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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:30 PM   #1
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Tripod for HVX-200?

I'm speccing to purchase an HVX-200 later this year and am wondering if anyone could recommend a tripod. It would need to hold up the camera, the long-life battery and the Cineporter 160gb (which I also plan to get). I'm looking for a fluid head, a spreader (mid-level preferred) and level adjustment underneath the head.

Right now, I'm looking specifically at the Miller DS-10 but have no experience with Miller.

This forum has been an invaluable resource now that I've decided that this camera is best for me.

Thanks!
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Old May 1st, 2006, 04:16 PM   #2
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Bogen - Best Bang for the Buck

Chris,

I had the same question before I got into the HVX and found that the same tripod I've been using for years for my pro-still cameras is actually one of the best all-around video tripods as well - without spending the extra $$$ for a "video" tripod, if you know what I mean.

The Bogen 3251B ("B" = black) is very heavy-duty by design, has a built-in bubble level, locking spreaders and has the coolest feature of all - a one-lever leg adjuster. You move one lever up top and it releases all 3 legs at the same time allowing you to quickly level the tripod. Release the lever and all legs lock into place. By far, the most convenient and stable pod I've owned for general video/photo use.

The Bogen 501 head is the perfect counterpart to the 3251; it's super smooth and comes with a QR plate, will handle the HVX, matte box and anything else you can dish out. My rig is most often on this very setup. In fact, the photos I posted of the HVX on this site are of the rig on a 501 head and 3251 pod.

If you need something that can handle heavy-weight useage such as a jib or crane, then get the Bogen 528XB. It comes with a 100mm claw/half-ball, extra heavy-duty legs and built-in spreaders. Unlike the 3251 it does not have a one-lever adjuster for the legs and is the more traditional one-leg-at-a-time adjustment method. I'd also highly recommend using the Bogen Super Clamp on each leg if you ever use it for a jib/crane. This is good advice on any tripod/jib setup unless it's a jib-specific mount which usually does not have adjustable legs.

There are tons of specialty video tripods out there which compete with both the Bogens listed above but they are at least double in cost because they're designed for "video use". Nonsense. All a tripod needs to do is be rock-stable and have heavy-duty leg locks/spreaders. Both Bogens fit the bill - and unlike the "video" pods they won't kill your pocketbook.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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Studio Monthly magazine did a big roundup on tripods, and they spoke very highly of the Cartoni Focus. A few of us ended up buying them, and they're great. ~$1400.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 04:51 PM   #4
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I've been using a Manfrotto 519 head on an old set of aluminum O'Connor sticks. They are a bit heavy, and thus very stable. I also have a lightweight Bogen 3182 tripod for when mobility is required.

The 519 is wonderful with my HVX-- very smooth, and the resistence steps are very helpful. (519 lists at $1300, but can be had for much less) I've also tried out the Cartoni Focus and would recommend either head.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 06:11 PM   #5
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FWIW,

The tripod and head that Barry and Matt have mentioned are wonderful pieces of hardware but are also perfect examples of paying double (and more) without getting double the quality or usefulness.

If you've got money to burn or just prefer those other brands, be my guest. However, currently B&H is selling the 3251/501 combo for $453. That's roughly 1/5th the cost of buying the Cartoni pod and 519 head.

Again, both the Cartoni and big Bogen head are great units but for the HVX they would be overkill and as mentioned way overpriced for the intended mission.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:52 PM   #6
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I love Sachtler fluid heads and if you can afford the DV8, it's a really nice head. Most people who try it out can instantly feel the solid engineering that goes into it. But yes, it's very pricey. The Miller makes nice heads but I was never impressed with their lower end series like the DS-10 and DS-20. They definitely don't have the variability that the Sachtler has. Actually, the two heads that I've played with both had horrible squeak issues and friction problems which really suprised me. I don't know what it was and neither did the salespeople...it may be atypical.

On the subject of legs, I think Miller makes some amazing legs. I personally dislike Sachtler legs so I got Miller legs for my DV8 head and I love the combination.

One of the nice things about Sachtler's DV8 over the DV6 is that you can get the optional 100mm bowl instead of the 75mm bowl. If you plan to do any filmwork, I think it's a almost a must because you will find that most adapters (for hi-hats, dollies, etc..) are 100mm and you don't get a very solid fit with the 75mm heads. This goes for any head you decide to choose btw since you intend to accessorize, get the bigger heads.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
All a tripod needs to do is be rock-stable and have heavy-duty leg locks/spreaders.
I disagree - Run your lens even moderately telephoto and you can tell a bad tripod head right away. It's the one that locks up if you leave it still for a while, causing a visible jerk when you need to get it moving again. If you're running fairly wide you won't notice this as much, but the stuff I tend to shoot is from the kind of distance where I'm running a couple hundred mm of zoom, and a good tripod head makes all the difference.

A good tripod head also has better adjustments for drag and spring balance that are useful on the more top-heavy rigs.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 11:01 PM   #8
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I agree with Stephan. And I've found my Cartoni Focus to be great and fluid, even when zoomed in and left to rest for a while. I think it's definitely worth the money.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:03 AM   #9
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I use the Manfrotto 351MVB2K for the HVX200.

It came as a package with the 503 head and a padded soift carry-bag. Thus far, it seems fine for the HVX200. If I recall correctly, it was $ 450 at G&G video. I don't have any options for it yet, e.g. Firestore, bigger power supply, or even a shotgun, but it seems it could well handle both. I also removed the spreader and thus far use the Manfrotto 3156 dolly exclusively. (The dolly also has a mount for low-angle shooting). I believe the tripod is rated at 22 lbs., about 5 of which are "used up" by the head, and the head itself is rated at (I think) 13 lbs. Given the light weight, I'm hoping I have all I need for the foreseeable future.

If anything, I'd be interested in some device that would allow me to hang, or otherwise attache, some options to the tripod itself.

Good luck.

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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:54 AM   #10
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Thanks guys...

Wow...thanks for all of the advice guys! Really helpful. I've been using a Bogen set-up and I have to say that the locking spreaders where you have to extend each leg individually has grown a bit tiresome. Also, I have to carry my camera and tripod around quite a bit, so I would like one that is lighter in weight. I think that the Cartoni is seeming like a good purchase. The good reviews are worth $400 over the Miller.

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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:35 AM   #11
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<<< and they spoke very highly of the Cartoni Focus. A few of us ended up buying them, and they're great. ~$1400.>>>>


I saw and worked the Cartoni Foucs at NAB. It is a very nice tripod and
the best deal I've seen for what I would call a REAL tripod. $600
less than the Vinten Vision 3 which I usually recommend.

Bogans start out life 'okay' and then get more problematic with time in
my experience.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #12
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I'm in the same boat and wanted to get an opinion on this.

I'm looking at the Bogen 3191 legs (I don't like the built-in spreader on the 3251) with the 3433 head. I like that the 3191 has the 100mm half-ball plus it's rated for 44 pounds, and the 3433 would be a good head to start with now as it's cheap and will do what I need it to do, but I can upgrade to say the 516 head later down the road.

Does this sound like a good plan? I figure the 3191 legs will be a better long-term investment than the 3251, with a head that just gets me by for starters.
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