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Old September 14th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #1
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Tripod Comparison/Opinion

Hey everybody, so, I'm new to this forum, so let me know if this thread needs to be moved somewhere else! I'm looking to get a bigger and better tripod then the $20 ones I have now, and I'm looking at these:

Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head VT-4000 B&H Photo
Manfrotto MVH500A Fluid Drag Video Head with MVT502AM MVK500AM

I really don't want to break the bank, which is why I'm looking at the Magnus. I will be shooting with the Nikon D5100; and I'll either have on that the Zoom H2n or Rode NTG-2. I'm going to be getting the Igus 1040 slider as well (available on amazon). I just want to make sure the tripod will be able to handle the weight.

Another big thing is that I want to be able to purchase an additional quick release assembly/plate to put on a Glidecam and DIY shoulder rig I made.

Thanks for looking! (sorry if it's too long)
Alex Barni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #2
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Re: Tripod Comparison/Opinion

I haven't used either one of these tripods, but I'm more comfortable with Manfrotto as an established brand that will be around when you need new parts or service. That being said, don't skimp on tripods. They will likely outlast your next 3 cameras. I had two tripods in 12 years and only sold one because I wanted to get something lighter (carbon fiber).

If you plan on using a slider, make sure to add the total weight of the slider, head, and camera and leave yourself a fudge-factor. An 8 or 9lb capacity is pretty low, even if your camera only weighs 3 lbs. Accessories and lenses can easily triple the weight.

If you have access to a rental house, you might consider trying before buying. Best of luck.
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Old September 15th, 2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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Re: Tripod Comparison/Opinion

Alex Barni...welcome! Based upon the specifications of the two (2) candidate tripods, I'd recommend the Manfrotto simply because it's max capacity is 11# and one additional feature I like - 'Sideload camera mounting'. I don't know which lens you'll be using, so I don't know how much it weighs. The Nikon D5100 specifications show the camera body weighs 1.12# (.51Kg), the Zoom H2N weighs 4.6oz (130g), and the RODE NTG-2 weighs-in at 5oz (161g). I also don't know how much the Igus Slider weighs, but I'd imagine the length will determine how much it weighs. Add to this batteries, lights, rail system and Media Cards and anything else you might hang-off the camera and you'll know how much your rig weighs. It'll be more than you think. : ) Whatever your final configuration is will determine how close you are to the 'Max Capacity' of the tripod/fluid-head system.

The following is anecdotal and is JMHO, YMMV. It has been my experience, when the camera and accessories payload begin to reach ~ 50% to 60% of the Fluid Head's 'Max Capacity', it will lose overall Range of Motion. You'll find yourself dialing-in more and more counterbalance or resistance which impedes a 'smooth pan and tilt'. I'd err on the side of more 'payload capacity'. Unfortunately, this is a two (2) edged sword. If, the capacity of the Fluid Head starts at too high a range you won't be able to 'dial down' to accommodate lighter configurations. The other thing people don't consider when they buy a tripod system is the Center of Gravity (CoG) of the payload. Simply put, the higher the CoG of the payload, the more apparent weight the Fluid Head has to contend with. Most Fluid Head manufacturers have a chart indicating the Min/Max payload at a certain CoG. It's good to get familiar with these 'charts' and understand what they are telling you.

Determine what the worst-case scenario payload will be and work back from there.

I hope this helps.


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Old September 15th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Tripod Comparison/Opinion

Hi Alex. It also seems like there's a rebate going on so you might want to get it before it expires. I have the flat mount MVH500 and even though it's better than other Manfrotto heads, I still hate Manfrotto as a brand.

I'm saving up for a Satchler FSB8 right now.
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