a bit shaky for a 500/4 (or 4.5) and it really starts to show it's weakness if you put a 600/4 on it with the legs extended. However most people don't shoot such big glass, so a 3021 is all they ever need. If you want to shave off a little weight and maybe get a little more stability, you can lose 2.45 lbs and $450 by buying a Gtizo 1227 or 1228 (though that's still not going to be enough for really big glass). Some people have complained about the leg locks coming loose or breaking on the 3021. All I can say is that with over 5 years of wear on my current 3221, I have had no problems at all.
Bogen 3051If the 3001 is the light weight of the trio, the 3051 is the heavyweight. It weighs in at 12.65 lbs. Way too much to carry around in the field for most people. However, it's very, very, stable. It's also big even when collapsed (over 3ft without a head) since it only has two-section legs. One unique feature is that just by pushing a tab at the top of the tripod, you can release all three legs, extend the tripod to the height you want, then lock it by releasing the tab. You can also do the same thing for each leg individually. It's the most stable tripod I've used, beating out the 3 and 4 series Gitzos and Carbon Fiber tripods. So it should, given its weight. If you can haul it around in the trunk of your car, or use it in a studio, it's great, but carrying it far isn't an option I care for very much. Not a field tripod in my opinion, but you can't buy more stability for around $200.
OverallThese Bogen tripods represent the best value in their class. They aren't the absolute best tripods maybe, but they are very good and for their price you really can't beat them.
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