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Old April 22nd, 2011, 03:57 AM   #16
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Of course, I missed the subject of "better than Manfrotto", and then I linked to a Manfrotto for sale! Doh!

Still, the 503HDV should be a step up.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 05:53 PM   #17
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

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.........and then I linked to a Manfrotto for sale! Doh!
Not really a lot else you could do. The thread started with Ben believeing that the issue was a head problem, but the balance of probability was that it is a system problem, owing to the likely sticks packaged with that head (sticks still unidentified, strangely).

With the tight budget then stretched to a complete system, the room for manouvre came down to pretty well zero.

Much as I dislike recommending incremental suport upgrades, because it's so wastefull of cash amongst other things, in this instance I couldn't do any better either.



Quote:
Still, the 503HDV should be a step up.
It should, though I'd really like to nail Bens current sticks before betting the farm on it. Still think it's a shame there wasn't enough in the kitty to go straight to the top of the class and bypass all the in between stuff, but cest la vie.


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Old April 22nd, 2011, 08:54 PM   #18
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

I rented a 504, it's in a completely different league than the 501/701/503 series. Seems pretty good, but I'm not as discriminating as Chris or some of the others. Thing about the 504, is that once you strap on the legs, aren't you into Vinten/Sachtler price category?
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 01:37 AM   #19
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Ah, well, sort of.................

If you check out the component prices of both the Manfrotto and Libec systems (504HD head/ 546B sticks; RH 25 head/ RT 30B sticks) you notice something interesting.

The 504 head is only about 20 - 30 bucks more than a 503HDV, which gives you a pretty good guide as to what it cost in design and tooling to produce, but those 546B sticks are pretty expensive by comparison (and they're damn good sticks too, shame about the spreader).

With Libec, it's the other way 'round. The sticks are comparatively cheap (they really did pare them down to the bone, and it shows) whilst the head cost them a bomb, hence it's very expensive.

So, you end up with a very similar package price for both systems, neither of which, as a whole, are that stellar (any system is only as good as it's weakest link, sort of thing) and their package price is somewhere South of the Vinten VB by about 3 - 4 hundred bucks.

Where Vinten totally blind sided both of them was in using the Vision 6 head, long in production and all R&D & tooling costs recouped, simply re - badged and liveried and a new spring. Mate it with a standard pro production set of Vinten sticks (and they make VERY good sticks) and practically give away the head (it doesn't owe them much) and you have a killer system at a price that 10 years ago would have been inconcievable.

Going for anything other than the Vinten in that weight/ COG class is sheer financial/ operational lunacy IMHO.

And just to totally enrage those swearing about the 504's supposedly wonderfull handling characteristics, why not take a free VB test drive, then come back and say the 504 is somehow in the same league.

I've had them both here side by side, and there is no way on the planet there is any similarity. The 504 is a total dog by comparison (sorry Manfrotto, missed again, great sticks, mind!).

I know this always comes across as biased, and in a way, it is. I expect any tool I buy to do what it was bought to do, when I want, how I want and not to make me change how I do things because of it's limitations (and anything failing in that task goes straight in the bin).

The Vintens do that, no drama, no exceptions, no baulking. Everything else is just "This is what I can do, take it or leave it". Well, I'll leave it, thanks, but no thanks.

[Ooh, was that a rant? Didn't feel like a rant. nah, just me being me I guess. Mention of Manfrotto 504's may have something to do with it, better get that review of same up, been particularly slack with it].

Just feel the need to impart information, can't help myself.


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Old April 25th, 2011, 08:23 PM   #20
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

The reality is most people don't do high end work. It makes sense to pair equipment that's in an appropriate proportion to the other equipment and the amount you are getting paid. I can only speak for myself but 504 is quality enough for the work I do and matches my budget. Btw, I use it with a Z1.

Why not get the best camera, microphone, wireless system, mixer, sticks, head, editing software, lights, monitor, computer... No one is saying that 504 is better or the same as Vinten but Vinten isn't 3-4x better because that's the price difference. I've used semi-pro heads like the 501 that claim to be fluid but are utter crap.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #21
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Pete, I agree. I've said time after time you get the best you can afford for the type of work you are doing and for some thats Manfrotto 501. I've used Cartoni heads and legs that are cost enough to be able to buy a nice car or use as a downpayment on a house and trust me they make the other stuff out there look pretty bad BUT for the LIVE TV work I was doing (using remote cameras as much as 1/4 mile from the placement on the track to track cars at 200MPH ) that's what was needed. For weddings, seminars, talking heads, even most TV commericals as sports like high school or JR college football, the 501/503/504/516 heads on the 3246 or 515/525 legs worked just fine for me.
You get what you need, what you can afford and if it doesn't do the job you want then you get something else.
Like I've said before, if you know the limitations of any piece of gear and can work within them, great. If you can't then you need to get something else.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #22
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

I think Manfrotto gets a bad wrap because they sell wide range of heads. Either through Manfrotto's misrepresentation of low end heads or beginners ignorance, they get a bad reputation. For example, I remember Manfrotto using fluid to describe the 501 head when its really friction.

