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Old February 5th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #1
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Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Hello everyone.

In my endless pursuit of a tripod/head combination I realize that this is much more complicated than just getting something to throw a still camera onto.

First, my DESIRED specs. Can't have my cake and eat it too, I suppose.

The head: something that will work with a wide range of lighter weight cameras. Everything from my Canon HV30 which weighs in at 1.2# to something like a Canon XF300 at 6.0# I'm looking seriously into the Sachtler FSB 4 Head, rated at 0# to 8.8#. I also understand from Chris Soucy that this is a "stepped" head, balance/settings are a little less precise than say the Vision Blue.

Sticks: From what I've read, two stage seems to be the best bet for stability, especially for the "heavier" light-weight cameras. Carbon fiber or aluminum does not seem to matter much, seems that in most cases you save a pound, but the Sachtler CF tripod has neat single action leg locks.

I have a Manfrotto Carbon One model 441 that I use for still work. Obviously not going to work with my range of video camera even if it had a "bowl" to mount a head. What I like about this tripod is that it allows you to push a button at the top of each leg so that you can get independent angles for each of the three legs.

This is handy if you are shooting in rough terrain: one leg on a rock, another in say, a hole in the ground, and the third in some other position. In addition, having the ability to adjust the legs outward allows for an even lower angle than the standard lowest height.

I am open to looking into a non "system", i.e. a head from one company and sticks from another if that makes any difference.

Barbara Jaumann at Vitec Group has been really helpful, and spent to much of her weekend answering my emails! Thanks Barbara.

I then started wondering if someone makes a 75mm bowl thingie that you could just clamp onto some other object like a C-stnd, poll, tree, stop sign, whatever.

I'm assuming that all 75mm bowls are the same and that and 75mm rated head will fit in a 75mm bowl.

So that would at least get me in to the FSB 4, a tripod, and some sort of clamp/bowl combo that could be used for much lower, or higher situations.

Any thoughts on my thoughts? Chris, I know you're out there......

Thanks.

Jonathan Levin
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Old February 5th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

HeHe, cue background "it's here!" theme fom Jaws!

Ok, here we go.

In your boots (which I'm not) I'd give some very serious consideration to this beast:

VariZoom VZ-ZG ZeroGravity Tripod Head VZ-ZG B&H Photo Video


This very neatly bypasses the entire CB problem from zero to 15lbs, though you'd need to be certain that the fiddling to re - COG every change of cam won't have you pulling your hair out (check out the videos on the Varizoom web site).

It fits flat top tripods/ sliders (I'm pretty sure - check!) and 75mm & 100mm bowls, so is pretty versatile as well and will probably work fine with your existing still sticks.

Your other designated head (FSB 4) is a good one too, but, yes it is stepped - try it before you buy friend, Barbara will make it happen.

Sticks, hmm, well, just a word of advice, whatever you do, get a set of sticks with a 2:2:1 configuration at a minimum - that's twin tube top section, ditto second section, single tube bottom section. 2:2:2 is even better but probably too heavy and expensive to boot.

Despite the siren songs, do avoid a 2:1:1 like the plague.

On the subject of 75mm and 100mm bowls, they are not all created equal. As a standard, it's a pretty moveable feast and there can be problems with a 75mm ball/ bowl being just slightly smaller/ larger than another manufacturers 75mm ball/ bowl, resulting in the head sitting too low or too high in the bowl.

Result? In the worst case the clamp knob won't fit on the bolt as it's too short OR the ball is so low in the bowl it severely restricts the adjustment range.

So, that being the case, if your chosen head is the FSB 4, go for Sachtler sticks. I don't think the Varizoom cares much, but do double check that out.

As for clamp on head mounts, this is one category of support that still utterly defies finding on B&H, must be a difference in the way Kiwis think.

So, instead, here's a Pom list: Camera Mounting Brackets and Clamps

Scroll down towards the bottom, some great stuff there.

This stuff IS on B&H, I simply can't find it, have a rummage yourself.

