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Old March 4th, 2004, 11:02 AM   #1
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Portable tripod?

I'm looking for a very light and portable tripod that can support a 1,8 kg DV camera - the Sony PDX10 with accessories.

The tripod would be used for "hobbyist use" outdoors on uneven or sloping surface (terrain...). I want to carry the light tripod "just in case", set it up quickly when it's needed, adjust the horizontal plane quickly and accurately, shoot some smooth video, then move the tripod a few metres, shoot again and so on.

So portability (weight) and ease of use (speed) are important. It should also allow easy adjustment of the horizontal plane and reasonably smooth panning...

** What tripod would you recommed?

** Should I get the "SLIK DV Travel Pro" tripod?

It has a bubble level and feels reasonably smooth when panning/tilting (as compared to SLIK Pro 330 DX) but the height cannot be easily adjusted...

** The max height of "SLIK DV Travel Pro" is chest height - not shoulder height. Will that become a problem when shooting people (try not no laugh)?
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Old March 4th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #2
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In my experience "Slik" tripods are cheap junk and I'd stay away from them. I've had a few of them in the past. Slike does a good job of making them look sturdy but after using them you will learn this is not the case. I've had two of them where the head snapped right off without any warning or apparent reason, and one was a relatively expensive model. There are a lot of cheap plastic parts in key places, and the overall build quality is pretty poor. I still have a more or less useless wobbly Slik monopod, although it looks impressive. Perhaps someone else will step forward with some happier Slik stories?

From what I've seen the Bogen/Manfrotto line is a much better bet for inexpensive tripods. I've had a Manfrotto 3221 with a 501 head for several years and it's not bad. Possibly a little heavier than you have in mind, but it comes as a kit for around $250 that includes a nice soft carrying case.

Browse back a bit in this forum. The topic of lightweight tripods for the PDX-10 and TRV-950 has been discussed before and lots of suggestions have been made.
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Old March 4th, 2004, 11:04 PM   #3
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The Manfrotto 055pro tripod with the 128RC head is nice. The 700RC head replaces it. It's almost the same but you can pan and tilt with it at the same time---like in a figure 8---very smooth.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 10:59 AM   #4
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A local camera store recommended the Manfrotto 190 BWB with a 128RC head. Total 3,2 kg = not too heavy. That tripod would otherwise be good but it lacks both a bubble level and a half ball adjustment and I really don't want to dance around the tripod trying to get it just right.

** Any ideas on how to solve this dilemma? Is the 438 "Compact levelling head" (5cm/2in) a useful tool or just a toy? Does it even fit the 190 tripod?

** Should I get the MDeVe 755B or MDeVe 754 instead? They have a built in level bubble and half ball but they lacks spiked feet (that could prove useful outdoors)...

Other alternatives would be the Slik DV Master Pro tripod + head, 3.4 kg total,
http://www.thkphoto.com/products/slik/slik-dv1b.html
or the Slik DV Grande Pro tripod + head, 3.1 kg total, [URL]http://www.thkphoto.com/products/slik/slik-dv2b.html[/URL

I have been told both here and at the shop that Slik tripods are not as good as Manfrotto in general, but how about these Slik DV series tripods?
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Old March 5th, 2004, 11:04 AM   #5
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Sorry, for the typo...
http://www.thkphoto.com/products/slik/slik-dv2b.html
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Old March 5th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #6
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Ralf,

Think a lot about what type topics you will be shooting and the various hieghts that you may want to mount your camera. I have the Manfrotto 3221 with a 501 head and like it because you can pull out the center column and use the adaptor that comes with which allows you to get really low to the ground. Something most tripods will not do. The downside is the 3221/501 weighs in at over 9 pounds which is ok if you are not carrying it for long distances. I carry mine on a military alice backpack frame for the long treks.

Regards,

Mark
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Old March 6th, 2004, 04:21 AM   #7
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The minimum shooting height of 42 cm (less than 2 feet) is low enough for my video needs...

