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Old December 27th, 2008, 06:16 AM   #1
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Vinten Vision 3

I think this will be my next tripod head... although I'm not positive... it seems to have the most bang/buck which is what I need.

One question I do have is related to counter-balance, my camera setup will reach 4.4lb pretty easily, but may end up going over, so I'm curious as to it'd be smart to go to a #3 spring or stick with a #2 ?

I could buy both, but would rather not waste $50 if I don't have to.

The other question is, is this head a lot smoother than people using it make it seem like? Maybe it's just the operator? I've seen a few sample clips of people using it and it doesn't seem smooth/steady at all, a lot of jerkiness that looks worse than what I have now, but I think it may be the operator(s)...

I did have the pleasure of using a Sach18 Head a couple months ago (was a rental) and was a little spoiled coming from a $400 Bogen friction-head. I'm looking to spend maybe $1500-2000 on a full setup (Preferably Hard Case + Mid-level Spreader + Legs + Head) Now there is a Vinten combo for $1800 + $50 spring on BH, but has a ground-level spreader, I film on varying terrain and a ground-level spreader would be kinda eh...

Some examples of stuff I'm shooting... (This was with a rental XL-H1 and the Sach18)

VideoPlayer

Any-time you see players facing right (sitting on the left-side of a frame) was stuff I shot, we were elevated on plywood platforms... so sometimes you see it shake if we move around on the box... We were on a pretty tight budget heh, and first time any of us had done anything like this (I've shot paintball before, but not like this) and the guy doing live-editing, again was his first time. But this was at Disney World... Wide World of Sports in October...

And yet here's stuff I shot with a $400 friction head... and HDR-FX7...

YouTube - Epic Preview 2
YouTube - Epic Preview

I figure it can be improved a lot though, which is why I'm looking to upgrade...

And if you're curious how it's gonna be protected... neoprene... such as this...
http://www.drewbietron.com/albums/20...ietron/Pat.jpg
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Old December 27th, 2008, 06:46 AM   #2
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The thing with all heads is that they have to be tweaked to suit you, and you're way of working. I've got three Vinten heads - they all feel different but with adjustment can be made similar - but not the same. They can all produce rubbish shots with a poor cameraman. My personal preference is to get the balance spot on, so whenever I let go of the pan bar, it stays put - but have pan and tilt drag very light so I only need finger tip pressure to initiate a move. This means that if I take my hand away (usually when my arm aches) for a rest, I need to be very careful putting it back. One of my people like the total opposite, plenty of drag if I have to cover for him for a break or whatever, I have major difficulty doing anything smooth at all - just the same as he has on my delicate setting. Vintens seem to have this range of adjustment but the feel and how this matches what you like isn't so easy to guess for somebody else. Why not borrow or even hire in a '3' and try it. If you like it, buy one - but you could so easily hate it. If you are contemplating changing cameras, or adding extras - I suspect I'd buy the extra spring now - just in case Vinten bring out a new design and you can only find full price spares.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice... although I don't know where I'd be able to "test" one out for paintball, most people wouldn't consider it. Haha...

We didn't mention to the rental house how we used the cameras and tripods, but we cleaned the quite well, they were probably better then when we got them, and no paint actually hit the head or camera bodies themselves, only the filter/hood on the front, and lower end of the tripod legs.

On the Sach18 I found I liked a higher resistance, I find it easier to do smooth pan's / tilt's with more control when I had more resistance. I'm a complete noob to this though, I honestly just picked up a camera and started filming a few years back. Learning stuff as I go along and from Patrick Spohrer in the picture above (Who is one of the only other people filming paintball)... his stuff is a little better... www.monkey-with-a-gun.com
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Old December 27th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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Joe, I found that the spring number depends as much or more on the center of gravity of your camera (and anything stuck to it) as the overall weight. The Vinten web site has a little "spring finder" tool to help you choose, at least for a stock camera. For an XL-H1, they recommend a #4 spring. That is what I have in mine and it works very well -- not absolutely perfect, but more than adequate for a fussy person like me.

You mentioned a 4.4 pound set up. Are you using a different camera? You will likely need a different spring. The Vision 6 is a good bit more money, but if you are going to be using many different cameras and configurations, it might be worth it to you since the V6 has a built in, fully adjustable spring mechanism. Changing springs in the V3 takes only a minute, but you'd have to have on hand each spring you might need.

