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Old April 29th, 2012, 11:43 AM   #1
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Newb Question

Ok, so, Iíve figured out that my chepo tripod is never going to pan no matter what tricks are attempted with it. My question is this Ė and please be kind; I obviously donít know much about this stuff.

When looking at tripods and heads Ė Iím wondering something; on my chepo the ball head and the legs are infinitely adjustable for the most part to compensate for uneven ground. The higher quality tripods seem to have locked positions and arenít infinitely adjustable like that and I canít tell if the heads that Iím looking at have any adjustment to compensate. Am I just not seeing how this happens?

Iím looking at these heads:
Manfrotto 701HDV
Manfrotto 700RC2 Mini Video Fluid Head

And possibly these legs:
Manfrotto 190XPROB

Are these legs strictly for photography and the ball heads, etc.?
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Old April 29th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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Re: Newb Question

Ok, this video shows what Iím referencing to some degree Ė this very high end setup allows you to have infinite adjustment of the head. Otherwise I am assuming that just sticking a leg out a little bit here and there is going to leave you a little uneven?

ADMC instructional video tripod basics - YouTube
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Old April 29th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #3
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Re: Newb Question

You can educate yourself as to what features are desirable in a video tripod by reading the reviews Chris Soucy has posted to the ARTICLES section. Click on the link at the top of the page to find them. The most recent is:

Feature Articles
Review: Vinten Vision blue5 Video Support System
Written by Chris Soucy on April 15, 2012 | Filed Under Features

Scroll to the bottom and click the OLDER ENTRIES link to find more.

By reading the reviews you will be able to test each tripod you consider to determine if it will meet your needs. I followed the series and selected the Vinten Blue based on Chris' review.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 02:07 AM   #4
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Re: Newb Question

Hi, Jason............

We seem to have two parallel threads going on this.

Rather than clutter things any more, I'll just point you to this thread, which, much to my astonishment, has been disinterred from the grave after 2 years!

Check this out: Inside a Bogen 501

Anything you want to know, just ask.


CS
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Old April 30th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #5
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Re: Newb Question

Awesome! Iím glad that I was really seeing an issue and not just asking a dumb question. I have barely used the cheapo Manftrotto that I have now, but I already saw how that little bit of play in the ball head (even in Ďvideo modeí) really helped to level a few shots that I was playing around with.

Thanks for the response!
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Old April 30th, 2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Re: Newb Question

Jason...you have come to the right place. There are 'expert users' and OEM technical experts on this site with decades of experience in the DV world. You're in good hands.

I come from a 'stills photog' background, I thought I knew all there is to know about tripods. Boy was I wrong! Video tripods are a very different critter. Heh, heh!

The only warning I have, is get ready to back your ears down and get a hold of your wallet! Good fluid heads and sticks are expensive. One other thing, do not compromise when buying a tripod system, if it annoys you when you first buy it, chances are after using it on a few shoots, the 'annoyance' will turn into a real PITA.

Enjoy the journey.

Best regards,

J.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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Re: Newb Question

Hi guys.............

Jason, if you've read my last post in the thread I indicated, I think I'll transfer the discussion here, as the thread title "Inside a Bogen 501" or whatever, isn't really what is being discussed.

I've also asked the mods if they'll re - name this thread to something a bit more appropriate, and transfer the relevant posts from the other thread to here.

So, what I need to know from both yourself and Victor is:

1. What are you shooting with, how much does it weigh and is it headed for HD or SD o/p.

2. What type of stuff you shoot and any special needs required to do it

3. If you want to up your game in the support field, how much by and how deep are your pockets.

I assume that in both your cases the answer to the implied question in 3 (a) is yes, else you wouldn't be asking questions.

Fire away guys, I'm all ears


CS
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Old April 30th, 2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: Newb Question

I appreciate you all taking the time to respond; it really has helped me to figure this out a little better than I might otherwise have. I do see that many of you here are professionals and I hate to trash up the neighborhood with my newb questions, but this forum certainly seems to be the premiere source on the internet from what I have found after a pretty good bit of searching.

