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Old September 28th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #1
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503HDV Head

Hello, I'm planning on going to B&H to buying the Bogen 503HDV with a tripod
next month. Does anyone out there have a review of this new head?
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Old September 28th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #2
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I've got a 501, suggest you try one in person first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Cook View Post
Hello, I'm planning on going to B&H to buying the Bogen 503HDV with a tripod
next month. Does anyone out there have a review of this new head?
I've got a Manfroto 501 that I've always hated. Never broke in. sticky starts and stops at all friction levels. From what I hear, the 503's are only slightly improved. I have not used one to verify this. Had cameras from Sony TRV-900 (small) to my JVC HD110 with IDX battery, zoom control etc... 501 always sticky. I did just get from BH a Mathews M25 that isn't half bad.. for $180 delivered to my door by BH. smooth starts and stops... half the weight. No variation on friction, but the head does have a control to balance out the the camera so variable friction is unecissary. However a good fluid head and sticks, your pretty much looking at $1,100 or MINIMUM... and really $1,500 should be your expected target. The M25 just came out last month, and videomaker.com had a positive review on it. If people are interested I'll take some digital pics of it and post em.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #3
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Never used a 501, but I bought the 503HDV / 351MVB2 kit from B&H and I have NO problem with it and my XH-A1. Very easy to balance and extremely smooth in all directions.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...EAD_MBAGP.html

My first tripod with this cam was a Libec LS38, but I found it to heavy and cumbersome for my particular needs
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Old September 28th, 2007, 09:50 PM   #4
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I'll second Alex's comments. Had a 501, crap. It depends what you want to do. Shooting on your own, well, sure, it can work. If you're hiring yourself out as a pro videographer, then you need something better. I now use a Miller Arrow 30, but that is way more than you'll want to spend.
Try before you buy. You do tend to get what you pay for. Someone mentioned before that if your having problems with pans, you can try putting a hair elastic on the pan handle, and pull that instead to avoid a jerky start. Needless to say i don't use a hair elastic with my Miller!
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Old September 29th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #5
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My experience with manfrotto is limited to my old school's equipment, but that also made sure i did NOT buy manfrotto. Ended up with a Sachtler instead.

For some reason i went with a cheap libec setup a few years instead of 501/503 head and from time to time at school suggested we use my libec 950 rather than the rubbish manfrotto.

Ofcourse i might have been unfortunate with my manfrotto's, but as Bert said, if you are going to work for others as a pro don't turn up with a tripod setup that won't give you smooth pans.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #6
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503HDV Head

I will being video taping for myself. Mostly all nature and wildlife that I hope to make DVD's from and sell.

At this time I have a D8 camcorder with a 2x teleconverter which makes it equal to a 2100mm 35mm telephoto. I'm buying the tripod now for an XL2 that I'll be buying in the spring. So I would like a tripod thats is sturdy and a head that pans smoothly. My budget for this tripod is $800.00.

I'd like to hear some remarks about the 503HDV, if anyone has used this new head yet.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:55 AM   #7
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I just got mine and have used it a few times. I won't have a computer able to view my footage until december though. I looked at some on the tv tonight and it looks good. I used an elastic as suggested and it looks very nice, also tried using no elastic but not sure where the footage is. Will have a full review soon I hope (i'll be going home to the states in 3 days).
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Old October 8th, 2007, 09:03 PM   #8
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I must be the only one who has no problems with a 501!

Doesn't stick, doesn't jerk - no problems at all.

Maybe I'm just lucky!
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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #9
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I've been using the 503HD for a few months now and at 2000mm I think you'll have to practice a lot to get smooth pans- but that probaby goes for any head you could buy because that is such a long lens. Regardless, the head is fairly smooth- not perfect by any means but decent. Considering the price of those heads that are "perfectly smooth" I'm not complaining.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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I had a client come by and pick up the 503HDV,351MVB2KIT and we tested it here at my office. I have to admit, I do like it better than the origional 503 head. I had more control of the pan and tilt over the orig 503 and the counterbalance has improved.

Since promoting Libec for a few years now, I tend to compare Bogen VS Libec on a regular occasion. I still like the Libec LS38M(2A) 2-Stage system which sells for $599.00 at TapeWorks which is very comparible to Bogen/Manfrotto's 503HDV,351MVB2KIT Single Stage system which sells for $609.00 from TapeWorks Texas Inc. Pricing is close to the same, overall control is the about the same. I guess it comes down to do you want a single or 2-stage tripod? Over either one of those though, I prefer the Libec LS55M(2A) system which sells for $899. This of course is personal preference and opinion only.

