516 Head - More Weight, or Spring Surgery? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 1st, 2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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516 Head - More Weight, or Spring Surgery?

I recently bought a Bogen 516 head on 3193 sticks used at a very good price. I knew, going in, that it would be overkill for my 5D Mark II setup: "Fixed counter balance spring of 16.5 lb (7.5 kg) load capacity at a center of gravity of 5" (12.7 cm)"

Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 3193 Tripod Legs (Black) with 516

So... does anybody know what it takes to replace the spring? Does anybody have a good source for alternate springs?

And then there's the other course of action: bolting lead weights to the head. Any recommendations of how to add weight at the right height without compromising the camera stability?

Also, when it says "...at a center of gravity of 5" (12.7 cm)" can I assume that this measured from the plate, rather than from the center of rotation of the head?

So, yeah, the head is overkill for my little camera, but stability is critical with longer lenses. It's very usable already, and will be even nicer with proper tilt compensation.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 09:05 PM   #2
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Hi Jon.........

"Would be overkill" has gotta be the understatement of the month!

A 516 for a 5D mkII? Nah!

Here's what you're up against changeing the spring:

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...6_20020724.pdf

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...6_20041111.pdf

That's if you can actually indentify a spring, blowed if I can.

As for bolting on lead weights, you training for the Olympic weight lifting team? Don't think so.

My suggestion, for what it's worth - sell the 516 and buy a second hand Vinten Vision 3 (not the 3 AS) and get a #1 spring for it.

The #1 is still probably going to be too strong but there are a couple of wrinkles. The first is to back off the retaining screw and see if that brings it under control, the second is to get a machine shop to remove a couple of mm from one end of the spring.

There's also a Gitzo (I think) that has changeable springs, I'm sure someone familiar with it will weigh in with info.

The 516 is so far beyond what is required for a 5D I just cannot see reason in continueing to mess around with it.

In addition, the V3 is an infinately better head.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; July 1st, 2009 at 09:33 PM. Reason: The cat sent it.......
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Old July 1st, 2009, 11:00 PM   #3
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I would have to agree with Chris here. The work needed to make the 516 work with the 5D and various lenses would be far too much. Get some money from the sale of the 516 if you can and get something that has variable counter balance built in. If you can't adjust easily over a wide range of weights then you will never get any use of the video head as you will always be fighting it.

Figure out what weight range you are going to need to cover with the range of lenses you plan to use plus the weight of the body and pick an appropriate head that will adjust for it. The body is about 2 lbs. and lenses range from 1/2 lb to around 13 lbs. That 516 is perfect for those big lenses but if you manage to change the spring it will only be perfect for one lens and body combo.

Based on my recent experience I can say you would best be served by Vinten Vision 3 Vinten | V4043-0001 Vision 3AS Fluid Head (Black) | V4043-0001
but it is not available yet

or a Sachtler FSB-6 Sachtler | 0407 FSB-6 Fluid Head | 0407 | B&H Photo Video

Both are probably a lot more expensive than you want to deal with based on your post but I had to point to them as the best alternative to what you are trying to do.

If you insist on trying to hack the 516 into working in some fashion for you then I suggest the safest and best way is to add weight until you get the balance you want. Use a thin piece of steel say about 2" by 12". Drill a hole for the camera mounting screw to go through and holes at each end to add weights, perhaps washers. You might want to bend the metal in to a shape that has two raised arms at the ends so that the CofG is in the right place for the head specification. Add weight on the ends or remove for the elns being used. Take care that the camera cannot spin on its mounting screw with this metal strip in between the camera and the head plate. This might be accomplished by using something like electrical tape on the metal surface to help provide grip. The strip gets sandwiched between the camera and the tripod plate.

BUT! If you can swing it you will be MUCH happier with one of the two heads I have referenced.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 01:01 AM   #4
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Hi Les.........

Much as I'm glad you agree with my diagnosis, I'm gonna have to take issue with a couple of your suggestions.

