X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor at DVinfo.net

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Old March 22nd, 2011, 05:23 PM   #1
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X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Stedicams, Arms and Vests, oh my! Stedicams, Arms and Vests, oh my! Stedicams, Arms and Vests, oh my!

Iím leaning towards the Zephyr with an AB mount and a standard definition monitor.

Doing the research it seems the Zephyr best suits my current needs with its lower weight range of 5lbs. I am currently using cameras weighing in at 5-12lbs. This also allows me to use heavier cameras I may encounter along the way. The Glidecam X-22 lower weight range is 10 lbs. and I am thinking I would have to use extra weights on top of the sled to get it to work well with lighter cameras.

Batteries I am not locked into a system yet, I am thinking AB would be the way to go, any advantages to going V mount?

Monitor; is there any advantage to using a HD monitor? Iím thinking you are thinking more about the shot than how good your monitor looks. :)

Thank you,
Bill
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 07:26 PM   #2
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Zephyr is an excellent rig with many benefits. Excellent design and execution. Nothing compares to the Steadicam gimbal and arm. The Zephyr vest is a new design that is their best lightweight vest yet.

Re: weights, you may want to add weight anyway, for improved operating. However, if you find yourself in the rig all day on a corporate shoot or a day of live show rehearsals and shoot, or documentary...then the ability to fly it lighter is great.

Re: monitor, well...honestly the Zephyr's SD monitor is pretty mediocre, even by SD standards. It is basically a Chinese consumer LCD, nothing like a Marshall, for instance. Like many SD LCD's, it has only 234 vertical pixels. No better than the Flyer monitor and in some ways worse. But you are right, Steadicam monitors are mainly for framing while you operate. Not for judging focus. And I'd bet that the Glidecam monitor is pretty much the same quality grade, fwiw.

However, with lower-cost small HD monitors available now, it makes sense to consider adding one. Having the option of playing back a previous take and watching it on your sled's monitor at a high(er) resolution is attractive. HD monitors are all over the map, from sub-$200 for a consumer-grade HDMI to a low-cost HD-SDI at around $1000, to professional-grade monitors from $2000 and up. Some operators just like to have as much resolution as they can get. Keep in mind, many HD monitors are not very bright, which is a constant battle when operating outdoors.

Finally, although the SD Zephyr monitor is unimpressive, it is just fine. The rest of the rig is extremely well-done, and is just plain sexy.

AB vs. V-mount, depends on if you have anything invested in one system already. Otherwise, they will both perform well.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 08:18 PM   #3
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Thanks Mark. :)

There is a $3400 difference between the SD and HD monitor packages I think I will order the SD version and if I want a HD monitor I will get one of the Marshalls. I can't see any other difference between them. Anyone have more info?

Bill
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

One more question what is the difference between the Standard Vest and the Compact Vest?
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 04:25 PM   #5
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

the compact vest is for shorter people if you are not short then the standar is what you need.

just for the story i was using the zephyr and the scout at a workshop. Both of them have the same SD monitor (that was told us at workshop) and outdoors is totally useless. The HD monitor for zephyr is a little bit better but nothing close to a marshall and the price around 1000 - 1500$. So buy the Zephyr which have an amazing vest and totally an excellend rig with SD monitor and buy a marshall and replace the manufacter monitor.

my 2 cents
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Unless you are quite short you will be fine with a standard Zephyr vest. The new shoulder velcro makes it quite adjustable. I am 5'7" and short in the torso and needed a Flyer compact vest (though at its longest setting). I can adjust the Zephyr vest for a proper and comfortable fit.

As for the SD monitor, I've done some testing comparing it to the old 500nit Flyer monitor and it is not as bright, at least at the default settings. A curious and disappointing step backwards...haven't put it to the test outdoors in a production environment yet. The Flyer monitor was workable outdoors except in direct sun.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 02:32 AM   #7
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

I used to use the old Flyer monitor with my lightweight rig and it was "acceptable" outside (not great but viewable, as Mark says, except under worst-case conditions). Very disappointed to hear that the SD Zephyr monitor isn't even that good--four years down the road.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #8
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Did an outdoor vehicle shot with the Zephyr today. The rig performed very well, but, as for the monitor, I was lucky that it was cloudy.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 07:22 AM   #9
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Can imagine!