What is more important for me is speed of use.

Quick leg adjustment and quick leveling in rough terrain using a bubble level and a bowl would be ideal. This is also the main reason why I'm interested in the Slik DV tripods after all those warnings. A light Manfrotto tripod with similar features might be even better...

I would like to raise the tripod and level it in rough terrain in a matter of seconds... I know that it is not possible. The 540ART tripods are fast, but priced at $2000, who can afford one? I need something seriously cheaper.

Now I would need some comments on the Manfrotto "Compact leveling head" and the Slik DV tripods.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 05:48 AM   #8
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"It's almost the same but you can pan and tilt with it at the same time---like in a figure 8---very smooth."

Does this mean the 128RC or the 700RC?

Which one is "better" for a small camera?
Are both fluid heads?

I know the 700RC is lighter...
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Old March 7th, 2004, 04:58 AM   #9
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Beware of very light tripods and fluid heads with high drag. I use a Gitzo 1238 head (very high drag over the small available adjustment range) on a set of Gitzo carbon fibre legs.

With a Canon XM1 + Sony 1.7x convertor, panning tends to shift the legs if you do not hang on to them. I hang a weighted bag from the centre column which helps a lot.
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Old March 7th, 2004, 05:30 AM   #10
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The 700RC is almost the same as the 128RC. In all honesty, I don't know which one is better, but the 700RC is real smooth with these figure 8 type of pans/tilts. I'll check both of them out again on monday, and I'll let you know which one I think is better.

I used to have a Manfrotto 075b tripod. It was heavy (9.9 pounds), and had great height capability. However, for me, it was just too heavy (coupled with the 136 head). When I'm out in the grave yard, I've got to carry my gear for 1/4 of a mile at times, so that is why I went with the 055pro tripod and 128RC head.

With the 136 head, on my old 075 legs, it was a not so cool 12.5 pounds---it was great in the studio, though. A couple of times I had it set up on a table, almost fully extended---just about touched the 14' ceiling. I had to stand on a chair (on top of the table) to operate the cam. Scary. :-))
Quote:
...the 128RC or the 700RC?...both fluid heads?
Both are "fluid-action" heads, which means they feel fluid but there is no fluid in them.
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Old March 7th, 2004, 06:25 AM   #11
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... and I would need to carry my equipment a few miles sometimes - although not too often (luckily). And there's a lot more to carry then than just video equipment...

Maybe I'll fit it with helium balloons ;)
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Old March 7th, 2004, 02:39 PM   #12
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Even though I don't like the head action on the Libec 20, most specifically the sloppy pan (head wobbles a little) it does set up very fast and has a 50mm bowl. Not really heavy but not a lightweight. Fairly sturdy.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 01:33 AM   #13
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How about Carbon One ?

Thank you for your help, everybody - it was very useful. I'm now considering both the Manfrotto 190 series and the 055 series tripods.

I tried them (190/055) at a store. I like the height and stability of the 055 series and the weight of the slightly lighter 190 series. The 055 with a "compact levelling head", 0.6 kg, and a 700RC head, 0.5 kg, would in my opinion be very heavy for carrying over long distances. Thus the 190 might be better.

The "Pro" models with a leveling buble would be ideal - especially with spiked feet and removable leg warmers as accessories. Unfortunately they do not have the leg-locking clips of NAT3/BWB models for carrying comfort - but that's ok.

----------------------------------------------

Wouldn't a "Carbon One" tripod, however, offer all the goodies: stability and height of the 055, low weight (lower than 190 series), built-in bubble level, optional spiked feet...

It costs a bit, though :(

and there are two things I'm uncertain about

1) Will the light weight 700RC and 128RC heads work well with the light weight carbon fiber tripods? Or will there be problems with panning?

2) Someone told that the carbon fiber tripods could fall apart in very cold weather. Now what is that "very cold"? Is it 0 C / 32 F or is it -30 C / -22 F ?
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