Libec LS-55 - First Impressions at DVinfo.net

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Old September 20th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #1
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Libec LS-55 - First Impressions

Got my Libec LS-55 today. I ordered the mid-level spreader (actually called the LS55M on B&H but I got the floor level spreader instead. bummer.

Anyway, (using a Canon XH A1) mounted on this tripod is simply wonderful. Of course the only comparision I have is a $100 tripod :).

But I can pan and tilt without the initial jerk as well as without any jerks throughout the move. This just opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Earlier, I'd shy away from any shot that required movement or cut out the initla parts and ues only the smooth parts (in editing). Looks like I'm going to have a lot more fun.

The counter weight on this thing is serious. Tilting the camera down takes some serious strength, plus you have to hold the tripod down with the other hand. I've got a Bowflex at home and it kind of feels like that. The lowerer you tilt the camera the harder it gets. Also the head needs to be seriously tight or else it will shift and then when you come back up your level it way off.

I don't like the level that comes with it. First of all it's on the wrong side (towards the front) and you can't really get over it (parts of the head are in the way) to get anywher close to a good reading. So it's of no help at all. For the price, I'd expect two seperate level rather than one.

But all in all, I'm very happy (need to talk to B&H about the mid-level spreaders). But I don't know any better either.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiv Kumar View Post
Got my Libec LS-55 today. I ordered the mid-level spreader (actually called the LS55M on B&H but I got the floor level spreader instead. bummer.
Sorry for the late reply Shiv, but I was just looking into the Libec LS55M and noticed the following on the B&H web site:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...arch&Q=*&bhs=t

The 'Features/Specifications/Item Incudes all say MS-2 Mid-Level Spreader, but the picture shows a floor spreader. Were you able to get this rectified with B&H?

Thanks,

Allen
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Old October 17th, 2007, 04:40 AM   #3
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Allen,

I've sent the tripod back for a couple of reasons:
1. The model they sent me was wrong.
2. The head is not smooth (while panning) at certain angles (of its 360 degree travel).

I used the tripod for 4 days and intended to return it on my return from a shoot (since I left the day after I received it). However, during my shoot I also found that the head would kind of let go of the resistance and then back while panning (ending up in a jerky pan). This would happen sometimes in specific parts of it's 360 degree travel.

I hope to have the tripod back (same make and model) early next week.

It's a great tripod and using it with the Letus (where you have to manually adjust the focus (constantly depending on what you're shooting) showed camera shake. One night I was in DC doing some night shots and I pretty much walked around from location to location with the tripod (with camera mounted) for over two hours (walk to location, setup, shoot, and walk ot next location). That tripod is quite heavy for this kind of thing!

Since all 3 legs are not connected like most tripods I've seen and used (mind you I don't know much about this breed of tripod), I find I have to re-adjust the level each time even if I'm on a flat surface. That's quite a pain and I wish it were a better design somehow.

Shiv.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #4
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counter balance

a good counter balance system is intended to aide the shooter so that in a tilt angle the camera if let go stays in that position it should not rebound or try to go back to horizontal if that is happening the counter balance is set too strong for the weight of the camera you are trying to balance when properly set the camera should not move if tilted down or up if it does the counter balance is set incorrectly or the head is not right for your camera's specific weight
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Old October 17th, 2007, 02:02 PM   #5
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Mark,

Thanks for the validation of what I thought should happen. The counter balance on the Libec head is way too strong/heavy for the Canon XH A1. Seeing that it is spring loaded (the tension increses as you tilt further down) I can't imagine how it would work for any camera in the way you describe. It's not anything like a jib arm and can't be adjusted (I don't believe).

Shiv.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #6
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counter balance

i read the specs on the libec and it only has one counter balance spring rated to 22lbs so my guess is that your camera with accessories needs to weigh somwhere in the 12-13 lb range before it stops trying to rebound the camera back to horizontal get a head that can counter balance more than one weight or you will never be happy with its performance
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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The Libec LS55M is a great little unit for the money, offering performance equal to much more expensive head/tripods.
I have used one with my XH-A1 with no problems at all.
I generally mount the camera to a base plate and rails, and mount a Brevis,
Zeiss prime lens, matte box, marshall monitor and IDX battery.

