Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC at DVinfo.net

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Old October 17th, 2013, 07:41 AM   #1
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Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Hi all.

Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for very small, light tripods that I can use with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera?

I have a Vinten Vision Blue as my main tripod, bought on recommendations from here actually, and it's fantastic but way too big, bulky and heavy for travel.

I'm hoping to get something relatively cheap and with a sufficiently 'fluid' head to support about 1.4kg of BMPCC, lens, cage and mic.

My backup option is still to stick a head, probably a Manfrotto 500 or 502, on my Manfrotto photo sticks.

Every bowl head I've looked at is too big and heavy, so looks like I'll have to compromise somewhere. I'm just rather spoilt with the Vinten I think!

Thanks!
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Old October 17th, 2013, 08:36 AM   #2
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Have a look at the Carbon versions of the Manfrotto MDeve range. They have a 50 mm bowl action built in which makes levelling easy, whilst remaining light weight.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 02:31 AM   #3
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Him

Take a look at the Sachtler Ace tripod, this is very compact and lightweight.

Best regards

Barbara
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Old October 18th, 2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

I agree, the Sachtler ACE tripod seems perfect for it whilst allowing some freedom to rig it up.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Thanks for the suggestions. The only problem with the Sachtler ACE is it's too long when packed down, so won't fit in any normal suitcases, and also isn't ideal to carry around. That's according to the website anyway, and I have no opportunity to see one up close near me.

I went shopping yesterday and I think I've fallen in love with the Gitzo sticks. Having a look through their website, I could go with a Gitzo Traveller series which packs down into about 35cms and ways 1kg, get a bolt on fluid head like the Gitzos or Manfrottos, and carry a small slider with me.

Bit more expensive but a lightweight and portable solution I think, and I can always add a balancing plate in the middle so I don't have to balance with the legs, such as the Manfrotto 438.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 03:00 AM   #6
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Just returned from a trip to Brazil where my Sachtler Ace (on loan from Vitec via Barbara Jaumann.) fitted my suitcase easily, laid diagonally. Minus the head of course which packed separately.I think the published folded length of the "Ace" includes the head.

Ron
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Old October 30th, 2013, 10:42 PM   #7
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

benro makes an nice. footed mono pod, that has a video head on it, S4 or S6 system, head can also be removed and put onto a short slider if you have one , packs small.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 06:52 AM   #8
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

I still haven't purchased a setup for the BMPCC, but I am closer to sorting out what I do and don't want.

Basically, a Sachtler Ace style video tripod won't work. I want a setup that's portable not just for flights, but also something that's light enough that I can carry it with my video bad as a 'just in case' option.

I was in Hong Kong at the end of last year and carrying a Manfrotto 190XPROB around with a three way head was a pain, and even that setup had to have the head removed to be packed in the suitcase.

The BMPCC rig is also taking shape. BMPCC, 12-35 2.8, Zoom H6, cage and miscellaneous bits and pieces is under 2kg.

That pretty much means carbon stills legs and a bolt on head. It also pretty much means a 5 section tripod, and the compromises that come along with that.

I've put together a list of all the highly portable, short back down, light weight tripods if anyone is interested: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...UE&usp=sharing

Tripod wise, it's a compromise between weight, length packed down, and max height (without the column, which I'll avoid). A bit of extra height over the 190XPROB would be handy (over 120cm), but it'd have to be shorter than the packed down length (57cm) and lighter.

Looking at a Feisol CT-3442, Induro CT114 or Sirui N1205. I considered Gitzo but there are lots of reports of them falling apart and people getting terrible service.

With this kind of setup, the Manfrotto 500AH looks like the way to go head wise. I've tried it and it's big brother 502AH out now and they're very nice for their size, and with a lightweight camera on it should be fine. Also has the added benefit of being able to be removed and added to a slider.

Has anyone got any experience with a setup like this, or the tripods above?
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Old January 31st, 2014, 10:41 PM   #9
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

You may be misinformed about Gitzo sticks. You should do a seach of dvinfo.net and see what you discover.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 11:45 AM   #10
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Hi Ryan

I'm wondering if you've decided on something and if so, what you settled on. I'm on a similar search. Use it for my pocket camera but also on my GH3 with a fairly heavy lens, (sigma 18-35). Having a centre column would be a big plus for me as I'm doing lots of short interviews these days and that would be so much quicker to get the height just right.

I recently got the Sirui T2205X and a Benro S6 head. Not bad for the cost but the sticks are just not sturdy enough for me (I doubt you'd want to use a slider on them) and the head just doesn't cut it. Not having pan drag control is one thing, not having any pan drag hardly at all is something else altogether. (part of me wonders though if my unit is defective)

Yesterday I checked out both the Manfrotto heads you referred to. Both are contenders for me as well. I prefer the 502 with both pan and tilt drag control even if the tilt lock being on the right side is a design flaw imo. Good for lefties though I guess. I also looked at the Manfrotto 055CXPRO4. A contender even if a little bigger than I'd like. I am going to take a closer look at your list before deciding.

If you are still looking, I'd suggest you check this out. SAFARITRIPOD.COM

Had never heard of Safari before but apparently made by Miller so good quality. $400 at a local shop. Its also a little bigger than I'd ideally like but I'd buy it in a heart beat if it had a centre column and I still might.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 05:34 AM   #11
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

G'day Jase.

