levelling mechanism on Bogen 3130, 501, 503 at DVinfo.net

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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:05 PM   #1
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levelling mechanism on Bogen 3130, 501, 503

Our church is considering bying some new tripods/heads to use with our GL-1's and I have seen a lot of discussion and done some research on these head models. But I have not been able to find out what type of mechanism (if any) is on these models for leveling the camera. Any knowledge out there?
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:11 PM   #2
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I have a 501 and there is no "leveling mechanism", but there is a little bubble level. You have to level it by adjusting the tripod legs. Perhaps the head can be mounted on a tripod with a ball leveling mechanism? Don't know. I now primarily us a Miller DS-5 which has a ball leveler. This is a HUGE improvement when you setup, especially when working outdoors on uneven surfaces. Never takes more than a couple seconds to get level. It's a tedious excercise using my 501 with 3221 legs.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:18 PM   #3
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Leveling mechanisms

I am glad to see that about the 3221 legs. We have been using a 3130 with the 3221 that belongs to one of my camera guys - the legs are a pain.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #4
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Manfrotto makes the 438 (Bogen 3502) a 75mm compact leveler that works with the 501/503 (I have the 503). It works great and is well worth the $90 it cost me.

I not sure if all the DVinfo sponsors sell it, but B&H Photo does.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 08:20 PM   #5
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The Bogen 438 (US Cat # 3502) seems interesting. With a ball mechanism it should be faster to level than its more expensive brother, the 3416. The 3416 uses 3 brass thumb screws. It is a royal pain adjusting in the cold, and you could lose some skin attempting to rotate them too quickly. But either way, it's a lot less stressful than raising or lowering the legs to level the tripod. Time is of the essence in some situations, like shooting on a dock, where you are likely to be resting on 3 wooden boards, none of which are level with the other. Then the boat or animal life gets away. Another lost shot.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:35 AM   #6
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Levelling mechanisms

Thanks for all the input. We have decided to go with the 3001 legs with the 501 head (we just are not at a point in our production that I can justify the difference for the 503 - I already feel like I am spoiling my camera crew by getting 501's instead of more 3130's!). In looking for the levelling assistance devices as mentioned by Nathan, I only found this one:

Bogen / Manfrotto 556B Leveling Center Column - for 3001 Pro Tripod

It is about $90. Does anyone have any experience with this device?
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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:10 AM   #7
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Bogen now offers the MDEVE tripods which incorporate levelers and are specifically designed for small vidcams. I haven't seen one in person but they seem like a good idea and are a bit cheaper than buying a leveler separately. Go to B&H and look for models 756B, 755B, and 754.
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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:18 AM   #8
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Laurie, you don't need the overkill of the 503. Even the 501 is more than enough for the GL1.
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