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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old August 24th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #1
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I'm so poor (tripod question)

Ok. I'm going to need a tripod. I see them on sale for $20 all the way up to...well...$4,000?! I'm all for quality, but I am a poor college student and I just bought my XL2, which, as I'm sure you can all gather, means that my finances are somewhat lacking. Can I get by with a cheapy, or should I wait and spring for a good one?

Keep in mind that I'm not going to be doing any pro work and this is mostly for pleasure/film classes/artistry for now.

I know the tripod I get has to support the camera, and not all of them will hold more than 15 lbs. I'm in desperate need of advice.

~Nick Vaughan
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Old August 24th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #2
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You're right that a tripod has to hold the weight.

But you can get by, by limiting the movement in your shots. The better tripods have great heads that allow smooth fluid movement. But you could get by if all you need your tripod to do is to hold your camera in a static composition.

Lots of directors get by without tripods at all!
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Old August 24th, 2005, 04:52 PM   #3
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Aside from basic support, you want to be able to move smoothly. Would be a shame to have a camera as nice as the XL2 and end up with jerky movements :-)

Unfortunately, the size and weight of the XL2 call for something a little heavier duty than the bottom of the line. At minimum I'd consider a tripod with the Manfrotto 501 head. I think it'll be hard to find anything in that class for much less than $300. Of course to do justice to the camera it would be nice to have something a lot better than this.

Maybe look for a used tripod instead? Or if you can get by with locked down shots for the time being, then you might get away with a still photo tripod.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #4
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Hey Nick,

Yeah, I agree it is going to be tough to find a tripod that'll pan-n-tilt the XL2 buttery smooth at the price point you're shopping in. FWIW, I've been getting by ok with a Libec TH-M20 I originally bought to use with my GL2. At its price of, I think, about $170, it IS a nice pod -- nice features and very convenient to use, but I think the XL2 is kind of at the upper limit of what it can handle. MAYBE one of its big brothers might give good value for reasonable performance paired with the XL2.

But again, to get buttery smooth pans-n-tilts, ya just about have to both spend some bigger money and practice a lot (which I could sure stand to do!). I'm getting by, but have really been just awaiting the HD camera situation before spending more on peripherals. If I stay with an XL-sized camera I'll definitely drop some much bigger bucks on something such as a Vinten Vision 3, which I've never personally gotten to use, but has been highly recommended over in Support Your Local Camera, DVinfo's forum for good opinions and reports of actual experiences with various tripods.

In the end, your wallet is going to be the primary dictator of how much tripod you'll get...the more you spend, the nicer the tripod.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #5
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Exactly the things I needed to know. Thanks to all.

~Nick Vaughan
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Old August 24th, 2005, 07:54 PM   #6
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Nick,
I bought a Davis and Sanford "provista" pod from b+h last year, to use with my GL1. It's not as nice as the bogen set up I now use with my xl2 , but it will support the XL2 and works well. It's well under $200. Check it out at b+h.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:52 PM   #7
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Nick, I used a cheaper ($100.00) tripod and it did a good job in most situations unless the camera was zoomed in...at that point it shook just slightly less than I will with 5 cups of coffee in my system. Also, with no levelling bubble, everyone was moving either uphill or downhill when running.

I spent 500 bones on my libec tripod setup and am very happy, but I certainly know how it feels to be broke!!!
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Old August 25th, 2005, 10:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Nick,
I bought a Davis and Sanford "provista" pod from b+h last year, to use with my GL1. It's not as nice as the bogen set up I now use with my xl2 , but it will support the XL2 and works well. It's well under $200. Check it out at b+h.
Bruce S. Yarock
Ah yes, that looks like it'll do the trick. The 18lb. head is enough, yes?

Thanks again,

~Nick Vaughan
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Old August 25th, 2005, 10:59 AM   #9
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My two cents!

I would never buy the 501 again for an Canon XL camera. The 503 is the minimum, you must have the counter balancing springs with a camera the weight of the XL1 or XL2.

B&H does offer many combos with the 503 head and sticks they have matched to it. I think there are some around $500.00.

Just an additional note, it does not hurt to look for used tripods as you drive around. I stopped at a swapmeet type sale about 8 months ago, and stumbled across a Bogan 3030a. It was in great shape and I got it for $35.00, and no I will not sell it. I liked it so much I found another and bought it too. Bought a new Bogan recently, and felt like just sending it back. No Comparison.

Personally, if your budget is severly limited, I would error on the side of a better head and less legs for now.

Mike
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Old August 25th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #10
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If you want a tripod to just hold the camera steady in a locked position, you can get away with a cheaper ($250) tripod. If you plan to make any moves, the bottom line entry level is $500 and realistically $1000... I have a 515MVB PRO VIDEO TRIPOD WITH 516 PRO VIDEO HEAD, list for the kit is about $1500.



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Old September 18th, 2005, 11:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Nick,
I bought a Davis and Sanford "provista" pod from b+h last year, to use with my GL1. It's not as nice as the bogen set up I now use with my xl2 , but it will support the XL2 and works well. It's well under $200. Check it out at b+h.
Bruce S. Yarock
How does this compare to the bogen 501?
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Old September 20th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #12
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Nick, spend the extra money and go with the 503 head, the difference in feel and movement is worth the cost. Also, I went with the 3046 legs. I am tired of doing extreem zoom and ending up with shakey,useless video. Yes they are heavy, but the video is rock solid. When I upgrade to a 100-400mm lens I will still be able to use these sticks.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
I would never buy the 501 again for an Canon XL camera. The 503 is the minimum, you must have the counter balancing springs with a camera the weight of the XL1 or XL2.
I'll back you up there. Maybe mine is old or not working properly, but it is a long way from smooth. It's destined for Ebay.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 03:32 PM   #14
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I agree the 503 head is great, but I think the 501 is the best value and it works great with the XL2 in my experience. You just need to balance it on the head which they allow you to do with the sliding plate and it's great.
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Old October 13th, 2005, 09:42 PM   #15
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I just got my $200 Davis & Sanford PROVISTA 7518 combo from B&H. Thought I might get away with saving a few bucks. Leaking goo from the head (is that normal?) It seems OK but does not give me much confidence. I think it will hold up till I can save enough to get the Bogen/Man combo or the like. I wish I had listened to this forum and waited!
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