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Old November 29th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #1
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O'Connor Heads and Leaking

I've heard that older O'Connor heads were prone to leaking, but that more recently these problems have been solved. Does anyone know when this fix happened? I am looking at a slightly-older-but-not-ancient O'Connor 515 / Ultimate DV head, a model which has been discontinued, and was wondering if anyone has experience with these heads having leaks or other issues.

Many thanks!
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Old November 29th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

My confusion continues. My basic question is: would the O'Connor 515 work as a head for a solo videographer? Too heavy? Too leaky? Too finicky?

Last edited by Aaron Sharff; November 29th, 2013 at 12:41 PM.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 03:56 PM   #3
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Aaron Sharff...I recently found this site (see attached Link). It has a good deal of technical information about the different models and history regarding O'connor Fluid Heads.

O'Connor - NovaCam

I hope this helps.

J.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Thanks, James, I actually ran across that today as well. It's the best information out there on this head. Unfortunately, the guy who runs the site is out on an international job and doesn't seem to be around to contact.

The good news is that there are still people out there servicing these discontinued heads, the bad news it the service costs as much as a used head on eBay. I'm just wondering if the O'Connor is the BMW of heads: really nice, but you have to take it to the mechanic more often than your Honda.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Aaron Sharff... I don't currently own an O'connor Fluid Head, but intend to purchase either a new 1030D or a older refurbished model early next year for use on my Sachtler CF-100ENG HD 2CF sticks.

In this case, I am relying on the recommendations of working professionals, all of whom are very critical when it comes to their equipment, as well as reviews I've read on the Interweb. It's my belief O'connor Fluid Heads are as robust as any premium brand Fluid Head on the Market. Maybe more so because of it's simple design? However, I don't believe it will be an issue. JMHO - YMMV.

I hope this helps.

J.

Last edited by James Kuhn; November 29th, 2013 at 05:55 PM. Reason: added some words.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Something to bear in mind is that anyone using an O'Conner, is, unless they've got considerably more money than sense, a professional who relies on the head practically all day, every day.

As such, their head(s) probably see more use hours in a month than most amateurs and semi pros would rack up in a year or even more.

I would be surprised if the actual "hours use before service" time of similarly rated O'Conner, Sachtler & Vinten heads varies by more than a few percentage points.

Certainly I cannot imagine the O'Conner being as drastically inferior service wise as you seem to be implying, they simply rack up use hours faster.

That said, if any second hand O'Conner you're thinking of buying has racked up or exceeded it's "service time life", and said service costs as much as the head did, there may well be a financial incentive to buy one new.

Do take note of the caveats on that NovaCam site BTW.

With the minimum 515 CB weight being approximately 7lbs at a full 4" (100 mm) COG (515S - 9lbs, DV - 8lbs, DVS - 11lbs+) you're very quickly going to run out of camera unless it's a big rig.


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Old November 29th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #7
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

James--

Sounds like an exciting upgrade. I'm guessing you've got a heavier camera than my DSLR rig. That's nice to hear that the O'Connors perform well AND are robust. Hope you enjoy the head when you find one. I'll update this thread with some impressions if I end up with the 515.

Chris--

That makes a lot of sense. What exactly to you mean "run out of camera"? My rig weighs in at 8.4 lbs and is almost 18" from matte box to sound recorder. I thought that would be ok for the 6.7lb minimum on the 515, but you obviously know a lot more about balancing tripod heads than I do and I might be missing something here.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Hi gents:

I've owned O'Connor for a good long while--a 2575 since '98 and a 1030 since '02, and the latter was already a good 8 years old then. Neither have required ANY service relating to the fluid operation. There have been minor parts replaced due to wear. I had the 2575 looked at about 5 years ago and even with day in, day out use the O'Connor peeps said it was in flawless operating condition. I cannot recommend them more highly. They are solid workhorses, built like tanks and have the best feel of any head out there, plus the 90 degree tilt for most models is rare amongst the competition.

If there was a leaking fluid issue, it was likely with the 50 or 100 models which are 25 or more years old. That said, I also own a 50 which is in fantastic condition despite its age, and is just as smooth as the current models (but lacks the adjustable counterbalance).

