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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #121
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Thanks Chris. I shoot with a Canon 5DMKII. At it's lightest, body with a prime, about 2.5lbs and fully pimped with a long lens, monitor, mic, etc. maybe 8-10lbs. I plan to just purchase the head and put it on a set of Gitzo CF 3541XLS legs with 75mm bowl. I shoot mostly documentary type stuff and travel a lot so I'm looking to keep the setup as lightweight as possible. I'm moving up from a Gitzo 2380 head and budget isn't really an issue (between $500-$1,500). I think smoothness, weight, and size are my main considerations. Basically I want to purchase the best head possible for this weight range so it will last me for the next 10 years. Thanks for the feedback and effort on the review.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 11:57 PM   #122
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Thanks for the encouragement, Scott...........

This thing has taken on a life all of it's own and there are occasions I ask myself "Did I really volunteer for this?"

The answer of course is "Yes", and I know at some point I'll actually be able to find my desk under this mountain of paperwork (the stuff computers were supposed to make redundant, right?) and actually "get a life".

There are occasions however, when I open the study door, look at my desk, mutter a sotto voice "Oh geejushchrist" and back out again to go have a cigarette to steady my nerves.

However, to your problem.

I've tested all the systems I have with both my Canon XH A1 and XL1s video cameras, but as yet haven't done the business with my SLR's (why, I ask myself?) so that a low 2.5 lbs with such a low COG is a bit of an unknown.

(I now remember why my old Canon A1 SLR system is sitting in pride of place on my bedroom chair - it was for the testing I still haven't done yet, it's about the right weight/ COG for a modern HDSLR system in slim mode).

Rather than "shoot from the lip" on this one, give me a day, maybe two, to do that testing, just to see how the various systems actually perform with the lower weight/ COG SLR systems I can configure.

Keeping this interesting is the published figures for the weight ratings of the 4 systems and the COG's thereof;

Sachtler: 125 mm, 1 - 6 kg
Manfrotto: Not specified but probably 125 mm, 0 - 7.5 kg
Libec: 100 mm, 1.8 - 5kg
Vinten: 55 mm, 2.1 - 5.0 kg

In many respects these figures are about as much use as an ashtray on a bicycle, especially when trying to map them to low weight/ COG SLR's.

Adding to the confusion, the only true "continuously variable counterbalance" heads on show are the Libec and Vinten, the others being stepped, the Sachtler somewhat more gracefully than the Manfrotto, it must be said.

However, the stepped systems do have some "gotchas" attached which I'm still evaluating (read: why on earth do a stepped system when you can do continuous and save using tilt drag to do what the cb can't?).

Anyway, none of this is getting the chook cooked, so I better go do.

If you haven't heard from me in two days, raise a flag, my memory at the moment is about as usefull as the previously mentioned "ashtray on bicycle", so I might need some prodding.

Regards,


CS
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Old January 21st, 2011, 12:21 AM   #123
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Ha! Chris.

I had to take a bathroom break in the middle, but that was a great post. ; )
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Old January 21st, 2011, 02:16 AM   #124
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Ha, John.............

If it's any consolation, I probably went out for 4 smokes, fed the cats (no small feat in our house!), topped up my wine glass about 3 times, got my dinner ready to go (the missus is away,Yeah!) and also took a couple of pit stops as well.

I tell you, it's all go here in Metropolitan downtown Fairfield (pop. 320 and that may well be including the local cemetary, not sure, on a weekend, you'd swear this place IS the local cemetary!).

Glad you enjoyed. I do my best to please!


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Old January 21st, 2011, 07:44 AM   #125
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Hey Chris, thanks for all the work and testing. If I could just make your life a little more difficult, the best DSLR "type" camera in terms of video capability, for the moment, is the Panasonic GH2. They are nearly impossible to find right now. Out of stock everywhere. They're barely over 1 pound in weight, about half the weight of a Canon 7d. They're also dirt cheap yet produce fantastic video footage. So these cameras will eventually have enormous penetration in the market, once orders are fulfilled. Hopefully you'll factor in the ever decreasing mass of the hybrid cams in your testing.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 03:32 PM   #126
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Hmmm..................

I took at look at some of his stuff last night.

Enough said.


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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:28 PM   #127
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And so it came to pass................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
They're barely over 1 pound in weight

Quote:
They're also dirt cheap yet produce fantastic video footage

Quote:
So these cameras will eventually have enormous penetration in the market

Right on cue.

Maybe we'll start getting answers to questions that have been just waiting for this moment, like:

1. If this is your first and only HD video enabled camera (and dirt cheap to boot) how much, if anything, are you prepared to pay for a tripod/ head?

