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Old August 13th, 2014, 04:33 PM   #16
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

Asking about drag control on the Dracast DVT-17 head they responded

"Hello Craig,

The Dvt-17 does have positive pan and tilt controls. There is a twist knob for the pan and tilt. The tighter you make the knob, the more resistant the pan and tilt are."


So the DVT-17A (same head lighter legs) is certainly worth investigating. It's the lightest head I can find with drag control. I'll have to go down to B&H and see if they have the head so I can see how it feels.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 10:17 AM   #17
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

Iíll be interested to hear what you think. A 3rd light weight tripod wouldnít hurt, especially at that price. Tomorrow Iím going to check out the Manfrottos. Heavy I know, but do need something for the Gitzo I recently got. Weight was what sucked me into the Varavon.

It seems like you and are considering a lot of the same gear. Ditto on the lenses in your previous post. I do a lot of event shooting hence the need for longer, faster zooms. From everything I've looked at I think the best solution for me is the lumix f2.8 35-100. That said, ideally it would be longer and faster. I did just buy the 14-140 lumix for a shoot I did on a boat. Performed remarkably well. Not perfect, given the boat movement, but as well as could be expected, but definitely an outdoor lens. If only that were a constant 2.8.

I didn't realize the Canon Speedbooster supported image stabilized zooms. But as its only for the pocket, I doubt Iíd go for it, at least not right now.
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Old August 16th, 2014, 11:11 AM   #18
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
If only Sigma had an f1.8 35-100mm.
Well, they don't... but almost.

I also have an AF100 kit (usually rides in its own bag) that includes the Sigma 18-35/1.8 (Nikon)... it's companion tele zoom is the Sigma 50-150/2.8 (earlier non-OS version). Speedboosted (standard m43 version), it thus becomes a ~35-105/f2 lens. Its approximately the same size and weight as the 18-35, and is par focal with internal zoom and repeatable focus like the 18-35. Together, they make a very nice combination... Boost them if you need faster/wider, use them unboosted if you need the distance.
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Old August 16th, 2014, 11:25 AM   #19
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

Interesting that you mention shooting on a boat. That's what I was doing on the 14th. Shooting whales and dolphins,

The BMPCC being 2.88 crop, my Lumix 12-35 is about 100mm full frame equivalent at 35mm. That wasn't long enough.

The Lumix f2.8 35-100 is about $1500.
Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 Lumix G Vario Zoom Lens H-HS35100 B&H

I may consider getting the Canon to BMPCC Metabones Speedbooster (already have the Nikon version) for $650 and look at Canon image stabilized zooms. Given that I may get another camera such as BMP4K which is a Canon mount it may make sense for me to get Canon mount lenses. Otherwise a Lumix zoom would serve me better (smaller, lighter and with BMPCC crop factor, perceptually longer).

I'm curious to hear about your boat shooting experiences. The hardest part about shooting whales is trying to anticipate them. On top of that, the longer the lens the more accurate you have to be to anticipate.

As to tripods, while I see a lot of good light legs, it seems very hard to find a light head with good drag control. I have the Sachtler FSB6 is very good but heavy. It's fine for my more involved productions.

Of course the rule of thumb now is to put all gear purchases on hold until after IBC given he potential new product announcements. I hate "hurry up and wait."
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Old August 16th, 2014, 11:47 AM   #20
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

I hadn't thought about that combination. Its even a little cheaper than the panasonic 35-100. Kevin, have you used that lens? Most of what I seem to read about it and its sister lens, the 12-35, people seem to rave about the latter but not so much that one.

Aside from the obvious, how would you compare those 2 choices, that is assuming you've used them both.
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Old August 16th, 2014, 02:52 PM   #21
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

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I hadn't thought about that combination. Its even a little cheaper than the panasonic 35-100. Kevin, have you used that lens? Most of what I seem to read about it and its sister lens, the 12-35, people seem to rave about the latter but not so much that one.

