Excellent fluid head for very long lenses ? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 27th, 2008, 08:19 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney-Australia
Posts: 443
Excellent fluid head for very long lenses ?

Hi all,

I am using the Sony HVR Z7 (PAL) with few still Nikon prime lenses 300, 400 and zoom 50-300 for wildlife filmmaking.
As I am sure everyone knows - touching the fluid head handle introduces massive vibration with such long lenses.
I currently use the Vinten Vision 3.
Is there a way to eliminate these vibrations - better/more massive fluid head? How about pulling the handle with a string? What kind of a string? Any other technique and advice are highly appreciated.

Here is short clip of wild bats (Flying Foxes) I got using the Nikon 400mm mounted on the Z7. There are no vibration in here as I wasn't touching the head or handle.
http://www.vimeo.com/1127928/l:transcoded_email
Thanks !!

Ofer Levy - Nature photographer
Sydney-Australia, http://www.oferlevyphotography.com
Ofer Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
You probably won't be able to eliminate the shakes completely, but a larger tripod will help somewhat (as will carbon fiber legs and a long pan handle). In the meantime, adjust your drag so that it isn't too loose; it will take greater inertia to initiate the move. Keep the tripod legs in a wide stance, and practice, practice, practice.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,634
Images: 18
Hi Ofer.................

Provided the head is matched to the mass and COG of the camera/ lens system, any upgrade to it will do little to solve the shakes problem.

It most usually isn't the head that's the problem, but the support underneath it.

It sounds like yours is seriously under - rated for the task it's being asked to perform.

With those lenses of yours you really need the tripod equivalent of a 2 tonne block of concrete.

The only ones I KNOW for sure can perform such a task are these, tho' undoubtedly there are others out there.

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

If you can afford them (and the mid level spreader + bag etc) don't hang about, they've been discontinued since Christmas, and once B&H sell out, that's it.

My review of same:

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

I'm afraid you won't get the level of rigidity required with anything costing significantly less.


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,123
If I've understood Ofer correctly, it isn't the head stability, it's what happens as you touch the pan handle. You frame the shot and let go the handle. you need to at some point touch it again, and it's this touch that introduces the shake. I also find it's worse because you have your eye glued to the viewfinder, and have to find the bar by touch. You know where it is, 'nearly' and have to find it very, very gently. What I do to minimise the shake is find it very close to the head, then gently move towards the operating end. This makes it a bit less prone to the shake. The theory says having a long handle is best, but I smetime find that with a decent head I can initiate a smooth pan by moving the head itself, not the pan bar, which is too sensitive.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney-Australia
Posts: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
If I've understood Ofer correctly, it isn't the head stability, it's what happens as you touch the pan handle. You frame the shot and let go the handle. you need to at some point touch it again, and it's this touch that introduces the shake. I also find it's worse because you have your eye glued to the viewfinder, and have to find the bar by touch. You know where it is, 'nearly' and have to find it very, very gently. What I do to minimise the shake is find it very close to the head, then gently move towards the operating end. This makes it a bit less prone to the shake. The theory says having a long handle is best, but I smetime find that with a decent head I can initiate a smooth pan by moving the head itself, not the pan bar, which is too sensitive.
Thanks fpr your input guys !
That is correct Paul - if I don't touch the handle - no vibrations, but when I have to make a camera movement and touch the handle it looks bad.
Has anyone tried to use a string attached to the handle? I have tried it and it does significantly reduces the problem but not completely.
Ofer Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 07:42 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Try the string for yourself and see if it helps. I don't think it will do much, because you don't have the same tactile feel of the mass as when your hand is on the pan handle. I keep a light touch on (or hovering above) the handle when I know a move will be needed, otherwise, you often wind up banging into it with too much force when your hand has been off for a while.

Keep in mind that wind is also your enemy when shooting outdoors with long lenses...other than using a duck-blind, you might not be able to eliminate all source of the 'shakes'.

There are motorized pan/tilt heads available, but don't expect to follow a subject as well as with your own hand-eye coordination on the viewfinder.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 09:25 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Central Coast - NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,420
I use wide elastic (1" wide) and make a sort of strap for the handle. I can feel for the elastic without bumping the handle and then simply pull in the direction I want - looks messy - works well (for me anyway)
__________________
Cheers - Paul M.
www.relivetheday.com.au : www.perbenyik.com
Paul Mailath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 11:17 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,634
Images: 18
Hi again...........

Ofer,

Will you do this little test for me?

Mount up your camera with the longest lens you have onto your VV 3.

Site up a target a good way off at full zoom in.

Lock the pan and tilt locks on the head - HARD!

Run video.

