Kessler Pockets vs PortaJib Explorer at DVinfo.net

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Old February 27th, 2010, 02:39 AM   #1
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Kessler Pockets vs PortaJib Explorer

I'm putting together a proposal for a corporate in-house kit for the 5D Mark II. A lot of what we shoot will be static, indoor objects, so it's important that I be able to do smooth camera moves.

For a head, I've decided on the Vinten 3AS (75mm), as its one of the few really smooth tripods that can dial down the spring to low levels without steps. I can use a 75mm to 100mm ball adapter as needed.

For camera motion I was looking at the PortaJib Explorer as an all in one solution - it has a tripod and jib, and can be converted to a long, wide slider with dolly. Add some dolly wheels at the feet, and it does it all.

Porta-Jib Explorer System

Here are the demo videos: http://www.portajib.com/explorer-video.htm

But today, I took another look at the Kessler Pocket Jib and Pocket Dolly with the K-Pod and swivel head. It's quite a bit less expensive than the PortaJib. I'm thinking that it has the advantage of having the slider mount on top of the jib. That lets you move the slider to any angle instantly. All you need to do is move the head from jib to slider. Having the crank (and being able to use string on the pulley) looks nice too, plus they are making a motorized add on.

http://www.kesslercrane.com/index.ph...275&Itemid=110

You can see the slider on the jib in the last moments of the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp_Lw...layer_embedded

Here's the motor prototype: http://www.kesslercrane.com/index.ph...=284&Itemid=64

So... does anybody have experience with the Pocket Jib/Dolly and K-Pod? To keep the budget in line, the K-Pod would be the only tripod, but most of the shooting would be on-site. Would I be stupid not to get something lighter and more portable?

I assume that the K-Pod will be solid as a rock as a stand alone tripod.

Finally, are there other products that I should look at? I'm not all that interested in a floor dolly, and I don't need huge moves. I plan to fly it from the front, so I don't need a remote head. A slider and jib with lots of flexibility is what I'm looking for. Also, I want a comple package. I don't mind mixing and matching, but I don't want to end up with a slider and nothing to mount it to.

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 27th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #2
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For what it's worth, Jon, I played with both of these at trade shows in the last year and found the PortaJib product more impressive, but that doesn't mean that the Kessler isn't a good product. I was actually very interested in it but after 10 minutes I was somewhat less so, although I can't quite remember why!! One thing that struck me--you'd have a hard time operating that crank if the system was set up at eye height. Certainly the motorized option will make a big difference especially if you can operate it from the pan handle; I do hope that it will have a feathering feature. Hard stops=no good.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 06:21 AM   #3
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I'm using the kessler setup on a regular basis for weddings. The tripod really solid and the jib works a treat. I use the slider seperately, it's easier. The slider is usually used with the Lumix GH1, the Pocket Jib takes the Canon XhA1 with ease. I'm very happy with them both.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #4
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It looks a little tedious to setup but definitely looks like a quality product.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #5
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Charles, you make a good point about the wheel possibly being too high. The string around the pulley trick might help solve that. And, yes, the motor MUST have feathering to be useful. Otherwise, you can only show a clip in motion - and the motion can never start or stop within the in and out points.

Paul, thanks for the tip that you usually use them separately. I'll look into some additional stands/tripods for the Pocket Dolly.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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Not entirely convinced about the string concept Jon--the crank should be quite precise to operate by hand. It's the same principle as why a geared head can be preferable over a fluid head; you are making a larger movement with your hand that doesn't rely on continuous pressure or similar motion. Pulling a string requires you to draw your hand back at a measured and linear rate, which is harder than making a large rotation with your hand. Plus, presumably you would have to wrap it around the shaft which effectively "gears down" the action, where you would actually want to be doing the opposite (the Kessler adjustable diameter handle is clever in allowing you to great the ration needed for a given shot; fast or slow).

The motorized option will be nice, assuming it is quiet and powerful.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Paul, thanks for the tip that you usually use them separately. I'll look into some additional stands/tripods for the Pocket Dolly.
you don't need additional stands if you use the KPod with the hurcules head. you can even have it on an angle and use it as a mini jib as well.

or just plonk it down and shoot - I use the dolly everywhere, just sit it on the floor or a bench, last nigh I even used 2 chairs at the reception to set up a platform to shoot the cake.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #8
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I was thinking that it would be easier to leave the jib set up on the K-Pod for the occassional shot while moving the slider quickly on its own stands. That seems faster than unbolting the jib from the K-Pod and mounting the Pocket Dolly. I'd think that the original plan of mounting the Pocket Dolly on the Pocket Jib would be better than reconfiguring the tripod for each shot.

I'll any case, I'll trust your experience. I've had equipment before that gets a lot less use than I expected when I bought it. You never know until you've used it a few times. (Then again, I've had equipment that I didn't use much. Later, I break it out, use it in the right situation, and think, "I should have used this a lot more!")
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