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Old October 1st, 2001, 12:32 AM   #1
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Tripod for the XL1 / XL1S

I'm an amatuer videographer and just purchased my xl1 and was wondering if anyone could recommend what type of tripod would work best with it. It seems as though the range goes from extremely expensive, like sachtler to flimsy 35 mm. Any suggestions would be great.
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Old October 1st, 2001, 12:54 AM   #2
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Manfrotto to the rescue

Hi Daniel,

For general use, I highly recommend the setup I have. I use a Manfrotto 501 head with Manfrotto 455 legs. (Bogen is the same company as Manfrotto, by the way. The model numbers vary between the two brands but the equipment is the same. You dealer can match the different brand models.) The legs have special "leg warmers" on them for padding when I carry it on my shoulder. Also, I have a very soft, neoprene "Matin" strap for times when I need to just strap it over my shoulder.

This is a very inexpensive, compact, and lightweight unit. Seems everyone I talked to tried to persuade me to buy really large heads and the "double-tube" legs for extra support. They also insisted that I need the bottom cross bars to keep the legs from sliding outward.

But the XL-1 is so lightweight, it really doesn't need all that. Those "big" setups weigh a ton. That would really hamper portability. Also, I like the fact that I can slide the legs outward--that way I can put the camera really low near the floor for up angle shots. Since all three legs work independently of one another, I can also extend and swing one leg out while making the other two legs shorter for shooting in precarious places like on the slope of a hillside.

My setup still allows free tilt and panning, it just requires a slightly steadier hand. It has a leveling bubble, a quick release, and full locking ability.

In a "studio" environment, I can understand the need for the heftier units...but I've never had a problem with my setup...indoors or out.

I can't remember exactly...but I think my whole tripod unit cost around $350.

Have fun with your new XL-1!
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Old October 1st, 2001, 09:00 PM   #3
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501 is pretty good way to go, though I want to try before I buy. I do have the Bogen 3130 which does not work that well with the XL-1.

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Old October 1st, 2001, 09:14 PM   #4
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Howdy from Texas,

I found my perfect tripod combo, on a budget.

I'm using the Bogen 3251 sticks. This is the "automatic" tripod with a black finish. Tom Mckay has the silver version of this, and that's where I first saw it. A little on the heavy side, but the ability to extend all three legs with the push of a lever is quite choice. It's also great for breakdown... just push a lever and collapse the pod... easy, fast.

For the head I use the Bogen 503 with an extra pan handle. I like it a lot better than the 501. Outwardly they're nearly identical but the 503 has a spring balance inside and feels smoother. The pan handles are better than the 501, also... longer & telescoping.

I wish I had a Miller, but I could only afford a Bogen (whole thing about $400).

Topping off my rig is the VariZoom VZ-Pro-L zoom & focus controller... just wish I could find a way to wield it on permanently. Hope this helps,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; October 2nd, 2001 at 12:15 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2001, 06:08 AM   #5
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503

Chris,

Glad to hear your recommendation of the 503. I opted for the 501 simply because I couldn't get my hands on a 503 here in Seoul to check it out. The double pan handle looked inviting...but decided it's better to go with what I could actually see and try out. Looks like that's something I'll have to consider when I get back Stateside.

As for the legs...the Bogen 3251 sticks...I've never seen nor heard of them. They also sound interesting. Is it possible to extend the legs out independently of one another like in my model? I really like being able to get low, low angles and/or setup my tripod on uneven terrain.
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Old October 2nd, 2001, 06:16 AM   #6
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Followup

FYI

Sorry to follow myself up here. Just visited the Manfrotto site, http://www.manfrotto.com, (remember...Bogen is the same) and found that they've just announced the new 540ART video tripod legs, a 516 Pro Fluid Video Head, and other accessories. All are especially designed for DV camcorders.
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Old October 2nd, 2001, 07:57 AM   #7
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John, thanks for the heads-up about the new stuff from Bogen. I see a new mounting plate I need to get.

The 503 and 501 heads each come with one pan handle. In both cases I added a second one. Some day I'll have to write about how and why I like to use two handles.

About the 3251/3051 sticks, you can look them up on the Manfrotto site... the legs can be extended independently of each other, and at different angles from each other, so they would probably meet your requirements. The mid-level spreader on this pod is high enough for me to position the sticks over and between auditorium seats (I do some indoor event stuff -- right tool for the right job).
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Old October 2nd, 2001, 03:49 PM   #8
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just went to the manfrotto site and there seems to be a lot to choose from. Thank you all for your insight. I've learned a great deal just from reading everyone's input.
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Old October 2nd, 2001, 05:22 PM   #9
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Bogen video tripods are inexpensive compared to professional gear such as Matthews, Miller, Sachtler, Vinten, etc. However Bogen seems to be the best of the bottom-end of the barrel. And it looks to me like they're trying to improve, and grab a significant part of the DV market.

More power to 'em. Personally I wish I could *afford* a $2,000 Miller tripod, but I had to settle for a $400 Bogen. So far I have to admit it's worked out pretty good.
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 09:15 AM   #10
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Hi Chris,

I've been pricing the 3251/503 combination and the best I've been able to find is about $500. If you have a source that can get one to me for $400 I'll place the order today.

That tripod is a bit heavy (13.5 lbs without the head) and also a bit long (37" closed length), but I'm thinking it might be better for my purpose than the 3221WN which was the other one I was considering and probably similar to the one mentioned by the originator of this thread.

Thanks for the suggestion,
Ed
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 09:33 AM   #11
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Hi Ed,

Checking my invoice, I bought the 3251 sticks from Camera World (in Oregon) for $210. That was a little over a year ago, in September 2000. At that time I also bought a 501 head with an extra pan handle. With shipping the whole order came to $395.

I sold the 501 head and bought a 503 with extra pan handle from B&H. That was back in April. For some reason I don't have the invoice handy; it's in a stack of papers somewhere. According to the B&H website, the 503 is priced right now at $243.

You might try Camera World for that combo -- although the price on the 3251 may have come up some from last year. A hint, don't ask for a "combo," that signals one of their pre-packaged arrangements. Just ask for sticks number xxx and head number xxx. Good luck,
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 06:36 PM   #12
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I took a chance and ordered the new Gitzo 2380 ($170 from B&H) a few weeks ago (could never find any reviews on it) and so far I have to say I like it much better then the Bogen 501. I have not used the 503. After I have used it a few more weeks, I will check back with a follow-up.
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 08:17 PM   #13
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I use the Manfrotto 441(in the US 3443) Carbon Pro 1. As I do a lot of backcountry hiking in deep snow weight is a major issue as I usually carry, my XL1, EOS3, various lenses, flashes, and the like as well as backcountry survival gear. This tripod weighs only 1.5 kgs and because it is made from carbon fibre it is stronger and more ridged than aluminium. That combined with the 501 head works well and didn't cost a fortune.
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 09:56 PM   #14
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Man! Backcountry hiking in snow, wakeboarding, skating, snowboarding and surfing from the costal area of Shounan, AND making movies with your XL-1...

...Adrian, can I borrow your life for awhile?
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Old November 9th, 2001, 05:37 AM   #15
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You can have it at the moment John, everytime I plan to shoot it bloody rains. I'm teaching English to pay the bills at the moment so you can have that too. Ah well, winter is coming so it's off to the snow, might even be heading to Korea for a bit to the Alps Resort. It's not far from the border so that could make for some interesting footage
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