2. If this is not your first/ only HD enabled camera and you have a pro or semi pro support which can't deal with the low weight/ cog, what would it be worth to have a means of getting this or any other small form factor camera/ camcorder to work with your existing system?

I'm sure there are many more waiting in the wings

Now, some answers.

My stripped down Canon HV 20 - no battery, no tape, weighs in at about 1 lb 6 ounces.

Having tried it on all four of the test systems here, the scores are:

Libec - nill pointe

Manfrotto - zero CB, max 9 on the tilt drag, just squeaks un pointe.

Sachtler - nill pointe

Vinten - nill pointe

However, at 9 on the tilt drag Richter scale the Manfrotto would be such a cow to use I feel like docking that 1 point just because I can.

But realistically folks, just how many, as don't have one of these beasts already, are gonna go lash out anywhere from $700 odd to nearly $1600 or thereabouts to hold up a 1 lb odd camera?

Especially if the camera is "dirt cheap"?

I mean, come on, how many?

Brian, you're in the chair, what's your take on this?

Let's just assume I can pull a rabbit and get any of these dinky cams to work with any of these systems, is that really going to make a difference?

Bods as already have existing systems requiring this level of support may well be interested, but the dinky cam brigade?

Thought for the day.


CS
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Old January 21st, 2011, 07:40 PM   #128
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My take on the situation is probably out of the mainstream since I'm a person who has, in the past, paid thousands for EX3's, Beta Cams etc. So to my way of thinking, although I paid only $630 for the GH2's, and considering the great images they produce, I figure I'm way ahead of curve and shouldn't be afraid to spend more, a lot more even, on a tripod system than I paid for the camera. And the irony is, so far it looks like the more you spend on a tripod for a tiny HD Hybrid like a GH2, the less sense it makes, at least that's what the rep from Libec told me today. The Libec rep said the higher end models have great features, but the ultra lights simply cannot utilize them. Well, maybe by the time you load up on peripherals...
Here's some of the stuff I have:
GH2 Body 1 pound
Tascam DR100 10oz
Rail system .8 kilo
Oly Lens 15oz
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Old January 21st, 2011, 07:46 PM   #129
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How's this for service..........

And I'm gonna post these figures now so at least I don't have to find yet another piece of paper in this disaster area that used to be my desk.

OK, SLR tests, as far as I'm able with the kit to hand.

2.5 pounds dead:

Libec = forget it.

Manfrotto = CB 1, Tilt drag = 8

Sachtler = CB 1, Tilt drag = 2

Vinten = forget it


4.5 pound dead:

Libec = CB 0, Tilt drag = 2

Manfrotto = CB 1, Tilt Drag = 7 (Note: There IS a 0 on the Manfrotto CB)

Sachtler = CB 1, Tilt Drag 2 (Note: There IS NO 0 on the Sachtler CB)

Vinten = CB 0, Tilt drag = 0

Where there are figures, they are the CB and Tilt drag settings on the heads required to get perfect counterbalance with the SLR configuration I used.

I wouldn't bet the farm that another DSLR with identical weight but a different form factor/ COG will behave the same.

Thanks for the prod, Scott, I may well have sailed straight through to publication and blisfully ignored this test otherwise.


CS
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Old January 21st, 2011, 08:02 PM   #130
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Interesting.....

Thanks Chris! I felt a little guilty about driving you to do this test (and driving you to excessive drink and smoke) so I'm glad it will be useful in the final review. I was leaning towards the Vinten since it was supposedly re-engineered with DSLR size/weight systems in mind. Interesting results with it on the lite end. I'll have to keep considering and digging a bit before making a final decision.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 01:31 AM   #131
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Food for thought, yet again............

Scott:

Don't feel guilty, it really was a wake up call and you aren't driving me to excessive anything, I do that as a matter of course, goes with the territory.

Brian:

You've just hammerd home what I have been saying to "interested parties" shall we say, for quite some time.

Making any headway? Nope.

I'm going to enter into another round based on the feedback here on DVinfo and, of course, the reviews, but I fear the worst.

That's what theyv'e done for X years and it's worked, so they'll keep on doing it that way untill there isn't any market left.

I have plans for both short and long term with this problem.

The major hurdle is, untill they percieve that there IS a problem, why should they change?

I'm pissing into the wind at the moment, but I'll just keep on trying.

Anyway, back to the present:

Now you know and so does Scott, and anyone else who has bothered to follow this extravaganza of a thread.

I admire your stamina, this is one bloody humungous thread!

And:

I would like to thank all and every poster and hitter on this thread for your input and attention to date.

