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Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??

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Todd Terry
Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 8:34:28 pm

I'm wondering if I'm looking for something that even exists...

We've made a New Year's resolution to try to go smaller and lighter gear-wise this year. I'm pushing the big 5-0 and tired of humping around so much weight.

We're probably going to switch cameras to the Canon C300 (when available)... the body of that camera weighs less than the battery on the camera we now use.

I'm in a tripod quandary, though.. and can't decide what to get in a new set. For several years we've been using older Oconnor 35A legs... have a couple of sets of them. They aren't pretty, but are rock solid.

The thing that has kept me using these older Oconnor sticks is that you can simultaneously raise and lower it, all three legs at once... easily. You can, of course, adjust legs individually... but by turning a ring at the top you can adjust them all at once. It's easy even fully loaded with 25lbs of camera, as shown here...




It's easily movable even fully loaded, and is rock solid. We regularly put a jib on it as well... which is pushing 100lbs when you add up the jib, weights, head, and camera... and is still perfectly solid.

I never realized how much I came to take that for granted, until the first time I had to use a different set of sticks rented on location once. It was driving me nuts having to adjust each leg just to make a small height change, often having to unmount the camera to do so. Do that 50 times a day, and you're cursing.

So... does anyone know of any modern sticks that will do this? Or have a recommendation? Being able to do this is really a deal-breaker when it comes to buying a new tripod. I'd just keep using the old ones instead... but was hoping for something newer and a little less bulky.

Much thanks,

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rick Wise
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 8:55:00 pm

I hear you, Todd! I wish I knew of sticks to recommend that do what you want. I do find that legs with quick-release locks make it pretty easy to drop all 3 legs, but then you have to lock them individually. Still, with a light camera and light legs and head, that's not a huge chore. One hand holds up the rig and the other snaps the locks. Pretty quick and easy even for someone a lot older than you.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 9:02:37 pm

Our Sachtler 8 comes close, but not exactly as good, because the legs are independent and not ganged quite like the O'Connor's mechanism uniquely does. (Our O'Connor looks like yours but with black, not red legs. Works the same.)

Please be careful with the height changes when the camera is still on the tripod: one of our shooters lost the tip of his index finger, up to the first knuckle, when he decided to hurry and move the O'Connor a few feet with the camera still attached... and he somehow triggered it into guillotining the finger.

I've loved the O'Connor for the one-handed ability to deply, strike, and adjust it, all while holding the camera up out of the dirt in the other hand. Every other tripod has forced me to lay the camera down or grip it between my knees, if the ground is wet or dirty. And the way the O'Connor's cable spreader lets it turn into a good imitation of a hi-hat is great. I wouldn't use any other tripod if I was shooting on steep hillsides either.

But watch your fingers!


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Tom Nelson
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 9:54:03 pm

We've got one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/227385-REG/Sachtler_5385_14_HOT_POD_1...

It's a bit heavier than a standard set of Sachtler sticks, but all of the leg locks are released simultaneously when you lift up the spreader to a certain height. If you're real talented, you can hold the camera with both hands, lift the spreader with your foot, lift/balance the camera, and re-lock the legs with your foot again.

-Tom

Tom Nelson
Videographer/Editor
Essex Television Group


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Todd Terry
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:32:03 pm

Thanks all...

I kinda forgot about the Hot-Pod, as I've never actually used one. I'm usually not much a fan of Sachtler sticks, but if that's all that's out there that will do this, we would definitely consider that route. I don't like the idea of a center post, but might have to get past that.

I'm just kinda amazed that so few sticks will do this all-at-once function. I'm completely COMPLETELY spoiled by being able to do this, and didn't realize it. I went for about 10 years without hardly ever using any sticks other than the Oconnors and frankly just started taking it for granted... until I had to use a rental Sachtler on an out-of-state location and was bitching and whining all day. The crew loved me that day.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:43:28 pm

You will come to love the center column on the Sachtler, when it telecopes way up higher than the O'Connor could ever get you, even with the legs 90 percent drawn-in and all wobbly. The Sachtler is rock-stable at max height. I LOVE how the Sachtler lets me look over fences to get a clear shot, or over crowds to get a good view of an entrance at an event. UP PERISOPE!!!


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Todd Terry
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:50:41 pm

Thanks Mark...

I just measured mine, and yes the Sachtler with the center post up will go 4" higher than my Oconnor with fully-extended legs. I do wish it would go a bit lower as well (the Sachtler specs say 31")... as you said the Oconnor can basically go down to high-hat level.

Boy, I just want everything, huh...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 13, 2012 at 4:02:55 pm

They each do certain things exceptionally well, each is suited more to certain jobs than others... I think the tripod that does EVERYTHING equally well hasn't yet been built.


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Ken Zukin
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 15, 2012 at 5:43:49 pm

If you want to lighten your load, a Sachtler Hot Pod isn't the answer.