If you read my review of the Vinten 3 AS here:

Vinten Vision 3 AS Tripod (1 of 4) DV Info Net

I go into quite a bit of detail about the pluses and minuses of the counterbalance system, specifically getting the quoted weight/ COG figures to tally with reality.

As it stands, until I have nagged the guys at Vinten (Hi, Peter) into submission to supply a less powerfull spring for the 3 AS, I can't see a 5D MK II having a ghosts chance of kicking in the counterbalance with anything less than a 10 lb monster bottle on the front.

Which is why I suggested the V3, as the #2 spring for a V3 is almost exactly the minimum setting for a V 3 AS. A #1 spring is considerably weaker and more likely to be somewhere in the ball park. The V 3 also has the ability to remove the spring entirely and just rely on inherant friction and tilt drag to do the necessary, not possible with the V 3 AS.

The problem with the 5D is it's extraordinarilly low COG. It might be pretty heavy with a huge lens on, but it's COG would only be about 2 - 2 1/2 inches off the head plate (if that).

I think this would likely throw up issues with your suggested Sachtler head as well.

However, it's all academic if Jon is determined on the 516 open heart surgery route, which I really do hope we've talked him out of.

Of the weight suggestion - forget washers, he's gonna need anvils to get that thing to balance properly, hence my "Olympic" crack.

Guess we'll stay tuned and see how this unfolds....


CS
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 02:13 AM   #5
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Hi all

As Chris said, counterbalance is a matter of weight and centre of gravity, not one or the other. The 5DMkII probably wont balance correctly on what you are proposing. Why not try our Pro-6HDV as you have three steps of counterbalance plus a zero position (roughly 2kg/4kg/6kg). Capacity of this (and our Pro-5Plus) head is stated at 55mm CofG and i suspect the 5DMkII isnt too far off this point.

The other plus point is that the Protouch heads are supplied with a standard Poziloc tripod (not a cheep, wobbly version), a standard floor or mid-level spreader and a Petrol carry case.

If youd like us to loan you one to try, please contact me off line.

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Old July 2nd, 2009, 02:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Much as I'm glad you agree with my diagnosis, I'm gonna have to take issue with a couple of your suggestions.
Well of course I cannot argue against a person who has actually used the new Vinten head, you have superior knowledge. It's always a fight getting proper balance. Why don't head manufacturers make spacers that raise the camera to make up for small differences?

I still think that either of the suggestions I have made would be a far better bet than the 516, modified or not.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 03:05 AM   #7
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Jon, Les..............

Meet Peter Harman, Product Manager at Vinten UK (thought my post might rattle his cage - joke!).

Les, in answer to your first question, somebody (Sachtler?) does, but it's no way to run a railway, quite frankly.

You are most definately correct, the 516 is a disaster, a point we can agree on.

However, Peter has actually offered a freebie test run of gear to some lucky punter which sounds like the way to go if they follow it up.

Hi Peter - so when are the weaker springs for the 3 AS coming out then? (send me a mail, I know!).

You recovered from the India sojourn?

Hey, does anyone still have stocks of V 3 head springs?

I see B&H have removed all reference to V "x" heads already, even tho' the 3 AS and 5 AS aren't yet in stock. This stuff must sell faster than hot cookies in winter.

Can punters get them from Vinten. and if so, for how long?


CS

Supplemental:

Interestingly, a bit of a trawl through the dungeons of Manfrotto has turned up this gem. Unlike the 516 which does, indeed, have a Vinten variant, Manfrotto have neglected to include drawings of the Vinten pro 6 HDV with whatever differences there are, possibly minimal.

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...V_20071219.pdf

However, in graphic 503, 322 you can clearly see the three springs that "do the business" tho' the selection mechanism isn't readilly discernable, possibly why it's a bit hit and miss on the Manfrotto units. From what I can make out it does explain why the unit has to be under zero tension in order to change the counterbalance setting.

