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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
For the Canon XA25, XA20, XA10 and all VIXIA / LEGRIA Series AVCHD camcorders.


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Old March 24th, 2016, 07:03 AM   #1
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Stabilizers

Anyone tried an IMORDEN S-60c stabilizer with an XA-series camcorder?
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Old March 28th, 2016, 08:12 AM   #2
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Re: Stabilizers

I haven't used that brand, but it looks very nice especially for the price and the included quick-release. I have several ProAm USA Autopilot stabilizers and they work well for dSLR and small video cameras.

I can't tell on any of the photos or videos, so I've submitted this question on the company website:

"Is the handgrip of the S-60c hollow to allow placing it onto a standard 5/8-inch lightstand stud?"

The Autopilot handgrip is hollow and sized to allow slipping onto a standard lightstand or an arm equipped with a standard lightstand stud.

This is invaluable for balancing and for use during shooting as either a resting spot or to actually shoot from if you are using a substantial and solid lightstand.

The Autopilot is $189 at B&H but doesn't come with a quick-release like the IMORDEN's do.
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Old March 29th, 2016, 06:46 AM   #3
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Re: Stabilizers

The answer is yes, the handle of the stabilizer will fit onto a lightstand stud.

The company answered back and directed me to a very recent review online that I had missed. The reviewer actually shows and talks about doing this.

There are dozens of reviews online but nobody else mentioned it.

I only found one negative review, but it wasn't possible to know if he is aware that on this and almost all other similar models, the handle to tighten the length of the center column can be pulled out and adjusted freely to keep it from interfering with the bottom plate if needed to get the proper secure tension or allow easy access to your fingers.

I didn't see any reviewers using a regular video camera like an XA-10 or XA-20. However some were using full-size dSLR's with a battery grip and an 18-135 IS lens. A very heavy, and especially top-heavy setup but it worked very well.

There's one guy on YouTube who is demonstrating some extreme moves with a setup like that in front of a mirror and he has achieved a perfect active balance. The best balance I've ever seen with such a lightweight and low-cost stabilizer. His video of following a walking subject, even up and down stairs was very, very good.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; March 29th, 2016 at 02:50 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2016, 06:14 PM   #4
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Re: Stabilizers

I did hear from Imorden today that their quick release plate is compatible with the Manfrotto 501 heads.

I have one on order.
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Old March 30th, 2016, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: Stabilizers

Good info. Let us know how you like it and how it might compare to other similar stabilizers you've tried.

Have you ever balanced a stabilizer from scratch rather than just fine-tuned one already set up with a particular camera? It can be maddening.

In my opinion, people put too much emphasis on achieving a perfect static balance and not near enough time on achieving a perfect active balance.

Once you achieve a perfect active balance, it's like magic has taken over and turned a frustrating contraption into a graceful tool that you aren't fighting against.

One trick I use for fine-tuning the balance is a powerful disc magnet located on the steel weight plates on the base. A very dense steel ball with a rubber coating (taken from an old computer mouse), sits on the magnet.

The power of the magnet combined with the rubber coating makes the ball sit perfectly still unless you physically move it a fraction of an inch to change the balance.

That's how sensitive the final perfect balance can be; moving a one-ounce weight a fraction of an inch or forgetting the lens cap is on while balancing, can make a big difference.

On my stabilizers, the steel weight plates are much larger and flat. This gives lots of room for the magnet fine-tuning device. On the one you ordered, the weights are concentrated more centrally on the aluminum base. So you may have to come up with something equally controllable in tiny adjustments, but also very stable that can't drift while you are moving.

Also make sure you can clear the battery when mounting the camera to the baseplate. This shouldn't be as hard with an XA camera as it can be with a dSLR.
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Old March 30th, 2016, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: Stabilizers

It arrived, without any instruction in the box.

First observations (no time to play with it today, just look at it).

The quick release plate is an "almost fit" in the 501 head, but is 3 cm (~1.2") longer than the Manfrotto plate, and depending on adjustment will likely block the battery release on the XA20. It is also just a wee bit thicker so it does not quite slide into the 501 head, but might with careful application of a file to it. It does not have an alignment pin. The Manfrotto plate will fit in it, by may not allow the needed range of adjustment.

Workmanship looks OK. The handle is hollow and does slide on to a standard 5/8" mic stand.

More to come over the next several days. First order of business is to find instructions for it.

In any case, I have not had need for one previously, so I have nothing to which to compare it.
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Old April 2nd, 2016, 07:44 AM   #7
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Re: Stabilizers

Balancing was not difficult, but requires patience and rather tiny adjustments increments when you get close.

There are a number of adjustments involved:
- Fore/aft position of the camcorder on the quick release plate
- Fore/aft position of the quick release plate on the head.
- Side-to-side position of the quick release plate on the head.
- Number of weights used. (With the XA20 I used half of the weights.)
- Fore/aft position of the weights on the bottom plate
- Extension of the post.

Turns out with the XA20 the quick release plate can be installed so as not to block replacement of the battery, but if you install a different weight/size battery you will have to adjust the balance. Similarly changing the LCD display screen position or any other actions that change the weight distribution of the camcorder (e.g., adding a filter) will require adjusting the balance.

Watching some videos first helped in the process.
Took perhaps 15 minutes the first time through.

A quick with/without indoor test shows it helps a lot with smoothing out moving shots.
Waiting for some better weather to test with outdoor shots.
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