Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need?? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 14th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

Ok,,

Initially when I started out with my system in June 2009, I chose a Manfrotto 351MVCF MAGFIBER TRIPOD w/516 HD for my JVC GY-HM700U which I currently use. 25% of what I do mostly is field work in industrial areas, and the cam is not loaded down with a bunch of extra on cam stuff. (Although I would like too, anything added makes it shake) It's not much heavier than stock with one Dionic. It works OK when in static shots, but pan, tilt, and stopping and taking my hands off it suffers...Is it me???

75% of the time I also like to do panning action shots and would need to be able to zoom, pan and stop and go hands off if needed.

So here goes, I've been looking at the various Vinten systems 3as, 5as, & 8as, etc...

I think its time to unload the Magfiber tripod and 516 for something else (much better). Although the legs on the Macfiber Tripod are nice, and feel sturdy, the problem I have is with control of the 516. I just can't get the thing to come to smooth stops without manhandling the thing. If I let my hands off when I stop it shows. Is this me or just the limitations of the 516 combo I have??.

With this cam will I need a 8as, or can I go down safely to a 3as or 5as if needed? Is my problem weight and control over a head that is lacking, or it is it the operator. I never seem to be able to get the 516 right. Temperature variations play havoc, and I end up either too tight or too loose.

I realize I'm going from a system that was $1.5K to a system in excess of $4.5K but as I've heard this is the investment.

I need to have someone demonstrate a 3as, 5as, or 8as or someone to convince me this is the way out of my dilemma.

I know I've asked multiple questions, but I'm not sure of anyway other...

Please help..

Steve,
Bethlehem, Pa.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #2
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Hi, Steve...................

First off, the 516 has one fixed spring counterbalance setting which gives you a better chance of winning the lottery than having your cam correctly counterbalanced.

With no drag set the camera will tend to either droop when tilted and let go, or start returning to horizontal.

Add in Manfrotto's notorious "slow, slow, quick, quick, slow" friction system and a set of sticks that quite possibly wind up like a rubber band AND display receiver warp and you have the camera support system from Hell.

Your problems with the current system are highly unlikely to be operator error, every problem you've mentioned is due to unsuitable/ poor quality camera support.

The first thing to get right when choosing a new head is counterbalance. Without that functioning correctly you're on a hiding to nothing and will be fighting the pan bar on every move.

To get that right you need to add the original all up camera weight to the weight of all pimping, then take a stab at an approximate centre of gravity ( a bit of a mission if the pimping is extensive and "up high").

If you go to the Vinten web site and check out the "What camera, which head" section, a search for JVC camera's turns up a GY - DV700W, is that the European designation for your HM700? If so, they recomend a Vision 10AS head.

Those recomendations are based on the camera weight and approximate COG. and can be thrown wildly if you pimp the camera.

I'd fire a mail to Peter.Harman@VitecGroup.com and ask him to set up a test drive at your nearest dealer, so you can get it spot on.

One thing I can say with certainty, once you've tried one of their systems appropriately rated for your rig, you'll never touch the Manfrotto again.


CS
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris,

I'll reach out to Vinten's contact.

On another note, the GY - DV700W is not the right cam. As a matter of fact it's lighter (5 lbs), taller, & and much larger then the GY-HM700U which is 8.5+ lbs (The GY-HM700E is the European Version of my Cam)

The Vinten site says that the GY-HM251 (Virtually the same cam) recommends the 5as.

Steve
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Old October 14th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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Hmmm....................

I've just fired a mail to Peter pointing out there is an issue with the head selector lists, I'm sure he'll get it sorted.

I'll be interested in how the test drive pans (sorry) out.


CS
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Old October 15th, 2010, 02:32 AM   #5
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What Camera, Which Head

Hi all

I will sort out the "E" and the "U" issues over the coming weeks. Ill also add the new cameras.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 04:49 PM   #6
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All I can say is wow...Vinten 5AS!!!

I just received a demo package from Vinten with the 5AS ENG 75mm 2-Stage tripod with floor spreaders. After about 5 minutes had it set up in the home with the cam on board. Wow... This thing is night and day to my Manfrotto sticks and 516 head. Didn't take much time to set up and assuming it doesn't act much differently once I get it out in the cold this is great.

