O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 11th, 2013, 03:28 AM   #1
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O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hi,

My first post here. It's been a while I am reading the tripod section and I am quite amazed with the amount of knowledge shared in these boards. I learned quite a lot! Just fantastic!
I am in the process of choosing the right system and find it quite difficult to exactly know what I need regarding my camera set-up.
I mainly shoot wildlife and landscapes. So i often rig my Sony Fs700 with telephoto lenses, and this where problems starts. I either work with a Nikon 50 300 f.4.5 or a 500 f.4. It is a semi-rig without follow focus or field monitor, just rods, lens support and baseplate. It weights in between 6 and 8kg depending on lens.
At the moment, my tripod set-up is manfrotto 536 sticks with a Deree B200 head. It is quite a nice head for its price*($800) but I find it impossible to achieve perfect balance, and I always have to lock up the tilt once my framing is done. Pans are also quite jittery.*
I have read Sabayachi experience with O'oconnor 1030, and I considered this option (more or less seriously regarding the price!) I wanted to gather opinions and possibly other options.
I have looked at Vinten 8AS too which looks nice, and some Sachtler options. But, honestly, my knowledge is somewhat limited despite the researchs I made. I find myself a bit lost with the charts and philosophy of each brand. Any help would be greatly appreciated if possible.
Thanks in advance.
Alan
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Old May 11th, 2013, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hi, Alan.................

Them's some serious lenses to be parking on a humble tripod.

As you've already put the O'Connor 1030 into play, I shan't bother with the "what budget" question, you've obviously got a wallet that can take the strain.

Staying with the O'Connor for the moment, it is, without question, the best of the bunch, hence its eye watering price tag.

Where it excels is the infinitely variable counterbalance, which covers an absolutely massive range, unlike that of the Vintens.

I've never had the opportunity to play with one, but I'd say it's probably got the bearings to match it's CB range, meaning it should be as smooth as a babies butt, if not even smoother.

In short, if you can afford it, go for it.

Quite what sticks to park it on is a bit of a conundrum as I have no idea if there are compatibility issues with non - O'Connor sticks.

That said, it would probably be safer (unless someone with experience of the O'Connor system can shed some light) to go with a set of O'Connor sticks, the heavier the better.

On that note, I can tell you that any system that can keep those massive lenses under control is going to be sodding heavy, there's simply no way around it.

Stepping down the price scale a bit, both the Sachtler and Vinten offerings at that level are worth having a look at, though you'll need to stay with a 100 mm half bowl 2:2:2 set of sticks to keep the rigidity as high as possible.

However, you needn't go blind on this, and for the money you're talking about, doing so would be exceedingly unwise.

Rather than me attempting to give you all the ins and outs of the variables, the easiest way to check them out is to send a mail to:

Barbara.Jaumann@VitecGroup.com (Product Manager, Sachtler, Germany) &

Andrew.Butler@VitecGroup.com (Product Manager, Vinten, UK)

Advise them of the rig you're using, it's various weights and COG's (as close as possible) and ask them what they would recommend and get them to send you the selected system for a test drive.

It's free, no obligation and you can decide for yourself if one or the other suits your needs and shooting style.

It is entirely possible that O'Connor run a similar system, but if they do, I don't know about it, nor whom to contact.

BTW, welcome to DVinfo.


CS
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Old May 11th, 2013, 10:35 PM   #3
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hi Allen,
Welcome to the forum. May I direct your attention to this post in the classifieds.
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/private-...8-ii-head.html
I am currently using the same 50-300 Nikkor on an EX3 so my FOV is even narrower! My tripod is a Sachtler DV12 head on the biggest CF legs Gitzo make. I am very happy with the performance of this setup & am able to get smooth pans at full telephoto (That's 1620mm in 35mm terms) For the weight I think my set up is great, but wouldn't want anything lighter for stability reasons, & I wouldn't want anything heavier for hiking! I think with the Video 18 head, you would have no problems at all. Just need a good set of sticks then.:)
Good luck with your decision & final purchase.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old May 12th, 2013, 01:09 AM   #4
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Thanks very much for the help.
I saw the Sachtler video 18 offer, but I guess I don't want to try the used market with fluid heads for some reason. That being said, I am going to check in Sachtler and Vinten as Chris suggested. I am confident I can find something nice and not break my wallet with the O'connor.
As you said Bryce, weight is important too when hiking... I'd love to find a suitable head and sticks below 6kg. By the way, may i ask how much does your rig weights all included (cam+tripod)

PS : 50 300 nikkor + EX3 sounds killer option for reach ;) I struggle so much in super35 to get those nice close ups...
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:15 AM   #5
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hi Allan,
The OConnor 1030D/Ds along with the tripod will weigh 7.9 kg.

