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Old December 11th, 2002, 04:14 PM   #1
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Newbie question about tripods

Hey guys,

I don't have any experience with prosumer/professional tripods, and I was wondering if you guys can tell me some info as far as features that they offer. Right now I have an OLD velbon vg-3. I have been reading around about tripods in the $200 range (i.e. Libec M20) and am wondering if the "lower end" ($200) tripods have features that would justify the expense. I imagine that the high end Bogen/Manfrotto ($1k+) tripods have some nifty features, but will the M20 be that much different than my POS Velbon?

Also, what about a Bogen 501 + 3011 setup (Around $210)... how would these compare and will they be that much better than a cheap $40 one.

Moore
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Old December 11th, 2002, 04:24 PM   #2
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What camera would you be using with the tripod?

Jeff
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Old December 11th, 2002, 04:31 PM   #3
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You'll find plenty of discussion about the common Bogen/Manfrotto products, and many others as well, by using the Search function and/or browsing through this section of the site. We've had many, many people come through asking basically the same questions. Bogen/Manfrotto makes decent heads (501, 503, etc) and legs for the price and for their target prosumer market.

But there is a big difference between, say, a $200 tripod and a $2,000 (professional-grade, mid-capacity, mid-range price) head and legs. Whether or not you should choose something in between depends on what camera you need to support and what type of shooting conditions you expect.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 05:33 PM   #4
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clarification

Hey Ken...

Sorry if I was unclear... the main point of my question was how much difference is there between a cheap $40, and a low-end Manfrotto/Libec... specifically, are there special "features" these tripods have? I've read tons of reviews/forums, the two main ones were:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3788&highlight=libec

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2998&highlight=libec

From these forums I found that for $200, the TH-M20, and Bogen 501 + 3011 are both pretty good setups... but I'm unfamiliar with professional/prosumer tripods and their features. So the discussions of "claw-ball leveling head" and other such features don't mean much to me, yet. So it's kind of a two part question.

1. What features should I look for in a semi-professional tripod.

2. Do the tripods at the $200 price point have many of these features, or would I be better just not spending the money and using the old, plain one that I already have.

Sorry for the confusion, I've done some research, I just don't have much experience with tripods so a lot of the terms don't translate. Guess it's time to do some research on tripod terminology.... but any info you guys can provide would help too...

Oh, and I'll be putting a Panasonic AG-DVX100 on it... about 4-5 lbs depending on battery and additional "stuff."

Thanks agian.

Moore
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Old December 11th, 2002, 06:14 PM   #5
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Well, chances are that the $40 tripod is meant for still photography and its legs are wobblier than a newborn colt's.

Here are some of the key characteristics that distinguish video tripods.

HEAD: Smooth, reliable pan and tilt mechanisms reliable in a variety of temperatures. (This distinguishes videeo heads from photo heads.) Precisely adjustable drag. Quick-release plate. Head can be leveled independently of the legs, and features a bubble-level in the head. Head's capacity well-matched for the camera's load; no droop.

LEGS: Very sturdy. No wobble under full load. Often has a mid-level or ground-level speader for increased stability. Easy to deply and adjust.

The AG-DVX100 is a very lighweight camera and you can find several tripod/heads that will work well with it. Many report that the Libecs are good values for such loads.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 06:24 PM   #6
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hah

"its legs are wobblier than a newborn colt's."

I think that about sums it up Ken... hah. It is pretty weak, hopefully that Libec will be a lot better... sounds like it has most of the features you mentioned. Thanks for your patience/help.

Moore
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Old December 12th, 2002, 05:51 PM   #7
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Libec M-20 should do nicely, though I have never tried one. I have read lots of reports that M20 is just fine for lightweight cams like yours.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 12:00 PM   #8
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I don't know if I'd trust a $40 tripod with my Canon digital Elph, much less an XL1
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Old December 15th, 2002, 07:00 AM   #9
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Newbie………,

Might I suggest that you set your sights on a better level of tripod. B&H, amoung many stores, have some very good deals on used TP's and Heads, of various manufactures. Also, consider pawn shops, e-bay, etc.

If you go any of these routes, do it hands on as much as possible, (e-basy excepted). No sense picking up a damaged item.

From past obsevations, B&H, have had some decent $1,000 class items, for substantially less than original cost.
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Old December 15th, 2002, 08:21 AM   #10
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The Libec is the least expensive tripod I would consider. However, I don't think it's head is up to the job. I think you should give so more thought to the tripod you need based on how your going to use the DVX100. If you using the 24p modes, the camera needs to be pan slower and steadier than a conventional 60i camera. If you pan too fast you'll pick up some nasty artifacts. I would try to audition a couple of tripods or buy from a dealer with experience with the DVX100 and it's requirements.

Jeff
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Old December 6th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #11
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I have a Canon XH A1 and libec ls 38 and I have some newbie questions :)

1. When I tilt the camera up or down it doesn't stay in that position and it slips back slightly towards its neutral position. Is that expected? The springing back happens with panning too, but much much less.

2. At what point do you fix the removable slide plate to the camera? Do I have to try to fix it approximately at the center of gravity?

3. When the tilt lock is not on, how do I know the horizontal level. There is a liquid leveler indicator on the libec tripod, but that looks like it is for leveling the head with the floor and does not help me know where I am with the tilt. I am confused.

All help much appreciated.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #12
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Hi Srinivas.........

Taking 2 first:

The slide plate can only fix to the camera in one position. When the VHS pin on the plate is fitted into the matching hole in the camera base, that's it.

To get the correct position of the plate with regard to the head when mounting the camera/ plate assembly, back off all tilt locks and drag, mount the camera/ plate assembly into the head, lock it in and watch.