The Vision 3 is the only high quality tripod I've regularly used, but whenever I go to NAB I play with all the displayed tripods and I've yet to walk away thinking something else was better. FWIW, I'm a "low drag" type of pan-n-tilter and am very happy with the buttery starts and stops I get with a careful pan.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Sachtler | DV-6SB/2D Aluminum Tripod System | 0643 | B&H Photo

Sachtler DV6 SB, alu legs and mid spreader. I've been using it for one year now with both Z1 and Ex1 with loads of extras on, no problem what so ever. If you shoot in tempratures close or below 0 Celsius i would go with a sachtler at this price range. There are few that perform as well as Sachtler in this price range. I'm taking my setup basicly into the mountains for a few days now...forecast say about -20 degrees Celsius, usually the camera shuts down before the head gets to stiff.

During one day this autumn i fell and the entire head landed in a huge hole filled with thick clayish mud, just picked ut up and continued to use untill the day ended and hosed it down.

Of course Vinten is not bad, usally the same quality as sacthler, but one important point for me is its capabilities when its cold.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #6
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I don't know what the tripod legs you're looking at are like, but do you really need a spreader at all out doors? I NEVER use one, and have a big camera and lens setup (eg Varicam + Canon HJ40 or others). The spreader just gets in the way. Save yourself a few bucks.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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Vinten Customer Service here in UK sent me an entire set of springs to try (1-10!) when I was buying.

The Vinten guy at a show also explained how you can (although it's not formally endorsed) back off the spring securing bolt in quarter-turn steps, up to about a full turn and a half, thereby reducing the spring pressure, and more exactly calibrating it to your precise setup - rather like the "Perfect Balance" system does with its external rotary control on the more expensive Vinten heads.

This means you should err on the side of getting the stronger spring (and back it off a touch).

On the Vision 3, if you back off the securing bolt, and leave it in place (under the cover) it works well for me - especially if/when the spring pressure needed changes according to the load - mics, wireless receivers, matte boxes, flags, etc...
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Old December 27th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #8
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Hi Joe..........................

Love my VV3, tho' it can be something of a "love, hate" thing at times.

Suppose the first thing to say is that the way the head behaves is very much dependant on the sticks it's bolted to.

If I park mine on my Manfrotto 520 sticks (which I never, ever, do) it behaves almost as badly as my Manfrotto 503 on the same sticks.

It's not the head per se, it's the sticks - they're all over the place like a dogs dinner and have more wind up and backlash than a clockwork toy.

Sit it on either my Manfrotto 528XB's (designed for jib support and run n' gun Olympic weight lifters) or my Vinten FiberTec's (now, there's a set of rich boys toys!) it behaves like a dream.

There are issues with that "sit it on" BTW, the Vx series heads really aren't compatible with anything other than Vinten sticks, due to the design of the bowl clamp handle.

It has a very large grip cup and a three lobed handle, which snags on just about everything under the receiver on any other make.

In action it is as smooth as butter (as has been mentioned) but exceedingly sensitive, so sensitive I usually use it with both pan & tilt drag set at nearly max.

On the two sets of sticks mentioned this gives rise to no issues whatsoever as neither could be wound up with a 500hp V8.

Using the head in that mode allows "hands off the pan bar and fiddle with camera" operation which never shows in the resultant video.

It also allows super fluid follow action at my Canon XH A1's max 20X zoom, as fast or as slow as you like.

The "Mr Hyde" side concerns that damn spring counterbalance and the design and operation of the camera plate slot and lock mechanism.

First that spring.

Vinten recommend a #2 for a Canon XH A1. I've tried 2 and neither works properly with a stock camera, and they are not identical.

Both are too powerfull, as is a #3.

I can only get the camera correctly counterbalanced by using my spare large battery, a permanently mounted Sennheiser EW100 G2 receiver AND ditto Rycote CCA adapter with a Sennheiser ME67 long shotgun and Rycote Softie.

Take any of these off and the camera keeps wanting to revert to horizontal when you let go the pan handle.

PITA but luckily how I rig the camera anyway.