How's that for a starter?

BTW, Barbara is great, isn't she! You're probably why she isn't answering my mails this weekend, still, your need is greater.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 5th, 2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: +
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Old February 5th, 2012, 09:50 PM   #3
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

I have an FSB 4, Manfrotto 701HDV and a Cartoni Focus. A stepped head is not a disadvantage. I actually like the repeatability when switching rigs. IMHO, continuous is an overrated marketing ploy. Side mount plates on the Sachtlers and Cartoni heads on the other hand are not overated. Once you have one, you won't want a slide-in like the Vintens and Manfrottos. YMMV
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Old February 5th, 2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Les, too true, in some respects...............

The stepped systems may not be a disadvantage, if it suits, it doesn't suit everybody, hence my caution to try before buy.

Side/ drop load heads are indeed a dream, it's just unfortunate that, at this time, the entry level Vinten (which, strangely enough, I didn't even mention) has a slot load.

None of the Manfrottos do or will ever offer a side/ drop load, end of story, but I don't remember offering one of those up either.

As for CVCB being a marketing ploy, well, I'll just plain have to disagree, simple as that. I've got two of them, and they work a dream for me.

CS
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Old February 6th, 2012, 12:24 PM   #5
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Les, thanks for your input.

Chris: Thanks so much for your thoughts. I checked out the Zero Gravity head. Wow, what a set-up. Right now I'm leaning toward this set-up:

Sachtler 0375 FSB-4 Carbon Fiber Tripod System 0375 B&H Photo

I just don't think any one thing is going to cover all of my needs. For now I just need a good support system that I won't have to sell and buy something else in 3 years.

I think this falls into the 2.2.1 spec that you mentioned. I've also been reading that even though Carbon fiber doesn't really reduce the weight all that much, it is a better insulator of vibration, hands stay warmer in colder weather than with aluminum and that there was something mentioned about less torsion, better for pans, whatever.

I'm surprised that the Carbon Fiber model is not that much more than the aluminum model. Years ago when I bought my Manfrotto 441 CF still tripod, that little thing was about $500.00! Maybe prices have come down.

When would someone need to look at getting into a 100mm bowl as opposed to a 75mm bowl? I know the 150mm bowls are for some seriously heavy broadcast cameras, but I wonder with the set up I'm looking at, current and future (HV30, XF100 decked out, XF300 decked out, Red Scarlet or something like that, if I need to go to a 100mm bowl, or is 75mm still OK? I'm assuming that a 100mm bowl something or other is going to be substantially more expensive and heavier. I've also heard that yu can put a 75mm head into a 100mm bowl...

As for getting lower shots, I think I'm looking into something like a little 75mm? hi-hat and then do some metal/woodwork in my shop to make a DIY I did see this that was pretty cool-

Hague Hi Hat Table Dolly - YouTube
Man, are there a lot of decisions here!!!!! I'm becoming a rocket scientist!!!!

Thanks you so much for your replies. Let me know your thoughts on this post.

Jonathan Levin
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Old February 6th, 2012, 05:40 PM   #6
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Hi, again.........

If your back can handle the weight and your wallet the heartache, you can't go wrong with a 100mm bowl tripod, and definately a product that you can grow into.

As you say, you can always put a 75mm ball head on a 100mm bowl 'pod with a step down ring, even I haven't figured out a way to put a 100mm ball head on a 75mm bowl 'pod.

They are, as a by product of that extra weight, quite a bit more rigid, at the expense of the problems in my opening sentence.

Yeah, CF prices have dropped hugely in the last few years and no, it doesn't really save much on weight, but is a better vibration absorber.

Before you pull the pin on that FSB4, do get Barbara to send you a tester!

High hats are good. There was/ is a guy here on DVinfo who shot a lot of city scapes with ultra long lenses. Took an electric drill and masonry bit with him wherever he went, drilled into the superstructure of the building he was shooting from and bolted his high hat to the building.