Aside from the obvious, how would you compare those 2 choices, that is assuming you've used them both.
First I'll list the obvious, in case it wasn't obvious to some:
- Lumix set is MUCH more compact, has auto features and OIS
- Sigma set is larger, faster, parfocal with repeatable focus, non-extending

I've used all 4 lenses, and own 3.
I own and use both the Lumix 12-35 and Sigma 18-35 (sometimes boosted). In quick work and for bopping around shooting some B-roll and taking photos, the 12-35 is too convenient not to have. The 18-35 really is a hefty chunk of glass... I tend to use it more on tripod shoots or with my AF100. While the 18-35 also can ostensibly cover the entire ~12-35 focal range either using the booster or not, that step of changing out adapters is sometimes more trouble than it's worth. I tend to use the 18-35 more like a cinema lens (with follow focus etc) for shots with setup time and for interviews with its greater speed/focus depth control. It's a perfect interview MED/wide lens, for that matter, as I tend to shoot just about every such interview at 18-35mm around f1.8 anyway when using m43 cameras.

I enjoyed using the Lumix 35-100, but didn't love it. Images are just as crisp as with the 12-35, OIS is great, but it's a very expensive lens and I tend to only use that focal length on a tripod anyway. The Sigma focuses a little closer and has the capability of longer reach when used unboosted, is faster when boosted, plus it is mechanically parfocal with repeatable focus. The older 50-150 is indeed a little softer than the Sigma 18-35 or the Lumix lenses, but not greatly so. For the way I use those focal lengths, it just made more sense.

Another factor in the decision was that I sometimes rent S35 cameras (FS700, C300, etc) and the Sigma lenses offered usability on those systems.
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Old August 17th, 2014, 08:15 AM   #22
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

I have Lumix 12-35 and plan on getting Sigma 18-35. As Kevin notes, they serve different purposes.

Keeping in mind I have the Pocket (but the thinking is the same for other MFT cameras but with slightly different numbers)

Panasonic f2.8 12-35 is about 35-100mm on the Pocket. Also being OIS makes it a good walk around lens for hand held work.

Sigma f1.8 18-35 Pocket Speedboost is about f1.0 31-61 which, as Kevin notes would be a great tripod mounted interview lens. Sort of like having a 35mm and 50mm Prime but with more flexibility due to the zoom.
With standard Nikon G adaptor on Pocket it's about 50-100mm
Pocket crop is 2.88 and I believe 1.75 with Speedboost if you want to do the math for more exact numbers.

For me, the issue with whether to get Nikon or Canon mount Sigma 18-35. I already have Nikon Pocket SpeedBoost but I'm thinking Canon mount lenses for future Canon mount camera purchases (BMP4K). On the other hand Nikon mount would be fine with Nikon MFT SpeedBoost (which I already have as well) if I were to get Panasonic GH4. Decisions, decisions.

In any case, the Sigma 18-35 seems like a must have for "SPC" given it's flexibility on a tripod. It's two fast primes only more flexible. It can be either f1.0 31-61 or f1.8 50-100 on Pocket. So in that respect it's cover 35, 50, 85mm primes with one lens. Basically if you have a Pocket or other MFT camera and can only take one lens and you're on sticks, this would be it.
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Old August 17th, 2014, 12:19 PM   #23
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

It should be noted that I don't only use the 18-35 on sticks... with a stable enough shoulder mount, it works ok run & gunning - in one respect better than the Lumix 12-35 because it will hold focus and aperture through a zoom (and there are plenty of ways to use that technique, not just the local-newsesque slow-zoom-in/out or 60's movie snap zooms).
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Old August 17th, 2014, 07:28 PM   #24
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

I've been looking at shoulder rigs as well. Also heard from others that IS isn't really necessary with a good shoulder rig. I've started looking although that might be beyond "subway kit." It would involve more first hand testing.

I went to B&H on the "great tripod hunt" and confirmed some things.

Dracast DVT-17 head has a poor excuse for drag control. Friction really and not well implemented. Head felt like a bad consumer head.

