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Old May 10th, 2004, 11:19 PM   #1
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Fluid Heads (all ball-mount?)

I have the Bogen 3051 legs and would like to put a real fluid head on them. From what I have seen, all of the real fluid heads are ball mounts? Is this true? Is there one that will work on my 3051? Any solutions? The cheaper the better.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 04:03 PM   #2
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It is not true. The hemisphere that is attached to the head is almost always a screw-on. In many cases, if you purchase a head alone, it will not come with anything but a flat bottom-side.

The reason? Tripods have different sized top cups, usually 75 mm, 100 mm or larger and the heads have to be adapted by changing the hemisphere.

Occasionally you can purchase one of the old Miller heads with the black wrinkle finish for a few hundred dollars or so. They work fine and if you need to have one rebuilt, Miller will do it for about $350.
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Old May 16th, 2004, 07:46 AM   #3
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Nick... I highly recommend you try some heads out. If you want a TRUE fluid head then your choices get severely limited. In fact the only company I know of that makes a true fluid head that I'd call affordable is Cartoni.

CLICK HERE to see it!

There are two models at this price point ($560) and you DON'T want to get the one that's rated for more weight unless you need it. The rating is all in the counterbalance springs, not the physical capacity.

Anyway, I hope some people chime in stating that they have a fluid head from another company in that price range. It's always fun pointing out that what they really have is a "lubricated friction" head... Of course you'll NEVER see that phrase screened/etched on the head itself... any decent head will say "fluid" right on it. Or in the case of the Gitzo head I have, which B&H sells for $850, you'll see "fluide" on the head. What the hell is "fluide"? I think it's French for, "We don't want to feel TOO bad about misleading you."

Seriously, that's why I say try some heads out... smooth is smooth. Unless you get a Cartoni a true fluid head will cost you a ton.

(I like the Gitzo head by the way... and I knew it was "lubricated friction" when I bought it... and it came with the 75mm ball attached. It appears permanently attached, but I could be wrong.)
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Old May 16th, 2004, 11:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for your response.

I discovered that many "fluid" heads were actually lubricated friction heads. This is extrememly deceiving and I think that it is wrong to do it. I had tried the Bogen 3031 and the 501 and was not happy with them, each for different reasons. After searching this forum, I realized that there are only 3 or 4 real players; Cartoni, Miller, Sachtler and O'Conner. There may be others of which I am not aware.

The information on websites for fluid heads is somewhat sketchy in most instances. They do not say if the ball can be removed to convert it to a flat mount. The controls are not clearly described either. I cannot try any of these heads here in town AFAIK. So, I just decided to go with a generally acknowledged leader, hoping that I would be satisified.

I read a number of posts by happy owners of the Cartoni Action Pro. However, there were others who said that the Action Pro was not "in the same league" as Cartoni's other models. I also read posts saying that the AP was not in the same league as a Miller DS5 or Sachtler. I did not read even one ill report on a Miller, so I ordered a Miller DS5 with the Solo pod. It's more than twice what I wanted to spend on a kit but I did the same thing when I bought my VX2100. At least I won't be kicking myself for years for buying something that I am not happy with.

Also, the Solo pod's minimum height is 8" and low shooting angle is important to me. The Cartoni's minimum height is 36" and the Miller 820 series is 24".

The one thing that I am concered about is that the DS5 head does not have all of the control options of the DS10. But the DS10 did not seem appropriate for the VX2100.

Well, I guess I will know in a few days.
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Old May 16th, 2004, 11:38 AM   #5
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sadly I bought a huge samson spring tripod at a rummage sale for $25... It's Gi-normous... so when I saw another samson tripod on ebay with a dolly for $100 I sadly bought it... I have my xl1 on it now and honestly it works pretty darn well.... I wanted a cartoni but with the mini35, long lens, hard drive, muti-batteries, etc... I have found the sheer weight of the camera adds stability to my pans... I wish I had the dough for a great tripod and someday I surely will. At least they both match!
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Old May 18th, 2004, 07:32 AM   #6
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Nick, did you get your Miller pod yet? I'm curious about the action and your overall satisfaction...

That setup comes with a 75mm ball doesn't it?
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Old May 18th, 2004, 12:07 PM   #7
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Matt,

I do not have the tripod yet. I ordered it on-line from EVS on Saturday night, I think. I have not received a confirmation or tracking number yet (Tuesday 10am).

I will try to remember to email my impression to you when I get it. If you don't hear from me, give me a nudge.

Yes, it has a 75mm ball.
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