Ask James – Are Really Right Stuff Tripods Worth It?

In Ask James by JamesB2 Comments

I’ve been impressed by yours and David DuChemin’s recommendations of Really Right Stuff tripods. I’ve researched them myself and have talked with a rep about what would be good for my needs. The price makes me balk a little for one reason: I’m not a working pro in terms of making some income off of my photography. I have hopes and aspirations but know I’ve got a ways to go in that regards. My question: am I crazy to even think about such a tripod even though I would be able to grow into it as I outgrow or wish to update what I currently have for camera and lenses? I won’t go into debt as I’ve worked hard to get out of debt (and you covered that in another “Ask James”) so I would pay cash for it. I do love the quality and commitment of Really Right Stuff. What is your thought? Or would I be better off buying a tripod that is still a very good one as I continue to improve? My personal feeling is buy for the long haul and get years out of it (assuming I don’t break it or something lol) but wanted your opinion.

-Steve H

Image © Mike Mezeul II

Image © Mike Mezeul II

Really Right Stuff tripods are the Ferrari’s of tripods. There simply isn’t a better tripod manufacturer in existence today, and I’ll argue that point with anyone. They are built in San Luis Obispo, California unlike most manufacturers who make them with cheap parts overseas. You won’t find anything cheap in a RRS tripod. Everything is built to last and to make shooting in the field easier. They also have outstanding customer service, amongst the best I’ve ever experienced.

So do you or I need a RRS tripod? No. We don’t. It’s a luxury. I did just fine with my Manfrotto tripod that I had before. Sure it was clunky, all the screws in the legs were rusted out and the pistol grip ball head was coming apart, but it got the job of keeping my camera still done.

It took me 5 years of shooting full time with tripods to finally make the jump to Really Right Stuff. I was in the market for a new tripod and I had the money set aside. Simple as that.

Now, another question: Is my RRS tripod one of the best photography purchases I’ve made? Absolutely. And make no mistake about it, I paid 100% of the retail price. No discounts or anything. By the time I got the legs, a ball head and a couple L-Plates for my cameras, I think I had spent around $1,400. That’s around 4x what I had spent on my Manfrotto set up. But again, I had saved up and had the money set aside.

So with all that, I can’t really give you an answer here. If you have the cash to buy it without going into debt, and it won’t put you or family in jeopardy, I’d say do it. But if you think you’ll end up with buyers remorse, hold off.

  • Jeff

    James,

    You feel that RRS tripods are the best in the world, and I’d be very curious to hear your arguments of why you feel this way, especially when compared to Gitzo.

    Thanks!

    • Gitzo’s legs are close to RRS in some regards, mainly when it comes to just functionality. But if you ever see a RRS set of legs right next to a Gitzo you’ll see where RRS excels. The very bottom legs on my 3-section RRS are thicker than the very top section of many tripods on the market, yet the weight of the entire tripod is incredibly low. It’s insane.

      Tripod heads however, are where RRS leaves everyone else in the dust. The build quality and functionality is just out of this world and when paired with L-brackets on your cameras it’s no longer even a competition. Highly suggest stopping by their HQ in San Luis Obispo if you ever get a chance!