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Old June 25th, 2003, 06:53 AM   #1
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bogen heads 501 and 503

I have just bought bogen/manfrotto tripod 755b
Heads considered are 501 or 503.
VX 2000 now but there might be something else within a year. a new pd150?
Mainly for travel documentaries.

What is the difference between 501 and 503.
Any recommendation is appreciated.
Or some other head.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 07:30 AM   #2
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The 503 has and extra centering spring that the 501 doesn't have. Many people feel that this makes the 503 the more fluid of the two. I have the 501 and it's not the greatest but then it's only and entry level fluid head. You can get good shots but it takes some practise. The 503 won't be leaps and bounds better but if you can spare the extra cash it's probably the better choice if the two.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 02:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Adrian for your answer.
I have also made a search on this site which supports your view that the 503 might be a little bit better. Even though many state that none of the two is their choice.
There are better heads out there but they are more expensive and too heavy for me
We do live in a global village in this forum (and other of course) I see you live in Japan, I live in Stockholm but do almost all my serious shooting in New York.
So i guess i will pay the 247 bucks B&H has today on their website for the 503. (135 for the 501)
thanks for helping me decide
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Old June 25th, 2003, 11:52 PM   #4
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No problem. The 501/503 are good heads for entry level/low budget work. One other thing you might find useful is adding a second handle and a zoom controller, like the Vari-zoom Stealth, if your budget allows. These will halp you make the most of the heads.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 04:57 AM   #5
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You've probably already purchased the tripod head, but I thought I'd chime in with some comments re the 503, which I recently purchased for use with my DVX-100.

I find the 503's counterbalance spring is just about perfectly balanced for the 4.4 lbs. weight of the DVX, and I'm glad I opted for the 503 over the 501.

Since you're using a VX-2000, you should have good results with the 503; the VX-2000 is roughly the same shape as the DVX-100, and slightly lighter, I think, so a good match with the 503.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 12:22 PM   #6
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If your tripod does no have a leveler you may want to consider getting one. Bogen makes one for about $75 and it works perfectly with the 503.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 04:51 PM   #7
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Thanks Stas and Nathan
No, I have not bought the head yet but it will be the 503.
I am not sure what a leveler is - the 755b sticks has a ball which makes it easy to adjust the camera level without having to struggle with the individual legs. Is a leveler something else? If so - I like to learn about it.

Thanks once more - I am impressed by the help you and others can give - I hope someday to be able to give something myself instead of just being on the receiving end.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 09:57 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Stas Tagios : thought I'd chime in with some comments re the 503, which I recently purchased for use with my DVX-100.

I find the 503's counterbalance spring is just about perfectly balanced for the 4.4 lbs. weight of the DVX, and I'm glad I opted for the 503 over the 501. -->>>

Stas,
I also bought a 503 for my new DVX-100 (so much to buy and so little money; the price for the 503 setup was low... started out looking at the Sachtler D4) but I'm not altogether thrilled with the 503. Tilt action is great, but can't get it adjusted to pan even close to as smooth as I'd like. At first I was just thinking it was me, and I needed to practice more before judging it, but after a week I'm seriously considering packing it up and sending it back. Have you any tricks to pass on that you've found enables you to start, stop, and sustain a smooth pan? Anyone else?
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Old June 27th, 2003, 12:12 AM   #9
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In the video market you really get what you pay for. The 501/503 are entry level/low budget heads and therefore do not perform anywhere near as well as a $2000ish Sachtler D4 or Miller DS10. One of the problems I see with many of the folks here is that they expect professional performance from consumer gear. While good technique can produce better than normal results from lower level gear in the end you can't expect too much.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 04:56 AM   #10
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Bogen/Manfrotto has a cheaper head bogen 3130 or 128rc in Europe.
This is the one I have used so far and want to get something better - even though I canīt pay for a professional one. Hobby only - costs only - no pay.

What I need is to be able to pan better than at present.

Anyone any experience between 503 and 3130/128rc?
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Old June 27th, 2003, 12:44 PM   #11
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Yes a leveler should be the same as ball. The 503 has spirit level on it so it is a breeze to level the 503. Some tripods do not come with levelers (I wasn't sure if the 755 did). If you have sticks without them, I can guarentee you that you will be very happy to spend the extra $75 to have one.
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