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Old March 26th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #1
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Tripod storage: counter balance free?

Hi all,

Today somebody told me that it is better for a tripod head to set the counter balance to position 0 (free move) if the tripod is not used. Untill today I never did so because I've never heard about this issue. This guy said tripod heads could start leaking easily if stored in horizontal position. Maybe a stupid question but is this issue true or just a fairytale?

For information: I use a Sachtler DV1 and Secced Ares 3 tripod.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 03:11 AM   #2
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Tripod storage: counter balance free?

Hi Gabor

Its not true for the current range of Sachtler or Vinten heads. Sachtler use a simple "rubber" balance module which will not deteriorate if left engaged and the Vinten springs wont deterioirate either as they are designed to go almost solid before they deform permanently. Neither are they likely to leak in the horizontal position (or any other position) as both use sealed drag systems. Both Sachtler and Vinten are designed to be used 24/7 in any environment. Having to disengage or wind down the counterbalance and drag (and back up again) at the end of each working shift would be unacceptable both for us and for you as a user.

Maybe sombody else could comment on the operational sensitivity of the other brands out there?

Peter Harman
Vinten
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Old March 30th, 2009, 04:05 AM   #3
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Good to hear something from Vinten.
I have a similar question. When storing my tripod (vision3), i always unscrew the panhandle and fold it down, so the head stays in upright position when the tripod goes in the bag. This to avoid pressure on the springs.
Do you say that isn't necessary and i can tilt the head down and lock it there, or is loosing the handle the correct way?
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Old April 7th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #4
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Tripod storage: counter balance free?

Hi Hubert

Folding your pan bar down while itís not in use is probably more important in terms of preventing accidental breakage of the pan bar interface on the side of the head than preserving the spring mechanism. You donít need to do anything special at all to protect the spring, its fine in any position. However, the pan bar, when sticking out in the operational position, could get knocked and break where it mounts onto the head if the head is unable to move. Best practice is to do what you are currently doing, fold it down when itís not in use.

Something you may not know is that the clamp on the pan bar is made from a Magnesium alloy. This is because itís common for cameramen to do what you are doing and loosen the pan bar and reposition it for storage. However, some cameramen use lens controls that attach to the pan bar making it quite heavy and when they loosen the pan bar, it swings down freely which eventually wears away at the serrations. The effect of this can be seen when you are forever having to tighten the pan bar clamp and it continues to move slightly. This can be an expensive repair as it usually involves you returning the head back to your dealer or to the manufacturer where itís stripped down and the affected casting replaced. Replaceable serrated disks on the side of the head donít work - they eventually become loose. So weíve solved this by making the clamp on the pan bar itself "sacrificial". Itís a cheap solution to a very common operational problem.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 03:25 AM   #5
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Good to know the explanation behind it. Thanks.
I didn't know about the magnesium clamp-part.
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