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Old September 27th, 2003, 12:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
I need sticks!

I think I've gone as far as I can go hand-holding my VX2000; I'm just too shaky to get rock-steady shots. I need to get a tripod, but I'm not sure what to get, and I'd appreciate a recommendation. Specifically:

1. It must be very light weight and fold quite small. I do travel videography, and I'll be lugging this thing around with me. It needs to fold up small enough to fit in (or on) my Lowepro Minitrekker backpack, which is already crammed with a considerable amount of stuff.

2. Rigidity is important, but not crucial. I'm looking for a stable platform that I can lock off, but I won't be doing a lot of camera movement. As long as it's an improvement on hand-holding, it would be worth it.

3. I don't do a lot of panning -- I can probably manage fine without a fluid head, unless there's a really small and light one available.

4. It needs to collapse and expand quickly -- I don't want to spend a lot of time fooling with leg locks.

I'm willing to invest some money in this, say up to $500 or so. Right now, shakiness is my primary (but not sole ;) ) obstacle to professional-looking shots.

Paul Tauger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2003, 08:50 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 936
Bogen has SEVERAL models that would suit you at less then HALF your budget. I'd get one of the compact folding models with quick locks instead of twist locks... then whatever cheap Bogen head you like... Or if you want versatility then get a Bogen DeVe pod.

If you don't like that option then I'll tell ya'... from your discription, you sound like a perfect candidate for a monopod. I gather that you want most of the benefits of a tripod, but you don't really want to deal with one?

A good monopod can be had for about $50 and you can use it as a walking stick when the cam isn't on it. You may be surprised at how effective a monopod actually is. That's the logical choice for somebody that's "almost" satisfied with handheld shots.

A monopod is 33% of a tripod and it'll make your shots WAY smoother AND you don't even need a head... so $50 total is it.
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2003, 09:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
I already have a good monopod, but find it still sways unless I can wedge it up against a wall. When I shoot full-wide with the VX2000, I can hand-hold. However, zoomed in, any movement is amplified, and the side-to-side swaying I get with a monopod is too much.

If you want to see a short example that demonstrates the problem, take a look at the Las Vegas video at http://f1.pg.briefcase.yahoo.com/bc/.../Video&.view=l

The steady stuff was shot with a decent mini-tripod. The shaky stuff was hand-held or used a monopod.

I looked at the inexpensive Bogen tripods are too heavy, weighing more than the camera, and don't fold down small enough. Both Bogen and Gitzo market carbon legs that look like they might fit the bill -- they fold down to a little over 12 inches, and weigh in the 3-4 pound range (without a head). They're also around $400, at the top of my budget. I'd also need to locate a cheap, decent head to match. If I'm going to invest this much money in a tripod, I want to make sure that I will like it (maybe I should wait for the next time I'm in NY and take a field trip to B&H).
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