Review on Manfrotto 526 head at DVinfo.net

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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #1
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Review on Manfrotto 526 head

After a long time I'm writing this letter, I have a 519 head which is not giving me a shakeless video. So I would like to know anybody is using 526 & what is there experience with it.
I have 100-400L IS + XL2+Rail to support lens as well as cam, still I'm getting shaky video at 400mm the magnification will be 60X. Even the pulse will jarr the image, so I feel like changing to 526.
Kindly respond,

Ashok
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Old February 25th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #2
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Ashok-

Itís a great head but you need a minimum payload around 25lbs to avoid sticky/jerky starts and stops (doesnít perform well with small cameras). The head is well built (metal casing) and pans smooth with no sticktion given the right payload. If youíre using an XL2 then try to demo the 526 first to make sure it performs without sticky/jerky starts/stops.

-John
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Old February 25th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #3
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Hi Ashok..........

Gonna have to stop meeting like this!

I think I can be pretty certain in saying that I don't believe your 519 is the culprit here.

If I remember correctly, you bought the 525 sticks with your new head, a decision I wasn't overly impressed with, considering the lens system you were using.

Just to prove the point, do this small test.

Mount up the camera on the head (on the sticks, natch!). Make sure the system is perfectly balanced on the head. Lock both the pan and tilt locks (hard).

Do not touch the head or camera at all.

With the camera running, push the receiver on the sticks top to the left, then the right.

Then, grab the receiver with both hands and twist it, first to the right, then the left.

Lastly, push on the centre of any of the legs towards the centre line of the tripod.

Review your footage.

My bet is that during all this the camera is moving around like it's mounted on jello.

If that is the case, forget a new head, you need better sticks, big time.

If it isn't the case, then guess I'm going to have to think again.


CS
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Old February 26th, 2008, 07:04 AM   #4
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Thanks John & Chris.......

John, here in India we don't get demo, earlier I had a very long discussion with Mr Fabio Prada International sales manager of Manfrotto while purchasing 519. B'cos here in India the distributor didn't had the 519 with him, it can be brought only on placing a order. Even the ditributor is about 2000km distance away from my place.
Chris do you mean the receiver to a bowl? where head mounts.Then I will check & let you know.

Ashok
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #5
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Yep.............

The bit the head sits in and the legs are attached to.

CS
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Old February 28th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #6
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Yes, there is a slight shake in the picture. even I tried with the spike foot shoes & without & center spread, still there is a jarring noticed.
As you mentioned in the article using 100mm bowl & reduce it to 75mm by using a adapter, does this help to give better stability?

Ashok
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:14 AM   #7
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Hi Ashok...............

The 525's (if that was what you ended up with) were always going to be pretty iffy (dubious) with that lens system.

The question is, of course, what to replace them with.

You mentioned earlier that your lens system on full rack was of the order of 60X. That's enough to put the frighteners on anyone who knows a thing about the subject.

To be honest Ashok, you really need the tripod equivalent of a block of concrete to keep that system stable, and, with the exception of the tripod I reviewed earlier this month, I simply do not know of one that can do that.

I come back to what I said in that article, without the relevant figures being published, it's all smoke and mirrors and just plain 'ol BS (if you need a translation of BS send me a private mail).

Quite where to go from here is a mystery, because you need to satisfy yourself that a new set of sticks is required, and allocate a possible budget, then look at possible contenders.

The one thing I can say with absolute certainty, unless you go for the absolute toughest, most rigid system available, you're video is going to wander all over the place forever.

I really would suggest the FiberTechs (discontinued as they are, but still apparently available from B&H) but don't know whether your budget comes anywhere close) they being the only ones I have actually tested.

After that, well, it's anyones guess.

If there's any pro HD shooters out there with sticks that emulate reinforced concrete, weigh in now, 'cos I'm floundering.

Best I can do for the moment, old friend.


CS
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Old February 28th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #8
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Ashok-

Im getting good results with the 532 ART tripod and 526 head(both 100mm). Try throwing a 30lbs sand bag(or something heavy) on your tripod. Let us know if that helps.

