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Old June 18th, 2004, 01:06 AM   #1
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A couple tripod questions

Hi,

I've been scouring these forums for information on a new tripod, and I'm getting close to making a decision. However, I have a couple questions yet.

First question: I've seen several threads indicating stiction problems with the Bogen 501. Is stiction that big of a deal? Are/were people experiencing a decline in quality control, or a temporary manufacturing problem? I'm an amature/hobbyist, but of course, I'd like to achieve the smoothest pans and tilts, even on full zoom.

Second question: I have a GL2 with a WD58 wide-angle adapter. I've been borrowing a 3221 tripod with a 3130 head. I've noticed that when I have the tripod fully extended, and the GL2 on full zoom in, the slightest touch on the pan handle jiggles the picture. Is this a problem with the 3221 tripod, or with the 3130 head? It's hard for me to tell, as neither appears to jiggle, just the image in the viewfinder. Yes, I have image stabilization off. If I turn it on, that helps, but then the pans and tilts can get weird.

I've been considering the 501 head. The 503 I think would be too much for my GL2. The 505 could be calibrated for the GL2 with the lowest set of springs, but it's quite a bit more expensive.

For legs, I'm considering the 525MVB or one of the new MDeVe sets. The 525MVB is a bit heavier, but it comes with the midlevel spreader, which I think would help the "jiggle" problem I mentioned. However, the MDeVe have the built in quick adjusting leveler. I'm not sure how necessary that is.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 08:47 AM   #2
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I have a 3221 with 501 head and it's fine for wide shots but I found it really unacceptable for use at max telephoto zoom. I have since retired it from video, put a Bogen 3D head on it and use it with my digital still camera. It's great for that sort of application. Unfortunately I think you will need to pay quite a bit more for an upgrade to the next level. I'm now using a Miller DS-5 (~$800) which is much, much better.

So if you're shooting mostly with the wide adaptor you'll probably be fine with the 501/3221, and I think it's a good value. But I was just not able to get smooth motion at full zoom and after ruining a performance shoot that way I got the Miller. After lots of trial and error I found that optical image stabilization helps a lot when shooting performances at full zoom from the back of the theatre. Yes, I know this defies the "conventional wisdom", but it's something you should experiment with a bit. In my case I have to contend with movement of our 150 year old wooden opera house itself as well as tripod shake. I'm using a Sony camera however, so your results may vary.

I think the ball leveler is a terrific feature that saves lots of time. It's one of those things that you'll wonder how you ever managed to live without!
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Old June 18th, 2004, 08:57 AM   #3
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I have the 501 with 3001 legs, and found it to be usable, but barely. The 501 will only pan smoothly if it is completely loosened- at which point it jiggles. The legs tend to want to twist and tilt, unless firm pressure is exerted. I end up grabbing hold of the "neck", and holding it still.

If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't spend $300 for the Bogen. I'd buy a Slik. I would still have a cheap tripod, but have more cash in pocket.

Any of this help you?
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Old June 18th, 2004, 09:17 AM   #4
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Thanks, Boyd and Keith, for the replies. They are helpful.

What's more important in stablizing the long zoom shots? A good head, or a good tripod? Which is the weakest link? Would something like the new Miller Solo DV5 exhibit the same problems? It doesn't have the double-pole legs; looks more like a 3221.

I'd like to hear from someone with experience with the Bogen 525MVB or the Bogen 505 (or both in combo). Would the 505 have the same jiggle problem when loosened for smooth pans? Or does it not need to be loosened?

Boyd, that DS-5 system you're running, that must be the 1-Stage tripod? The minimum height is only 24" or so, not real low compared to some other options. The 2-Stage tripod option drops down to 15", but costs quite a bit more. The Miller Solo DV can run as low as 8".

Sorry, lots of questions, I know. But if I'm going to be spending $1000 on a tripod, I want to know what I'm getting. Thanks again!
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Old June 18th, 2004, 10:39 AM   #5
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Tim, this is the tripod/head that I use. Is this the model you're talking about? I think that carbon tripod costs more than the aluminum one I have. I don't have any experience, but would guess that this sort of design would always be more subject to twisting during pans. Being able to shoot low isn't usually a big need of mine, but I can always use my 3221/501 for that. It may be hard find a "one size fits all" solution that's also inexpensive.

BTW, and this came up in another thread recently, Miller describes the DS-5 as a "75mm ball levelling true Fluid Pan and Tilt with adjustable drag". This is a little misleading because I don't think the locking screws for pan and tilt would constitute a "drag adjustment". The DS-10 has separate adjustments but is more expensive.