You know in Australia Tiffen would have to do something about it, as a matter of fact I might
just go down that path myself with the Consumer Affairs department. Here we have consumer law that includes the fact that a product sold here must entirely fulfill its purpose, the legal term is that it must be a "merchantible item". Clearly the monitor is a joke in daylight and therefore is not "merchantible". It would be different if it had a disclosure saying it was not suitable for daylight use, but it doesn't. Then again it doesn't even come with specs or a manual, let alone a manual for the Zephyr itself. I must say I'm a bit disappointed at some people around who seem to be Apologists for Tiffen in some areas, especially monitors as in "that's the way they've always supplied them".

Well for me that is no reason at all. "This is the way we have always done it" is fine if you're making bourbon, but not hi-tech equipment.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

There is no "legal" definition of daylight-viewable. Nits don't count for much if the monitor has a shiny, non-coated surface that reflects everything around you.

Sometimes, the worst scenario (even worse than daylight) is a fully overcast day, where the sky is all white. That can be a real bear for any monitor as a reflection.

Nice vehicle mount Mark. The perspective may be a little confusing but it looks like the arm is hardmounted to something next to the Mitchell riser rather than the riser itself??
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Old March 25th, 2011, 11:51 AM   #11
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Nice one, Mark! Was it your own vehicle mount or did that come with the production/camera car?

Wouldn't it be nice if Tiffen would sell things separately? Like the zephyr without a monitor and whatever inflated cost they add in for it?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:36 PM   #12
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

The arm is connected to a Garfield mount directly to the Mitchell riser. I previously bought a used Garfield mount and added a Flyer/Zephyr/Scout/Pilot female socket block to it. About $100 for the socket block part number 803-7801. The riser and ubangi and platform were rigged by the Key Grip and provided with the camera car.

As for the monitor, my feeling is that they basically ARE selling it without a monitor. :-) By that I mean, they put their parts and engineering money into the other components to keep the selling price down to $8995.

It's a decision I'm not wild about but I can understand (what I presume to be) their thinking.

At some point, our choice becomes whether to spend a lot of effort worrying about it rather than devoting that time to getting work with the rig. A day or two of paid operating can pay for a pretty sweet replacement monitor. Not that it's not a real issue and irritant.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't voice our concerns, but ultimately its not an un-solvable problem. Just something to be aware of when considering the rig purchase.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:55 PM   #13
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Yes, that all makes sense Mark--if you look at the previous pic, it seems like the arm is mounted significantly to the right of the riser, it's an optical illusion. Good safe setup you have there, you hit all of the things I used to call for on a vehicle mount (waist harness, foot support, safety attached to handle for runaway rig, spare croissant etc).

Always a hoot to see all that hardware in service with a DSLR looking dwarfed in the process!

FYI here is my 1DMKIV buried in shooting setup for the pilot I just shot...
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Old March 25th, 2011, 04:37 PM   #14
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Charles,

Whoa! You got a license to drive that thing??

That's what I like about DSLR's. They're so lightweight, ergonomic and unobtrusive. ;-).

I'd love it if you could share a quick verbal sketch of what you've all got rigged there, and why. Some of it is pretty obvious to me, other not so much.

As for my rigging, Nashville is blessed with an excellent crew base...a byproduct of years of TNN (now Spike), CMT and GAC cable networks, and a legacy of the now-fading country music video industry.

We were shooting for Armed Forces network (local production company holds a contract). Director/DP is an old friend, and the Gaffer and Key Grip are among the top guys in town. I told them how I wanted it and they built it and made it safe.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #15
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Re: X-22 vs. Zephyr, AB vs. V mount, SD vs. HD monitor

Lessee: left to right:

O'Connor O-box
1DMKIV, Zeiss ZE lens (Duclos gear mod)
Small HD 5.6" for operator
Marshall 7" for AC
Preston focus motor (hidden behind Small HD)
custom baseplate (fore and aft rods telescope separately)
Redrock handle
Dynawave SD transmitter (under handle)
Preston motor driver
Blackmagic HDMI to HD-SDI converter
Blackmagic HD-SD downconverter (for transmitter)
Wireless audio receiver
Dionic 90HC

The audio receiver was a send from the mixer as network dailies were being struck from the original files, with the transcoding and syncing done a day later. Surprisingly the dailies sounded really good, I never heard any AGC issues.

Total weight was probably 23 lbs.
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