Polarizing Filter Vs Neutral Density Filter

A Polarizing filter (usually circular) is mainly used to reduce the glare or reflections from non-metallic reflective surfaces like water or glass. It also reduces the exposure but mainly used to saturate the colors and enhance the clarity of image. It works best when you are right angle to the sun light. Polarizing filters are not normally used for a wide-angle shot that includes the sky, as you'll get a very uneven sky tone due to the wide range of angles of the light entering the lens. Neutral Density (ND) filter is used to reduce the overall exposure uniformly giving an uniform reduction in light across the frame without affecting the color. ND filter is commonly used in a situation where it is bright sunny light and using a wide aperture to get a shallow depth of field would result into overexposed image. It is probably more popular to use when you want to use the slow shutter speed to get the cloud effects or milky effects of the water with a long exposure which could possibly overexpose your image without using ND filter.

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Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod And Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head

When I bought my first tripod about two years ago, I didn't care too much about the quality. I was rather focused on the price and got fairly priced tripod for around $50. My first DSLR was Nikon D60 which I bought with the kit lens and I was not having problem using that tripod with the D60. But when I upgraded my camera to Nikon D90 with a bigger lens, 18-200mm VR II, I felt the need for a sturdy and strong tripod to hold the camera (and the lens attached to it) without worrying about it falling off the tripod. I have had a bad experience (tripod legs fell apart) with my previous cheap tripod when I was shooting July 4th fireworks in New York city.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs

After doing some research and reading online reviews, I bought Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod with Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head. I could go with Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod and 498RC2 ball head but I felt like to go one step up just to be safe for the future gears. Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod shares all the features with Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod but the 055XPROB is a more sturdy, heavier and a little taller than the 190XPROB. When you are not doing photography, you can actually use the 055XPROB for the weight lifting purpose as well. I guess little bit of humor doesn't hurt, and in fact, we all need it as a daily dose.

Let me summarize the basic differences between the 055XPROB and the 190XPROB.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Vs Manfrotto 190XPROB

1. Weight Support

055XPROB - Supports up to 15.4 pounds

190XPROB - Supports up to 11 pounds

2. Base Area

055XPROB - Leg diameters 29.4, 25, 20 mm

190XPROB - Leg diameters 25, 20, 16 mm

3. Height

055XPROB - Min/Max. height 3.9"/70.3"

190XPROB - Min/Max. height 3.3"/57.5"

4. Weight

055XPROB - Weighs 5 pounds

190XPROB - Weighs 4 pounds

Both gears are designed with the same basic principles and share common features like extending the center column and fold to make a horizontal arm and both are made out of solid aluminum material.

Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head

Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head

Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head works great with both tripods and gives an extra feature to those photographers who love to shoot panoramic shot using horizontal pan (Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head lacks this feature).

This ball head has been totally redesigned for better ease of use. A newly designed friction control knob allows the photographer to achieve superior control when handling the camera and making micro movements without having to totally lock and unlock the ball head. The knobs have been redesigned to be more ergonomic, easier to handle and more user-friendly. The ergonomic shape allows the user to better lock the ball securely. A re-positionable locking lever allows the user to place it in a comfortable position in order to use it in the most convenient way; just pull it outwards, put it in the best working position and then release it. This model features a RC2 quick release plate including an additional safety system that prevents the accidental detaching of the camera from the head. The locking lever securely locks the head both in the +90°, -90° ball positioning and in the 360° pan movements for panoramic shot or even getting panning effects. With solid aluminum construction, this head is the ideal support for all the traditional or the digital small or medium format cameras weighing up to 17 pounds.

MB-D11 Multi Power Battery Pack For Nikon D7000

If you are shooting all day long event, wedding for example, with your Nikon D7000, MB-D11 may come very handy. MB-D11 multi-power battery pack simulates almost all the buttons of your Nikon D7000, gives you an extended battery life and provides an easy, comfort and stable holding of your camera in different orientations. Specially if you shoot portrait photographs most of the time, MB-D11 Battery Grip can make your life more easier. It will give you a nice grip and provides stability for a long day shooting. MB-D11 comes with two battery trays giving you an option of using either one Nikon EN-EL15 battery or AA batteries. You can also have a battery backup in the camera body as well.

MB-D11 Front view

MB-D11 Front view

The MB-D11 has a vertical shutter release button, shutter release button lock (you can lock the shutter release button to prevent an accidental press), main command dial (rear dial) and sub-command dial (front dial) that you find in a D7000 and it functions similar to the camera button as well. It also includes a multi-selector and an AE-L/AF-L button for an Autofocus exposure lock. The battery pack has the same magnesium alloy body and the weather/dust resistance as the Nikon D7000. The grip area and the bottom area is covered in a rubber and the bottom has a screw hole to use a tripod. Nikon D7000 itself has a nice grip around the camera body but MB-D11 adds an extra grip for your camera. It is made out of very high quality materials from Nikon products and it feels solid and sturdy with your camera.

MB-D11 Battery pack attached to Nikon D7000

MB-D11 Battery pack attached to Nikon D7000

I have seen some photographers who do not want to use it with their camera just because they look and feel ugly.  But personally, I think it adds a lot of benefits giving an extra battery life and an emergency backup for a long day shooting until your next recharge and it is well worth to spend $239.89 (price on Amazon as of writing this article).

The Nikon MB-D11 grip is a high quality accessory that improves the handling and the comfort of the D7000 to such a great degree that you don't want to take it off of your camera once you start using it. It makes the camera fit into larger hands even better and it's build quality matches the camera with a nice rubber grip which is very soft and feels good to hold.

Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod

If you are looking for a good tripod for a DSLR camera, Manfrotto is one of the good brand worth researching about. Manfrotto makes varieties of tripods for different purposes but you can select what works best for you and do in-depth research about it. If you are a serious amateur photographer or even new into photography, Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod may meet your requirement. It is an aluminum made lightweight, sturdy, stable and flexible tripod. You can carry it around easily and take anywhere because of it's light weight. Manfrotto tripod gives you an extra feature with it's unique center column which can be adjusted vertically or horizontally both. This unique design allows the photographer to use the center column horizontally as an extending arm or vertically up and down to adjust the photographer's height. When used horizontally, the center column can be turned 360 degrees around the tripod, making it useful for macro work, low-angle shooting, extreme balance points and off-center work. Also changing the central column from vertical to horizontal position and back to the vertical is easy. When the central column is extended vertically up to its highest limit, you can bend the central column to make it horizontal without taking the camera off of the ball head. This feature saves your time and makes switching between the framing and the positioning more easier than ever before.

Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod with Ball head

Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod with Ball head

The lock mechanism of the tripod legs works great as well. It can be locked and released in just few seconds without much effort. In addition, each of the legs can be set to different angle for more flexible, versatile positioning and allows you to balance the tripod on an uneven surface. You can set each of the legs to a different spread angle over the tripod's center of gravity which allows you to adjust the tripod to different heights.

It is 48 inches tall with the center column closed, 57.5 inches tall with the central column fully extended and a ball head may add couple more inches. If your height is around 6 feet, this is a perfect tripod for you to see a viewfinder without bending. I like the fact that we can buy the tripod legs and ball head separately. This gives you the flexibility of understanding your need and determine which ball head serves you the best. It is one of the best tripod for all kind of photographers because of it's combination of the quality and the price.


Minimum height : 3.3 inches Maximum Height : 57.5 inches Height without extended center column : 48 inches Load capacity : 11 pounds Material : Aluminum Weight : 4 pounds

Amazon Price : $132.89 (without the ball head)