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Old April 17th, 2005, 11:50 PM   #1
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Vinten Vision 3 head

I'm considering investing in a serious head for my XL2. My Manfrotto 501 just isn't cutting it. I'm researching the possibilities and I have a question about the Vinten Vision 3:

The counter-balance spring designated by the Vinten website for the Canon XL cameras is the #2 spring. It appears, however, that spring is for cameras around 2 or 3 pounds. The XL2 is almost 8 pounds, and that's without the wide angle adaptor and the 2.5 pound ankle weight counter balance I wrap around the accessory shoe to level things out. (Works great, by the way)

Now, I realize Vinten isn't expecting an ankle weight to be attached to the camera, but why do they designate the #2 spring, even for a standard set-up of a 7.4 pound XL2? Is there something I don't' understand about the weight ratings? What size spring should I use if the actual weight is more like 10 pounds? It looks like that would be spring #5, but I'm not sure I am reading the chart correctly.

Thoughts?
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Old April 18th, 2005, 08:11 PM   #2
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I use the Vision 6 which has an infinately variable counterbalance dial over the range of the heads capacity (9.9-22lbs). So I can always be spot on the exact needed counter balance.

The Vision 3 uses a range of interchangable springs in lieu of the more costly dial approach. I'm not sure if you are able to tweak the springs tension with a set screw or not. It would make since however.

As to the weight issue, imagine for a moment that you have zero drag and zero counterbalance on your head then you place the camera on the stage and you move it front to back until it is perfectly balanced on it's center of gravity. Now if you were to move the camera on the stage forward like 1/2" it would obviously fall forward. Now add weight to the rear of the camera in order to get it balanced in this position. Even though the camera weighs 8 lbs you will find that adding only a small amount of weight (i.e. 1/2 lb) will counterbalance it in the level position. So to answer your question, it sounds like the #2 spring is just about right.

The thing about counterbalancing is that the further your camera is off center (tilt) the more counter weight you need. Hence the spring. The more you squeez them the more resistence you get.

It is common for some camera people to try and correct improperly balanced systems by applying more tilt drag to dampen the effect of bad balance - which is not really good practice. In a perfect world you should be able to let go of your camera in any position and have it stay there - all that and still be able to point it in any direction with very little effort. Hope this helps.
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Old April 18th, 2005, 09:33 PM   #3
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I use a #4 spring in my Vision 3 for my XL1S, I added a plate for my sound devices pre-amp so it added some weight.
A bare-bones XL1 will work fine with the #2 spring, but I would probably opt for Spring #3 for most common XL1-based configurations. A 4 or higher would only be necessary if you started adding mic equipment, a mattebox, mini35 ;), etc...
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Old April 18th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #4
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There you have it Vince.

Andrew, for my own knowledge, on the Vision 3 can the spring be adjusted in any way over a small range? Or is it just a set it and leave it kind of thing?
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Old April 19th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #5
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Kevin, thanks for the explanation. That makes sense. I understand what the weight rating means, now.

Andrew, excellent info. It sounds like I might need more than one spring if my set-up will vary greatly from use to use.
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Old April 19th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #6
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Hi;

I use the 5 spring with my vision 3, due to my rather heavy XL2 set up and the fact that I also use it with a heavy Bolex set up for S16mm work. It's a really lovely tripod, I smile when I use it....

Olly
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Old April 21st, 2005, 02:43 PM   #7
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The Vinten spring number refers to the camera weight in Kilograms. I have an XL2, 16x manual lens, with matte box, follow focus and I use the #6 spring. When it's stripped down, I use the #5. Depending on how your camera is configured, you'll want to have a few springs. I also got smaller springs in case I am using something like a DVX on my Vinten.

I have a tape mark on my Chrosziel bracket and a couple of marks on the top side of the tripod head. This way, I can slide the camera to the right mark and it's centered. I cut the tape so that it's a thin strip.

You can move the tripod plate around, until you find the best place for it on the camera and head. It takes a some trial and error, but once you set your marks, you can set up your camera quickly and accurately every time. I have a couple of digital photos on my Palm Pilot, so I can remember where to mount the plates and the brackets.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 11:01 PM   #8
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Love that Vinten Spring system

I have two Vision 3's I carry six different springs in my tool box. For different Cams

But no matter what spring I use they still do not work as well as the Miller systems DS10 and DS 25.