That much said; I am taking an interest in bettering my setup and possibly picking up on the skills that I see others incorporate into their videos, etc. At least as much as my meager budget will allow for in pursuit of this Ďhobby.í

Chris, I almost hate to answer your questions as if I have a setup to brag about. I only last year picked up a Canon HF S20 refurb (which was in surprisingly perfect condition Ė not a clue it was a refurb). So, the camera is only a little over a pound. I may pick up an external mic at some point, but right now it doesnít even have an external mic.

Iím not focused on one particular subject really. I am tinkering with a documentary that includes attendance of a number of town hall meetings and various civic minded events Ė generally static shots that my current cheapo works well for. The new camera and computer build are geared toward HD on Blu-ray. Iím sure I will encode to a number of formats for online distribution via Vimeo, streaming on Youtube, and DVDís.

What really compelled me to look into a new tripod setup was attendance of an Olympic trials event for kayaking and canoeing hosted locally a few weeks ago. I didnít even attempt to pan with the cheapo Manfrotto Compact Series tripod that I bought last fall. Itís pointless and a little embarrassing to fumble with. Not to knock it too hard though Ė it just isnít suited for panning.

Sorry, Iíll quit rambling; Iím now looking at these options:

Manfrotto 755XB MDeVe Aluminum Video Tripod Legs - 755XB B&H

Iíd like to get this head possibly, but there is a combo deal on the entry level Manfrotto on Amazon that makes me think about it:

Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head 701HDV B&H Photo
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Old April 30th, 2012, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: Newb Question

Thanks for the reply Jason, now I've got something to work on.

A 1lb camera is certainly a challenge and at the budget level you're looking at, I think you can kiss correct counterbalance goodbye - though, in fairness, a 1lb camera isn't exactly going to challenge a tilt drag system all that much, if it works properly.

Interesting stuff you're looking at. I think maybe Manfrotto have started to learn that "the same old, same old" will continue to get a right kicking (from me) unless they up their collective act.

Having said that, I can't and won't recommend anything I haven't personally given the CS "kiss of death tests" to, and as I have an infinitly better chance of winning the lottery than finding a set of what you're looking at on my doorstep any time soon, looks like you're going to have to do the testing.

My gut feel for what you're looking at? I have to be really carefull here, as I'll be comparing apples to pinapples, perhaps unfairly.

Don't expect the panning to be stellar, better than what you have most probably, but not stellar.

Single tube sticks are always a bit of a horror for me, the only ones I've ever death tested were the Manfrotto 528XB's, and you sure as heck don't want to be using them for run'n'gun, tough as old boots though they are.

Given you're budgetry constraints, I'd say why not give 'em a try and see how it works out, I'm sure if anyone is in a better position to offer alternative advice they'll pipe up.

You figured out that attempting "Pro" video is a bloody expensive business yet?


CS
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Old May 1st, 2012, 08:47 AM   #10
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Re: Newb Question

Thanks! Yeah, I am pretty shocked at how much money people can get tied up in this. I have been really enthused to see the DSLR Ďrevolutioní of sorts in putting the tech in the hands of individuals to have the capability to make a film suitable for the big screen, but I personally am not in a position to invest even that kind of money into a DSLR setup. Nonetheless, it is exciting to see the trickledown of the technology into more affordable options.

For me; dropping over $350 on a tripod and head is pretty hard to stomach and quite honestly Ė I have other things that are a priority to me at this point. I know that sounds pretty nominal in light of what most of you all spend on your equipment.

Iím thrilled to finally get my hands on a GoPro Hero 2 very recently if that puts any perspective on things. Iíve been watching those for over six months before pulling the trigger.

Anyway, it gives me something to do to research what it is that I need to be looking for in a more workable tripod and head setup. Iím glad that I at least realized that a still photography tripod would have been a mistake and I was tempted to consider purchasing one.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:20 AM   #11
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Re: Newb Question

Jason, if you go back to some of my posts you will see that I had the same dilemma that you have. You know you have the wrong set of sticks and head but you have only so much money you are willing to devote to a new "proper" set. Well, long story short, I purchased a set that cost me more than I was willing to budget but in the end I am very glad I did as I will only purchase one set rather than upgrading later. I shoot our kids sports and now I can keep up with any basketball going down the court or a long pass being caught and run down the field with ease. The difference in what I had and what I have is immense and I cannot tell you how much better my video is. I also shoot with a 1lb camera but there are things you have to do in order to make it work on a higher end head due to the lack of weight.

