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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old October 19th, 2005, 09:40 AM   #1
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Tripod and teleconverter for safari

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.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #2
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i've done a lot of experimenting with tripods and portability, and i recommend the bogen 701rc2 (mine's on 3001pro legs), if you plan to pack it. for a camera of that weight, i also recommend the mini Velbon DF-10ML, if you want to go super-light. it's not ideal, but if weight is a consideration, it's the sturdiest mini out there....
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Old October 19th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #3
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A 2x telephoto converter that doesn't vignette as you zoom back? No, not available - and when you consider it, not commercially viable, let alone practical or even desirable. It would be huge, heavy and expensive. So much so that few would buy it ~ which doesn't alter the first two downers, but certainly affects the last.

You're attaching the converter to increase your focal length, while at the same time accepting the extra flare, minute light losses, reduction in sharpness and increase in chromatic aberation. You know however that it's a lot better than simply delving into the digital zoom range, however good that may be on the PDX.

Buy a 2x converter with confidence from Sony, Raynox, Century, Canon. But when you want to film at a focal length of 40 mm, take it off rather than zoom to wide with it on.

tom.
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Old October 21st, 2005, 02:38 PM   #4
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Tom/Meryem,

Thanks for your input. I also tried using my existing tripod as a monopod and got some good results.

John.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 03:14 AM   #5
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Well - that depends if you are going on a safari were you are driven to the animals, or if you are sneaking arround in the bush with a guide. If you are in a safari car you have very little room to move, and you will get driven quite close to the animals. Meaning that you do not need a tele converter at all.

Beeing in a car means that it will be very difficult to change anything in your set up on the fly. And it also means that you do not need a biig tele. A heavy monopod with a ball head is my recommandation. It can also be used to fend of attacking animals - just joking.

Bring a ND filter as the ligt duing midday is very stong, and you might like to avoid excessive high shutter speeds.

It can get quite dusty, so bring a resealable plastic bac and keep the camera in that.

It you a put in a stationary position then you really need alle tele you can get in order to get close ups. But since the animals will be moving then you have to track them, and that migth prove to be difficult on comsumer grade tripods. The stuff you see on Animal Planet is the result of heavy duty equipment and a consideral amount of skill and luck. I am not saying that you can't get good results using prosumer equipment - you just need some more luck.

Try to train your tracking abilities with your tripod before you go.

And just one more ting. Crime rates are very high, so be aware of advertising the presence of your equipment at all.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 04:42 PM   #6
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Definitely bring some ND filters!
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Old October 24th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #7
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I would also be tempted to take a circular polorizer if you can afford and find one. Also, on the lens flare issues, I really love the Cinetactics soft matte box. Inexpensive but pretty well made, folds up flat and has a large french flag available for shade.

On the tripod, the "wilderness" series from Bogen seems like a good choice.

Sean
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Old October 24th, 2005, 09:33 AM   #8
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Just raising the point that a linear poloriser would be just as effect and a lot cheaper than the circular variety. The latter were marketed in the 70s to overcome the porarising effects of beam-splitting prisms that ducted light off to viewfinders and light metres, but your modern camcorder will not need such things.

tom.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 12:34 PM   #9
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Thank you all for the great advice!

Most of my previous video work has been underwater so being on dry (dusty) land will be an interesting change!

John.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 11:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller
Thank you all for the great advice!

Most of my previous video work has been underwater so being on dry (dusty) land will be an interesting change!

John.
I just returned from 12 day in Zambia. The weak link in my system was my tripod. When you are in Africa Telephoto lens are the lens of choice. You must have a proper tripod/fluidhead system. I took the wrong tripod/head and regretted every moment. I just order from B &H a Miller Solo DV5 @$1200.
I will never travel 12,000 miles and spend as much time as I did (not to mention money) with the wrong tripod. Get a good tripod/fluid head before you leave.
dkane
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Old October 28th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #11
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I second the Miller Solo DV5 choice. I have one and it is wonderful. Your tripod is just as important as your camera. The Solo DV5 is a lot to lug around, but if you want good video, go for it.

I found that the DV5 head was not suitable for my PD170 as I have it set up, so I've substituted a Vinten Vision 3 head. But, the DV5 head would be perfect for the PDX10. It's unfortunate that the DV5 head is not sold separately. I think the ideal combination for the PDX10 would be the Gitzo 1325V video tripod legs with the Miller DV5 head.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 06:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Markham
I second the Miller Solo DV5 choice. I have one and it is wonderful. Your tripod is just as important as your camera. The Solo DV5 is a lot to lug around, but if you want good video, go for it.

I found that the DV5 head was not suitable for my PD170 as I have it set up, so I've substituted a Vinten Vision 3 head. But, the DV5 head would be perfect for the PDX10. It's unfortunate that the DV5 head is not sold separately. I think the ideal combination for the PDX10 would be the Gitzo 1325V video tripod legs with the Miller DV5 head.
Hi Jack
I am looking to buy a new tripod head system and you mentioned that you thought the" "Solo DV5 is a lot to lug around " I thought this was a lightweight system, am I mistaken ? I would appreciate your opinions
Regards
dkane
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Old November 10th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #13
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Well, the Miller DV5 is a light weight system if you compare it to most professional tripod systems. But, the legs and head still weight in at about ten pounds. It definitely needs to be considered another piece of luggage when you travel.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Markham
Well, the Miller DV5 is a light weight system if you compare it to most professional tripod systems. But, the legs and head still weight in at about ten pounds. It definitely needs to be considered another piece of luggage when you travel.
Hi Jack
Thanks for your quick reply. I agree, 10lbs is a factor when traveling, especially when flying. The Gitzo 1325 and the Cartoni Action Pro make an interesting system and total they weight only about 7lbs. I don't know of anything lighter. Any thoughts ?
dkane
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Old November 10th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #15
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I don't know anything about the Cartoni Action Pro head. But, I'd be willing to bet that someone on this board does. :) As I mentioned in my previous post, the Gitzo 1325V is a very good choice for the tripod.
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