Mobility versus weight - Manfratto at

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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:31 PM   #1
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Mobility versus weight - Manfratto

I'm about to embark on another season of run-and-gun shooting in an environment where mobility and ultra-fast usability is key. Now my old setup consisted of a lightweight (and now severely outdated/discontinued) Manfrotto 701RC2 head and 3221WN sticks which got the job done and I really loved its fast set up and break down but in certain situations it felt unstable with the HVX200 sitting on top of it.

So what I'm looking at for this season is a step up to the Manfrotto 501HDV/351MVB2K system which weighs nearly twice as much (12.5 lbs versus my old 6 lbs or so setup) and features the spreader and such which I assume add a bit of set up and break down time.

Or I'm looking at what essentially is the better version of what I had in the 701HDV/547BK system but I'm afraid I'll run into the same instability issues.

Now my question is which trade-off is in my best interest for the type of shooting I'll be doing? Keeping in mind that I won't have time to actually put the pod into its carrying case to haul it around so essentially I'll finish a shot, detach the cam, and run or walk briskly to my next location and be ready to shoot in an instant. Suggestions, ideas?
Robb Swiatek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 12th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #2
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Have you considered the Sachtler Hot Pod? Its more money but its the standard among news cameramen. After seeing all the local news guys setup their tripods in 5 seconds, I became very envious. Its quite a bit of money but it sounds to be a perfect fit. Another nice feature is the built-in handle for easy carrying.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 01:25 AM   #3
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Hi Robb,

I have the Manfrotto 503HDV/351MVB2K (difference being the head) and it really doesn't take long to setup. The mid-spreader is a little clumsy and definitely adds some time to your setup but all in all, it really doesn't take all that long. As far as weight is's definitely a bit of a pig. I still manage to lug it around without too many problems but be aware that your arm or shoulder will probably get tired if you carry it for a long distance.

I typically wouldn't try to sway someone's opinion but if you're looking for quick setup and stability....have you looked at a Sachtler FSB-4 or FSB-6 with Speedlock? I only ask because I just purchased an FSB-8 and I really never thought somebody could fall in love with a tripod but...I'm in love. The legs are 2 stage 3 section but only require 3 locks vs the usual 6. Setup is almost as quick as snapping your fingers...OK maybe an exaggeration but it is really quick. Budget is of course going to be a big factor though as the Sachtler is quite a bit more than the Manfrotto.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #4
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The "Hot Pod" seems to be overkill for smaller cams like the HVX200, it seems more like a system for full-sized ENG to me, but that's just my opinion.

The smaller HDV equivalent would be the Sachtler SOOM system. I am downsizing my camera and am considering a SOOM system with FSB-2 or FSB-4 head for the sheer number of options the system it would give me (tripod, monopod, hi-pod and mini-pod).

My current DV6SB system is nice (but the head is designed for bigger cameras than my new one). The Sachtler 75mm Carbon Fibre speedlock legs are very nice, pretty light and fast to put up, with waist-height clamps which save you crawling round on the ground opening that last stage - but it is not cheap.

Michael is right. Sachtler-love is a strange phenomenon, but it is a little worrying!
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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I understand this issue well, I have it myself!! I Use a vinten vision 6 on a set of heavy manfrotto legs, works great but is a pain to haul about and set up, part of it being the spreader, also the legs do not hold together when closed so you have to carry carefully.

I have a gitzo 1380 with the standard metal legs from B&H I had got for my gl2 back when.

what I have found is I put my vinten on the gtzo legs and I am now using that rig all the time. really quick to set up, very adjustable, It came with a shoulder strap to go around the pod for carrying.
It is reliably stable, virtually no torque in the bowl area. when you close the legs they stay closed!!

the gitzo 1380 is one of the best buys out there. when I am shooting wildlife the camera rig is 23 pounds and it handles it just fine.

this set up is 12.5 lbs and it handles everything I can throw at it.

I use it all the time now, the manfrottos set in the back of the truck unless I am doing a two camera shoot.

I would like to get as good a set of legs in Carbon to cut the weight if I could, but I wonder about losing the stability they I get with the steel legs

Dale Guthormsen.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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