If the camera is sitting at the centre of gravity of the head, it will neither tilt forward or back. If it wants to tilt forward, unlock the plate and move it back. Reverse if it wants to tilt back.

Now 1:

If you have the camera correctly centred on the head and the camera wants to either dive or spring back when tilted off the horizontal, the counterbalance in the head is incorrect for the chosen camera.

As the LS38 has fixed counterbalance, if your camera is bouncing back you can compensate by adding some weight "up top" on the camera to bring it more in line with the available counterbalance.

If it's doing the opposite (dropping forward or backward) not much can be done without using a lighter camera.

And, er, 3:

If the bubble on the head is centred, then the base of the camera is horizontal on the left to right axis. The front/ back axis is irrelevant as the camera's gotta point up/ down at what you're shooting.

The only reason I can imagine front/ back level would be important is if you were shooting stills with an architectural lens, not an application relevant to video.

I can't fathom the mention of the tilt lock - it's only purpose is to lock the camera where you want it pointed, whether level or not.

You may want to try re - phraseing the question, maybe I'm missing something.


CS


PS: Where in Gods name did you find this thread? I just noticed the previous post date and nearly fell off my chair.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; December 6th, 2008 at 08:53 PM. Reason: +
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Old December 6th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #13
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Hi Jason,

I have an M20 that I use with my Canon HV20. I also have a Sachtler DV6 SB that I use with my Canon XH A1.

So what's the big difference between a $200 tirpod and a $2000 tripod?

The most important differences are (not particularly in order of importance):

1. counter balance ability - the M20 does not have the ability to adjust for different camera weights for tilts. If your camera is not the proper weight your camera wont' stay at the angle you set it at when you tilt the camera. Heigher end heads will either have adjustments on the head or will allow you to change springs to match your camera's weight.

2. stability of the tripod legs. As mentioned the M20's legs are very flimsy. I primarily use this set up for situations where I'm not going to be panning and tilting the camera a lot so it's not as much of a problem. However, if there is a lot of vibrations the tripod doesn't do very well.

3. panning and tilting on a higher end head will be much smoother. This is more important if you are moving your camera lot. I shoot a lot of dance recitals, plays, etc. This means I'm constantly panning to follow my subjects. This is where a head like the Sachtler or Vinten will realy make a difference (especially with HD). When I shoot movies my camera is much more static so there's much more set up the shot, shoot the scene, re-frame and shoot the scene from another angle.

4. generally, higher end tripods are built to last. As has been said in a number of other posts regarding tripods, your tripod will outlast your camera.

I would recommend the lowest I would go for the DVX100 would be something like the Libec Ls38. If you can afford a little more you could find a good used Miller or maybe a Cartoni HDV. You should definately try out a tripod with your camera set up on it before you buy one. Buying a used tripod will allow you to get a better tripod for the same money as a medium end new one.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:13 PM   #14
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Er, Garrett.....................

Think there's an outside chance this one's been sorted - check the dates.


CS

PS: I'm not having a senior moment am I? It is 2008, right?

Last edited by Chris Soucy; December 6th, 2008 at 09:14 PM. Reason: +
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Old December 6th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #15
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Thanks Chris. I am probably not getting it right. Please bear with me through this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Taking 2 first:

The slide plate can only fix to the camera in one position. When the VHS pin on the plate is fitted into the matching hole in the camera base, that's it.
When I attach the removable plate to the camera, there is a hole as you said where it fits, but it lets me slide the plate forward or backward and then tighten a metal screw. There is also an additional forward/backward control on the tripod head itself where the entire (camera+plate) can be adjusted to go forward or backward if I unlock the sliding lock.

Quote:
To get the correct position of the plate with regard to the head when mounting the camera/ plate assembly, back off all tilt locks and drag, mount the camera/ plate assembly into the head, lock it in and watch.

If the camera is sitting at the centre of gravity of the head, it will neither tilt forward or back. If it wants to tilt forward, unlock the plate and move it back. Reverse if it wants to tilt back.
I think I got a position where it is reasonably stable in the horizontal position. I am not using the additional sliding control on the tripod head itself, but making all the adjustment with the plate with respect to the camera.

Quote:
Now 1:

If you have the camera correctly centred on the head and the camera wants to either dive or spring back when tilted off the horizontal, the counterbalance in the head is incorrect for the chosen camera.

As the LS38 has fixed counterbalance, if your camera is bouncing back you can compensate by adding some weight "up top" on the camera to bring it more in line with the available counterbalance.

If it's doing the opposite (dropping forward or backward) not much can be done without using a lighter camera.
I didn't understand the difference between the two cases you have mentioned. How is bouncing back/forward different from dropping forward/backward?

Actually at the position I have set now, for small tilts (either up or down), it does not bounce back/forward much. But for large tilts, it springs towards the horizontal position BOTH for up and down tilt. If I understand you correctly, this means that my camera is too heavy for this much amount of tilt. But the tripod is supposed to hold much more weight(8-18 lb I think) than my camera (<4 Lb) (there are no accessories, just the battery).


Quote:
And, er, 3:

If the bubble on the head is centred, then the base of the camera is horizontal on the left to right axis. The front/ back axis is irrelevant as the camera's gotta point up/ down at what you're shooting.

The only reason I can imagine front/ back level would be important is if you were shooting stills with an architectural lens, not an application relevant to video.

I can't fathom the mention of the tilt lock - it's only purpose is to lock the camera where you want it pointed, whether level or not.
No, you are right, now that I think of it, I don't see a need!

Quote:
PS: Where in Gods name did you find this thread? I just noticed the previous post date and nearly fell off my chair.
I tried not to open yet another new thread and made a search for "newbie" in the title, LOL
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