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Old December 15th, 2004, 06:04 PM   #1
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Can I get equally low?

Hi all,

I'm about to buy the 503/525 kit from manfrotto. The thing I like best about the 525 is that you can get real low with it (32 cm / 12.6 inches).
The thing I don't like about it, is the ground-spreader. I don't like em in general, and when I tested the kit, I didn't like em on the 525. Now the good thing is, they do sell an extra mid-spreader for the 525. That's the 531SPR, they didn't have it at the store, though.

The thing I'd like to know from anyone who ownes this kit plus the extra mid-spreader or someone who was able to test it; can I get equally low with the mid-spreader to reach that 32 cm?

When I tested it in the store, the sticks can get as low as lying flat on the floor. The thing stopping them was the ground-spreader, but it could go real wide (extendable). Does the mid-spreader also extend to achieve this?

Thanks a LoT,

Steven
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Old December 16th, 2004, 06:02 AM   #2
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Re: Can I get equally low?

<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Fokkinga : Hi all,

I'm about to buy the 503/525 kit from manfrotto. The thing I like best about the 525 is that you can get real low with it (32 cm / 12.6 inches).
The thing I don't like about it, is the ground-spreader. I don't like em in general, and when I tested the kit, I didn't like em on the 525. Now the good thing is, they do sell an extra mid-spreader for the 525. That's the 531SPR, they didn't have it at the store, though.

The thing I'd like to know from anyone who ownes this kit plus the extra mid-spreader or someone who was able to test it; can I get equally low with the mid-spreader to reach that 32 cm?

When I tested it in the store, the sticks can get as low as lying flat on the floor. The thing stopping them was the ground-spreader, but it could go real wide (extendable). Does the mid-spreader also extend to achieve this?
-->>>

I don't know how low you can get with mid-spreaders, but they are much better to use than floor-spreaders. Go for them, that's what I will do if I buy a Bogen next month.

The 525 looks great, and is probably the black version of the 520.

One trick you should use, even if you have mid-spreaders, it to use a thin rope to secure the leg ends when you go very low. Or perhaps use one of those bags to hold the camera onto, only this time you can put the tripod. In any case, it's not such a bad idea to use something when you go very low.


Carlos
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Old December 16th, 2004, 07:48 AM   #3
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Hey Carlos,

Thanks for the tip. The 525 is not the black version of the 520, because there are both the 525mv and 525mvb where the b version is the black one. I think 520 is the older version of the 525 but the only difference is the leg-locking system. I guess they improved it with the 525, but i havent seen the 520, so im not sure...

Steven

PS: I asked the 'mid-spreader-get low'-question at both manfrotto international and manfrotto USA (bogen), but both have not responded to my email. That's disapointing...
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Old December 16th, 2004, 08:35 AM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Fokkinga : The 525 is not the black version of the 520, because there are both the 525mv and 525mvb where the b version is the black one. I think 520 is the older version of the 525 but the only difference is the leg-locking system. I guess they improved it with the 525, but i havent seen the 520, so im not sure...
-->>>

You are probably right. The strange thing, at Manfrotto's site, is that they do not list or seem to find the 525, and they only list the 520mv and mvb.

There's a mid-spreader for the 520, which is called 500SPRB, which should fit the 525, but B&H does not seem to stock it. They should know which can be used with the 525.


Carlos
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Old December 16th, 2004, 11:08 AM   #5
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Yes, I know what is going on here.
The international manfrotto-site (www.manfrotto.com) is outdated for some strange reason. So they still list the 520mvb and the 500sprb, which both are already replaced with newer versions. That's probably the reason you couldn't find it at B&H.

It took me a while to find this out (mainly because I couldn't believe they put old stuff at their int. website), but if you go to www.bogenimaging.us, then choose products and then manfrotto tripods, heads etc., you get to the site with the exact same layout as the international mafrotto site, but now with all the updated stuff. So there you find the 525mvb which has 2 recommended mid-spreaders: the 531 and 530. The 531 is the 'normal' mid-spreader and the 530 has some strange squid-like feature, go check it out. There you can also see: the 525 replaces the 3283, which is the Bogen-code for the 520.