It may take you a little while to get used to, moving up to a professional tripod/head from a $100 unit.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:22 PM   #8
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counter balance

were you able to use it with just the camera and not all the accessories mentioned and have it counter balance properly or did you need the extra weight i believe that is the answer the gentleman with the xh-a1 would like answered
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Old October 18th, 2007, 03:26 AM   #9
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Mark, David,

This particular Libec model came highly reccomended by people on this forum. Personally, I'm quite happy with it barring a few issues (probably 'cause I don't know any better :)).

I do use rails and a Letus along with the camera most times but either ways, tilt shots are far and few between. It's the extreme tilt positions that require more force than I'd expect, especially since the tripod lifts off as well (while tilting down) and one has to hold the tripod in place to prevent that from happening.

I don't feel qualified enough to judge tripods at this juncture but I guess (judging from other reccomendations) for the price point it doesn't get much better.

Having designed a lot of things in my life I know it could have been designed way better. For example:

I very much doubt having more weight (up to the handling weight of the head) on the tripod will prevent the tripod from lifting off the ground while tilting down to the max. You'll have to weigh down the tripod (sand bag/water).

The other issue I mentioned in another thread:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=104089

So is there something better for $200-300 more?
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Old October 18th, 2007, 08:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Viducich View Post
were you able to use it with just the camera and not all the accessories mentioned and have it counter balance properly or did you need the extra weight i believe that is the answer the gentleman with the xh-a1 would like answered
I have used it with just the camera many times without a problem,
But then again I have been shooting for 30 years.
Remember, the LS55 is designed for a heavier camera than the Base XH-A1.

If you are having problems with "the tripod lifting, and Tilting the camera down takes some serious strength, plus you have to hold the tripod down with the other hand." ... Then you need to disengage the drag which is for smooth moves with heavy cameras!
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Old October 18th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #11
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I too purchased a Libec LS-55 tripod with a mid-level spreader from B&H a few days ago. Unfortunately I received it without a spreader and the wrong carry case. I tried it out for a few hours before sending it back for the correct replacement and I found the action to be very smooth and did not exhibit any drift-back on slow or fast pans; something typically seen with most heads in this price range and lower.

Shiv, did you have the drag settings set to 'high' by chance? The LS-55 has two-stage fluid drag settings; basically high and low. If it is set to high and there isn't enough weight on the head, it will definitely lift up at the far end(s) of your tilts. Using the low setting, it may still lift up but most likely much farther along in your tilts depending on how much weight you have on the head.

Incidentally, the LS-55 has a hook underneath the head that allows you to attach more weight to hold it down if necessary; great to use if you choose to film during extreme weather conditions :-) Furthermore, the tripod appears to be very sturdily built and should stand up to years of use/moderate abuse. I plan on using it with a loaded up, 35mm adapter-based rig which will most likely be close to 20lbs.

I should be getting a replacement unit early next week and will do some more thorough testing but from what interaction I've had with it so far, it seems to be one heck of a performer for under $1,000 and last until my projects can pay for the Miller Arrow 25 and Carbon Fiber Solo VJ sticks I'd like to have.

Leo
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Old October 19th, 2007, 02:07 AM   #12
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Leo,

The drag setting makes no difference to the lifting of the tripod in an extreme tilt position and nor does it make a difference in the amount of force required to tilt it to an extreme downward tilt.

Leo, I may be new to this stuff but pretty intelligent :). Oh and David, 30 years more experience won't make it any better :). And I am smiling.

The tripod is great in so far as smoothness and sturdyness is concerned. But it does have design flaws that I don't think a tripod (even) at this price point deserves. That's all.

I had the opportunity to change it for something else but I'm sticking with it, in the hope that I just got a defective piece.
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