Bogen/Manfrotto has definitely improved their customer service over the past year. Libec's customer service has been and still is outstanding. Both Bogen and Libec's availability on product are good.

Hope this helps!

Best Regards,
Scott Cantrell
TapeWorks Texas Inc - HDVinfo Sponser
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scott@tapeworkstexas.com
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Old October 16th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #11
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improved there service?

Bogen/Manfrotto has definitely improved their customer service over the past year.

I sent my 503 head of to be repaired about 3 months ago, at the time they said there would be a wait as the part needing to be repaired had to be brought in from overseas as there were none in Australia. I rang up this week and they said that the part is due to be shipped from overseas this week so should be another month or so before it gets here, repaired and sent back to me. Talk about lousy service...
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Old October 16th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Cantrell View Post
Over either one of those though (Libec LS38M(2A) 2-Stage system and 503HDV,351MVB2KIT Single Stage system), I prefer the Libec LS55M(2A) system which sells for $899.
Hi Scott, can you expand on the reason you prefer the Libec LS55M?

Thanks,

Allen
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Old October 17th, 2007, 02:55 AM   #13
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The problem I faced with Libecs is that to get a tripod of any stability, I'd have to get a LS 38 or above. These are all rated 6kg and up - the LS-38 is 6-10kg and the LS-55 is 8-13kg.

If I put my 2.5kg camcorder on them, the counterbalance is just waaay too strong and I end up fighting it to get any significant tilt.

At the weight range I need, the LS-22 (or 950DV) has a reasonable head (for the price), but I find the legs too flimsy.

I've just purchased a Vinten Pro-6 HDV. This is the 503HDV head re-badged (because they're all part of the Vitec group, I presume) but with a proper Vinten pozi-lock 2-stage tripod. Now the tripod weighs a few kg more (good exercise points!), but it seems to be a lot more stable than the Manfrotto 525 legs from my point of view. To my mind, this is a very solid combo for the money. I echo what a previous poster said about facing panning issues at 20x zoom, but then I have to draw the line somewhere for something that is a hobby, not a business.

The Pro-6HDV/503HDV balances really well with my Sony V1, and all the controls are logical. I've yet to put the tripod to serious use, but I plan to give it a good shake-down this weekend. Maybe the free Vinten T-shirt will have arrived by then!

Also, the Pro-6HDV comes with a really neat carry case, complete with shoulder strap. I think it's actually a Petrol case rebadged, but I can't be sure of that.
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Last edited by Mike Beckett; October 17th, 2007 at 03:03 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention carry case, and got the Libec weights wrong.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #14
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Andrew, When I mentioned Bogen's improved service, this is related to Bogen US customer service. Their availability on product has improved and their technical assistance has improved from a year ago. Their sales force has become knowledgable over the wide range of products they offer (Manfrotto, Gitzo, Lastolite etc). Once again though, this is related to the US distribution location.

Allen, the LS55 system includes a 2-step drag system that the LS38 does not. This becomes handy in various applications which I am sure you are aware. At the price range, Libec offers a quality product. I am not comparing this system to a Sachtler, Miller or Vinten systems. But, I can compare it to Bogen's 501 and 503 heads which are very popular in the market place. I have used the H38 and H55 on various product demos with the Canon XHA1 and JVC's GYHD110/250 camcorders. The H55 responds smoothly with the JVC, you do have to be a little patient with it when using the XHA1 as it is a lighter camcorder (H55 being rated for weights 8 - 22lbs). As Mike mentioned, the counterbalance on the H55 is a little strong for that type of camcorder. But, once again, having drag modes available assists with this discrepency. Additionally, if shooting with the XHA1, you have room to add accessories like matte box, on-board lighting, prime lenses etc and the added weight will assist in the performance of the LS55 system. Basically giving you room to grow into it. If you are not planning on adding accessories to a cam that is 5 - 6 lbs, than the LS38 system is probably the direction you would want to go. By the way, allow me to reiterate that the new 503HDV performs great with the camera's I mentioned as well, for the price point that is. If you are looking for even better performance out of a tripod, take a look at Sachtler's 0650 DV-6SB SL Carbon Fiber Tripod System which sells for over $2000.00! It comes down to how well do you want a product to perform and how much are you willing to spend!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 01:20 PM   #15
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Complete idiot...

I own a 503HDV and it is okay. My biggest problem is that I don't know how to use it. I conveniently lost the instruction manual. I have tried to go to Manfrotto's site for it but no luck. Don't get me wrong. I know how to lock it into a spot but setting it up for good pan or any smooth action is beyond me. If anyone has a copy of the manual, I would be greatful.

-Thomas
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