The main objective was to find out how the JVC GY-HM700U with AB pack & Petroff Matte-Box would handle...

Perfect at this point. I wanted to know if the shake and shimmy problems I had would go away and they did. Very smooth, and no...NO hands-On/Hands-Off shake when fully zoomed out.

Panning is very nice, and combo movements are very smooth and predictable. The shake issue that annoyed me so much with the Manfrotto system appears to be resolved with this system.

Looking forward to testing it out side this week. Although temps are very low right now, I hear it's pretty good in extremes. Hope so.

Question: Once I'm ready to purchase, I will prefer the mid level spreader and Carbon Fiber sticks over the demo package floor spreader & aluminum sticks. What should I expect to change from floor spreader to mid spreader? Aluminum over the carbon...?

Thanks to Mara-Lynne Brenner & Peter Harman at Vinten for making the demo package available.

Steve Nordahl
Bethlehem, Pa.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Hi.............

Glad you like the 5AS, it's one heck of a machine.

The standard Vinten sticks are damn good too.

If you're gonna trade up to CF sticks and mid level spreader (wise move BTW) about the only decision left then is WHICH MLS to go for.

The standard MLS till recently has been the SpreadLoc, which is a piece of work in it's own right.

HOWEVER, beautifull as it is, there are a couple of drawbacks, if they are seen as drawbacks by you.

First it is eye wateringly expensive (tho' if you're coughing for CF sticks, maybe that is not an issue).

Secondly, it is sodding heavy, nearly 1 kilo (2.1 pounds from memory) all on its own.

The new Vision Blue system came out with a different MLS, a reworked unit from the ProTouch range.

Significantly cheaper and lighter, it doesn't have the push button arm extend/ no hands arm retract of the Spreadloc, instead using twist knobs.

Not nearly as flash as the SpreadLoc, but you're the one both paying for it and, more to the point, carrying that system around all day when every pound counts.

The new model's part no. is V4032 - 0001

Worth giving some thought to.


CS

PS:

Yeah, I knew you were going to ask, so I've just whipped the one off the test VB system here.

It's 500 grams dead, about 17 ounces, which is more than a pound lighter than the SpreadLock.

How's that for service?

When I'm feeling exceedingly sanguin I will attempt to fit it again, pretty tight tolerances on those puppies.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; January 24th, 2011 at 05:27 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old January 24th, 2011, 05:46 PM   #8
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Chris,

Thanks for the response. I will consider the alternatives.

I'm wondering what should I expect with the mid level vs the floor spreader. Will the whole rig be stiffer? I ask because right now with the aluminum sticks, weight is not to bad. The price dif is about +$300 US if I go with the Carbon over the aluminum. The kit I'm looking already has the more expensive posiloc as you mentioned and carbons. I expect to be paying about $3,575 US at B&H. Buy buying non-kit build-up with the inexpensive spreader I will only save about $210 US (w/carbons).

Also how are Vinten's in temps below 32 Degrees F ?

Thanks again,

Steve
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Old January 24th, 2011, 06:01 PM   #9
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Yeah.............

The MLS is always a better bet than the GLS unless you're indoors on a perfectly flat floor, and if I find myself in that situation I prefer to use a dolly anyway as it make relocation soooo much easier.

Stiffer? - Most probably.

The B&H prices for the two spreaders are:

V4032 - 0001 = $274.95

3781 - 3 = $672.00

That makes $400 big ones in my money, as the price of carrying around an extra pound for the next 10 years.

Your call.

I did see somewhere, maybe one of Peters posts, where Vinten reckon the systems are good down to a temperature I ain't ever going to venture out in.

Maybe he'll chip in or someone can find a reference somewhere.


CS
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Old February 24th, 2011, 08:09 PM   #10
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Re: Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

OK... The new tripod has arrived...

Thank you all who commented and gave suggestions and recommendations.
I decided to get the 8AS with mid level spreaders, and CF sticks since the budget would allow it..

All I can say is "High Tech"...

Thanks again all.