You see, you have to got some surfing-enthousiasm to understand what the hell this company is doing. I guess simplicity is not their forté ;)

Steven

PS?: So is there maybe anyone who has this tripod with extra mid-spreader who knows about the height-issue?
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Old December 16th, 2004, 11:58 AM   #6
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Aaah, just got word from Bogen/Manfrotto, the mid-spreader adds one inch to the minimum height. I can live with that. So i'll buy it with mid-spreader.

Thanks for your help,

Steven
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Old December 16th, 2004, 01:43 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Fokkinga : So there you find the 525mvb which has 2 recommended mid-spreaders: the 531 and 530. The 531 is the 'normal' mid-spreader and the 530 has some strange squid-like feature, go check it out. There you can also see: the 525 replaces the 3283, which is the Bogen-code for the 520.
-->>>

Ok, I found them.

Now there are two Bogen tripods that fit the formula: 515MVB and 525MVB. You have to pick between 75mm or 100mm bowls.

The mid spreader's code is still a mystery, as Bogen's US site continues to deny it. Poor son!

The question now is which bowl would be better. Larger bowls should be easier to level.

Have you tried the smaller Bogen head (701RC2) compared to something larger like 503? Though it must look ridiculous on a 525 tripod.


Carlos
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Old December 16th, 2004, 05:56 PM   #8
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The answer of which bowl to use lies in the weight of your camera. 75 mm bowls connect to the 501-503-505 heads, which are counter-balanced for the mini-dv camera's, so in between 1 kg - 3 kg, the 100 mm bowls connect to the 510-316 heads, which are counterbalanced in the range 4 kg up to 15 kg. So I don't know what kind of camera you're using and what accesoires you put up, but if it's a mini-dv or the like i'd choose a 75 mm bowl.

Hope this helps.

Steven
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Old December 17th, 2004, 03:14 AM   #9
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Thought I'd weigh in on this discussion and provide some answers.

Concerning the manfrotto.com site - yes, it is outdated, but is in the process of a major overhaul. Part of a multi-stage project (beginning with the new corporate ID launched in September), the web should be fully up and running with data on all new products (and old products claened out) by beginning February 2005. Up until February one can use the www.bogenimaging.us site to obtain new equipment information.

Carlos is correct that the 520MVB is the older version to the 'renovated' 525MVB (US Code 3283B). Changes made in the upgrade include quick release leg locks and a metal bowl / shoulder. The 525MVB is a 75mm bowl whereas the 515MVB is 100mm.

Spreaders: The 531SPRB is a 'standard' mid-level spreader for the 515/525MVB series tripods that allows the tripod to go to a minimum height of about 34.5 cm - which is about 2.5cm (or one inch) higher than using the 525MVB with the floor spreader.

Manfrotto also offers the 530SPRB - or 'Squid' mid-level Spreader (named for its look) with a bult-in device allowing you to lock the spreader at different angles. This is useful if you're shooting in a tight location and you need to bring the legs closer together (for a smaller foot print), the locking spreader will provide you with the necessary support.

Concerning 75mm vs 100mm bowls. Steven's answer sums it up well. The larger 100mm bowl is designed to accept larger loads and thus the larger bowl of 100mm provides a bigger locking surface area to support heavier weights. There is no definitive spec range provided for the two bowl sizes, as a 75mm bowl can easily support a camera package weighing in at 10 kg (22 lbs). If you're using our 701RC2, 501 or 503 heads, the 75mm bowl is more than sufficient and agree that placing a 701RC2 in a 100mm bowl will look rather dwarfed.

In fact, we believe very strongly in the support the 75mm bowl provides that our new 519 head (10kg/22 lbs load capacity), which we released this year, is only available as a 75mm ball.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions and am more than happy to provide further information.

Marc Schotland
Manfrotto
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Old December 17th, 2004, 05:57 AM   #10
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Hi Mark,

Yes, that's much better ;) Although most things were by now clear to me (mainly by visiting the bogen-site), it's good to have confirmation.

Is it maybe an idea that you link people to the bogen site until you have updated the international site? Or to say that products are not yet up to date? I understand how things work now, but a lot of people whom I have spoken in the past (including dealers) could not understand the difference in the manfrotto website and their catalogues or their own stock.