Don, you make a good point about the type of work will dictate the type of head you're going to need. If you're shooting live action from over 50 ft away, nothing but a quality fluid head will do a proper job. For close up interviews a lower quality head will most likely fit the bill.

Back to the OP, if you have the money ($1,000-$1,800) and want to get a pro head you won't be disappointed and its not a terrible investment but imhop it's a little out of proportion to the camera you are using.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #23
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Ben, take a look at the Sachtler FSB-4. It's right sized for the Z1 and can be either a bowl or flat top so you uare future proofed with whatever legs you have now and in the future. The Vinten Blue isn't. Of course if you want to buy English, then Vinten and Libec are your brands. I have Sacthler FSB-4 and Cartoni Focus heads and love them.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #24
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

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Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Ben

Ben took a dive a couple of days ago, we're talking to ourselves now


Quote:
The Vinten Blue isn't

No camera support currently manufactured is "future proof" in any way, shape or form. It is only a question of time before mechanical supports will give way to electronic interfaces which allow the OIS systems to know what the "support" is trying to do, thus obviating the need for precision mechanical engineering.

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Of course if you want to buy English
Er, hello? Both Vinten and Sachtler are manufactured in Costa Rica and distributed from the UK, Libec is manufactured in both Japan and Taiwan. It wouldn't suprise me if the Cartoni isn't also manufactured in Costa Rica.

So, not to harp on, but what has been quietly glossed over here is that elephant in the studio corner called ...........HD!

Many supports that were, and are, perfectly suitable for shooting SD (I myself used a Manfrotto 503/ 520 rig for many years) just simply won't cut it for HD.

If you're shooting for SD with a HD camera, fine, it probably won't show.

Try shooting for HD with a SD only rated support. I can tell you from bitter (and expensive) experience, it simply cannot be done and it will negate all and any skill you may have with your rig.

Just about anyone asking support questions on this Forum has bought into HD at one level or another (not really much choice now) so why on earth would I point them deliberately to a rig that can't shoot HD for HD (IMHO)?

I can't and won't.

As for "the type of work dictating the quality of head" to seriously paraphrase some responses, they (the head and sticks) are either capable of shooting HD for HD, or they ain't (again, IMHO).

If you're shooting HD for HD, the camera dictates the standard of support, not the "type of work" because it's all HD for HD and any old rubbish simply won't cut it.

All, of course, IMHO, but then again, maybe I missed something in the last 20 odd years and am talking through my hat.

And with that, I think this thread may well have passed it's use by date.


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Old April 27th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #25
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Ben took a dive a couple of days ago, we're talking to ourselves now
CS
So what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
No camera support currently manufactured is "future proof" in any way, shape or form. CS
"In any way"? I have to disagree. He asked about heads. He has bowl sticks. The issue I was thinking of when I made the future proof point was in practical terms of bowl vs flat top mounting. This is from my experience using and purchasing tripods over the years...coming from where the OP seems to be. For example, sliders are typically flat top and there are some travel legs that are flat top. Future proof in the sense of future gear Dan may acquire that doesn't use a bowl. I know the Sachtler design supports both... some others do too and that issue may be important to the OP and others who read this thread. That practical aspect *may* be more important to some ways of thinking than the rating in your spreadsheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Er, hello? Both Vinten and Sachtler are manufactured in Costa Rica and distributed from the UK, Libec is manufactured in both Japan and Taiwan. It wouldn't suprise me if the Cartoni isn't also manufactured in Costa Rica.CS
Good to know. I speaking in terms of the brands as companies....I think of Libec and Vinten as UK companies, Sachtler Germany, Cartoni Italy......but as you say, manufacturing shifts depending on many things including the specific product. For people who like to support local economies when they can......

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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
... I think this thread may well have passed it's use by date.CS
Disagree. Others come along and do searches of DVinfo and will find this discussion and maybe benefit from it. This information persistence a fundamental value prop of the internet. Specifically, they'll now read about the flexibility of some heads to work in both bowl and flat top environments. Also, they'll recognize your name, your entertaining posts and the predictable recommendation of Vinten Blue occasionally followed by my opinion saying how nice Sachtler and Cartoni brands are based on my ownership and use.
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