Tripod and teleconverter for safari - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion

Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
...plus TRV900, PD100A and other Sony DV camcorders.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 13th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #16
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
Back from safari...equipment I took

Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller
Hello,

I recently bought a used PDX10 - VERY impressed! I'm off to Kenya next month for a 2-week safari and would appreciate recommendations for a tripod. My current one is a cheapo that makes a lot of noise and that's my primary concern. Of secondary concern are the portability and cost. (Well, cost is really primary, too (!) - US$200 - US$300 range ideally).

Also, should I take a 2x teleconverter and, if so, which one? Do any not have vignetting?

Any advice/experiences from people who have taken footage on safari would be most welcome.

Thank you.

John.
Jambo! I have recently returned from the above safari. I never dreamt I would see so much and learn so much.

Regarding equipment, in the end I took with me:

Sony PDX-10 (naturally...)
Sony x0.5 wide angle converter
Sony x2.0 teleconverter
Sony circular polarizer
Sony ND filters (variety)
Sony UV and protection filters
Sony dual fast charger (including 12V car lighter adapter)
Power outlet adapter (US to UK 3-pin)
Sony 128MB memory card
Panasonic MiniDV head cleaner
24 Sony DVC Premium MiniDV cassettes (60min, used in 40min DVCAM mode)
5 batteries - 1xNP-FM50, 3xNP-QM71D, 1xNP-QM91D
Novoflex Chestpod
A cheapo but small tripod that doubled as a monopod
Portabrace (K and H Products) dust/rain cover
Rycote Softie microphone windshield
Sony stereo headphones
Set of precision/jeweller's screwdrivers (just in case!)
Chamois lens cleaner

I packed all the above into a gym-like soft bag that was suitable as carry-on luggage. Prior to leaving, I had toyed with using a hardcase but I would have had to still have an extra bag for many of the accessories. In the soft bag, I packed everything (where possible) in zip-lock bags and the camcorder itself was cradled in some of the original Sony cardboard packaging. I also had a 3' x 1' piece of bubble wrap (with the 1" bubbles).

Laptop PC with FireWire interface + 4pin-6pin cable
USB memory card reader/writer

I had no problems with using the gym bag. When necessary (e.g., on transfer shuttle buses), I was able to keep the bag with me rather than have it go on top of the bus. One puddle-jumper flight (in the US) required it be "valet checked".

However, the screwdriver set posed a problem at check-in at the start of the trip. They had to be put in the checked luggage but that had already gone! So, the screwdriver set was checked by itself. Rather stupidly, the airline (whom I will not name) put it in a cardboard box but did not seal it. Three flights and many 1000s of miles later, a little box appeared on the baggage carousel at Nairobi (I hadn't seen the box prior to this so didn't know what to expect). All of the screwdrivers had come out of their plastic case and were loose in the cardboard box. Quite remarkably, only one of the six were missing inspite of gaping holes in the now rather crumpled box. For the return trip, I ensured they were in the checked luggage!

So, armed with all the above equipment, what did I end up actually using, what did I like and what did I find annoying?

1. What did I end up using?

It's easier to state what I didn't use:

The ND filters - even though some of the footage was recorded around midday near the equator, I never had a need to use an ND filter.

The car lighter adapter - I found that the single NP-QM91D battery would serve me for a whole day. I had expected to have to run the charger during the day but that proved not to be necessary. (The lodges had electricity in the rooms, though not necessarily 24 hours a day).

8 of the 24 cassettes - i.e., I used 16 of the cassettes I took with me.

The headphones - there's no setting up shots - if a lion is up wind and it is very windy, so be it! Since the short rainy season was just beginning, there was a tremendous amount of wind nearly every day. Even with the Rycote Softie, there is a lot of wind noise.

