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Old July 5th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Anyone ever use this tripod?

We've got a few cameras locked down on tripods for multicam shots. We need to get a couple really cheap tripods and I was going to get a Manfrotto 501 or something along those lines when I ran into this: http://www.amazon.com/Ravelli-AVTP-Professional-Camera-Tripod/dp/B00139W0XM/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1278364357&sr=1-9
I've never heard of them or seen them, but the price looks nice and folks have given it decent reviews. For less than $150 it seemed like a really good deal for locked down cameras that don't really need to do much head movement.

I'd be using them with Sony EX1s and Canon A1s.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #2
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The head looks identical to this one:
Davis & Sanford - Provista 7518 Tripod w/FM18 - PROVISTA7518B -
- and I have this tripod - very solid and heavy - definitely a good match for EX1. So if the one you found is similar quality I would say - buy it.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 01:27 AM   #3
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It's also pretty close to the Weifeng e-717 which is a Bogen copy.
Mine are absolutely brilliant and rock steady with a silky pan and tilt!! I love the idea of using 5 tubes for the legs and it makes them really stable.
I'll running my Panny HMC72's on mine and the weight (8lbs) is no problem. However if you are used to a light weight tripod, the overall weight is a lot heavier!!

Just remember with a bowl you have not elevation but IMO having a quick level system like a bowl is such a huge asset it's worth the reduction in height range.

That's even cheaper than mine too..I think I paid US$179.00 but well worth the price

Chris
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Old July 11th, 2010, 02:14 AM   #4
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I've actually been thinking about getting that tripod too. Please keep us posted if you do decide to get it, thanks!
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Old August 28th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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So I ended up giving the tripod a shot. Here's the review I wrote for Amazon. They took out the links I included in the review, but they're included in this version.

.:BACKGROUND:.

Hello, in order for you to find this review useful, I feel like I should give you some background info of myself. I'm a film student and I was looking for a tripod with these requirements [in order of importance]:

1) Inexpensive.
2) Fluid Head that allows me to do smooth panning/tilting with ease.
3) Sturdy enough to last me a few years and through rigorous shoots.

I'm lucky enough to have experienced with a lot of different types of equipment through my school, which enables me to compare the the Ravelli tripod to the other tripod brands I've used (mainly Manfrottos).

.:PACKAGING/SHIPPING:.

The tripod arrived promptly and was securely packaged. Everything had its wrapper so it didn't look used. However, I did notice a few very noticeable scratch marks on the tripod handle and on the tripod itself. I haven't contacted Amazon/CheetahMounts about it yet since it doesn't seem to affect the tripod's performance, but it does look as if it's a refurbished/used model.

Pics of scratches: Pic1, Pic2, Pic3, Pic4

.:ACCESSSORIES:.

The bag that it comes with feels a bit cheap, because the material is really thin, but it does get the job done. It has two different straps for you to carry either with your hands (like a briefcase) or on your shoulder (like a messenger bag).

Tripod with included bag.

The tripod also came with a mini tripod (!) which I wasn't expecting! It's basically for compact digicams, and it does have extendable legs which raises up to about 7 or so inches.

There's also a backup camera plate.

.:QUALITY:.

The tripod is really well built. From what I can see/feel, they used mainly metal and only rubber/plastic for the handles and the feet. The tripod feels really solid, but not too heavy or bulky. The camera mount also feels really sturdy. Overall, the construction is very good, but mine did come with some scratches and scrapes as noted above.

.:PERFORMANCE:.

Like what the other reviewers have said, the fluid head is pretty stiff (even when the pan/tilt is loosened all the way). During certain pan/tilt movements, if you don't hold the tripod down, you may end up lifting one of the legs off the ground. This usually happens when I try to tilt from the lowest point to the highest point or vice versa. If you use your spare hand to hold one of the legs down, it isn't a big problem. Now, the head itself is very smooth. As you pan/tilt, you won't feel any bumps/jerks or sudden increase/decrease in resistance, but it does take some effort to keep a constant speed when panning compared to pricier tripods. It's easier to keep a tilt at a constant speed than panning, but I'm not sure if that's the tripod or just me.

The legs are made of metal and should be sturdy enough if your camera stays within the weight limit Ravelli suggests. The locking mechanism is a big knob which makes locking/releasing your legs
quick and easy.

.:PERFORMANCE TEST:.

The video I'm linking is made with the Ravelli Tripod so you can get a sense of what you can do with it. I made the video after owning the camera for about a week, so you can probably get better results with more practice.

I used the rubber band technique for all of the movements which I recommend for anyone who has a cheap tripod. Basically, you wrap a rubber band on the tripod handle and use it to maneuver the tripod rather than the handle itself. The rubber band should help eliminate some of the jerkiness.


.:CONCLUSION:.

For its price, I would definitely say it's 5 stars. The fluid head is not perfect, but with some practice and the rubber band technique, you can still perform some amazingly smooth camera moves. It's also solid enough to last me a few years until I'm ready to upgrade, and even then, it's perfectly capable as a backup tripod.

