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Old May 28th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #1
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Basic Tripod Information

Does anyone know of an article or website that has basic info about professional grade tripods? I would love to learn all about how they work and the different types so I can evaluate my own tripod purchase.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 05:02 PM   #2
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Hi Dusty...........

Afraid you'll find precious little written about pro tripods that's not sales talk.

Here's one that's not:

http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/camsupport/fibertec1.php


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Old May 30th, 2008, 03:40 AM   #3
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This site http://gtc.org.uk/resources/mountings/mountings.asp gives specs for a lot of the commonly used tripods and heads. I did a little write up on pros and cons of different heads I've used a lot (Sachtler 18,20,25,20Plus,25Plus,Ronford Baker 2004,2015,Atlas30,O'Connor 2060,2060HD,2575) but I can't find it now!
Any specific questions?
Steve
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Old May 30th, 2008, 06:28 AM   #4
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Nigel Cooper has some articles at www.dvuser.co.uk that cover tripods. He certainly has style in his writing, and prefers Vinten Visionss and speaks highly of Sachtlers.

It's quite an entertaining read too!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:41 AM   #5
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It depends what sort of tripods you're after, the ones in Nigel's article I seem to remember are pretty low grade/low weight models.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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I was thinking of this article:

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=166

He is dismissive of the lower end tripods and is big on Vinten Vision 3 or 6 and the Sachtler DV6 and DV8 - at least for handheld camcorders.

He does have good things to say about the Libec LS-38 and Vinten Pro-6 (aka 503HDV with Vinten pozi-loc legs), but I think it's more of a "not bad considering the price".
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #7
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Yes, it's like mot things - you get what you pay for.
I think with smaller cameras and particularly short lenses it's not quite such a big issue, but get a 600mm lens on an Arri or Varicam and you'll soon start to get pretty picky! For serious work I'd never consider anything below about 3.5kg (Sachtler 18 or 20, O'Connor 1030 or Ronford 2003) and for long lens stuff I'd go for Ronford 2004 or O'Connor 2060. If you don't have to go far the O'Connor 2575 (12kg) or Ronford Atlas 30 (10.5kg) are also great. Just sold my Atlas though as it was killing me!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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It's not as critical for smaller cameras as, but still, if you can't balance the head correctly or do smooth movements you often ruins the potential of the camera. I vent from a cheap libec tripod to a Dv6sb and it's actually not hard to se the difference, the movements just look better.

The other part with professional grade equipment, it will last longer. You won't be able to take you 10 year old manfrotto or libec tripod out and have the same smooth feeling as a proper Sacthler or vinten(that's my experience so far) will give you.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 05:42 AM   #9
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Quite right Christian, and I would say that when you then move up from a Sachtler DV tripod to a Video 20/25/60 etc. you'll again notice a difference, even more so with Ronford or O'Connor heads.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 05:27 PM   #10
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Thank you guys for some great information.

I'm not really looking for product pitches or anything, I would just like to know what key features I should look for in a tripod to get the best performance for my camera.

Just to give you some more info that might spark another tidbit of information in your heads, I'll be using this tripod with my XL2, but will also be upgrading within the next year to some bigger, heavier equipment. I don't want to have to upgrade my tripod as well.

I've read a lot about how a filmmaker should never get a tripod that has a higher weight capacity than the actual camera they are using because it could mess with the smooth feel when panning and tilting. So if I'm using an XL2 (7.8 lbs) now but could be using a considerably heavier camera later, what else should I TRI to look for?
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Old May 31st, 2008, 07:34 PM   #11
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Hi again............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty Johnson View Post
I've read a lot about how a filmmaker should never get a tripod that has a higher weight capacity than the actual camera they are using because it could mess with the smooth feel when panning and tilting. So if I'm using an XL2 (7.8 lbs) now but could be using a considerably heavier camera later, what else should I TRI to look for?
Er, where, exactly, have you read this gem?

I think this can be put down to a slight misunderstanding about how this stuff works.

Any video/ film support system is two completely seperate units married together.

The support unit (tripod) and the pan/ tilt unit (head).

The support only has minimum characteristics (ie. it must be able to support a minimum of the head and camera system, no less) but has no maximum.

Indeed, a 2 ton block of concrete to hold an XL2 would give you a support to die for, if only you could move it!

The pan/ tilt head is a different kettle of fish altogether.

The head has two different applicable characteristics: -

1. Maximum physical weight it can carry under any circumstances (in practise there really is no minimum here except that dictated by 2 below)..

2. Minimum and Maximum weights/ Centre of Gravity it can adequately counterbalance.

This last one is the killer, is the least understood and the cause of more support system grief for the unwary than just about anything else.

Unlike a still camera support system, where the camera is moveable (in three planes usually) to allow frameing but then locked to get the shot, a video/ film support system is designed to move in two planes (usually) and be completely unlocked to allow panning and tilting during the shoot.

In order for this to work, the mass of the camera (and it's relative height above the tilt mechanism pivot point) has to be counterbalanced (usually by a spring/ contoured cam arrangement) so that the camera/ head combination will hold position at any angle of tilt with no pan bar pressure applied whatsoever, nor tilt locks engaged.

Naturally enough, the amount of money that gets thrown at this function pretty well dictates how well the head will adapt to different camera system weight/ cog's.

Go cheap and there's usually just a single inbuilt spring with no adjustment whatsoever. Slightly upmarket you get some adjustment (usually in non contiguous steps), higher still and you get continuously variable between a minimum and maximum figure.

It's pretty obvious that anything below that last category runs the chance of not succesfully counterbalanceing your particular camera system, with the resultant inability to allow the pan bar to be released at the end of any tilt manouvre that does not end with the camera level, or very close to.

This IS NOT a good thing.

So, any pan/ tilt head that can support the maximum weight of your current and proposed camera systems AND has a continuously variable counterbalance system that encompasses those camera weights/ cog's will do the job.

Strangely enough, the more expensive, the better (the biggest proviso with this being that, as the price and camera weight/ cog capability goes up, the MINIMUM weight/ cog's figure usually goes with it, meaning lighter camera systems cannot be used).

Does that make any sense?


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Old May 31st, 2008, 07:34 PM   #12
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About how heavy? What possible cameras and accessories?
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