I've had a look around, and I think I'm just going to go for a Manfrotto 500 or 502 head (leaning towards the 502 despite the massive difference in weight).

Also looks like I'll go with a Manfrotto ball leveller, since I can get it very cheap and it is very light.

Finally looking at the 055 or 190CXPRO4 legs. Have to compromise somewhere and might have to go slightly heavier to get it right.

I dropped into my nearest pro shop and they tried to sway me towards a Miller Air, since it is very light for what it is, but much longer than I was hoping for. The much more expensive Miller DS10 with Carbon legs is about the same amount lighter than the Air as the 500 head is compared to the 502.

They also told me the Safari tripods (which they sell) are garbage that'll last a year with regular use. I'm thinking for the size, weight and cost I'd be better off with a 500/502 head and the carbon Manfrotto legs.

I've also got Barbara at Sachtler looking at lending me an Ace with the TT legs which looks like a more reliable and possibly cheaper option than the Miller.

I'm certain for the kind of light use I'm after that the Manfrotto setup will be fine, just means I'm left with my weightly Vinten for everything else, which I might look at selling for the Ace/Miller heavier duty option.
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Old March 1st, 2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Interesting about the Safari. Performed well in the test I gave it but hearing it was from Miller I didn't give it a good look re its build quality.

I looked at the 190CXPRO4 legs. Not sturdy enough imo, especially if you go to full height. The 055 is on my radar though, if a little bigger than I'd like. And the 502 head.

Btw, I have the Miller DS10 with carbon fibre legs. Great tripod but it is on the heavier side. For me the main consideration is its folded length and given I need another tripod anyway…

Bottom line is I don't think what I want exists, at least not at price I'm willing to spend right now. So I may hold off for a bit until I can spend more.
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Old March 2nd, 2014, 10:57 PM   #13
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

A friend has the Safari, it's much bigger and heavier than the 190 or 055, but almost as light including head and bag. Build quality of the head looks similar to the Fancier style that are cheap on ebay.

You're not going to get something completely rock solid, but I guess it comes down to how rough you're going to be with it. I'm only intending to lock it off most of the time, which I can do with the current setup, but I can't pan at all.

None of them are going to be rock solid when you extend to full height. Get something that is tall enough without the centre column and don't worry about it.

190CXPRO4 with 500 head seems like the way to go. 055CXPRO4 with 502 head is getting up to DS10/Air weight.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:31 AM   #14
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

So I've made a decision on this, aided by a couple of blog posts from people looking to do something similar.

Slavik has put together a great blog post on a lightweight documentary kit: Complete Documentary Filmmaking Kit in One Backpack | Alaska Video Shooter

Jacob James did a review of a Gitzo GT1542T paired with a Manfrotto 701HDV head: Ultimate Lightweight Video Tripod Set-Up? GT1542T and 701HDV Review

While I've had some great suggestions on here and off here, most are basically related to trying to lighten by load with my beloved Vinten. After buying the Vinten Vision Blue on Chris "Sticks" Soucy's suggestion (seriously Chris, if that's not your nickname it should be), I find the Vinten Perfect Balance system amazing and the tripod is awesome to work with. Replacements like the Sachtler Ace, Miller Air, even the Cartoni Focus HD were considered, but at the end of the day they are lighter but they're not a decent travel option. They're not a tripod setup you can really take with you everywhere, as a just in case scenario.

There had to be a compromise somewhere, and I decided for me a better compromise was to get an ultraportable setup and keep the Vinten for the bigger camera, rather than a lighter yet still large tripod setup. This essentially means a small video head and standard stills legs.

So for a head, this means Manfrotto's new 500AH video head. Fits on any tripod with a 3/8" bolt, and is reasonably light at ~600g. Doesn't have drag control, but for the size and weight, plus the size and weight of the camera (a rigged BMPCC - under 2kg), it seems to work really well. When you only load up 1-2kg on it, it feels really nice.

In terms of a levelling base, I had ordered a Manfrotto 438, but they're actually relatively heavy, at about 600g. Slavik raves about the Acratech levelling base, and it is not much more expensive than the 438 but under half the weight. To start with, I'm going to see if I can get away without it, but it's an easy addition later.

For legs, for now I'm going to try the 190XPROB legs, since I already own them and it's easy to try it out for size, weight and operating height. The Gitzo GT1542T tripod that Slavik and Jacob rave about looks like it would be a little low but is similar height to the 190 sticks, so easy to gauge.

Interesting thing is the Gitzo's main competitors these days are either Gitzo knockoffs (like Fiesol and Induro), which aren't as cheap as they used to be, and Manfrotto sticks, which are a bit heavier, a bit longer packed down, but a similar operating height. The alternatives to Gitzo are almost as expensive, but as Richard points out it seems lots of people are happy with their Gitzo setups. The issue is if there is a problem it can be time consuming and a general pain to get resolved.

I've got a couple of domestic trips in the next couple of weeks to give it a go, and hopefully I'll upgrade the sticks before I head over to NZ.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 11:49 PM   #15
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Re: Portable/travel tripod/head for the BMPCC

Er, Ryan.............

Did you just say "head over to NZ"?

Do tell, I may be able to help you out with some gear if you're coming to the South Island.

Save you lugging the big stuff back and forth on International flights, maybe.

Talk to me.


C "Sticks" S
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