Libec TH-M20 versus Matthews M25? at

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Old September 19th, 2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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Libec TH-M20 versus Matthews M25?

I'm pondering these two models as a lightweight choice for use in the field with an HC-1 or FX7.

They seem similar in terms of specs and price - does anyone have any thoughts on possible advantages of one over the other?
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Old September 19th, 2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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I own the Libec and have been extremely impressed with it since i got it, all the movements are velvety smooth with no noticeable start stop jerkiness. It is light weight and i like that but yet still fairly sturdy and the quick release is solid with no play and locks easily. The springiness that makes up for the weight of camera when tilted forward is a little more than what the small cameras require, but i use the lock to add just a tad of friction and seems to work fine with out effecting the start/stop jerk.

When I use my full rig (GZ-HD7, rails, DOF adapter and Matte box) it seems to be pretty perfectly balanced.

As far as the Mathews I cannot speak of , but I do recommend the Libec.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #3
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I believe that these two tripods actually have the same legs--Libec supplies the legs to Matthews, who have sourced their own head from elsewhere. The Matthews head theoretically has a higher load limit (~15lbs vs. 8.8) and a sliding balance plate which can be useful, especially if you use a lot of accessories on your camera.

Both companies have good customer service and you're getting a lot of bang for your buck in either case.

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Old September 19th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #4
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Just be careful with the legs. I used the Libec TH-950 under my Sony V1 (essentially identical to the FX7) and I found them a bit wobbly.

I can confirm that Libec are really good in the "smoothness" department. The lack of adjustable friction annoyed me, though.

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Old September 2nd, 2009, 02:03 AM   #5
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I know this thread is a bit old but I just got my new Mathews M25 to use under my Sony A1U, and it is a very nice package for its price.

It is not made for very heavy cameras, but should work very nicely for anything from 2 to 8 pounds. The legs are lightweight but they lock firmly and seem quite solid for this class of tripod.

The head is not a true fluid head (but then again ... what is at this price level.) It works very well in both tilt and pan, and the part that was really important to me - and the criteria I use to judge these less-expensive heads - it pans-and-tilts together very smoothly. It starts and stops even better than I expected, and it balances quickly and accurately.

When I first got it, I thought the tilt was perfect but the pan was a bit tight. (It is a simple matter to undo the four screws at the bottom of the bowl, remove the cover and use a hex key to back off the tension just a bit. It is not as simple as a true tension and takes some trial and error, but does work well once done.)

All in all, a great little tripod for the money and thanks to this forum for steering me in the right direction. (I got very tired of Ebay knockoff tripods that seem quite nice until you try to pan and tilt at the same time and just get frustrated.)
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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I've got a Mathews 25 as well. It's rated for 15 lbs, but that might actually be at the point where the legs collapse. Under 8lbs it's pretty decent. my 10 lb camera is too heavy. From what I understand it's all made by Libec OEM to Mathews specifications. As far as cheap friction heads, they are great. Excellent for the money, and no way should be compared to a $1,200-$2,000 Sachtler. However I think they were much better than Manfrotto's costing twice as much or even 3 times as much.

When we are talking new tripods there are very little under $1,000 that most people would say are "good". The Libec and Mathews seem to be good enough starter pods where you don't hate yourself for buying... like say... a Manfrotto 501/503 setup.... "CURSE ME FOR BUYING ANYTHING THAT SAYS PRO ON THE SIDE... " But hey, that's another thread.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 07:57 AM   #7
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Update: if you hunt for a used tripod: I just got in the mail from BH a used Manfrotto 3066 with 3182 legs and it's pretty decent. No counter balancing wich frankly is still a concern with a 3 foot long JVC and Nikkor lens, IDX battery and Focus Enhancements DTE drive. But it's stable and smooth if you blance it. It wants to tilt up or down if I go over 15 or 20' up or down. But for $350 I'm not complaining too much.

I do like the longer single stage legs though. Many times I can get away with leaving the legs collapsed and still being 3.5 feet off the ground so there is even less twising our bounceback. I might use it for a year before I jump up again.. possibly skipping over the Libec 55 and going straight to a Sachtler FSB-8. If I had lived somewhere that I could have tried it and a Libec 55 I probably wouldn't have gotten this tripod and saved for another couple months... but oh well. I guess my point is there are soom good deals for used tripods out there if you can figure out what the models numbers are. This tripod is probably 8-12 years old and except for the scrathes is as good as new. I think the combo back then was $1,000 to $1,200. Since there is a new gneration of models out with some improvements (counterbalance) these are cheap now. Just a thought.

Oh, it's a real fluid head, though the drag is friction I believe.
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