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Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?

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Don Kimball
Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 4:28:51 am

Okay folks, I have a budget of around $300.00 for a tripod (please dont laugh or stone me okay) and was looking for a tripod set-up that will work fine with my Sony VX2100 mini DV cam.

Most of the purpose for the set-up will be for travel. ie. pack it with my backpacking gear and use for wildlife filming. I just returned from Australia and although I love a lot of the footage I obtained am groaning that I didnt purchase a decent tripod with better panning and anti-wind shake abilities.

I was looking at this tripod for starters. Any comments as there are so many on the market. Here is the one I was looking at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000V7H8R0/ref=pe_62860_12687100_pe_vfe_d1

Thanks very much for your kind replies.

Cheers!

Don

New to Vegas... excited and intimidated at the same time!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 2:30:02 pm

Maybe a simple monopod with flip-down footpad and no pan head for that price, but our sticks and heads run in the four figures and other folk's run more.

Actually, for highly mobile work, the monopod may work out better for you.


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Don Kimball
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 3:20:19 pm

Hi Mark:

Are you suggesting that a tripod like the Manfrotto Basic 055XDB Tripod (Black) Outfit with 128RC (3130) Micro Fluid Head
Would not adequately support my Sony VX2100 camera?

A friend of mine swears by this for 35mm digital photography and I thought it would also work for my video cam.

Thanks

Don

New to Vegas... excited and intimidated at the same time!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 4:08:16 pm

The thing about 35 mm still cam tripods is, while they might hold the weight of your small video camera okay, generally IMO their pan heads are not up to the more demanding jobs of video work. Sure, if all you are ever going to shoot are locked-down hands-off long shots, maybe this will work.... maybe.

The other issue for me is, I LIKE a heavier-than-needed tripod; I like the extra inertia and stability it offers, and I like a very smooth high quality fluid pan head with good drag controls and locks.

"Heavier" is of course relative. I'm currently using the carbon fiber Sachtler with the awesome extending center column and am very happy. But I was also happy with my old O'Connor. My perfect tripod might be the O'Connor head, on the Sachtler sticks. My idea of hell would be the Vinten sticks.


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Rick Wise
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:45:10 pm

The tripod/head combo you specify is rated as holding up to 8.8 lbs by B&H (cheaper there too than at Amazon). However, I have a very slightly more beefy head, the 701RC2, which I use for fee jobs with my old Panasonic GS400. I find it takes a lot of Zen to make smooth pans and tilts with this head, but it can be done. I agree with Mark: a heavier "than-needed" tripod is always better for those silky pans, tilts, and compound moves you will want to make.

If your budget maxes out at $300, go to BHphotovideo.com and check out their tripods: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=sort&A=search&Q=&sortDrop.... (The link limits max price to $400 and displays from cheapest, $200, to most expensive.) It looks like you could afford sticks with a 501 head, which should be a bit better for pans and tilts, though I suspect not very much. Since you want to back pack, also check total weights for each possible selection.

A monopod will work for relatively static shots but not for real pans and tilts.



Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 7:04:47 pm

I am not a big fan of the lower priced Manfrotto heads for one reason: The tilt lock is on the tilt axis. This is incredibly bad mechanical design.

If your camera is at all nose-heavy, say, if you put on a wide-angle lens or something - or if you're using a client's rig (Manfrotto pod w/Canon XL-1 or XL-2) it will pull against the tilt-lock and begin to sag.

This: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/131444-REG/Libec_THM20_TH_M20_Aluminu...

...is a decent/usable pod and head and has a leveling ballhead. Those cheap Manfrottos make you level one leg at a time - a real PITA if you ask me.

At the price point you're looking at, nothing is perfect. But from a user perspective, the Libec is much more user-friendly for video use than that Manfrotto you referenced.


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Chip Thome
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 19, 2009 at 3:44:29 am

Hi Don,

From my experiences with Manfrotto, even the low end fluid head is going to be so much better than handheld, most likely it will be enough to have you satisfied. The only disappointment I have had with Manfrotto was their bottom line Modo.... makes a good table top pod as long as you don't have to move the head.

If this is going to be primarily used while hiking, you really might want to look at carbon legs to keep the weight down and strength up. I'd be inclined to bump up the cost of the legs now and cheapskate the head for the time being, to upgrade later. I have been watching some lower end Manfrotto heads on Ebay. They are returning most of their new cost when they are sold as clean used.

My favorite weapon of choice is my 561B, but I primarily shoot indoors too. It does a great job for what it is, but it is not a rock like a tripod and never could be, being it's a mono.


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denise quesnel
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Aug 19, 2009 at 9:38:31 pm

Don,

You definitely need to check out Trek-Tech's line of mono and tripods. They are EXACTLY meant for the kind of purpose that you said you would be using it for. They are also within your budget.

http://www.trek-tech.com/products/trekpods.html

I highly recommend these sturdy and convenient products- If you plan on hiking or trekking into more wild areas these also double up as a walking stick.

Hope his helps.


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Joel Servetz
Re: Am I asking the impossible in this tripod?
on Sep 8, 2009 at 3:15:27 am

Monopods have their uses, but if you're looking for something that's going to help you in windy conditions, as you mentioned, and with good smooth pans, you really should think about upping your budget just a bit. You don't have to spend a fortune for a really good outfit. I just upgraded my old reliable, rock solid Gitzo Studex sticks with a manfrotto 503HD head and it's breathed new life into an old tripod. With my front heavy XL-1, I'm able to slide the camera platform back to achieve perfect balance, pans and tilts are smooth and infinitely adjustable. If you can manage to spend upwards of $500-$700.00 you'll find lots of really good choices that will serve you better in the long run. It'll be one of the best hardware investments you'll ever make. But don't buy the micro fluid head, I owned one when I started out in this business, it's a waste of money. Here are two recommendations from the B&H website, both are B&H stock numbers: BO055XB503HD ($495.90) & BO351MV503HD ($650.00). Either will serve you well into the future. Good luck.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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