I have the previous OConnor 1030 HDs and Sachtler 100 ENG HD 2 CF tripod. Both weigh 7.9 Kgs. The primary reason for choosing the OConnor is because of the infinitely variable counterbalance. Initially I wanted to buy the Vinten due to the lower cost, as the cost of OConnor fluid head and tripod made my head spin. :) You can use the Vinten, however, if you want to just use a smaller lens say a wide angle and camera, then the vinten may not counterbalance.

I have a Gitzo still tripod GT 3530 LSV (75mm bowl). It shivers like a malaria patient when I place my camera and lens. There is no escaping the weight. Especially since now I am filming in hill tops and other windy places.

One point to be noted while taking these tripod and fluid head decisions is that these stuff will last at least a decade or more. I have spent a lot of money in buying various still tripods till I bought the Gitzo. So wasted lot of money and have now learnt the lesson. Buy the right thing which will also serve your purpose in future. Else, the upgrading cycle doesn't stop.

In the past I had written brief writeups and sharing it here:
OConnor 1030 HDs : OConnor 1030 HDs Fluid Head

and Sachtler CF -100 ENG HD 2 CF tripod: Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF Tripod

All the best for your decision.
Cheers,
Sabyasachi
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:27 AM   #6
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

When you looking for long lens stability the weight of the tripod becomes important. The mass of the tripod helps dampen and vibrations, a big heavy tripod will provide a degree of damping that a lightweight tripod will not. I've filmed all kinds of things over the years from car racing, to air shows and live events using lenses with focal lengths of anything up to 1.5m. No matter what gear you use, on long shots heavy weight is king. On a borderline tripod it would not be unusual to hang sand bags from the head to add extra damping. Modern carbon fiber legs are very stiff for their weight, but still no substitute for big fat alloy legs (or equally big and fat carbon legs).
The O'conner sticks are very nice. My tripod of choice for most long lens work is a 2065 on a 150mm bowl with ronford baker legs. The 1030 is a very nice head, but too expensive in my opinion. A Vinten 100 is cheaper and offers very similar performance. The Vinten 8 is a very capable tripod, but now your coming down in weight, your also coming down in stability, especially in the wind. At the lighter end also look at a Miller 15 head on some decent two stage carbon legs. The Miller 15 is very similar to the Sachtler 18 but considerably cheaper and a very nice head (I use one on a Solo tripod for travel shoots).
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:31 AM   #7
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

On ebay recently have been some really excellent Vinten heads of between 20 and 30 years old - vintage wise, and gone for quite low prices. I understand your worry about buying second hand, but old Vinten and Sachtler heads would be worth looking at. Their design was optimised for heavy and awkward head loads, horrible CoG conditions, and long life. People often have a moan about Vinten when they withdraw service for products that are ancient - but that's how long usable life really is in these products. I really feel that well designed products need very little from the actual fluid system, because it's designed to just resist, then allow movement - that's all. Cheaper fluid heads try to use the fluid system to hide the deficiencies of the counterweight/CoG system. Cheap heads that seem to have concentric grooves inside, full of what looks like grease are not in my view 'fluid heads' at all. A long lens on a camera on top of an older head working at the bottom of it's weight range doesn't stress the mechanism at all, and the results are great. I have an old and loved Vinten Dolphin jib - on a heavy duty tripod with castors. It has an Osprey head on it - I bought the head on ebay for 50! I can mount a 2/3" X2 zoom on a 1/3" camera and fingertip pressure produces smooth starts and stops, and when you stop pushing - it just stays there. The head weighs more than the camera AND the lens!