But thanks for the clarity ;)

Steven
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Old December 17th, 2004, 07:43 AM   #11
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Oh and while we're at it,

Mark, can you explain me the different bags? The bogen site states the MBAGxx types and the 3282 types. It says the MBAG replace the 3282 types (the MBAGs also seem much nicer to me). Now at my dealer the 503/525-kit is shipped with a probag-1. So what is that then? I hope it is a MBAG90 because that's what i would like with my kit.
On the bogen site the 503/525 kit is still listed with the 3282 bags. Is that going to be replaced as well?
Hope to hear from you soon, then I can get my order before christmas!

Steven
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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:36 AM   #12
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The MBAGxx series bags were introduced this year to streamline the entire Manfrotto tripod bag range and replace the Probag series (3282 is the same product but is the Bogen USA code).

Some website and dealer information can still contain text referring to the bags contained in kits as the Probag, whereas it could be very likely it is the MBAGxx version contained in the box. All kit shipments leaving the Manfrotto factory contain only the MBAGxx series bags.

Just like the manfrotto.com webiste, the Bogen webpages are being upgraded as well. As Manfrotto is the parent company of Bogen, their websites are intertwined (hence the similar templates). Come February, not only will the information be updated, but the overall look and navagation, which should hopefully eliminate the confusion.

Marc Schotland
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Old December 17th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Marc Schotland :
Concerning 75mm vs 100mm bowls. Steven's answer sums it up well. The larger 100mm bowl is designed to accept larger loads and thus the larger bowl of 100mm provides a bigger locking surface area to support heavier weights. There is no definitive spec range provided for the two bowl sizes, as a 75mm bowl can easily support a camera package weighing in at 10 kg (22 lbs). If you're using our 701RC2, 501 or 503 heads, the 75mm bowl is more than sufficient and agree that placing a 701RC2 in a 100mm bowl will look rather dwarfed.
-->>>


Thanks for the info, Mark. It's always better to talk directly with someone from the company itself.

In spite of Steven's comment on what should be used with what, I don't think the head's counterbalance has to do with bowl diameter. The counterbalance belongs in the head itself, no matter what the bowl you are using.

Heavier weight is a different matter, as it has to do with the head, the bowl and the legs.

But... my point is that using less weight with something that is designed for more weight is far from being a problem and can be a benefit.

In my experience, a larger bowl is much better to level than a smaller one, even if we are talking 1" difference here. Used as I am to Sachtler's or others large bolting screw to fix the bowl, I am not too happy with Bogen's "shift" to do that. The screw should also have finer threads to allow more turns and do not free the bowl so easily. That's my opinion from the tests I did at an equipment show, so maybe I'm moving too fast.

Next thing is the legs, and this is something some videographers fail to grasp in all its importance. Telescopic legs, like the #3445, have only THREE securing points, one for each leg. Tripods like the #525 or #3182 have SIX securing points, which help A LOT!!! to provide steadiness to the shot.

It's alright to go for the simpler legs if you are a hiker and need lightness and small packaging, but most of us don't. So try to get used to a slightly larger weight (around 2kg more) and you will be rewarded by a more solid feel when you have to do large pans.


Carlos
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Old December 17th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #14
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Ok thanks Mark, I'll check with my dealer if they have the new bag already...

<<<-- Originally posted by Carlos E. Martinez :
In spite of Steven's comment on what should be used with what, I don't think the head's counterbalance has to do with bowl diameter. The counterbalance belongs in the head itself, no matter what the bowl you are using. -->>>

Well, all I meant was that if you buy a manfrotto tripod, manfrotto has the system of heavier weight camera --> bigger head --> larger bowl. I wasn't talking of any fundamental necessity. In fact, I also think larger bowls are easier.

see ya,

Steven
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Old December 17th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Fokkinga :
Well, all I meant was that if you buy a manfrotto tripod, manfrotto has the system of heavier weight camera --> bigger head --> larger bowl. I wasn't talking of any fundamental necessity. In fact, I also think larger bowls are easier.
-->>>

I guessed you did.

Carlos
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