Manfrotto 503HDV vs 3130 for XH-A1 at DVinfo.net

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Old January 8th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #1
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Manfrotto 503HDV vs 3130 for XH-A1

I've been scouring the boards for the past several days, and based largely on recommendations from this community, I've decided on the Manfrotto 755XB as my tripod base (thanks to all of you for posting your reviews, advice, opinions, etc).

I'm still struggling on which head to purchase. So far, I've only seen one person who has used the 3130 with the A1, and several who have used the 503 (but not necessarily the HDV version).

Basically, what I'm trying to decide is, if I go with the 3130, will I be kicking myself down the road for not investing the extra $250 to go with the 503HDV? I plan to use the setup primarily for nature / landscape videography, though I tend to shoot pretty much anything that grabs my interest.

Any advice at all would be most appreciated.
Andrew K. Setter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew K. Setter View Post
Basically, what I'm trying to decide is, if I go with the 3130, will I be kicking myself down the road for not investing the extra $250 to go with the 503HDV?
Yes, you would be kicking yourself.

The main difference is that the 503HDV is a true fluid head with continuously variable fluid drag.

Quote:
I plan to use the setup primarily for nature / landscape videography, though I tend to shoot pretty much anything that grabs my interest.
The 3130 is only useful at wide focal lengths with the tilt locked off, if you can stomach some bounce-back and uneven friction.

The 503HDV is the best option anywhere near its price range. It has limitations, but your budget would have to grow to $2,000 to make a meaningful upgrade.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Hi Andrew..............

The bad news is that any of the kit you mention will, indeed, lead to a suitably painfull "kicking yourself" session at some point not too far down the road.

If you read the right - ups for any of it, you will notice something a little scary (if you know what to look for) with regard to an A1 or any other HD camera - non of them so much as mention "HD" anywhere.

They mention "run and gun", "videographer" and all sorts of other interesting stuff but miss the point entirely when it comes to HD.

The gear you're looking at was not designed for HD camera support, cannot do it and will inevitably drive you utterly insane when yet another slow pan has gone down the tubes because of leg "wind up", "centre section play", "head stiction" , "system backlash", "lateral support slop" etc etc etc.

I've got better gear than you're thinking of buying and had to can it completely for HD work - it's junk for the job.

Bottom line - if you can't afford a support system costing the same as the camera, prepare to be bitterly disapointed with the resulting video.

I've just re - tooled with a set of Vinten FiberTecs and Vision 3 head - now that is a HD support system!

And yes, I reckon all up (with spreader, bag etc) they actually cost a shed load MORE than an A1, and worth every single cent of it.

If you can, re - think the entire project.


CS
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Old January 8th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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I used the 501 head with a GL2 for a long time, and when I got my XH-A1 the 501 wasn't really steady and smooth enough for the HD material, so I bought the 503HDV head.

I've been pretty happy with it. The pan still seems just a little too tight sometimes, but it's acceptable and definitely a major upgrade from the 501. The main thing I noticed was that it doesn't 'stick' anymore coming out of a static shot.

The other thing I noticed is that my legs seem a little light now - they twist a little on pans and stuff, and I think it must be because the camera and head are a little heavier than the GL2. I think I'm using the 755B but I'm not sure. I haven't heard of the 755XB, so I'm going to look that up and see what it is.

I wouldn't go out and spend $2000 on a tripod right now - I don't feel like it's my weakest link at the moment.
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