-John
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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Well John, The capacity of the 525 is 15kg/33lbs, doesn't it will damage the tripod if I put additional 30lbs weight to it. As it already put weight of 15lbs of cam & lens?
Chris don't throw your arms in the air & leave me like this.

Ashok
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #10
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Hi.........

Arms not in air and I ain't going nowhere.

Thinking is all.


CS
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #11
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OK, thinking done......................

Ashok,

you ain't goint to like this, but believe me, I cannot think of another way to solve this problem with your current rig.

We have 15 lbs of camera, rails and lens stuff. Zoom factor 60X (fercryingoutloud!).

That 60X equates (in my mind) to another 70 to 80 odd (or even more) pounds of gear the tripod has to not only hold, but hold still.

If you are serious about tackling this problem, I believe you should be looking at tripods that can hold 100 lbs MINIMUM.

This immediately throws all Manfrotto gear out the window.

So, lets say we keep the budget to $1000 US or thereabouts (double that would be good but don't think you want to pay that).

Lets also say we need two stage, due to the versatility required.

Lets also say we need 100 mm bowl with a reducer, as they are most definately more rigid.

I can find nothing by Sachtler or O'connor that comes close, within the $1000 budget.

There is Cartoni, Libec, Miller, and that's about it.

Seems to be a good range of Millers, but beware their single tube leg units, useless for your application no matter what they say they can hold.

My suggestion?

Go shake the piggy bank and see what you can realistically pony up for these sticks, and then check out B&H to see what's available at your budget price.

I don't think anything less than $1000 will really do it (and you DO NOT WANT ANOTHER MISTAKE HERE!).

Keep saying to yourself - 60X zoom! (Anyone who thinks I going OTT here, think about it - a 60X optical Zoom! This thing is the Palomar Telescope in carry form).

See, I told you, you wouldn't like it.

That is, however, my considered opinion.

I await comments with interest.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 29th, 2008 at 12:53 AM.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #12
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Halo Chris..

Thanks, I knew you are a Guardian Angel. Mean while I had a discussion with Fabio, Vitec group International sales Manager. Was very kind enough to hear me, he said he will be in Mumbai for Photo Trade Fair on 16th March & asked me to bring the system including cam & rail so that he can assess it properly and find some solution to it. As you asked I'll try to pool the money for better legs (hope the head will be ok or it has to be changed too).
John which cam you are using & what purpose?
Ashok
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Old February 29th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #13
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Ashok-

We are using a variety of shoulder mount cams on the 526 head (head performs best in the 18-33lbs range). I also have a SI-2K digital cinema camera on order (we may get an OíConnor for SI-2K). My business mainly does production for advertising and marketing.

I would think the 30lbs-sand bag would be fine to use with your tripod, but if the load limit concerns you then try the difference (18lbs-sand bag) and see if it helps. I think Chris has some good advise about the 60x factor (!!!).

-John
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Old February 29th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #14
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Hi again.............

that's great news about the Trade Fair in Mumbai, hope that goes well, just be carefull he doesn't sell you a Manfrotto rig which won't do the necesary!

BTW, and appropos of nothing whatsoever (and also completely off topic to boot), have just finished reading Ramachandra Guha's book "India After Ghandi, The History of the Worlds Largest Democracy" (due to unfortunate medical down time, tho' an excuse to keep out of the clutches of "she who must be obeyed" [AKA, the wife!]).

What a bloody good read it was too. At 900 odd pages not for the light hearted, but a wealth of detail you wouldn't believe. Interestingly, not much I didn't know in vague-ish terms, but nice to have the detail.

He (the author) is based in Bangalore now apparently, don't know if you're a reading man, but can heartily recommend it, if that's your sort of thing.

Sounds like an interesting guy, might want to polish up your interview techniques and go visit him sometime (take the camera).


CS
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Old March 1st, 2008, 09:49 AM   #15
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Hello Chris.

Thanks for the info but I'm not a very keen reader, my subject will be always with nature you talk about wandering in the nature with cam or bino or hiking.
But if you need any further assistance from me regarding Indian literature or any matter with that plz feel free to ask I'll be honored to help. Even if I'm not reader yet it will be a pleasure to help some one who is so much interested in Indian literature.

Ashok
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