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Old July 7th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #1
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The search for short sticks (for travellers)

I know this subject has come up before (I've been searching the posts) and no-one has come up with an answer, unless I've missed something.

Somewhere, there has to be a set of short tripod legs. Something that gives a height of 1ft to 3ft open, and about 18 inches closed. Something that is lightweight because it doesn't have 6 ft of metal, not because it is made of inferior materials.

At present, I have Manfrotto 190B with a levelling column (50mm half ball) and a 701 head which is reasonable to carry long distances, and fits in my suitcase. But the 50mm half ball isn't good enough for my Canon XH-A1.

I've just bought a Libec 38 which does all the things the Manfrotto won't, but is so big and heavy (for me at just over 5ft) that it won't be going far from the house or car. But it is a real pleasure to use.

To get something relatively lightweight that will take a 75mm half bowl, it seems I have to go to a hi-hat. But not all of my subjects can be filmed at ground level, and I won't always (or even often) have something suitable to rest the thing on.

A cinesaddle has some advantages and disadvantages too.

So I'm really looking for some short length, proper video tripod legs.

The nearest I've found:

Manfrotto 351MVCF but I'd like something even shorter.

Manfrotto 350SHMVB Short Video Pro has a built-in 100mm half bowl

Any omments on these, or others welcome.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:03 PM   #2
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Hi Annie,

It is probably of little interest as it was a home-made one-off but you could have a look at my post: -
Lightweight tripod / fluid head combination for low level use
Alastair Traill
I am sure I have not referred correctly but the post is currently on the second page of “tripods, sticks and threads”.

Some further details: -
For transport and storage the legs telescope into one another making it very compact. The legs lock into a clamp block that makes the structure very rigid. There is no ball cup, instead there is double clamp system that can be positioned at a convenient point along the thickest and longest leg. The double clamp system makes it possible to set the column in a vertical position. The fluid head is a side mount unit and can be mounted on the vertical column either above or below the long leg. I can use it with the camera touching the ground or up to about 30’’. Once set up with a camera it very easy to move around - even one handed. As tripod and head weigh less than 2 kg it has to be handled very gently to prevent unwanted camera movements. For what it was made for it has been very successful. Unfortunately I have had problems trying to scale the design up.

I will probably try one more design as the telescoping legs make carrying and transport so much easier. In rough terrain with the legs inside one another the tripod becomes a monopod and can be used as a staff to assist rather than hinder one’s passage.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #3
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Hi Annie...............

Any of these suit the bill?

Professional Video Tripod Baby Legs | B&H Photo Video


CS
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Old July 7th, 2009, 09:15 PM   #4
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Alastair - that is ingenious - where did you get the parts?
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Old July 8th, 2009, 02:07 AM   #5
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Alastair - I did see your post, but was looking for something to buy off the shelf. At present I'm too busy to worry about non-standard items, but I'll look at it again in the future.

Chris - thanks, that's a useful link. I guess I didn't look at B&H because I probably confined my searches to Britain. But I should have done to see what was generally available, then get it ordered over here (so someone else can take care of import duty etc).

There were two seperate threads from people wanting travel-size tripods back in May, but neither got a single response. So it was worth asking again.

Now, back to earning some cash for yet another set of sticks!
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Old July 8th, 2009, 07:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bennett View Post
Alastair - that is ingenious - where did you get the parts?
Hi Doug,

For better or worse the bits and pieces are home-made. I have a lathe, milling machine and some tooling from the 1930s that is very useful for trying out ideas but not particularly suited to any sort of volume production. However I am happy to discuss details of any of my projects, some ideas have worked better than others. In the absence of intelligent design I progress, if at all, by evolution.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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Gitzo GT3320BS Tripod

Found another set of baby legs. This one doesn't have a bowl, but it seems the top plate can be removed and replaced with a 75mm bowl head

Gitzo GT3320BS Tripod - Fast UK Mainland Delivery

or for the US

Gitzo | GT3320BS Series-3 Systematic Aluminum Tripod | GT3320BS
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Old July 30th, 2009, 02:10 AM   #8
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Gitzo GT3320BS Tripod - Fast UK Mainland Delivery

Hi Annie,
At a maximum height of 35cm it is quite a bit shorter than your initial specification of 3 feet.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #9
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Here is the Gitzo 75mm bowl adapter.
Gitzo | GS5320V75 75mm Bowl Adapter | GS5320V75 | B&H Photo Video

There is also a 100mm bowl adapter.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 04:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Traill View Post
Gitzo GT3320BS Tripod - Fast UK Mainland Delivery

Hi Annie,
At a maximum height of 35cm it is quite a bit shorter than your initial specification of 3 feet.
When you're looking for something apparently non-standard, you have to start somewhere - hence the 3ft max height. So here we have a small tripod that is more flexible than any hi-hat that I've seen as it has adjustable legs, so it's worth considering.

The aim of starting this thread was to gather information on short sticks, and I think we're going along those lines. I haven't decided which ones I'll get yet.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #11
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Hi Annie,

Have you looked at Sachtler Soom TriSpread - the very ingenious tripod / tripod spreader that is one part of a very clever and versatile system? It has a 75 mm bowl and a height range of 21.5 to 49 cm.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 07:23 AM   #12
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Thanks Alastair, that's another one to add to the catalogue.

Here is a review of the whole system, but it seems the mid-level spreader can be bought separately as baby legs - at least here in the UK.

In Review: Sachtler SOOM Tripod, Carl Mrozek
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Old July 30th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #13
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i have one of these for super-light travel:

Kirk Enterprises : Mighty Low Boy
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Old July 30th, 2009, 09:08 AM   #14
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Hi Meryem

The Manfrotto/Bogen version has been discontinued here in the UK at least and replaced with the 190Pro, which doesn't go quite so low. This cut down version looks good. Now I'll have to find a company that imports Kirk stuff here.

Thanks
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Old May 16th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #15
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Well, I finally made a decision a couple of weeks ago, and ordered the Manfrotto 350SH Pro. The decision was based mainly on price and availability here in the UK.

My first disappointment was that the legs are silver, rather than black, and that isn't so good for wildlife (light reflecting off silver is to be avoided).

Virtually all the leg levers were very stiff, but I loosened them with the key supplied by Manfrotto - I can always tighten them again as necessary.

The second disappointment was that the 75mm ball head from my Libec LS38 didn't fit the Manfrotto with the 100-75mm adapter fitted. The screw shank on the head just isn't long enough to go right through the bowl. I'll have to get the adapter machined to a better size. Meanwhile, I'm back to using the 701 head on the 100mm half bowl that came with the tripod.

Other than that, everything so far is positive. It's a lot easier to carry about than a full-sized tripod. I have it on a "mulepack" The Mulepack - The Mulepack and it's really comfortable, even with the camera mounted - though heavier than the mule is designed for.

Most of my video is done in open country or along the coast, so a low tripod isn't usually a problem. And it's certainly easier for getting down and personal with plants and insects! However, it is uncomfortable to use in woodland with birds over head - but I have to decide whether or not to carry the weight and bulk of the big tripod in that situation.

Now I just have to get those two items sorted out, and I think I'll then be very happy with this tripod.
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