I'd suggest going to a trade show (NAB) and sampling what's out there. The problem with getting recommendations on-line like this is everyone praises what they have -- but most end-users aren't really up to speed on what's out there, or how the marketplace has changed.

I have a 20 year old Sachtler 8 III that works well -- it has 3 stage CF legs which help with height issues (vs. 2-stage) -- it lacks an illuminated bubble, which drives me crazy.

Good luck.


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Todd Terry
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:08:22 pm

For anyone interested, I've been told (by a friend who uses it), that the Oconnor 35L are the sticks to have if you want the all-in-one simultaneous leg release that I'm looking for.

They are almost exactly like the older 35A sticks that I have, except with carbon fiber legs. And no wire spreader.

Unfortunately they have been fairly recently discontinued, but you can still find them new in a couple of places. Also found several used sets.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Aharon Rothschild
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Oct 13, 2012 at 3:56:38 am

@ Mark Suzko
I just bought a Oconnor 35a tripod with a modified (100mm bowl) 50d head.
Could you be a bit more specific about what to watch out for finger wise?;)
Also, haven't been able to find any sort of manual, which is not surprising considering when this was actually manufactured. I'm wondering how low I can safely take the tripod by removing the bottom spreader and relying on the middle spreader cable.
Also have you used this on location without a bottom spreader? It would seem like a easier setup with just the cable.
Thanks!

possibleimpossible.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Oct 13, 2012 at 4:12:56 am

Do not raise or lower these sticks with a heavy camera still on top, and do not try to pick up the entire tripod and camera and walk with it a short distance. That was the scenario under which the accident occurred. Keep one hand on the camera's handle, and your free hand and fingers up by the pan head and not in between the legs. My co-worker lost a fingertip which got crushed off or guillotined or scissored-off by collapsing or folding leg action, when he broke this rule.


As far as a bottom spreader, never had or used one, only the cable at mid-point, It let our heavy betacams get VERY low, almost as low as a high-hat. I still like and occasionally use ours, there is nothing better IMO on stairs or a hillside than these sticks, with their easy independent leg adjusting and one-handed deployment/collapsing... but I'm always more wary of walking away from it or in handling it. When keeping the legs closer together on the cable for maximum height, you trade some stability.


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Todd Terry
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Oct 13, 2012 at 4:24:24 am

I'm not the esteemed Mark, of course, but since I started this thread and have two sets of 35A legs I'll chime in.

Yes, although I usually put the stick feet in a Manfrotto spider dolly, I do also frequently use it with just the cable spreader. It's perfect fine... ON THE RIGHT SURFACE.

You'll only want to use it like that on some kind of "grippy" surface. Dirt is fine, carpet is fine, asphalt, grass, rough exterior concrete... etc. It's NOT advised on any slick-surface floor... tile, hardwood, etc... in those instances all it takes is for one leg to slip and it all goes down. In our studio the stage floor is a slick epoxy coating over concrete, so it's completely unusable with just the cable spreader there. Also, if you do use it that way, don't walk away and leave it unattended. If a kid or dog or whatever were to run by and bump one of the legs, down she goes.

And of course I only use it like that with camera only... we also use these sticks for a jib and I ALWAYS use it with a real spider dolly then... that's a must.

I'm still looking for the perfect sticks/head. I covet your 35A with the 100mm bowl... mine have the 120mm bowl so I'm stuck with the bigass 50D head. Now that I've moved to the little Canon C300PL that means my tripod head weighs three times as much as the darn camera. Not a good combo. So I really need a lighter sticks/head set, but so far I've been unwilling to give up the instantly-adjust-all-three-legs-at-once feature. I'm just too spoiled with that. I've been trying to figure out myself if I could modify one of my sets and put a smaller bowl on it... but the way it's made (the bowl and the leg brackets all cast out of a single piece of metal) it wouldn't be wildly easy. Not impossible, but not a 10-minute DIY project, either.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Aharon Rothschild
Re: Need a tripod recommendation. Does it exist??
on Oct 14, 2012 at 6:33:54 pm

@Mark Susko
Thanks for the heads up on lowering and raising the head! I'll be sure to remove the camera and to keep my hands out of the tripod interior when doing so. Also I've taken the tripod down to high-hat height, with the legs almost completely spread out, and what I noticed was a small amount of "give" when pushing down on the camera. If you've done this without damaging the spreader cable then I'll take that as part of the design ie the pressure just needs to be constant to keep the camera steady.

@Todd Terry
I'm planning to use this on a Epic shoot where I need the camera very low. I'll use spikes in the dirt and I'll use a spreader inside.
I completely agree with you about using a spreader with a jib. I've seen a cheap Davis & Sanforrd tripod literally crack apart under the moving lateral stress of a jib, I imagine shifting the weight around on legs without a spreader could potentially cause a collapse.
Also I've seen the 35a used with 100mm bowl heads. Yes there is the potential for "slip" but when locked down tight that wasn't really a issue.

possibleimpossible.com


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