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Old November 9th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #1
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Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Hi all,

I'm trying to find a cheap-ish fluid head tripod for a feature production.

I've budgeted to support something that cost around $250-350.

From what I understand, for a fluid head, that price range isn't likely, so my questions are these:

1) Do you know of any fluid heads that fit that price range?
2) Is there an alternative to fluid heads? Are fluid heads super new, and I could get an older tripod that wasn't a fluid head but still had decent "fluidity" and gets the job done?

Thanks very much for your help!
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Old November 9th, 2012, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Hi Jamie,

Fluid heads have been around for at least 60 years and one of the first manufactures was R.E.Miller in Sydney
.
However you give no indication of what type of work you will be doing or the size and weight of the camera(s) involved. I recently bought a small tripod and head combination that works surprisingly well for about half your maximum price and it was new. It has limitations that may or may not be of concern. I am considering submitting a post on its characteristics.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 12:41 AM   #3
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Hi Alastair,

Thanks for the speedy reply :)

Type of work: Simple feature film with three main locations (deck of a house, suburban streets, pool room). There won't be much panning or anything of that sort, more important to just have a steady shot, film, change setup.

I'll be working with one camera only, a Sony HVR-Z1P.
Dimensions: 163 x 194 x 365 mm (w/h/d)
Weight: 2.2kg

Let me know if you need more details...

You should definitely submit a post on you new tripod. Sounds like a winner! Which tripod is it, and what are it's "limitations"?
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Old November 10th, 2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

A second hand major brand tripod and head, even up to maybe 20 years old will usually out perform cheap new stuff. Miller, Vinten, Satchler and other brands can be gems! I have a newish Vinten and an older one from the 80s, and they are interchangeable - the older one is a bit heavier, but I never worry which one comes out of the van first!
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Old November 10th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Have you looked at the Fancier 270a or the larger 370. I think they will be right up your street for the price.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fancier-FC-370-Video-Camera-Tripod/dp/B004WJ5NE8
edit oops sold out. but there will be other sellers ebay
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Paul: That's what I assumed would be the case. Would you recommend any older tripod models in particular?

Donald: Funnily enough, they were the two that I looked at first. They were recommended by a video man on YouTube.
Aren't they made of plastic though? That makes me a little sceptical... What's the major advantage to the 370's larger size? More sturdy?

Thanks guys!
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Old November 11th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

I am the last one to give a review as this is the only tripod that I have owned. The reason I went for the 370 was in case i upgraded to heavier equipment. (slider, crane new camera) I believe the older legs are more stable. That's the ones with the knobs rather than the levers. But I am a total amateur with these things. The 270a according to some is the best for DSLR's with the older legs.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:14 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

What about for a DVCam like mine? Weighing in at 2.4kg. Would the 270a support that you think? The manufacturer's say they do, but I take that stuff with a grain of salt, you know.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

Hi Jamie,

The tripod that I mentioned earlier was the Wiefeng 717. They are still listed at $189au delivered. Try Googling <aus-auc 2010 Knoxfield> for further information. As far as I know they are the same as the Fancier. Details can be found on the very confusing Wiefeng website. The 717 tripod is surprisingly rigid but is rather short. The head has a non- adjustable counter balance system that is a bit too strong for my now unused PD150 that I think weighs about 1.7 kg. To achieve balance the centre of gravity could be raised, weights added or a not much heavier camera tried. To balance my very light (460 gram) Panasonic TM 900 I raised the c.o.g. and mounted a mic above the camera.

There are a couple of weak points on the tripod. In particular I am wary of the bowl that looks fragile. I donít like the pan handle. I prefer the thin tapered handle that I have fitted.

Only time will tell how durable they are but I am impressed by the low speed panning performance and very low level of wind-up.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 12:39 AM   #10
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

I've decided to go with the 270A. People seem to keep mentioning it, like Donald.

All the best with your durability of your tripod Alastair. Hope it does the job.

Thanks for all the info guys. Much appreciated :)
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Old November 14th, 2012, 04:19 AM   #11
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Re: Cheap-ish fluid head or older model tripod?

A Vinten 3 or 5 series would be idea (NOT the pro-5 that is the same as the Manfrotto). The only thing to remember is the heads are quite heavy - but I guess that's one of the positive attributes. Just make sure the drags work, and the locks work.
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