Libec tripod for basic HD DSLR setup? at DVinfo.net

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Old November 9th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #1
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Libec tripod for basic HD DSLR setup?

Hi there, I'm a student newbie to video who's looking for a tripod setup. I've been shooting stills for about 3 years now, and I understand what it means to have decent support.

I've been looking around, reading forums and all that, and I've come to the conclusion that my first video tripod will be between a manfrotto or a libec.

I already have a Manfrotto 190CX3 tripod meant for stills, and that has worked well for still / non-moving video (since I only have a ballhead now).

I tried the 501HDV head in the store mounted to one of their 190CX3's and the entire tripod flexed and twisted when I panned, which I'm sure I wouldn't want.

Right now, Libec has a few products, and I'd like to ask a few questions, but first, my gear!

The lightest setup I'd put onto my tripod would be a 5D2 + 50mm thereabouts, which should be about 1.5kg. The heaviest setup would probably be a 5D2 + 70-200mm 2.8 + 1.4x tele converter + CF rods, CPM cage setup + follow focus etc, which should be about 3kg. The most tele setup I'd ever have would probably be 280mm in 35mm equiv. I do not have monitors, cine lenses, heavy matteboxes and all that for now.

Would the Libec TH-650DV be adequate enough for my needs? Or would I benefit more from the TH-950DV?

I know quite a few suggest the LS-22DV, but for the price, I can save up another month's allowance and get the LS-38(2A). And that's what I'd also like to ask about. Would it be downright bad to have that setup for my relatively lightweight gear, since the counterbalance rating would be a lot higher.

Would it make sense if I wanted to "test the waters" and buy the basic TH-650DV, then if need be, upgrade to the LS-38(2A) or something similar in the future, with the understanding that I am a student?

Any suggestions on what I should get would be greatly appreciated! (:
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Old November 9th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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Hi there,

I had both a TH-950DV and LS-37 (the previous version of the LS-38). Mounting the 950's head on the LS-37's legs gave me an LS-22.

The 650 head would be too lightweight for your needs and wouldn't do a good job.

I don't think I'd be happy with 3kg on the H22 head that comes with the LS-22 or 950DV. You'd be OK with a 1.5kg camera rig - just be sure that the pan and tilt are locked before you walk away from the tripod.

The legs are better on the LS-22 than on either the 950 or 650, which are very flimsy and I would recommend that you avoid them.

The LS-22 would do if you are short of cash, but you may have problems when you add rails, matte box etc.

The LS-38 would give you a much more stable platform, and could easily accommodate 3kg or more. However, you will find yourself "fighting" the counterbalance spring at times. On the plus side, a lot of people with rigs lighter than 3kg are happy with the LS38. If you can possibly try it out before you buy, you might be able to decide for yourself.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:35 PM   #3
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Hi Mike, thanks for the response.

The fighting of the counterbalance for my lightweight setups is exactly what I'm thinking about. I already have rails and all that, but I don't use it all the time since I don't have a follow focus unit yet (rods are for shoulder rig).

The LS-38M 2A is what I'm aiming for now, but without understanding or having the experience of a entry level fluid head, perhaps I might not be as appreciative of the better quality of the LS-38, thus my consideration of the cheap TH-650DV for the very lightweight stuff.

I know manfrotto heads have a 6kg payload + 3kg counterbalance (501HDV), and 8kg payload + 4kg counterbalance (503HDV). Any idea what's the counterbalance rating of the 650DV and LS22 / 950DV's head?
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:47 PM   #4
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I know of two professional video tripod / heads designed for very light weight video cameras. Vinten and Sachtler come to mind.

Vinten Vision Blue tripod and pan/tilt fluid head. Might balance down as far as you want.

Sachtler FSB-2 is also designed for the smallest of video cameras.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #5
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No point for me to get a great head alone because the set of sticks I have is only meant for stills use, and is 3/8" and not bowl mount.

If I stick with my stills tripod, I'd only be able to buy the Manfrotto 701HDV or 501HDV or 503HDV, which I don't intend to since many constantly bash the 501HDV's smoothness (or lack thereof).

I was thinking of a full tripod setup, with me either testing the waters by buying a TH-650DV and upgrading to an LS-38M later on, or just getting a TH-950DV and be done for awhile (: Total amateur hobbyist use by the way!
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Old November 9th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #6
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Hi, Zexun..................

How's about this setup as an interim?