Generally good pan drag mechanisms add a lot of weight to the head. Checked with several sales people and all said there are no really light options with that.

Libec TH-650HD Head/Tripod with Carrying Case
Libec TH-650HD Head/Tripod with Carrying Case TH-650HD B&H Photo

This was passible/serviceable but not quite as smooth a pan as I'd like. 7 lbs

Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755CX3 Tripod with Carrying Bag
Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755CX3 MVH500AH,755CX3 B&H

This head felt much better and at 6.25 lbs closer to acceptable.

Benro C2573FS4 S4 Video Head and CF Flip Lock Legs Kit
Benro C2573FS4 S4 Video Head and CF Flip Lock Legs Kit C2573FS4

This was pretty good. There's a serviceable Tilt drag and panning felt smooth even though there's no drag control. Weight was impressively light at 4.8 lbs for $440. Aluminum legs would bring it up to 5.8 lbs but drop price to $275

Benro C2573FS6 S6 Video Head and CF Flip Lock Legs Kit
Benro C2573FS6 S6 Video Head and CF Flip Lock Legs Kit C2573FS6

Has a much better Tilt drag control. Pretty good actually but still not Pan drag. The head adds more weight bringing it to 6 lbs and $465. Aluminum legs add almost another pound at 6.9 lbs while price drops to $300.

Benro S4 and S6 with CF legs are close in prices interestingly enough.
S4 CF other key specs
67.9" Maximum Height
8.8 lb Load Capacity
29.9" Folded

S6 CF other key specs
68.5" Maximum Height
13.2 lb Load Capacity
30.5" Folded

Between the two it comes down do greater load capacity at a heavier weight.

Manfrotto 755CX3 MagFiber Video Tripod Legs with Rapid Center Column & 502HD Pro Video Head with Flat Base Kit
Manfrotto 755CX3 MagFiber Video Tripod Legs with Rapid Center

This seems to be the lightest with viable Tilt and Pan drag head. $694 and about 7.8 lbs.
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Old August 17th, 2014, 10:36 PM   #25
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

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Interesting that you mention shooting on a boat. That's what I was doing on the 14th. Shooting whales and dolphins,
That was my second time shooting whales. Needless to say, a long lens can either reward or disappoint greatly and it did. This last shoot in particular, I just let the camera roll. I had a spotter which helped. I was up north where the water can be rough, so rarely did I use the full 140mm and the times that I did, when I thought I could get away with it, I wanted more. Not surprisingly there were also times when I rolled and rolled without a single breach and as soon as I rested my arms or took a drink of water, up comes a whale.

Yesterday I picked up a Manfrotto 502. Iíll be returning it not just because it turned out to be defective (odd clicking noise on the tilt and scraping on pans) but because it quickly became apparent its really meant for a much heavier load than Iíll give it. Too much tension on the counterbalance spring for my taste, although I will say I thought for the price it was otherwise decent enough.
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Old August 17th, 2014, 10:42 PM   #26
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

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I enjoyed using the Lumix 35-100, but didn't love it. Images are just as crisp as with the 12-35, OIS is great, but it's a very expensive lens and I tend to only use that focal length on a tripod anyway. The Sigma focuses a little closer and has the capability of longer reach when used unboosted, is faster when boosted, plus it is mechanically parfocal with repeatable focus. The older 50-150 is indeed a little softer than the Sigma 18-35 or the Lumix lenses, but not greatly so. For the way I use those focal lengths, it just made more sense.
Typically I also only use a longer lens when on a tripod. The whale shoot being one exception. Up until that, most of what I used the GH3 for were sit down interviews with the Sigma 18-35. But as a significant percentage of the shooting I do is fast paced, get the shot right now or its gone type of stuff, I often use autofocus, assuming thereís enough light to make it reliable. Do you know if there is an adapter which would enable the autofocus of the sigma 50-150. Iíve looked but there doesnít seem to be one, speed booster or otherwise.

