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Old September 10th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #1
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Tripod skipping on pans?

I primarily use a Manfrotto 501HDV head Manfrotto with 190xProB legs. Although it does not happen with consistency, often when I am panning, the head will all of a sudden skip (or jump). It only does it once per pan, if it does it at all. I feel like the pan and tilt tension on it are good, and the tension control switch is on. My guess is that maybe the height adjustment knob on the legs is not tight enough sometimes. I will be trying this solution today, but wondered if anyone else had any ideas?
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Old September 10th, 2011, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Tripod skipping on pans?

Hi Michael,

Is this something physical that you can see/feel when using the tripod, or is it something you only see on the footage when you review it?

If it's only on the footage, then it may be the camera's image stabiliser "flighting" the smooth pan, and the stabiliser/steadyshot should be turned off.

If it's physical, then maybe check the screws underneath. My 501HDV, out of the box, had a random jump when panning, and it turned out that the screws that fix the head to the tripod were not tightened fully. There are three small bolt-style screws underneath the head, you may want to check these.
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Old September 10th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #3
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Re: Tripod skipping on pans?

Another thing to check is the tripod leg angles.

On some systems the mid level spreader is designed way too short at it's minimum extend (ie: straight out of the box) thus making the leg angles far too steep for the mass on them and the rotational force being used.

The result is that a leg will suddenly lift and jump to a new location (dependent on surface and leg tip construction), giving a most undignified thump to the video being shot.

If that is the case, simply extending the spreader, partially or fully, should make the world of difference.

Combined with lowering the pan drag, it should eliminate it entirely. More weight on the tripod never hurts, either.


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Last edited by Chris Soucy; September 10th, 2011 at 05:20 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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Re: Tripod skipping on pans?

I had the same problem, drove me nuts for a while, but then I found the problem, as follows:

Remove the head from the legs completely, turn it upside down - you will see three small screws in the ball; test them and you may find there is a bit of play in them. If so tighten them. Problem solved.

EDIT - just saw Mike Beckett posted the same info. I agree!
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: Tripod skipping on pans?

It is a physical problem (vs on the camera). I had the same issue yesterday. I see the three screws you are talking about. I'll tighten them up today and play around with it a little bit. Thanks!
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