You cannot buy this performance new for much less than the price of a car!
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Old May 12th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #8
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Thanks alot for your wise insights. That is exactly what I needed to learn. To put things in perspective, I primarly film birds, and will continue to do so intensivly until at least mid next year. I speak about this because I find myself more successful at the moment in being fast (I move quickly from one spot to another, sometimes in very rugged and steep forests). Being mobile is therefore quite important, as I am not especially an Hercule... At the moment, my rig, everything included weights 12kg and I feel confortable (almost!).
I think my question has been answered, I surely need to compromise weight and mobility if I want top notch stabilitly. However, will you think that putting, let's say a 1030ds on manfrotto CF536 sticks (they weight 2kg and I kinda like them) may vastly improve my shooting? Or is this like giving foie gras to pigs (not sure about the expression in this case pardon my english.
I will look at every options. Sure the 1030ds looks nice but price makes me think twice... Nevertheless I agree with you Sabyasachi, this kind of decisions might prove to be wise in the long run.
Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge everybody.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 09:28 AM   #9
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hi Alan,
Firstly let me apologise, as I don't have the DV12 head but in fact it is the DV10SB. That being said, it is still a wonderful head. The Tripod by the way is a series 5, 3 section 100mm bowl carbon fibre tripod. Total weight of the tripod is 13 pounds. Camera weighs in at just a bit more. So for hiking, it is ideal.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old May 12th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #10
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Putting a 1030 head on CF536 sticks is a complete waste of a really good head. Single tube legs, whether they are cheaper Manfrotto or top quality Miller (like the excellent Solo) will always exhibit some twist and more lateral flex than twin tube legs. Put a big head on the top and what will happen is that when you add in the damping on the head to give yourself a smooth pan the heads resistance to the pan will make the top of the tripod twist. Stop moving and the tripod will spring back to relieve the twist, this can result in noticeable side to side wobble. In any wind you will experience side to side wobble. It is the tripod legs that give the stability, the head provides damping and balance. If your still set on legs like the CF536 then I would recommend you look at a Miller Solo system. The 2020 system is what I use for my storm chasing trips and other shoots where weight is an issue. It's a great system and moderately stable, but it's a single tube leg system so will never match a twin tube system with mid level spreader for stability.

Twin tube legs are far more resistant to twist and flex. Add a mid level spreader and the flex and twist is further reduced. That's why they are the industry standard in television and film production. Single tube legs are fine for photo applications where you don't pan the camera etc. Something like a Vinten 8AS on a set of carbon pozi-loc legs will be far more stable, cost a lot less and only be about 1.5kg heavier.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 07:56 PM   #11
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Hey, Alan..............

If you want to get yourself an early/ late Christmas present, you could do worse than this rig if the head will take the load:

Sachtler Video 18 P Vinten Fibertec Carbon Fiber Complete Tripod System 18P* | eBay

If the head won't do the job, see if you can find another set of FiberTecs (3498 - 3) out there somewhere, they're the closest Vinten got to a carry-able block of reinforced concrete.

With a SpreadLock spreader and carry strap they come in at 4.5 kg dead, which is pretty darn good for a block of concrete.

(Yep, I'll own up - I have a set, love 'em) Not a lot of them about as there never were a lot of them about.

I think my rig, new (sticks, spreader, boots, case) ran to a smidgen over $3,000 US.

Whatever, Google them for the learning experience.


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Old May 12th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #12
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Excellent!
Thanks for all the propositions, replies and precisions.
This is a little harder for me since I live a in a country where the best tripods you can find in town are entry level Manfrottos. So I have to be accurate with my guess regarding this expensive buy, as I won't be able to test anything before.
I have a good feeling with Vinten 8AS on proz loc sticks, I am going to email Vinten to see what they think.
Thanks again.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 03:30 AM   #13
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

+1 for the Fibertecs. I was a beta tester for these before launch and they are fantastic. I have two sets. They turned out too costly to produce because of the very advanced design and unique (almost indestructible) construction. It was also hard to convince people that legs as skinny as the fibertecs could be as stable as traditional legs twice the size. I use mine with a Vinten 100 head, but a sacthler 18 would be nice too.

Whilst the Fibertecs are very, very good, I still prefer bigger, heavier legs when I need stability for a long lens.

Don't be scared of used tripods. They are entirely mechanical devices that last for a very long time. A well looked after tripod should last 20 years. Even one not well looked after can normally be serviced and returned to as new performance. Normally it's just a case of stripping the head and replacing the grease/fluid and seals.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 05:11 AM   #14
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
On ebay recently have been some really excellent Vinten heads of between 20 and 30 years old - vintage wise, and gone for quite low prices.
I'm surprised how often in behind the scenes on recent high end BBC natural history series, you see they're still using old Ronford F4 heads. I think they went out of production at the end of the 1980s. Not complaining, since I own a F4.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:36 PM   #15
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Re: O'Connor, Vinten, Sachter for telephoto lenses?

Thanks guys, I got a better idea now of what may suits my needs the best. I'll take a serious look at the used market as well anyway. It seems I have a lot of homework to do! Fibertecs looks eventually perfect... And
Ronford F4 looks massive!
Cheers,

Alan
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