Most rigid camera support you can get! He swore by it.

Table Dolly's?

I think I detect the start of a long, expensive, slippery slope here. Enjoy.


CS

Whoops, forgot to add this little snippet.

The Sachtler heads, at least in the FSB series, come with an exceptionally long "paddle" ended clamp knob. It is quite likely that that knob will be incompatible with a high hat unless it's VERY high.

You can, from memory, get a shorter knob from Sachtler, but it costs an arm and a leg considering it's just a knob.

One much cheaper way round this is to get a Libec knob to suit any of the RS series systems.

They're short and chunky, similar to the Vintens, but do, quite amazingly, fit the Sachtler clamp bolt.

Now, not a lot of people know that!

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 6th, 2012 at 05:57 PM. Reason: +
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Old February 6th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
When would someone need to look at getting into a 100mm bowl as opposed to a 75mm bowl?
I have one of each. The FSB-4 is 75mm and the Cartoni Focus is 100mm. I think you have to look at it in total. The combination of sticks and head will handle payload range based on it's design. The closer you are to the maximum on a 75mm, the more you will appreciate a 100mm system whose low end will handle your rig. Rigs have a tendency to "Frankenstein" and add weight to the sides, rear and or top. So a larger system just has the girth and ability to handle to torque (Think teleprompter, field monitor(s), large batteries ...). If you want to handle more weight, there's the FSB-6. Frankly, the HV30 is a feather for the tripods you are looking at. I find the FSB-4 a right sized system for my EX1R so you can plus/minus off of that if it helps.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 06:55 PM   #8
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Chris,

You should know how helpful your information is to me and probably a whole bunch of others. I'm actually on my way to visit your tripod shoot out once more.

Who'd a thunk that it's easier deciding on what kind of camera to get than a good cinema tripod.

Thanks so much.

Jonathan
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Old February 6th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Quote:
Who'd a thunk that it's easier deciding on what kind of camera to get than a good cinema tripod.

That is one big nail hit firmly on the head.

It is harder, by far, mostly because the information one requires in order to make an informed decision simply isn't out there, in the most part.

That, and the fact that a "decent" appropriately chosen support system will possibly outlive you, let alone most of your cameras, which makes it one heck of a long term decision, not to say expensive.

The sad part is we're not seeing Product Managers from Manfrotto, Gitzo, Libec or any of the other manufacturers popping up here on DVinfo to match the amazing jobs Barbara and Peter are doing for Sachtler and Vinten.

The "no shows" simply haven't realised the entire market has changed, the cameras have changed, people are smarter and want the information and support only dished out to the corporate sector by the top support names of a decade ago.

Sachtler and Vinten have "got it" (and are doing a pretty good job mopping the floor with the competition) what's wrong with the rest of them?

However, with all the combined talent (and incredible back catalogue of info stashed away in the files) available here on DVinfo ("no shows" notwithstanding), you can't go too far wrong.


CS
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Old February 7th, 2012, 10:03 AM   #10
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Re: Finding the right support combo and 75mm bowl attachment/clamp.

Chris.

Customer service goes a long way for me. Because of their involvement and response to me and this community, Sachtler and Vinten are the only two companies that I'd consider purchasing their products.

I have never been to a camera store where they will have an entire line up of a companies product on the floor so that one can make some sort of hands-on and educated decision. Maybe B&H just because of their sheer size. But no where in Chicago. Helix and Calumet used to be geared toward higher end stuff, but in recent years they have followed the amateur consumer money.

Adding to the confusion are the inconsistencies of information and specs that a Store provides that don't match up to the companies specs, per my conversation with Barbara.

Could you imagine someone from Panasonic or Canon or Sony saying "Here, test drive this HPX250 or XF100/300 for a while and let us know your thoughts." Now I know that they sometimes do this, but it is usually to someone with a big name, not an ordinary joe like me.

Hey Canon. Panasonic. Sony. And others. Go out of your way to connect to your potential customers, not just the registered ones.

Jonathan
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