Small/sturdy inexpensive tripod/head for MX/GS size cams at DVinfo.net

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Old September 18th, 2003, 07:18 PM   #1
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Small/sturdy inexpensive tripod/head for MX/GS size cams

Today I tried to track down those Velbons, with no luck unfortunately. However, I had a chance to look at some lower-end Manfrottos. I've found the Manfrotto 190 legs to be just fine. Either in silver or in black, these legs are sturdy yet light, and are easy to snap into place. The cheapo video heads I looked at were the Manfrotto CLB 128, 200 and 229. The 128 is the plastic version of the 200 or the 229, but their looks and their action are virtually the same. This pan and tilt action sticks of course, but when you loosen the twist things all the way, and you take care with moving the handle (not to fast nor jerky), the action is smooth enough. I've found that the "action" was smoother, though, with my old Velbon I used to have. From what I was told, the newer Velbons are not as good as the older ones. The Manfrotto 190 with the 128 head , weighs about 3 & 1/2 pounds; maybe even lighter. It was hard to tell. Also, the standard Canadian price was $229. I'm sure I can find this set for cheaper at Leo's or elsewhere. What I also like about this set-up is that the legs come together quite small. So, if I needed a video tripod/head like tomorrow, this is what I'd grab. I think it would be difficult to find a better set of legs/head today for the buck. But I'm still going to look around to see what else is available, even though I might have to grab the 190/128 in the next couple of days.

http://www.manfrotto.com
http://www.velbon.com
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Old September 19th, 2003, 04:53 AM   #2
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surprisingly ive used a manfrotto 501 head (long neck not ball head) which worked well and looked extremely silly.. LOL
only temp till the DVX came, but worked well...

but...
this is the tricky bit, taking it off the legs allowed me to set it up as a makeshift shoulder rest for teh cam...

basically the bottom of the long neck rested on my belt (i use a flagpole pouch now) and the lever was flipped over and rested on my shoulder.
Very effective...

now i use a small velbon (not in the office so i cant rememebr the model) which is small enough to double as a monopod.

friction heads are quite annoying thou...

im lookin for a new tripod for the mx500 now and i been looknig for along time for decent combination.
THANX!
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Old September 19th, 2003, 09:03 AM   #3
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The Manfrotto CLB 128, 200 and 229 are "friction heads," and the only way they work properly is when the adjustment screws are totally unscrewed (and care is given to pan smoothly).

The 501 head you speak of, that's a Manfrotto, right? Or a Velbon?

I had a great tripod/head but decided to dump it for a cheap, light one---and in future I'm still going to go with that Miller DS5, though at this time, I really only need a small light one. I'm probably going to look at some more this morning, after I let my fingers do the walking in the yellow pages.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #4
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yeah frank, the 501 is a manfrotto.. nice head, damn heavy thou.. larger than the mx500 thats for sure.. LOL loooks absolutely silly!!


what i love about this velbon is that its cheap (60AUD) and nasty (cranky plastic friction ) but its absolutely great as its so light, and i can literally fold it up and tuck it in my belt...

works great as a monopod and forgot to mention, during crwod shots, i like to mount the lil DS88 to it with a fisheye wide angle and loft the while thing up to about 15 feet up (im 6 foot... but extended, the tripod legs are 5 feet high.. a lil higher i think)

awesome dance floor shots, especially for those european weddings (greek yugoslav etc)
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Old September 19th, 2003, 10:22 PM   #5
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Not so inexpensive but sturdy and smooth...and all black

I checked out some 'pods/heads further today. A Velbon dealer listed on the velbon.com site wasn't in the local phone book. (They probably went under.) I only had 2 choices as far as brands go, and one of them are only meant for still cams. Can you guess what the other brand was? Yup. Good ol' Manfrotto. So I checked them out further. Here's what I believe I will buying now: 055pro legs/128RC head, $220/$129 Canadian. But sometimes you can buy a special "kit," with a saving of about $50. Total price is $349 or $299 if the kit is available.