This is another gem: For Vintens Pro 10

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...V_20050314.pdf

Note the Vinten clamp knob on the shaft. Manfrotto show no knob whatsoever on the Manfrotto version of the 516.

http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...6_20041111.pdf

Which sort of begs the question, will a Manfrotto 516 knob (and anything else) fit a Vinten head?

Well, no. My 503 clamp knob won't fit my Vinten V3 or V3 AS.

So much for thinking I'd found a back door through the "Vinten clamp knob dilema".

Sigh, back to the drawing board.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; July 2nd, 2009 at 04:14 AM. Reason: heaps of +
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 11:59 AM   #8
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Chris,

Thanks for the exploded diagrams! Those really offer insight.

About twelve years ago, I blew the motor of my Lotus Turbo Esprit at a club track day. I rebuilt it myself (and it still runs great). This tripod looks pretty simple by comparison. :) The challenge would be to find an alternative spring.

One thing for sure, even though the 5D is light, it really demands great stability. The combination of long lenses and a 25ms rolling shutter time are a challenge - independent of camera weight.

I've looked at the 503 and it's really not adequate. The 516/3193 has the beef I'm looking for. Too bad about the fixed spring...

BTW, I paid just a touch over $300 for it. :) Even with the strong spring, it's very usable as is, unless you tilt far from horizontal. I'd love to have it properly balanced though.

The 5-inch height is as big a problem as the weight requirement. I'll do some static analysis to see if I can achieve the same goal with more low weight, or less high weight.

Regarding changeable lenses, that's not a big deal. My heaviest lens situation is likely to be about 3.5 lbs. I could calibrate to that. With lighter lenses, I could compensate with weights - if that's even needed.

It looks like the spring is coiled, like a watch spring. If I can remove it, and if it has much width, I can probably have it machined to be narrower to reduce it's force. The spring constant is proportional to the width of the metal. It would be much cooler if I could buy an alternate part though...

If I can get the thing apart, I'll take some pictures and post them.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post

So, yeah, the head is overkill for my little camera, but stability is critical with longer lenses. It's very usable already, and will be even nicer with proper tilt compensation.
sooo, if you're using longer lenses, you're probably not shooting feature work - so why not a wimberley head? or the bogen wimberley knock-off, the 3421 which is el cheapo and works great....save bundles of cash.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 05:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz View Post
sooo, if you're using longer lenses, you're probably not shooting feature work - so why not a wimberley head? or the bogen wimberley knock-off, the 3421 which is el cheapo and works great....save bundles of cash.
Thanks Meryem, but I'm definitely shooting video and want a fluid head. We won't use the long stuff much, but when I do, I want it rock solid with smooth motion. I'm mostly shooting 85mm and 28mm though.

After years of not-enough-tripod, I might be overreacting, but I'm okay with that. I knew about the spring issue going into this deal, but at ~$300, I'm willing to find a workaround.

Aside from the spring, it's everything I was looking for: dual tube sections, 100mm ball, heavy duty, smooth motion, quick-release plate, and cheap! :)
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 07:01 PM   #11
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Just for the sake of completeness...........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Hey, does anyone still have stocks of V 3 head springs?
The answer is yes.

Professional Video Tripod Head Accessories | B&H Photo Video

Tho' this finding does beg the question:

How, in the name of Zeus, did they work out the pricing for 'em?

Tho' maybe I shouldn't ask in case they put 'em all up to $55!


CS
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Old July 20th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Peter Harman View Post
Hi all

As Chris said, counterbalance is a matter of weight and centre of gravity, not one or the other. The 5DMkII probably wont balance correctly on what you are proposing. Why not try our Pro-6HDV as you have three steps of counterbalance plus a zero position (roughly 2kg/4kg/6kg). Capacity of this (and our Pro-5Plus) head is stated at 55mm CofG and i suspect the 5DMkII isnt too far off this point.