2. What did I like?

The PDX-10 is tremendous. Used with the Novoflex Chestpod, I had a very sturdy system. The Portabrace dust/rain cover can still be attached when the Chestpod (or tripod) is in use and the Portabrace provides a very effective shade for the swing-out LCD monitor (very important in the middle of the Maasai Mara when the sun is almost directly overhead).

The plethora of manual settings allowed me to cope with a whole range of lighting conditions etc.

The quality of the still images is fantastic and I ended up with about 450! With just the one 128MB memory card, that meant downloading to the laptop about 3 times during the trip.

3. What didn't I like?

Not much. Just a few annoyances more than anything.

A. Focus control - I've read elsewhere about some frustrations with the PDX-10's manual focus control. This is my biggest gripe. It would sometimes take a few attempts to get the focus just right. With a UV filter and protection filter attached, the distance read-out on the LCD was not reliable. I would have prefered a real focus ring that would let me very quickly focus to infinity.

B. Still picture taking - on a few occasions (perhaps a dozen), I would press the red button to take a still picture instead of the silver one next to the zoom control, ending up with a very short MPEG movie. I would have liked to have been able to disable the MPEG recording and/or assign the red button to take a still image. I noticed a quirk, too. After taking a MPEG shot, the next use of the still image button would seem to work (the shutter noise and frozen image were evident) but the still image itself did not get saved to the memory card. So, if I accidently started an MPEG recording, I would take at least 3 still images afterwards to ensure I got my subject.

C. Mono audio - using the supplied shotgun mic and XLR adapter etc meant recording only mono audio. Using the built-in stereo mic picks up too much camera/operator noise. I did use the built-in mic once - at night, I wanted to record the audible chirps of a particular kind of bat. I recorded some audio with the shotgun mic and some with the built-in mic.

D. Circular polarizing filter - for obvious reasons, once this filter is attached, you can't attach anything else, so it can't be used with the converters (x0.5 or x2.0).

Other stuff:

I used manual settings throughout and recorded everything in 16:9 widescreen with 48K audio.

When I get a chance, I'll put some of the still images and some single video frames up on the web.

So, "ahsante sana" to everyone who provided suggestions before I went.

John.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #17
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: san francisco, ca
Posts: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller
Jambo! I have recently returned from the above safari. I never dreamt I would see so much and learn so much.

Regarding equipment, in the end I took with me:

Sony PDX-10 (naturally...)
Sony x0.5 wide angle converter
Sony x2.0 teleconverter
Sony circular polarizer
Sony ND filters (variety)
Sony UV and protection filters
Sony dual fast charger (including 12V car lighter adapter)
Power outlet adapter (US to UK 3-pin)
Sony 128MB memory card
Panasonic MiniDV head cleaner
24 Sony DVC Premium MiniDV cassettes (60min, used in 40min DVCAM mode)
5 batteries - 1xNP-FM50, 3xNP-QM71D, 1xNP-QM91D
Novoflex Chestpod
A cheapo but small tripod that doubled as a monopod
Portabrace (K and H Products) dust/rain cover
Rycote Softie microphone windshield
Sony stereo headphones
Set of precision/jeweller's screwdrivers (just in case!)
Chamois lens cleaner

I packed all the above into a gym-like soft bag that was suitable as carry-on luggage. Prior to leaving, I had toyed with using a hardcase but I would have had to still have an extra bag for many of the accessories. In the soft bag, I packed everything (where possible) in zip-lock bags and the camcorder itself was cradled in some of the original Sony cardboard packaging. I also had a 3' x 1' piece of bubble wrap (with the 1" bubbles).

Laptop PC with FireWire interface + 4pin-6pin cable
USB memory card reader/writer

I had no problems with using the gym bag. When necessary (e.g., on transfer shuttle buses), I was able to keep the bag with me rather than have it go on top of the bus. One puddle-jumper flight (in the US) required it be "valet checked".

