Yet Another Tripod Thread! (Bogen 501 vs. 503) at DVinfo.net

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Old April 15th, 2004, 08:59 PM   #1
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Yet Another Tripod Thread! (Bogen 501 vs. 503)

I know this has been debated thousands of times, but I still can't make up my mind. Most people discussing the differences between the 501 and 503 heads are doing so with the intention of experienced professional use, while I am still in high school and just starting the business.

My dilemma: I have heard all the reasons for purchasing the 503 head over the 501, however, I need to find out if I can justify the extra cost. I will be shooting a variety of events such as weddings, sports (somewhat long telephoto shots), nature shots, etc. From what I hear, the 501 is not great at longer telephoto shots, but is the 503 really that much better and smoother? For my uses, would this plus the counterbalance feature make the 503 worth the extra cost?

Also, I need to pick the best legs for my intended use of the camera. I have been recommended options such as the Bogen 3181 and 755B Mdeve tripods. Which one of these, or another model, would be best?

Note: I absolutely CANNOT spend more than $500 on a complete setup.

Thanks for your help!

*edit*
I just remembered... What are the educational prices for these items? I assume they only apply to teachers or college students, but If I could find educational prices, my yearbook or broadcast adviser at school will gladly place the order for me :)
Chris Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2004, 10:56 PM   #2
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I have two 503's and one 501. The 501 is easily good enough for most things and is what I would recommend for your tripod head. The 501 sometimes has a small jerk when starting a tilt, but it is not really noticeable unless you are at full zoom. Even then, the jerk is probably not significant compared to the other videographer induced bobbles when panning or tilting. The 503 has a small bounceback when used with lightweight cameras unless you really crank up the tilt drag. The 501 doesn't have this problem because it doesn't have a spring. I'd recommend the 501, which would save you enough money to get a quick leveling adaptor.
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Old April 15th, 2004, 11:06 PM   #3
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How much more is a Miller DS5 head these days, than a 503?
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Old April 16th, 2004, 06:20 AM   #4
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Thanks Alan
The tripod legs I have been looking at (Bogen 3181) comes with a 75 mm half ball. Is that what you mean by a quick leveling adapter?

If not, where can I get one and how much are they?
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Old April 16th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #5
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I think what he means is the bogen leving head 3502 around 70 bucks from B&H.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...24&Submit.y=11
Levels the head without the need of using legs. I never had one but i was planning on getting it with my 503/3182 package. From my understanding most people say 503 isn't much different than the earlier model (501). Does everyone agree? Is it possible to achieve extra slow cinematic pans with 501? Fast pans could be done even with wall mart friction heads. I think Miller is out of the price range for me at this moment. I can get a 503/3182 with the leveling head 3502 for around 650. What do you guys think of that package?
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Old April 26th, 2004, 09:40 PM   #6
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do you need a quick leveling adapter?

Just a small question, is it absolutely necessary to have this leveling adapter to get a decent shot? are there any other models of such adapters and how are they better/worse then the one mentioned above?
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Old April 26th, 2004, 10:27 PM   #7
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A leveling adapter isn't necessary but it's a great convenience for ensuring that your camera is level. Without one, when shooting outdoors or on any surface that isn't flat, you can level the head by adjusting the length of one or two legs. Use the liquid level on the head as a guide.
With a ball level/leveling head/leveling adapter, just loosen the handle on the adapter and move the head around until it's level. Much faster and easier than fiddling with the tripod legs.
A ball level is also a convenient way to get tilt shots, if you like using those.
Hope this helps.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #8
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does bogen 503 have it?

Thanks Allen! So my understanding is that 503 head doesn't have it so it should be bought separately, right? Then is this 3502 the best choice?
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Old April 27th, 2004, 03:59 PM   #9
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Yes, if you want it, buy it separately.
This is the ball leveler that I use, and it works well.
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