Get that counterbalance right and the camera will stay where it's put forever with asolutely zero drag or lock applied - bliss.

The camera plate issue is straight bad design.

The slot "throat" has practically no "cut away", so mounting the plate into it (as you can't see the other side due to the camera bolted to it) is not as straightforward as it should be.

The lock mechanism is not biased to "off" which means that most often it will lock itself in it's carry case, causing a plate load to fail, requireing backing the plate back out and flicking the lock off again.

It's really not that big a deal but bloody annoying when it's the 20th time that day.

To sum up:

A superbly engineered and functioning head let down by some bad design.

Exceedingly good sticks are an absolute must to get the best out of it.

One other note - if your current camera setup is only of the order of 4.4 pounds, I heartilly recommend NOT moving to a VV6.

It's counterbalance system doesn't even kick in till 9.9 pounds (COG dependant), so will flick the camera (and you) back to horizontal in the blink of an eye.


CS
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Old December 27th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #9
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The other set of legs I was thinking of using would be the 525MVB and 530SPRB for a spreader...

I've read these are fairly compatible with the Vision3 but I'd like to know... if I'm just going to run into trouble, I may just buy the kit from Vinten, sell the soft bag and ground-level spreader, then buy a hard-case and mid-level...

I dunno, I always liked using spreaders heh...

And about the counterbalance, I'll be using an HDR-FX7 with one of those Neoprene covers... my FX7 weighs like 4lbs and a few oz without the cover, and I'm sure with some thick neoprene it'll push it over that 4.4lbs "limit" so I guess the question I was asking was, do I stick with the #2 spring because I'm so close, or do I go with a #3 spring because I went over? I guess fully understand how the system works.

Thanks everyone, I've been reading every reply...
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Old December 27th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #10
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Hi.........................

Those Manfrotto sticks with the Vinten are a no - no.

Whatever sticks you go for, a mid level spreader is almost mandatory for full rigidity.

A ground level spreader on outdoor surfaces? Yuck!

My Canon XH A1 system weighs in at 7 pounds 1 1/2 ounces to get the #2 spring into action properly, I think you'll be well under weight for the #2 and well overweight with the #1.

Back off the retaining bolt as mentioned and/ or add some more weight to the camera.

A #3 spring would be hopelessly powerfull.

I suggest a non package Vinten set up that comes within your budget - check out B&H.


CS
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Old December 28th, 2008, 01:41 AM   #11
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The vinten legs + head I'd want comes out to about $1750, but if you buy the kit with ground-level spreader and soft-bag it's like $1850... they sell the spreader for $400 seperate and the bag for a couple hundred...

So that's why I think my plan is to just buy the kit, then sell off the ground-level spreader and soft-case, then go buy a hard-case and mid-level spreader and get the setup I really wanted :)
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Old December 28th, 2008, 02:20 AM   #12
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Well............

guess you had better just go for it.


CS
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Old December 28th, 2008, 03:07 AM   #13
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Haha yea, I gotta check my accounts and make sure I got enough to cover it, see what I can put on the card for a while... etc.

I'm only 19... and do it for fun... so I'm still skeptical about spending 2 grand on a tripod, but oh well
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Old December 28th, 2008, 04:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post

Whatever sticks you go for, a mid level spreader is almost mandatory for full rigidity.



CS
Maybe in cheap lightweight ones, but with decent legs there's no need for a spreader as they're rigid enough on their own. Very few pro wildlife cameramen I know use spreaders outdoors as they're a pain and restrict exactly how you can spread the legs. Decent Sachtler HD or Ronford legs are fine without them.

Steve
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Old December 28th, 2008, 06:33 AM   #15
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It's not that I'm on super-uneven terrain, just grass + mud and putting the spreader down there seems like a bad idea... heh... and it'd be harder to move it quicker...

Keeping it mid is great for me, using my shoe to kick it up when I wanna move the tripod and foot to slap it down when I want it stable. I have one on my current mediocre tripod and wanted to keep that feature...

Works for me... I think I'll buy the kit first and run it without a spreader for a bit and see if I really need/want it, and if I do I can just order one... not that difficult... I don't film too often so it's not a huge deal... once a week at the very most... maybe both days on the weekend...
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