However, the screwdriver set posed a problem at check-in at the start of the trip. They had to be put in the checked luggage but that had already gone! So, the screwdriver set was checked by itself. Rather stupidly, the airline (whom I will not name) put it in a cardboard box but did not seal it. Three flights and many 1000s of miles later, a little box appeared on the baggage carousel at Nairobi (I hadn't seen the box prior to this so didn't know what to expect). All of the screwdrivers had come out of their plastic case and were loose in the cardboard box. Quite remarkably, only one of the six were missing inspite of gaping holes in the now rather crumpled box. For the return trip, I ensured they were in the checked luggage!

So, armed with all the above equipment, what did I end up actually using, what did I like and what did I find annoying?

1. What did I end up using?

It's easier to state what I didn't use:

The ND filters - even though some of the footage was recorded around midday near the equator, I never had a need to use an ND filter.

The car lighter adapter - I found that the single NP-QM91D battery would serve me for a whole day. I had expected to have to run the charger during the day but that proved not to be necessary. (The lodges had electricity in the rooms, though not necessarily 24 hours a day).

8 of the 24 cassettes - i.e., I used 16 of the cassettes I took with me.

The headphones - there's no setting up shots - if a lion is up wind and it is very windy, so be it! Since the short rainy season was just beginning, there was a tremendous amount of wind nearly every day. Even with the Rycote Softie, there is a lot of wind noise.

2. What did I like?

The PDX-10 is tremendous. Used with the Novoflex Chestpod, I had a very sturdy system. The Portabrace dust/rain cover can still be attached when the Chestpod (or tripod) is in use and the Portabrace provides a very effective shade for the swing-out LCD monitor (very important in the middle of the Maasai Mara when the sun is almost directly overhead).

The plethora of manual settings allowed me to cope with a whole range of lighting conditions etc.

The quality of the still images is fantastic and I ended up with about 450! With just the one 128MB memory card, that meant downloading to the laptop about 3 times during the trip.

3. What didn't I like?

Not much. Just a few annoyances more than anything.

A. Focus control - I've read elsewhere about some frustrations with the PDX-10's manual focus control. This is my biggest gripe. It would sometimes take a few attempts to get the focus just right. With a UV filter and protection filter attached, the distance read-out on the LCD was not reliable. I would have prefered a real focus ring that would let me very quickly focus to infinity.

B. Still picture taking - on a few occasions (perhaps a dozen), I would press the red button to take a still picture instead of the silver one next to the zoom control, ending up with a very short MPEG movie. I would have liked to have been able to disable the MPEG recording and/or assign the red button to take a still image. I noticed a quirk, too. After taking a MPEG shot, the next use of the still image button would seem to work (the shutter noise and frozen image were evident) but the still image itself did not get saved to the memory card. So, if I accidently started an MPEG recording, I would take at least 3 still images afterwards to ensure I got my subject.

C. Mono audio - using the supplied shotgun mic and XLR adapter etc meant recording only mono audio. Using the built-in stereo mic picks up too much camera/operator noise. I did use the built-in mic once - at night, I wanted to record the audible chirps of a particular kind of bat. I recorded some audio with the shotgun mic and some with the built-in mic.

D. Circular polarizing filter - for obvious reasons, once this filter is attached, you can't attach anything else, so it can't be used with the converters (x0.5 or x2.0).

Other stuff:

I used manual settings throughout and recorded everything in 16:9 widescreen with 48K audio.

When I get a chance, I'll put some of the still images and some single video frames up on the web.

So, "ahsante sana" to everyone who provided suggestions before I went.