To stabilize the long shots there are two factors I think. First is the stability of the tripod and how much it resists twisting and moving. I suppose the heavier the better for that. The other is the action of the head and whether you can ease in and out of slow tilts and pans. In my case, if I setup in the 3rd row of our theatre and zoom in one one person crossing the stage from left to right all the way across the curtain line, I have to pivot my camera through about an 84 degree arc. But if I setup in the last row at the back of the house and do the same thing I'm only sweeping through about 26 degrees. Now if I maintain the same sort of framing of the person in both of these shots then from the back of the house each little bump and shake is essentially magnified more than 3 times.

Happy shopping.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #6
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Hi Boyd,

Yes to both questions. I know for a fact the carbon tripod is more expensive, by about $300-400.

Thanks for the clarification on the "adjustable drag" with the DS-5. Unfortunately, it looks like the DS-10 is oversized for my lighter GL2.

"Maybe" the Bogen 505/525MVB combination would work.

I think the next step is to try and find some local dealers where I can bring my GL2 and try out the Miller and Bogen.

Thanks again!
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Old June 18th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #7
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Hmmmm, don't know why Keith has a problem with the 501. I use 3 of them with 150's that are pretty loaded up and have no problems with the heads at all. Lots of use on all of them.
One thing I do though when I'm on the tripod is to use my left hand to put light pressure on the side of the 501 and as I start to pan or tilt I use the pressure from my hand to "steady" the head.
This is something I was taught to do about 30 years ago by a guy I was shooting stills with. It's a habit and something I do no matter what tripod/head combo I have ever used.
I actually keep the 501's somewhat tight so they don't move on their own.

I don't know why some might not work as well as others, maybe it's the QC thing.

Don
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:19 PM   #8
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Hi Keith,

Thanks. Could your success with the 501 possibly be due to the weight of the camera you have on it? I'm not sure I want to dedicate my left hand to steadying the head.

It's strange, I've been sending emails off to various retailers, looking for models to demo. Twice now I've been encouraged to go with the Libec LS22, yet I've seen comments on this forum that indicate Libec is not all that great. Maybe the salesmen have quotas to meet on some new product?

I really need to find a place to demo these...
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:30 PM   #9
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Like I said, I've been forced to shoot one hand on the tripod, one operating the GL1. If I had a lanc controllor, it wouldn't be so bad. I just switched the pan bar to the left side, to make camera control possible with my right hand. With the lanc, I would still control the cam's functions with the right, but then be able to use the left to control the tripod.

As far as Don's idea that my problem may be QC related, I don't doubt it.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:09 AM   #10
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Tim,

I use a Bogen 525MVB with a 503 head and a 523 LANC controller with my PD170 and love it. I do not notice any sticktion problem and the pans and tilts are smooth, not to mention that the controller is sweet! I bought the Bogen as a kit with an educational discount. Plus I saved on shipping as they shipped it directly to a local vendor and I just picked it up there and paid for it. I looked at Miller but it was so expensive plus the shipping from B&H was outrageous.

This platform feels very stable and was priced right. I would post a photo of it but don't know how.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:39 AM   #11
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Hi Paul,

What are the legs like on the 525MVB? Do they lock at all, or do you need the spreader to hold them in place? Without the spreader would they swing freely? I'm only familiar with the 3221, where the legs lock into one of three or four positions (angles).

Thanks!
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Old July 13th, 2004, 11:35 AM   #12
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Hi, just wanted to let everyone know I made my decision regarding tripod/head. I decided on the 755B legs with the 501 head. Picked it up from B&H. Great place to shop.

Anyhow, I opted for the 755B legs for a couple reasons. First, portability and ease of setting up. Second, the leveling ball is nice! I tried one of these out in a local store. Also, my concerns regarding excessive jiggling when zoomed in full are still a concern, but it's not as bad as the setup I've been using. I think as one poster mentioned, that can be overcome to a certain extent by the way I operate the tripod. It's a skill I'll need to work on.

My choice with the 501 head was based on price and performance. When I tried it out in a store with a GL2 attached, on the 755B legs, I really liked the feel of it. Stiction isn't a big problem. When it hasn't been used in a while, there's an initial "stick" (slight) but that goes away immediately. It's just the initial move. Again, habit and practice will overcome that.

I looked at the 525MDV legs, but they were too awkward.

I was hoping to demo a Miller model, but I was unable to find a local retailer willing to return my calls.

This setup is definitely better than what I've been using, and the price was right, around $420 or so. Now I have money left over for other things. I'm sure others have their own requirements in a tripod setup. This one is going to work for me.

Thanks to all who provided feedback and insight. It was helpful in my decision making.

Tim
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