Peter
Iím confused. The Vinten site recommends several systems for the 5d2, but all based around a Vision 3 with no. 1 spring. The Pro-6 doesnít get a mention, although it does feature elsewhere on the Vinten site. Can anyone suggest which would be better, and why, specifically for the Canon 5d2?

Iím somewhat reluctantly in the market for a good tripod system for the 5d2. I say reluctantly because as a photographer I detest tripods, although I have several since they are an occasionally necessary evil. But with video I have to face up to the fact that Iím going to use a tripod a lot more often than I would with stills, and the Libec 950 I bought in an emergency just doesnít cut it.

But Iím finding choosing the right system hard. I donít know enough about video tripods to make an informed decision and there isnít anywhere in Moscow with enough different ones to make a meaningful comparison. And the problem is made worse by the fact that, for reasons pointed out by others, even the best video tripods arenít necessarily suitable for a DSLR. Something else has just occurred to me: many people are going to have a Juicedlink/Beachtek permanently fixed to the camera base. Thatís going to have an effect on COG & balance: but for better or worse?

Iíve read good reviews of the Libec 38, but Iím inclined to discount those after my 950 experience. People say nice things about the Miller Solo, and I like the look of it, especially since it seems very adaptable and looks like it could do double duty as a stills tripod. But I read on another thread of the ball rusting, and I donít see why it wouldnít have the same COG/balance problems with a 5d2 as other pro video tripods. And now thereís the two Vintens to consider.

So Iím confused. Anyone got any firm recommendations, preferably good personal experiences for a 5d2 video tripod system? My criteria: needs to be small enough to travel, light enough to carry a reasonable distance without buggering my back up again, Iíll mostly shoot wide, but it would need to be able to take a 70-200mm f2.8 regularly, occasionally something longer. For example Iíll be using a 400mm plus 2x converter in a couple of weeks time. And Iíd like it to go lower than my crap 950.

Oh, and no more than $150. No wait, donít run away: that was a joke. Say up to £1,000 GBP, but preferably less.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #13
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I would suggest the Sachtler FSB 4 or FSB 6. Each of them under £1000. The 4 would probably be better matched to your 5d Mark2 - maybe even an FSB 2 would suffice, just check the specs to see which weight matches best.

The Pro-6 HDV has it's place, I'm sure. I owned one (note: past tense). The legs are great, if heavy (but are very robust), but the head just didn't do it for me - and my Sony V1E isn't very much bigger or heaver than the 5dMk2.

I didn't get on well with the counterbalance (none of them were right for the V1E), and the tilt drag wasn't very good - exactly the same issue afflicts the Manfrotto 503HDV that the Pro-6HDV is based on. Also, drift back issues and the relatively poor friction on tilts and pans made long lens wildlife word very tricky.

I should stress that this was my personal experience only. I think this tripod is aimed at the event market (weddings etc.) where rock solid performance at 30x zoom is not required - and to that extent, it does work.

I'm still not sure if I would spend £650 or so on a Pro-6 HDV when I can get a Sachtler FSB-4 or FSB-6 for £300 more though.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 10:04 AM   #14
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Before selling the 516 I would definitely try adding weight - using a steel plate between the head and the cam as Les suggested. The extra weight will help create smoother pans and tilts. Long run it might be too cumbersome, but trying it out shouldn't cost much. Build in as much back to front mobility as you can - so that you can fine tune the set-up for different cam/lens/accessory combinations.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #15
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There are a couple of challenges when adding weight: position, and mounting hardware.

Position: say a tripod needs 20lbs at 8 inches from the pivot point. (5 inches from the base.) That's the same as 10 lbs at 16 inches, or 40 lbs at 4 inches. Maybe I should mount a small HDTV above the camera! Then again, the higher the mounted weight, the more the "arms" will flex. The last thing I need is to add a resonant device on the tripod head (boing, boing, boing...)

Mounting: Inserting steel plates between the tripod and camera would mean that I need a different screw to connect to the camera. Now I have to figure out how to make it solid, captive, and tool-less. It can be done, but will take some figurin'...
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