John.
I just returned from 12 days in Zambia. John has provided a very complete packing list . The one thing that I will recommend is a good tripod. I think in Kenya much of the shooting is done from Landrovers so you may get away with bean bags. In Zambia, different experience. I was shooting from the ground, boat , canoe and a landrover as well. I traveled with a cheap tripod/head combination to save weight and never again. When you use a telephoto lens in video you must have a stable platform otherwise you movies will have too much shaking and bounce. Very amateur. Also you want a quick release in case you must shoot handheld. Why go all the way to Africa to have such a wonderful experience and come back with shaky video ?
I solved my problem, just bought a Gitzo system. It weights 9 lbs,heavy, but I will just have to deal with it. I cannot think of anyway to get good wildlife movies without using a stable platform.
dkane
Dennis Kane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2005, 04:12 PM   #18
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Kane
I just returned from 12 days in Zambia. John has provided a very complete packing list . The one thing that I will recommend is a good tripod. I think in Kenya much of the shooting is done from Landrovers so you may get away with bean bags. In Zambia, different experience. I was shooting from the ground, boat , canoe and a landrover as well. I traveled with a cheap tripod/head combination to save weight and never again. When you use a telephoto lens in video you must have a stable platform otherwise you movies will have too much shaking and bounce. Very amateur. Also you want a quick release in case you must shoot handheld. Why go all the way to Africa to have such a wonderful experience and come back with shaky video ?
I solved my problem, just bought a Gitzo system. It weights 9 lbs,heavy, but I will just have to deal with it. I cannot think of anyway to get good wildlife movies without using a stable platform.
dkane
Hi Dennis,

You're absolutely right! Most of the shots in Kenya/Tanzania were from a Landrover or a Nissan safari bus. (My wife and I were very lucky - we booked late and ended up the only two people in the group.) I didn't have a bean bag but the combination of the camcorder and Chestpod resting against the roof of the vehicle provided a good, stable platform for most shots except the extreme zoom ones (fully zoomed in with x2.0 converter).

Before I left for the trip, I weighed up the options of the Chestpod vs. a decent tripod vs. my cheapo vs. a monopod. In the end, given the vehicle-bound nature of most of the trip, I went for the Chestpod and took my cheap tripod primarily for use as a monopod. As it happens, I only used the tripod once - at Lake Nakuru - to video the astonishing spectacle of thousands upon thousands of flamingoes.

Oh - and I had the optical steadyshot enabled all the time.

I bet you wish you were still there!

John.

PS: We're considering Peru for the next trip to visit the Clay Licks (e.g., http://www.inkanatura.com/macawclaylicks.asp) that the Macaws frequent. Hopefully, I'll have saved enough to get a sturdy, high quality tripod for that.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 29th, 2005, 06:03 PM   #19
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Europe
Posts: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller
D. Circular polarizing filter - for obvious reasons, once this filter is attached, you can't attach anything else, so it can't be used with the converters (x0.5 or x2.0).
I use a circular polarizing filter all the time and also my Sony 0737X WA converter on top of that. Why can't you attach a tele or WA converter on top of the polarizer ? My polarizer has screw-thread on front of it, as do i think all of them.

- just curious.

regds
Stu Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 29th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #20
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: san francisco, ca
Posts: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
I use a circular polarizing filter all the time and also my Sony 0737X WA converter on top of that. Why can't you attach a tele or WA converter on top of the polarizer ? My polarizer has screw-thread on front of it, as do i think all of them.

- just curious.

regds
Hi Stu
I'm not sure exactly how you mount your filters, lens. It sounds as if you have the filter on the camera and then the lens mounted to the filter. This may be a bit dicey because of the mass of the lens hanging off the filter. These are very small threads, 37mm, so I would be a bit careful. On my camera I have the lens mounted to the camera, so the mass of the lens is hanging on the camera. The Sony lens has no internal threads, so I have to
use a matte box with an adaptor to achieve a method of utilizing filters.
I hope this explains things.
Regards
DKane
Dennis Kane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2005, 02:18 AM   #21
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
Guys, might I pop up here and ask that we use the 'quote' facility less randomly? Acres of real-estate are being used to repeat what's already been said. It's taking up a mass of archive space as well as being quite unnecessary in the majority of occasions.

Just snip a couple of the relevant lines from the post you're answering - that'll do nicely.

tom.
Tom Hardwick is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:07 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network