Jimmy
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 07:39 PM   #9
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James, what weight are you loading on your Millers, what cams? Typically I've got 6Kg, or about 13Lbs.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 10:14 PM   #10
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Millers

Hi Mark,
I am mounting a Sony PD-170 wt.? on the DS-10
and a DSR 390L 15 lbs.& Sony 570 about 18lbs on the DS-25
I like the vision tripods also but the Carbon fiber just dose not seem as strong as the Millers. The Visions are still a good tripod for the dollar difference.
Jimmy
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 11:35 PM   #11
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James,

Specifically why do you prefer the Millers over the Vinten? You mention the legs seeming better on the Millers, and I've heard that in other threads here as well. I'm not sure what legs I might choose, but more often than not, the Vinten has been noted as the head of choice.

You say the Vinten is still not bad for the price difference, but the Miller DS10 is actually cheaper than the Vinten Vision 3, I believe. So if you prefer the DS10 over the Vision 3 than the price is actually a bonus for the Milller.

What do you like about the Miller? Do you feel it's smoother? How's the counter balance compare? I wish I was close to a dealer where I could compare for myself, but here in central Indiana, there is no place to try before I buy, so I am interested in commentary from those who have compared.

Thanks,

Vence
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Old January 10th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #12
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Perfect balance on Vinten Vision 3?

Hi,

This old thread touched on an issue I am interested. Can perfect balance be easily achieved on Vinten Vision 3 when it uses different springs? I am thinking to get this head for my DVX100A. I don't understand how a fixed rating spring can cover a range of loads.

Would Vision 3 owners share their experience please? Can your set up be balanced easily??

Thanks.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #13
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I'm not sure how the mechanics work for counter balance, but I believe that they use springs, just like the Vision3. I assume that they have multiple springs that can be engaged and disengaged as needed

Balance depends on the height of the camera as well as the weight. The DVX has a low weight and a very low center of gravity. Depending on what other stuff you mount on the camera, matte box, follow focus, monitor, HDD, you still have a pretty light weight, low camera. The spring's number corresponds to the weight, in Kilograms, of the camera. The #1 spring corresponds to a 1Kg (2.2 lbs) weight, all the way up to the #10 for 10 Kg weight.

Balance can be achieved by placement of the mounting plate on the camera bottom and then sliding the whole camera back and forth on the platform, with the tilt drag at 0. Lock the slide lock release, so the camera doesn't slide off the head and fall on the floor. when it doesn't move back, or forward, then it's balanced. Depending on whether or not the camera is front heavy, or back heavy, you might have to place the mount plate more forward, or rearward.

I have several springs that I use for different cameras and camera configurations on the Vision3 head. Larger heads have the counter balance adjustable by engaging multiple springs, to accommodate a wider range of camera weights. If you look at different manufacturers, you'll see what I'm talking about.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #14
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I mean I don't understand how it can hold when you tilt the camera in an angle and your hand just let go. For example if spring #2 can hold the DVX with a small battery in an angle perfectly, can it hold the DVX with a large battery in the same angle as well? I can understand a head with continuous spring load adjustment, such as the Vision 6, can hold anything in the specified range. However, in a simple counter balance system, it cannot imagine how it can be done. Do people dial up the drag setting in order to hold the additional weight?

I read many wonderfully stories about how great heads in this class can hold the tilt angle without applying the tilt lock.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #15
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Yes, increasing drag can help if the spring and the weight don't match. You can do that with any head, but it's best to balance it as best you can. I can usually operate and not need the locks, unless I'm walking away from the camera.

I have put marks on my head and camera plates with tape and a Sharpie, so I know where things should go, depending on the configuration of my camera rig. I also do this with rental gear too. Obviously, I'm not defacing the gear, I put tape on at the beginning of a shoot and then peel it off at wrap. This allows for faster set up and repeatablility. I will also take a digital pic and use that for reference too, if need be.

Because the DVX has a lower center of gravity (COG), I don't think it will make much of a difference. You will probably just have to slide the camera a little more one way, or another to take into account a heavier, or lighter battery.

It's when you get into taller, heavier cams that the COG becomes more critical. Accessories are heavier and there's more crap to put on the camera, so you have to be aware, especially when changing lenses, or battery types.
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