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Old December 18th, 2010, 12:26 PM   #1
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Tripod and head choices

After getting my Canon XF300 camcorder my budget it a little low at the moment. I am looking for advice on what tripod and head to get. I NEED the tripod to be light as I will be travelling with it a lot.
For the legs at the moment I have my eye on the Manfrotto 055 carbon. This one manfrotto.co.uk/​product/​8374.58969.83534.0.0/​055CX3/​_/​055_carbon_fibre_3-section_tripod Is it any good? I have a Giottos carbon tripod for stills but the leg angle is much shallower and thus less stable. Otherwise I would just use what I have for now.

For the head I have been looking into the Manfrotto 501HDV and 701HDV. I don't know which to get given that the 501 is quite a bit more and I can't see a big difference in spec.

I should also mention I want the tripod to double up for both video and stills photography so I think a dedicated video tripod might not really be the best.

Thanks for any input.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 04:47 PM   #2
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Hi Andy,

I also have the Canon XF300 and I'm also looking into a new fluid head/tripod setup. My old Libec LS22, previously used with a Canon XL2, is slowly giving up the ghost (plus there's cracks showing). The Libec setup barely held up the XL2, good with very slow pans, horrible with any tilts.

I also own a 501HDV and sometimes put it on the Libec tripod. This combination is light, and fairly easy to lug around. But using it with the XF300 is a struggle (probably cause of the cam's weight?). I shot some wildlife, specifically birds at a wildlife refuge last November, and I was pulling my hair out following those birds. When they were steady, they looked great!

I'm currently looking into the 504HDV. It's more than the 501, but I think it'll make panning/tilting/moving the camera a bit easier.

Good luck!
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Old December 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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The 504 head and 535 carbon legs
Manfrotto Manfrotto 504HD Video Fluid Head w/ 535 3-Secti B&H
would be a good match for this cam. A little on the heavy side. But the XF300 weighs in fully loaded at 6.5 lbs and I don't think a lighter head/tripod would yeild the best results.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 11:18 PM   #4
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for that BandH link. I have been checking out Manfrotto's carbon fiber tripods, but not really sure if it'll handle rough terrain, and sometimes heavy wind (not gale force winds, but windy enough :)

I've worked with ENG-style tripods before that weigh a ton, but the camera weighs a ton also, so the wind barely blows on it. So how would the 535 carbon fiber tripod hold up?

I guess that's the dilemma, right? I want a portable, lighter tripod (that the wife can easily lug around) that can easily handle the XF300, that won't blow over in windy conditions.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 02:39 AM   #5
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Well I for one wouldn't put a camera as good as (and as expensive as) the XF300 on a low-end Manfrotto set of sticks and head.

Bare minimum is the 503HDV on the 525 legs, and that is bargain basement stuff. Anything less and I would be worried about the camera falling off, let alone getting a smooth pan or tilt. I had my Sony V1 on a LS22 head and I wouldn't ever let go of the pan handle, not even for a second in case it fell over.

All too often, people buy expensive pro-level cameras and think they can get away with cruddy, cheap tripods. (I know, I've been there...)

For a camera like this, Sachtler FSB-4 or FSB-6, Vinten Vision Blue, Manfrotto 504HD or Libec LS-38 (or the equivalent Miller) really are where you want to be. If you can't go there, save your pennies and go hand-held until then!

Last edited by Mike Beckett; December 20th, 2010 at 09:43 AM. Reason: All I want for Christmas are fingers that can type properly...
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