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Old February 4th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #1
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Head upgrade, 503 hdv to what ?

I'm thinking of upgrading my head, at the moment i'm using a 503hdv with 525 legs.
With an EX1, big battery, receiver(s) etc i'm on the hardest spring setting with full drag on the tilt.
I want to keep the same manfrotto plate on the bottom of my camera, (501 pl plate i think), so i can quickly swap between tripod, shoulder mount and glidecam.

So what's the best head ?
Or would i be better buying a complete new tripod, ie would i get a head cheaper if i buy it with legs ? That way i end up with a spare tripod.

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 02:54 AM   #2
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I would suggest Sachtler FSB-6 (up to 6kg) or DV6-SB (up to 10kg), if you have enough money. 1000 would just about get you a FSB-6 with two-stage alloy legs, a few 100 more for the higher-rated DV6-SB, ending up at around 1600 for the DV6-SB with carbon fibre legs.

I decided to avoid the joy of Vinten Vision 3s and their interchangable springs (I'm far too clumsy to change them quickly out in the field), and the next Vinten up (the 6, I think, with the counterbalance adjust dial instead of springs) with a payload of 4-10kg was overrated for my relatively small, light camera.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:16 AM   #3
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Do all these heads use the same camera plate ?

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #4
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Paul,

The Sachtler heads don't use the same plate as the Manfrotto heads, so it's not directly compatible. That is, you can't slide the Manfrotto plate straight onto it. That's the same for most tripods - I don't think the Vintens are directly compatible either, or any other brands I have tried (which is, er, just Libec).

But there's a fix! I have used a Manfrotto MN357 adapter successfully - it screws onto the Sachtler head and accepts standard Manfrotto plates. It's about 30 quid from places like Keene and probably other dealers.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 06:35 AM   #5
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The manfrotto adaptors, yes i've got them on my shoulder support and my glidecam, why didn't i think of that.
So i could buy any tripod, put the plate from the new tripod onto the bottom of a manfrotto adaptor then slip my camera onto that.
Great, so now i'm not limited by tripod manufacturer.

Ok, best tripod for about a grand ?

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Old February 5th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #6
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Paul,

If 6kg is enough of a maximum payload, you can get a Sachtler FSB 6 with DA 75L legs and mid spreader for 914 including VAT at ProAV.

If you don't care about VAT, 975 gets you a DV6-SB (10kg rating) with single stage alloys.

Vinten V3s are quite good too, if you don't mind the spring issue. A 2-stage alloy Vision 3 tripod can be had for 950 ex VAT. If you must keep under 1000 then you can get a single-stage one for 970 inc. VAT. I would stress that I have no experience of the Vintens, but I have yet to hear a bad word against them.

I don't have any knowledge of Milller or other brands. Secced is a a cheaper Sachtler clone as far as I can make out, but "cheap clone" doesn't inspire me.

I've been through a succession of miserable low-end Libecs and Manfrotto (in the guise of the Vinten-badged version of the 503HDV) and the DV6-SB is quite simply a dream. I feel ashamed spending so much on a mere tripod, but I love it more than any teddybear of my childhood!

I wouldn't really bother with the Carbon legs if I was to buy again, as they don't really reduce weight that much. They are nice and fast for set-up though, with only one lever for each 2-stage leg.

Please take other advice and try before you buy if possible!
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Old February 5th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #7
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Gitzo uses the same plate as Manfrotto -- but Manfrotto has more than one plate, so it's necessary to try your plate in a Gitzo head. That said, I think the Gitzo fluid heads and the Manfotto 501/503 heads use the same plate (regular and long). I will check and post a definitive answer later today.

If it is the same, look at the Gitzo 1380 head. It comes with five springs that handle up to a 22 lb. load. Here is a link to the head on B&H:
Gitzo | G1380 Video Fluid Head (75mm Ball Base) | G1380 | B&H

In my opinion the Gitzo is better than the similar Vinten Vision 3, the Cartoni Focus and any other same priced or lower-priced head. The only other option I would consider is the Sacthler FSB-6--but that head is more expensive than the Gitzo, is best bought with legs (because of pricing), and doesn't use the Manfrotto plate (but as I already said, Manfrotto has more than one plate, so your Manfrotto plate has to be checked with a Gitzo head.

I have a system of two Gitzo heads, a monopod and a Bogen head that all use the same plate, so it works out well.

The Gitzo head has a 75mm half ball, and your head has a flat base. But it appears the 525 legs have a bowl, so you must be using the bowl adapter with your head? The Gitzo 1380 head would fit on the 525 legs without any adapter.

(As a side note, the Gitzo has the same thread as the Vinten Vision heads and can use a Vinten Vision locking nut instead of the Gitzo locking nut.)
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Old February 5th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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I'm going to look next weekend at a Miller 20 that should be good for my JVC HD110 with IDX battery & DTE drive. Weighs similar with gear to your XDCAMEX I think. About 12 lbs? Also going to look at a Libec 38 or 55 that is about 2/3 the cost of the Miller just because I'm cheap. Yes I have a Manfrotto 501... YUCK! and a Mathews 25, (light duty copy of Libec's smaller tripod) not bad, but not burly enough for 10+ lbs cameras, though it's rated to 20lbs. I don't believe their weight rating unless the camera is only 6 inches long.
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