The 055pro legs extend well easily, they are sturdy, and the legs have a leveling bubble. The 128RC fluid action head is plenty smooth and has a quick release locking plate. It is black also. This set-up is a tad heavier than the Manfrotto 190 legs, but sturdier and higher, and the head is much smoother than the sticky plastic 200 head. I should mention that the 128RC head tilts very high and very low, which is a good thing if you want to shoot planes crashing into buildings, or shoot what's crawling around your feet. These legs also go down to about 1 & 1/2 feet, for when you are setup in the bushes and lying on your belly for those sneaky cheeky shots.
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Old September 20th, 2003, 05:27 AM   #6
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sounds good,

here in oz, manfrotto have jumped to abotu 6 different distributors... :(

i have been waiting about 6 months for a dolly kit now...

Im currently using these legs [URL]http://db.manfrotto.com/product/templates/templates.php3?sectionid=102&itemid=811[/IMG] which are an excellent pair (+1 LOL) and can fold outward and are incredible for those awkward positions..
Good for when you want to upgrade later on as well as their very solid, and has an adapter which allows for ground level shots...

very verstaile and withthe 501, i find it a good in between kit for most uses...

the head itsself IS a little heavy forthe MX, so panning is probably one of the trickeist things to master as the centre of gravity is dead centre and offers no vertigo to assist in the fact that the cam is lighter than the head...

I think the 501 is overkill for the MX and GS cams though.. but its good to know that upgrading wont be an issue later on... it uses teflon friction for holding which is ULTRA smooth...
Another thing, which is a dangerous, but workable, due to the weight, you can work it as a makeshift upside down steady cam...

basically, hold the head till its down (with the cam mounted) and hang onto the neck... now your shot is upside down, but that can be switched in post.. now, with the low centre of gravity and the immense weight of the kit itself, you hav almost rock solid ankle shots... or special effect speed shots and following the baby while hes crawling... great for levels, can be a bitch when you kick the cam thou..

I do this when filming peoples feet and dances and weddings most of teh time....you can even run with it...

Hey frank, do you ahve any links to those pieces of kit youve described?

Id be really interested to see them in action!
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Old September 20th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #7
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You can see the 055pro and 128RC at:

http://www.manfrotto.com

They weigh about 1/2 as much as the 075b/136 which I just got rid of---not that I didn't like this heavier set-up, it was just TOO heavy for me to lug around.
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Old September 24th, 2003, 09:14 PM   #8
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Why don't you try SLIK.

Light, cheap and small, functional, not exactly friction-head or smooth head, but good enough for a pan.

I have been using the SLIK U9000 for a very long time, from MX8 to MX350, and still cameras (SLR, digital, whatever) up to about 3kg in weight.

U9000: http://www.slik.com/u/4906752101155-e.html

Whole range: http://www.slik.com/cybersh2.html

USA distributor: http://www.thkphoto.com/
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Old September 24th, 2003, 09:23 PM   #9
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"Why don't you try SLIK." :)

Actually, I did look at these. They make nice still camera pods, but I liked the 055pro/128RC much better---a little more costly, though. I was going to pick these up today, but they haven't got hold of cheaper "the kit" yet. I had nothing planned for this weekend, which is a good thing, other than snapping a few cheeks with my Fuji press 400 ASA color film with my 135mm lens---hehe. :)
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Old October 8th, 2003, 12:59 AM   #10
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I'm using a Cullmann 54102 which was about $80. Sturdy aluminum legs, not real heavy, but enough weight to keep everything very steady. A removable 3 way fluid head with very smooth pans and tilts, I can see brass fittings on the pan fitting.

I tried several Manfrottos at the local pro photographer shop and this seemed at least as good as any of the smaller ones that cost several times as much.
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Old October 8th, 2003, 02:15 AM   #11
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Thanks John. I have never seen these in local stores (Vancouver).
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Old October 10th, 2003, 02:22 AM   #12
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Glazer's in Seattle, not to far from the Seattle Center.
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Old October 10th, 2003, 02:32 AM   #13
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And I was only 8 blocks from the Canada/US border today. I even saw a sign saying, "Seattle 185 Km."
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