Chris S got me to look at something I would have never looked at or purchased being so new at this but overall it is one of the best things I have spent money on. If you plan on doing this a few years then look at what you might want for that time rather than what you can live with today. The long run approach is what worked best for me as I have 3 more years of kids in high school.

RD
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Old May 1st, 2012, 12:17 PM   #12
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Re: Newb Question

Jason, I would suggest you stretch your tripod budget as far as you can go and look for a better used tripod than buy a lower quality new one. If you can find a good deal you will be able to loose nothing when you are ready to upgrade or in some cases you may get really lucky and make a little on the resale. I marched through 4 tripods on my way to my current setup. My path went Libec, Cartoni, Miller, and finally to the Sachtler that I have now. I made money on the Cartoni and Miller when I sold them and found a great deal on a used Sachtler so it made it affordable. I know it seems crazy to spend so much on a tripod system but remember that it is and integral part of your entire camera setup. As already pointed out, you will most likely change cameras several times while sticking with the same tripod.

A few good matches for your camera that might be worth looking for are the Libec LS-22DV. It's a decent tripod and head. It's a fixed counter balance so you may need to add weight here and there to get a good balance. The Sachtler ACE is a bit above your price range but it would be a great match for your camera and allow you room to grow if you upgrade your camera or eventually get into a DSLR setup. I'm not sure if you could find a used ACE or how much they would be discounted but you never know, you might get lucky.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 01:00 PM   #13
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Re: Newb Question

Jason...I agree with Garrett. If you can't purchase 'new' go for a 'used' really good tripod. The problem here is used tripods, if they're a 'good' OEM, will be almost as expensive as 'new'. As I've said, I come from a landscape 'stills' photography background, a stable tripod was the difference between selling an image or not.

The DVI 'Classified' ads are where I'd start my search for a used Fluid-Head system.

Best regards,

J.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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Re: Newb Question

Hi it's me again... Anyway, I have the manfrotto 055xprob
Manfrotto 055XPROB Aluminum Tripod Legs (Black) 055XPROB B&H

It doesn't have the ball leveler and it's annoying the heck out of me. But buying a leveler cost freaking $100.
Manfrotto 438 Compact Leveling Head - Ball Camera Leveler 438

So should I sell it and buy the one Jason is buying or get the head leveler?
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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:09 PM   #15
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Re: Newb Question

Hi, Victor................

The problem with the rig you have is that it is designed for flat bottomed heads. So far so good, but.......

Apart from the cheaper Manfrotto's and a few (?, is it that many?) Sachtlers which have flat or can be changed for flat bottom use, you're pretty well stuck for an upgrade path without having a ball leveler tripod.

Spending $100 on the indicated leveler is all very well, but still no closer to getting the "real deal" of a ball leveler set of sticks.

In addition, whilst you can convert any flat bottomed head that uses the standard 3/8" stud mounting, to a half ball head with a Manfrotto 500 or 520Ball adapter, it's only possible to convert Manfrotto half ball heads to flat bottom use with the aid of another adapter, the name of which escapes me.

The reason for that is the adapter only accepts Manfrotto pattern clamp bolts.

My advice, for what it's worth, is:

1. Sell the sticks you have, throw in the other $100 you would have had to spend on the levele, maybe a few more pennies and bite the bullet on a proper half bowl tripod.

The only real problem with that advice is that with that budget your grubbing along the bottom of the support pond and whatever you get for that sum won't be very good.

2. My stock answer in these situations is to advise you sell your mom, dad & both sets of grandparents into slavery, hock the house and go for a Vinten Vision blue or the equivalent Sachtler.

Interestingly, option 2. mostly doesn't go down too well.

I think at this stage, as you probably won't go with option 2, is factor in what you might get for your current rig and figure out just how much extra you can throw at this, and we'll let the lads figure out what you can get for it.

For some reason I just started wondering what you'd get a second hand set of Manfotto 350's or even 525's for. Neither of them is stellar but they'd probably do in a pinch.

If you could scrape up $440 you could get a brand new set of Manfrotto 486B's, actually exceedingly good sticks, the only problem being their mid level spreader will drive you to drink in very short order.

Judging by the number of 486B/ 504HD systems hitting the s/h market, they seems to be causing quite an epidemic of sozzled videog's.

I still favour option 2.


CS
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