This thing is looking to break all records, on a subject so esoteric I thought it'd be lucky to get a couple of hundred hits, at best.

8,680 and climbing!

Must be hitting a nerve somewhere.

Keep it up, people, and chime in if there's anything you want to say on the subject.

And if you ain't a member, join!!!

Heck, it's FREE!

More bods to shred with my usual low cunning and high IQ - "oy, who in the back said cunning as a sh*t house rat and even lower IQ and taste?"

Laugh, guys, this can get just soooo OTT on occasions.

Have a good one.


CS
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 03:13 AM   #132
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Not that anyone shout doubt the Bard of Dunedin, but just to add my 2p worth.

My HMC41 is 2.1kg with handle, XLR adapter, big battery, mic and windshield. I'd say it is just about the minimum usable camera on the Vinten Vision Blue - and yes, the perfect balance is perfect with it, everything is fine.

Take off all the extras - no windshield, no mic, no XLR adapter, no big battery, no handle - and the camera is about 2lbs, 1kg. Not suited at all to the Vinten Vision Blue, the lightest counterbalance is too strong.

I mounted my Panasonic FZ100 stills camera (which takes a good video too) and it was sheer comedy - that camera is about 1lb in weight. Waaaay too light.

For ultra-light cameras, I think the closest "good" tripod I can think of is the Sachtler FSB-2, which may or may not still be available. It had counterbalance at 0, 1 and 2 kg (0, 2.2 and 4.4 lbs).

That's the problem. You're now stuck with a Manfrotto or other cheap piece of junk, which your camera can actually tilt with, but which has the fluid performance of a bag of grit.

Maybe mount your tiny-DSLR on a slider full-time and it might meet the minimum weight for the better tripods!
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:27 AM   #133
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Chris,

It sounds like we may not have a perfect ultralight camera-tripod solution in the mix.

I'm shooting the DSLR's for the image and ultra portability, not just the value. If the AF100 outshines the GH2 for computer screen or corporate type projects, I'll seriously consider it. If they're pretty equal to corporate clients, I'd go for the GH2 or keep the 7D and t2i I already have. I'd really like a tripod to optimize these light platforms. In the recent past the idea was to invest in a tripod because you'd use it for many years and go through several cameras before you wore it out. The trend towards extremely light gear is challenging traditional logic. There are some great cameras coming in at a few pounds and Vintens and Sachtlers purchased 10 years ago for 10 to 20 pound cameras don't play well at all with the new light gear. What excites me about the light gear is the ability to travel without a pack mule. It will be very appealing when a mfg creates a very high quality ultralight tripod to compliment the ultralight cameras.

I don't know what you guys are seeing, but the tendency towards a backpack with 2 or 3 DSLR's or small form video cams is starting to challenge the guys with pro cams and honking tripods. 2010 was the year where the high end consumer gear (Note I said "consumer" and not "pro-sumer" gear) proved it could satisfy many non-broadcast applications. The DOF look of the DSLR on the computer monitor or on the corporate white screen may appeal more than the higher resolution and technical purity of the larger cams with small sensors. YouTube has further dulled our sense to traditional quality. Welcome to the world of "Good Enough" and the teenager next door is your competition. Serious competition.

The industry needs to provide an excellent integrated system you can pack for under 5 lbs. That's Camera and tripod. I'll be packing two of them in a single backpack when it comes. : )

Last edited by Roger Shealy; January 22nd, 2011 at 10:01 AM.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 09:39 AM   #134
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Mike- Thanks for the real world info on the Blue. That's very helpful. An alternative I'm looking at is the Sacthler Cine-DSLR which appears to be a modified FSB-6 with a weight range of 1-11 lbs. You give up 2 lbs on the heavy end compared to the FSB-6 but you gain the low end which could handle a bare DSLR. That's one reason I'm curious to see Chris' take on the FSB-6 since most other performance characteristics should be the same.

Roger- Hopefully good storytelling skills will still count for something and you won't be competing with every teenager on your block, just with the one little sh!t who has the gear AND happens to know how to tell a compelling story! ;-)
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 10:01 AM   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Bellefeuille View Post

Roger- Hopefully good storytelling skills will still count for something and you won't be competing with every teenager on your block, just with the one little sh!t who has the gear AND happens to know how to tell a compelling story! ;-)
Shhhh Scott! Don't let them find out about story. That's our secret here!

Roger, that's exactly what I'm doing now, I have two GH2's in a backpack. I love the redundancy and compact form factor.

I'm going to give the Libec LS22DV a test. That's the one the Libec rep said is best suited to a GH2.
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