You haven't mentioned a budget so I'm going a bit blind on this one, but humour me, ok?

Keep your existing 3/8" screw top sticks and cough for one of these:

Vinten VISION BLUE PAN/TILT HEAD V4092-0001 B&H Photo Video

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but I said humour me........then you stump for one of these:

Manfrotto 325N Video Head Adapter Bowl- for 75mm and 325N B&H

This allows you to put either a 75 mm or 100 mm ball head onto a 3/8" screw top tripod.

Voila, you get a Vinten, sticks ain't all that flash but save those pennies and you'll get there.

Hey, it was worth a try.


CS
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Old November 10th, 2010, 07:14 AM   #7
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Beware the legs on the Libec 650 and 950, they are flimsy and not up to the job of HD videomaking.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #8
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I am a dealer for Libec and highly support their product line.
I have to agree with Mike that the legs of the 650 and 950 are flimsy. The heads are ok at best for the weight you will putting on them. The systems as a whole are worth what you pay for them.
That being stated, you get what you pay for. For just a little more money, the LS22DV systems would be better for you.
I would not recommend the LS38 systems. Your weights are too light for the H38 head and I believe that you will not be happy fighting the head on your tilts.
If you can save up, I would HIGHLY recommend the RS250 system which is comparible to the Vinten Vision system. The Libec RS250 has a continuous counterbalance allowing you to dial in the setting you need dependant upon the weight you put on the head. The RH25 head also has 2-steps on both the pan and tilt drag settings. The sticks are 2-stage and very well made. For the price of the RS250M system, you actually get more than what you pay for!

Scott Cantrell
Tapeworks Texas Inc - DVinfo Sponser
tapeworksscott@sbcglobal.net
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Old November 11th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #9
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Agree with Scott - and the legs on the LS22 are sturdy and up to the job, if it's the best that you can afford.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 02:56 AM   #10
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Zexun, we have an office in Singapore and you are more than welcome to call them to try any of the kit we have there. Always best to try before you buy to save dissapointment. The person responsible is Mr Derrick Ng. You never know, there may be some obsolete kit there that could save you $$$.

You can contact him at the following:

6 New Industrial Road
#02-02 Hoe Huat Industrial Building
Singapore 536199

t: +65 629 757 76
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Old November 12th, 2010, 07:32 AM   #11
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As an aside Peter, I've spent a lot of time "perving" at the new Vinten Vision Blue, which is also aimed at VDSLRs. Even though my Panny HMC41 is probably a bit too light for it, the other aspects of performance are irresistible (proper LF drag, whip pan, lovely legs etc.).

Any idea when it will be generally available in the UK? It's not appearing at any of the usual suspects yet (such as CVP, ProAV). I feel a new toy coming on in the new year when I get my next bonus!
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Old November 14th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #12
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Thanks for the very detailed replies guys. I'll stay away from the 650DV and 950DV I guess. Bummed that those won't work for me though. I'll probably save up for the LS-22 or something, but I'm not really sure:

I was quoted by another local seller these prices: LS22 - SGD 578, LS-38 - SGD 770. Now people tell me that the LS-38 is so much better than the LS-22, and it's "just" S$200 more expensive (about a month of saving for me).

Is there anything from other manufacturers that is priced around the LS-22 and is still decent?

@ Peter: Thanks. It's just a 10 minute drive from my place. I'll head there soon (:
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Old December 21st, 2010, 09:00 PM   #13
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If you have the money go for the LS-38. I purchased 2 back in 2008 from Scott at Tapeworks Texas and have been very pleased ever since. Also the support from Libec after the purchase was great.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:25 AM   #14
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I've used the TH-950DV with my 550D and it works quite well. The tripod can may good pans and although the legs are light it is usable and almost seems the right size for that camera.

That said the extra weight of the 5D might make it not quiet as good.

I also own a LS-38 and I love this tripod! Brilliant for the price and I use it with my Sony Z5 and 550D. Only issue, it is heavy to carry and does feel too big for a basic DSLR set up. That said it is very stable and great for panning even when using a longer focal length.

I think your idea of testing with a TH-650DV or 950DV is a good idea as it gives you an ok tripod for a good price. Also the chances are when you want to upgrade to something better, LS-38 or even Vinten etc, then you will probably have another camera, DSLR or maybe 35mm camcorder and you will be able to still use the TH-650DV tripod for your second camera/back up.
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