Grab the pan bar and try to make the head follow a circle, as if you were focussed onto the end of a spinning propellor.

Watch the video.

If the lens/ video actually DOES move in a circular pattern, then this is NOT a head issue.

It is a sticks issue.

The head and the attached camera and lenses can only move if there is flex in the support.

If there's flex in the support, nothing you do will eliminate the shakes/ wobbles untill you get a support which does not flex.

String, rubber bands and sealing wax may reduce the severity of your problems but are no substitute for a proper support system.


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 11:33 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Ventura, California, USA
Posts: 243
Ofer,
You didn't mention it, but do you have some kind of rail/common plate system that ties your camera and lens together as one unit that you then mount on your Vision 3.
__________________
Don DesJardin
Don DesJardin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 07:12 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney-Australia
Posts: 443
Thanks for your excellent comments and advice guys !! I really appreciate it!

I have tried to use the camera mounted on a Wimberley head which is desgined for super long still telephoto lenses - locked everytrhing but when I touch the handle even very gently - the vibrations are very evident. I guess this can not be avoided when using effective 2000-3000mm lenses. (400mm still lens when mounted on a 1/3 inch sensoer camera becomes effectivly x7 stronger = 2800mm !!! )
Ofer Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 11:30 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oppland, Norway
Posts: 1,394
Ofer, I don't think it will be possible to get rid of vibrations with those huge focal lenght you're talking about, in case you're not cementing it to a rock!
I've been using 300- and 500mm for the Canon XL-series for some years and even with a monster of a tripod system I get vibrations in some grade in my footage.
To minimum the vibrations I try not to touch the set up while recording, or when I have to do a pan, adjusting the drag of the head to very high! I this cases you got it as good as it can be.
Link to my tripod setup: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachmen...0&d=1196152047
__________________
- Per Johan
Per Johan Naesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Ventura, California, USA
Posts: 243
Ofer,
What Per Johan showed you is the right direction to go. The site below shows many examples of similar setups.

http://www.ronsrail.com/gallery.html

The Ronsrail is currently out of stock, and Ron doesn't know when it will be available again, but you can get the idea. The Wimberley is really meant for still photography, and will not work well mounting only using the lens tripod collar, or just mounting the camera as a single point attachment. I use a common plate to tie my XL H1 and Nikon 80-400mm lens together, and my only weak point is the junk 501 head I'm currently using. I'm looking at a Vision 3, which I have had my rig on before, and with the proper spring, it's more than enough, as long as the camera and lens is balanced properly on the head.
__________________
Don DesJardin
Don DesJardin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2008, 08:06 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney-Australia
Posts: 443
Thanks Per Johan and Don ! I guess I will have to live with some vibrations when panning and avoid touching the camera/lens in still shots. I believe the Vinten Vision 3 and my Miller carbon fibre tripod are the right tools for this task.
I do use a bar support system but with these long lenses I just attach the combo camera+lens to the fluid head via the lens "leg".
Ofer Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 04:50 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bendigo, Australia
Posts: 234
Hi Ofer,

I am glad you raised these issues as I too find it very frustrating. I have a fairly substantial tripod setup however, as soon as you want to start/finish some movement....well you know what happens.

I have been experimenting and I notice if I start the pan with my fingernail - rather than your finger tips or hand, I manage to get things moving quite nicely and also remove the "return" I get at the end of the pan (where the head want to return back a mmm or so). I also move the bar of the handle lever - rather than the spongy grip on the end. In other words, any movement I make is made without any of the flexible parts, ie handle grip, fingertips or your hand. This seems to be helping and with a bit of practice will probably become the approach I adopt in the future.

It certainly drives you nuts when you capture that great shot - only to see that annoying and unprofessional shake ruin that rare moment.
David Gemmell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 05:31 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney-Australia
Posts: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gemmell View Post
Hi Ofer,

I am glad you raised these issues as I too find it very frustrating. I have a fairly substantial tripod setup however, as soon as you want to start/finish some movement....well you know what happens.

I have been experimenting and I notice if I start the pan with my fingernail - rather than your finger tips or hand, I manage to get things moving quite nicely and also remove the "return" I get at the end of the pan (where the head want to return back a mmm or so). I also move the bar of the handle lever - rather than the spongy grip on the end. In other words, any movement I make is made without any of the flexible parts, ie handle grip, fingertips or your hand. This seems to be helping and with a bit of practice will probably become the approach I adopt in the future.

It certainly drives you nuts when you capture that great shot - only to see that annoying and unprofessional shake ruin that rare moment.
Thanks for your valuable input David !
I will give it a try and will post my experience in here in a few days.
Ofer Levy is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:00 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network