Hope this helps!
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Old August 28th, 2010, 01:50 PM   #6
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Forgive me, but a Sony EX-1 was, what, $6000 when new, and you're going to perch it on top of $130 worth of head and legs?

So we buy an excellent camera with superb feature, nice picture quality and are considering a device to do it justice that is a few bits of cast metal, and rather soft metal, judging on the comments, that with some tweaking is capable of panning smoothly?

Even a Vinten/Bogen/Manfrotto combo head/legs is almost 3 times that price, and people moan about those being not good enough?

Any head where you cannot take your hands off with the camera tilted up or down is not a matched support system for the price of the camera.

It's like buying an expensive DSLR and putting a really cheap lens on the front.

A $100 tripod & head might be a match to a $600 handicam, but something ten times the price? Nope - can't go with this one.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #7
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Sorry i had missed this thread when it was posted, been away most of july and august.

I had this tripod as my second tripod and I was as quick as I could at stepping up and away from it!!! my first, a velbon 686 was definitely smoother even if it had trouble with more weight.

Kind of reminds me of the advice about buying my frist tennessee walking horse, Buy the trailer before you buy the horse!!

I now use the tripod to hang my steady cam on for balancing.

If you do not have the money to buy what is needed it is time to start saving as you are going to upgrade to a sac, vintin, miller or perhaps a gtizo 1380 sooner than you think!!
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Old August 31st, 2010, 12:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson
Forgive me, but a Sony EX-1 was, what, $6000 when new, and you're going to perch it on top of $130 worth of head and legs?
It makes sense that a good camera should be paired with a good support, but have you considered maybe he's low on money after purchasing the EX-1? Who cares if the tripod is a tenth the price of the camera, as long as it works right? The Ravelli tripod page states that it'll work with cameras up to 27 lbs and the EX1 is only about 6 lbs. It's not a perfect tripod, but I believe it can work fine with the EX1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen
If you do not have the money to buy what is needed it is time to start saving as you are going to upgrade to a sac, vintin, miller or perhaps a gtizo 1380 sooner than you think!!
I am an aspiring film student, and during the semester there's no way for me to make enough money to purchase anything high end. I spend my summer in between the school year to work as much as I can so I can buy whatever equipment I want. The problem is, I only have a certain amount of money saved up after each summer, and after that amount, I would have to wait another year to get money again. There's just no way for me to buy high end for everything (camera, tripod, lights, etc) so there's got to be a compromise somewhere.

IMHO, the "just save your money and buy something more expensive" answer is almost a non answer because if it was that easy, I would have done it. I'd rather spend the money on something not 100% perfect so I can start filming right away and deal with its minor short comings. This doesn't mean I buy crappy equipment, I just can't expect to buy everything with brand names. Personally, I've learned to be more creative and do more with less rather than relying solely on my equipment.

Of course, this wouldn't be a problem for people who are financially secure...but then if they are financially secure, why would they even ask about these low priced products anyways.

FWIW, I personally bought the tripod for my Sanyo HD1010 which I purchased for about $300, so my perspective on this maybe different.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 03:20 AM   #9
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To the OP it doesn't matter as he just wants locked off shots, but I smiled about the comment about after spending the money on a camera, he might not have enough for a decent support.

NOBODY has to do this. If you only have a small amount, then buy a second hand, better one - NOT a new rubbish one of any kind.

The other thing is that if I had a limited budget, then the budget should be spent in proportion. I cannot understand the reasoning behind placing your most expensive item (and no doubt one you haven't insured either - if budget is tight) on top of a pile of poo! I spent time teaching in college where kit gets used and abused - and the primary cause of camera accidents wasn't the students dropping them, it was where the soft metal attachment screw snapped, often when a poor head design allowed the camera to suddenly topple forwards, hitting the end stop and then this snaps the screw - or often the plastic wedge mount with poorly angled flanges. Legs that suddenly telescope. As for the actual performance? If you cannot do a smooth pan, let alone a diagonal move made impossible by pan/tilt friction that can't be matched - why are you bothering?

Even a 10% of the new cost of a camera, you don't get much in the way of support - but in this case, it's even less than that.

Would you balance $6000 of Ming vase on a flower stand you bought for $100, knowing it was a little er, weak - but the only choice because your total budget was $6100!
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Old August 31st, 2010, 06:17 AM   #10
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Hi Paul

I'm using a similar tripod on $4.5K cameras and they have been absolutely flawless for nearly 2 years now..not quite the same brand but remarkably similar. Mine are made by Weifeng in Taiwan and are tough and well engineered. I used to have a very well known brand name I swore by until the handle screw sheared off and that cost 3 x the price of the Weifeng which is a little over $200.00 ...These $134.00 ones are more than likely Chinese copies (hence the price) but I must admit that spending just $70 more I got a classy and dependable tripod!!

Normally what happens is the German's make a great tripod for $600.00, the Tiawanese copy it and sell it for $300 and then a sample gets to China who copy it and sell it for $150.00!!!

I went middle of the road and it paid off

Chris
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