There are lighter heads, there are heads with more features, and there are definitely cheaper heads out there. But there is a reason that O'Connor is THE standard for the US film industry, you'll find them on the vast majority of studio features and series, and that is they are second to none in performance and reliability.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 08:53 PM   #9
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
If there was a leaking fluid issue, it was likely with the 50 or 100 models which are 25 or more years old.
Thanks, Charles, I was hoping that was the case. I'm beginning to feel that even if I buy used and I end up with a leaky seal, it might be worth paying for the service to get a long-lasting, smooth head.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 01:21 AM   #10
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Aaron.............

When you say "18" from Matte box to sound recorder" I take it you mean from front to back?

It's that 4", 6" and 8" COG in the table that is the fly in the ointment.

That is not from front to back, that is the centre of gravity line that runs horizontally through the camera, front to back.

Depending on the camera design and external equipment placement and mass, it's not easy these days to find a semi pro rig (I have no idea what you're actually shooting, so going blind here) that actually has a COG line 4" above the QR plate.

To quickly explain, the COG is that point of the camera, which, if you were to drive a nail from one side to the other though the camera body, the entire camera system would quite happily revolve about until friction on the nail slowed, then stopped it.

The COG point is where both the vertical and the horizontal point intersect, the only thing the head is interested in is the horizontal line, it doesn't really matter if the camera is 10 feet long, front to back (well, sort of).

A 4" COG says the rig must be at least 8" high from the QR plate, assuming the mass is distributed evenly, not something that happens in practice, as the designers try to put high mass items (lens, battery etc) as low as possible.

That means a modern rig, to obtain a 4" COG, may need to be nearly 10" or more inches high (not long).

That's the problem.


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Old November 30th, 2013, 06:57 AM   #11
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Oy. I gathered from this thread (from Charles Papert, who just posted here as well) that even the 1030 could handle as little as 5lbs.

Chris, thanks for the helpful explanation. I have a Canon 5DII on stainless steel rails with a sound recorder hanging off a plate in the back and a follow focus and (very light) matte box in the front. The sound equipment hangs below the tripod plate, but the camera is raised almost 2" above it. Still, I doubt my COG is more the 1" or 2" up. When I shoot without the sound equipment, that most likely raises the COG up, but lowers the rig weight from ~8.5lbs to ~6.5lbs.

Now that I say it, removing and adding the sound equipment might require rebalancing the head each time, which might become a pain...
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Old November 30th, 2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Well, it's certainly interesting going through that old thread. I had forgotten all about that discussion.

I have mounted a bare DSLR (either 5D or 1DMKIV, I can't remember which) with ZE lens onto the 1030 and dialed it down to where it balanced perfectly.

I have to pull out some gear today for a rental and if I can remember to, I'll shoot a tiny video to illustrate this.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 06:27 AM   #13
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Hi Guy's,

Steve Turner here. I am the Product Manager for OConnor and noticed this thread.
Thanks for all the kind words on OConnor btw.

Looks like a lot of you guys have read up and know your stuff, but, there was a link to a website that had a little misinformation on it that I'd like to correct.

It is correct that the 1030 was named because the 'sweet spot' was between 10-30lb at 6 inches. However, it was more a marketing decision at the time to aim for cameras in this category rather that any physical limitation of the head.

In fact all OConnor heads in the 'ultimate' range including 515, DV, 1030, 2060 2065, 2575, 50-200 etc. all balance right down to 0. They are the only infinitely adjustable head to do so. It was one of the reasons for its popularity in Hollywood rental houses. They are a good investment because they counterbalance such a vast range of torques that they futureproofed against the faster moving camera developments.

Therefore your DV, 515, 1030 can counterbalance a go pro or novo just as easily as their max payload.

Regarding the reputation for leaking, This may be true of older heads like the model 50 or 100 etc. Certainly any head made now should not leak.

Now, since I am here, please ask any 'head & sticks' question you like as I am more than familiar with most and should be able to help.

Regards,

Steve Turner
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 07:06 AM   #14
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Thank you Steve. That is absolutely invaluable information. Now that we are on the subject, another rumor I heard, which I'm now assuming applies only to the older heads, is that it's a bad idea to store O'Connors in cold temperatures. Is this true anymore (or any more true than it is for other brands)?
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 03:28 PM   #15
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Steve Turner...speaking only for myself, I'm glad you've 'popped-in' to add your knowledge of the O'connor product line to the discussion.

Have fun!

Best regards,

J.
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