Steve
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #11
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Hey, Steve..............

Keep us posted with your findings on the new rig.

Feedback is always important here for others to take on board.

If you like, say so. Could do better, say.

The Good, the bad and the ugly, basically - tho' I can't really believe you're going to experience either of the latter.

Enjoy the new toy!


CS
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Old February 25th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

Many might ask what prompted me to pass up the very excellent 5AS, w/CF Sticks, & Mid level Spreader, and go up to the comparable 8AS CF/MLS system... $3,700 system up to a $4,700 system from B&H...

The bottom line is this, being a Civil Engineer by trade, I only trust specifications just so far. I have had instances where the specified abilities were overstated. I looked at the long term and the potential loading issues including balance problems using the charts as a guide.

I look at the bigger picture if you will. Expandability is the main reason. The current weight load falls well within the 5AS limits, but I did notice something when testing the 5AS with my system. The 5AS demo unit was very tough to balance for smooth stops even at the point I'm at in the build.... I needed to use the higher setting levels on the 5AS to achieve "Balance and Control". Many are not fully aware of how low profile, long, and lanky the JVC GY-HM700U is with accessories such as a large Matte-Box with two heavy 4x4 glass filters, not to mention another 6"+ out the back when you add the charger/AC unit and a HYTRON 140 which weighs 5.5 lbs, and beyond that, a Manfrotto Remote Control Pan handle. The end result is a cam coming in three feet (+) long from tip of french flag to the end of the remote control pan handle (Which can be telescoped).

Please understand, this is only what I have on board now. Add this in the future...

Zacuto Z-ZND-R Zound Rod Kit 15mm (About 1 lb.) Marshall 6.5 3G/HD/SDI Field Monitor. I also plan to do prime lenses in the future. I will be adding a Forward Focuser on the Zacuto Zephyr 700 bracket. 35 MM adapter. All this potential weight is going to be concentrated on the front end. I personally didn't think the 5AS would be the right choice for future expandability issues.

Again, as always I appreciate the help guiding me to the Vinten. I just happen to have the budget and the smarts to look long term. One Tripod... That's all I ever want to get... This was it...

Again, I appreciate all the help offered.

I only ask that potential future buyers consider the long term big picture. As a Civil Engineer I have a long standing rule...Always assume specifications are fudged by 10-15% on the plus side by the Mfg. and go from there. Maybe Vinten does not, but others do... Better to be safe in the long run. It's your money.

Steve Nordahl
Bethlehem, Pa.
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Last edited by Steve J. Nordahl; February 25th, 2011 at 02:35 PM.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 05:41 PM   #13
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Re: Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

Holy Crap, Steve................

I was just doing a stroll down memory lane here and found your photos.

What a magnificent looking rig.

Drool!

Wow.

Those sticks look awesome (cameras ok as well, mind).

Now THAT is a rig.

Enjoy.


CS
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Old February 21st, 2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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Re: Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

Hi all,,

Well it's been just about one year to the day since I purchased my Vinten 8AS with Carbon Fiber legs and locking mid-level spreader...

I have never been more satisfied with this quality piece of equipment. I have learned to take much smoother video ever since.. It has handled the heavy load quite well and the quality of my control really shows.

Back when I had my Manfrotto system, I had all kinds of problems with balance, precise stops and problematic control over my pans.. Well that all went away with the 8AS...

Thanks to all who helped me find my way...

Here is a sample of some of my hobby video.. (I like to railfan and practice with the system..) Check it out..

https://vimeo.com/37180107

Thanks again..

Steve J. Nordahl
Bethlehem, Pa.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 03:22 PM   #15
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Re: Time to Upgrade...Which Vinten system do I need??

Steve, you make me jealous in three ways - your camera, your tripod, and your trains! No such thing as real trains round this part of the world any more, they're all puny diesel multiple units now (though I do emerge to video the steamers and the big GMs when they appear).

Fantastic, I have had a quick look. I can see some time being wasted this weekend watching your videos, they look great.

I said this to someone else recently: the great thing about tripods like these is that you almost forget they are there. Getting great shots isn't an effort, you don't need to struggle to overcome shortcomings in your tripod.
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