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Old December 1st, 2011, 11:44 AM   #1
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Tripod recommendations?

I need to buy a tripod for my Panasonic HMC 150 and was wondering what you guys would recommend. I need something that is a good value. Thanks everyone!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

Hi Leslie,

Some questions:

- What is your budget?
- What is your intended usage? (i.e. weddings, nature, long lens work)
- Do you need much room for expansion? (i.e. you want to add mattebox, rails, monitor, all sorts of extras)
- Does the weight matter?

Then we can ask more questions!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

I do videography as a hobby right now (it is not my career), although in the future I would like to explore the possibility of making it my career. That being said, I need to keep the cost down as much as possible, but I don't want to have to reinvest in another tripod as soon as I do make this career jump. The videography that I have done to this point is event videography primarily weddings. I don't see any expansions needed in the nearer future. Less weight would be nice, but it's not a must.

Thanks,
Leslie
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Old December 1st, 2011, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

Leslie,

I'm a hobbyist too, but your idea of keeping cost down may differ from mine! My tripod system is around $1000, and I'd hesititate to recommend it blindly without knowing what your expectations are.

The entry level for cameras like this is a Manfrotto 501HDV, with a Manfrotto 503HDV more preferable. There's a plethora of legs available for these tripod heads, so you have to do a bit of digging to find what looks best to you.

A very basic 503HDV kit is around $430 at B&H:
Manfrotto 055XB Tripod with 503HDV Professional Video Fluid B&H


A similar basic 501HDV is around $290:
Manfrotto 190XDB 3-Section Tripod (Black) with 501HDV Head B&H


But these are quite basic, single tube construction, and not the most sturdy in the world.

You may want to look at:
- spending more for a tripod with a bowl levelling set-up, so you can easily get the shot level without having to fiddle round with individual legs.
- getting a tripod with legs that have twin tube sections and a spreader for extra stability.

If this is a bit much for you, you can check out Libec (LS-22 is a good system) and E-Image tripods (Chinese cheap & cheerful range of tripods).

If these prices aren't right, then you'll have to tell us what you are willing to spend!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

Wow! I have looked at B&H and was suprised at how expensive tripods get. I guess I just assumed that getting a tripod was a simple thing. Honestly, I went into this expecting to spend more like $100 or less. Maybe that is just really unrealistic! I definitely can't afford to get anything over $1000. The $290 one would be a stretch. But I also don't want to invest in a piece of crap only to buy a more expensive one not far down the road. Know of anything more inexpensive?
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Old December 1st, 2011, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

Leslie,

They are expensive! I worked my way up over the years, starting off quite cheaply.

In the USA, the Davis & Sanford range of tripods have a lot of fans. Models like this one seem to be a good starting point:

Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod w/FM18 Head PROVISTA7518B


That's around $190 ($170 at the moment, on offer), and is certainly a step up from the Best Buy low-end tripods. It even includes the 75mm bowl leveller that is absent on the more expensive Manfrotto 501 or 503 models.

Maybe wait for some other advice on here too (or search for the Davis & Sanford tripods on DVinfo). And probably ignore the people who say you need to spend $5,000!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 04:29 PM   #7
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions here. Take a look for some of the many threads that ask the same thing.

But know this, there's nothing special about the HMC150 that you have to get a tripod special for that camera. Tripods for video that last, move smoothly and don't bounce and dip at the end of moves are complicated and expensive. Below is a link to B&H's tripods sorted in price order. Stay away from photo tripods with a center column. Video tripods have bowl and cup with multi-strut legs. The more stages, the smaller it will collapse. A mid level spreader is more useful than floor spreader. A sliding plate on the head will let you better balance you camera as you add or remove things like wide angle lenses, lights, shoulder mounts, HD batteries etc.

The one I bought when I was in your shoes was a Matthews TH-M20 for $189. It taught me how important a good tripod is and why they are expensive. I couldn't wait to upgrade but I still use it today.... kinda (see attached).

Pick some from the listing and search on those models here:
Tripod Systems
Attached Thumbnails
Tripod recommendations?-screen-shot-2011-12-01-5.25.05-pm.png  
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Old December 1st, 2011, 04:50 PM   #8
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

I started low and am working my way up. I got a http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UOHPQU/ref=wms_ohs_product but it was short (I'm 6'2") so I got a http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XMW414/ref=wms_ohs_product which seems good. I'm using them with a D7000, XA10 and an 8' slider from rigwheels. I also got http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YB862E/ref=wms_ohs_product for them which gives me a couple more inches and more portability in certain environments.

I'd recommend them as a starting point with the realization that if you get heavier equipmnt or want advanced features that $800+ is the next jump up.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Tripod recommendations?

Thanks to everyone for all the help. I am looking into all the recommendations that you all have given me. I will let you know if I have any more questions. Let me know if you have any more thoughts.

Leslie
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