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Old March 24th, 2004, 03:32 PM   #1
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And Once Again...More Tripod Inquiries


But I need a tripod desperately, a decent one, and lo and behold I'm not sure what kind or what brand to get. I've been looking over various tripod threads trying to get a grasp on some of this stuff, but it doesn't seem to be working.

Problem is, I am new to all of these complex alternatives to what I originally thought were fairly simple concepts. I need a tripod, so I thought any tripod will do. I had it in my head that all tripods were pretty much the same. Upon further reading on this site though, I discovered that this is not the case.

Before researching it on this site I had planned to get one of the Sony Tripods with the remote controller on the handle. They usually run $50-$100. This was fine I thought, for they are within my price range. But then I come hear and see that all of you guys are using these Bogen, Miller, Sachtler, etc. tripods which end up being around $200 and up. I couldn't believe that tripods could be that expensive. There's no way I have enough funds right now to make that kind of purchase for a tripod.

So basically what I'm looking for in this post is some advice. Seeing as how I'm strictly a beginner in the filmmaking world, should I just get one of the Sony ones that I can afford? Do you think that would suffice? Or do you guys maybe know of any other companies that make good tripods that might fit into my price range? Or should I just hold off completely on a tripod and save up for one of these expensive ones?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.
History does not repeat itself.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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As with most things in this field, it all depends on what you're doing. I use to be like you too, Frank. I looked in a magazine one time and saw a tripod for 500 dollars...And I was left in utter astonishment. I said, "WOW, that is INCREDIBLY STUPID!! a 500 dollar tripod? Well I have a 20 dollar one downstairs that works nicely!" You can imagine what then happened and saw another tripod for 3400 dollars. Anyways, tripods are important. They keep out cameras still, and if you don't have at least a decent one, people will say "Hey man, get a tripod" when they watch your movie. Of course they know not the brands, and different types of tripods, but they sure as hell know when you ain't got any or all of the above.

I was using a vivitar something something tripod until I experienced the tripod we had at school which is a very good bogen/manfrotto. I didn't know what it did that made it go so smooth, but I knew that it went smoothly. I did some research and found out that my tripod was a friction based tripod...In essence, the thing that was keeping it "smooth" was the friction of tightening the various knobs on the different parts of the tripod. The tripod I have now, which is a small bogen manfrotto, is a fluid head. It's exactly what it sounds like. There is a fluid inside the head of my tripod that allows the panning and tilting to go really smooth. Aside from the different types of tripods I have, the bogen manfrotto is also very well built. It has sturdy aluminum sticks (or legs) and some type of very tough plastic knobs. Everything else is metal and very rugged.

My setup was about 300 dollars, that includes the 700RC2 head, with the 3021n sticks, and a padded carrying case. It works very well for my purposes, providing smooth tilting and panning even for my relatively heavy GL2 (Lots of addons, including WD-58H, biggest battery you can buy, headphones and XLR adapter plugged in).

Having been in both positions, I can say that the extra money is TOTALLY worth it if you want to get any type of quasi-professional productions. And to be honest, I have produced some pretty professional looking stuff with my old friction head. However, it was very much hit and miss with that old thing. Every once and a while I could get it to pan smoothly, but occurences were far and few between. The bogen I have now does it every time, anytime I want it to. That's the difference.
Corey Sturmer
Producer - Woffester Productions
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Old March 24th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #3
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Frank, it would proabably help to know what sort of camera you're using and the nature of what you're shooting. As cameras get heavier they are really poorly matched to flimsy $50 tripods. Obviously an XL-1 needs a heavier tripod than an Optura. Twice I've seen heads snap right off cheap tripods. Depending on when that happens it could be expensive if your camera hits the bricks.

If you're working mostly at close range with wide angle shots you can get away with less precision. Or maybe you're just locking the camera down and not panning and tilting? But if you're shooting from a distance at full telephoto even those $300 tripods won't give smooth enough movement to look very professional.

You said "I need a tripod desperately, a decent one", then you imply that your price range is $50 to $100. Sadly, I think those two requirements will be at odds with each other. You may need to get up into the $250 range to get something "decent". Perhaps you can look for a used one?
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Old March 24th, 2004, 09:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies guys.

But yeah I have a VX2100, so it's on the heavy side. Not too outrageous though. I intend to shoot many different ways, whether it be a close up still shot, or a panning/tilting shot from a distance, so regardless I'm most likely going to want a tripod that will be able to handle pretty much anything. And from the sound of it, these $50-$100 won't be able to cut it.

It looks like I'm going to have to hold off on buying one right now and save up then during the summer. I guess that will allow me to research them more. Ah well.
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Old April 3rd, 2004, 11:04 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I have about eight different tripods, and a VX,
so I could suggest a good one -- once you save
for a bit over $150. But I will say *do not* get that
Sony tripod. I used to have that one. I've had about
a dozen different tripods and that Sony was the
one I was least satisfied with. Do a search. I
wrote a review of it here some time back.
Search by model number. That should
bring it up. I'm referring here to the
top-of-the-line Sony with the controls on the
handle. Goes for ~ $180.
Dave Largent is offline   Reply

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