I have to say I was impressed with the GH3ís ability to accurately indicate whether it had found focus or not. There were times when it couldnít find right away but it never lied.
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Old August 17th, 2014, 10:47 PM   #27
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

Craig, how do you power your pocket camera? I've been using a tekkeon battery with this:

BEC BEC-TEK Mounting Box for Tekkeon myPower ALL PLUS BEC-TEK

both of which I had anyway. Goes for hours but adds a bulk I'd rather do without.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 10:58 PM   #28
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

With the Pocket camera the only "auto focus" seems to be with Panasonic lenses and it's really just a push for focus and wait three seconds.
Neither the Nikon or Canon SpeedBoosters support auto focus. Canon supports IS.
Panasonic IS is supported natively.

What I tried doing was infinity focus which is hard with the Panasonic lens focus rings but not impossible.

I've just been using the Blackmagic branded batteries (plus one Nikon). I generally get about 50 minutes from the BMD batteries and closer to 60 from the Nikon. I've learned to change the very quickly. Pop the bottom, pull it out and bite down on it while one hand holds the camera and the other pulls out another battery from my bag on my waist. Probably takes me about 15 seconds or so.

I debated about continuous shooting vs grabbing shots as I anticipate. If only the Pocket had pre-record. I just ended up grabbing since the Pocket record is near instant. I guess if you anticipate in advance and happen to have the camera pointing to an exact spot before a breach... which has got be like winning the lottery with a long lens.

Did you find shooting continuos really helped?

Regarding spotting, the captain shouted clock directions. Their regular Photog (he does this at least three days a week during season) explained to us what he was looking for, how to spot the congregation of the bunker fish and watch their activity, They tend to jump a lot more of a whale's coming up from under them.

Alas maybe whale shooting is better served with a small ENG style camera with deep depth of field, 20x zoom and pre-record.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 02:08 AM   #29
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

Yes, the ďautofocusing" ability of the pocket is one reason I havenít used it much so far. When I have, its mostly been for static wides when I do a 3 camera set up at speaking events. These events are usually about 2 hours so changing batteries isnít really a good option.

That said, Iím going out of town tomorrow on a shoot, the nature of which means I have to bring 4 cameras. Iím considering leaving the GH3 at home and taking the pocket instead. Anything to lighten the load which is somewhat ridiculous. Thereíll be an arm wrestle over that tomorrow morning Iím sure.

Pre record would be perfect and yes, continuous shooting did help. But it did mean taking the time after the shoot to cut out what had nothing in it. A client that has been good to me so it seemed like the right thing to do.

Despite everything Iíve said about the next lens Iím considering, what I should get is a 1/3 inch camcorder, as you suggest. The difference between what I want and what I need I guess. I do have my eye slightly pointed towards the Panasonic AJ-PX270 as well as the Sony PXW-X180 which isnít out yet.

I also want to see how the Panasonic FZ1000 does. I havenít read up on it much but from what I gather there are trade offs. To be expected for a $900 camera with lens.

Too many choices...
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Old August 19th, 2014, 03:36 PM   #30
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Re: Subway Kit and the Tripod Quandary

If I were getting a Professional "handy cam" at this point I'd want 4K.

That could be the Sony PXW-X70 but it won't be 4K until next year from what I understand at an unknown cost. Also it has one of those one ring multiple function designs I'm not crazy about. It's an odd bird in that it actually has a 1" chip which helps in low light compared to some of the other 4K professional handycams. That even gives some wiggle room with shallow depth of field.
Sony PXW-X70 Professional XDCAM Compact Camcorder PXW-X70 B&H

There's also the Sony PXW-Z100 which is 4K and a 10 bit intraframe codec. The reason for the interest is if I'm going to go the handycam route whether it's whale "filming" or corporate, it'll give me the opportunity to crop zoom/pan. That can certainly help when filming whales.

The Sony PXW-X70 is certainly small though and fits within the "Subway Kit" theme for me.

As it is, I do have the Sony EX1 so I'd have to see something compelling. IBC is coming up in a few weeks so there's no rush.

Last edited by Craig Seeman; August 19th, 2014 at 04:33 PM.
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