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Old January 3rd, 2016, 04:11 PM   #46
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Thank you Chris. I totally agree with everything you have said and I have indeed looked at the speed lock range in the past but got confused with the different variants at majorly fluctuating prices.. For example.. How does this compare?

Sachtler Tripod Speed Lock 75 CF - Sachtler from Tnp Broadcast UK
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 05:22 PM   #47
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Personally I find mid-level spreaders a pain, and normally much prefer ground level spreaders. Problem with mid-level (which I had to use today - someone else's kit) is that if you want to extend the legs, the feet have to move out as the angle is fixed. And if in a restricted space that can be a pain. (Correction - WAS a pain! :-) )

With ground level, the base is fixed in size. Extending/reducing the legs doesn't alter the tripod footprint, so it tends to be much easier if working amongst obstructions.

Picking up on Christopher Young's point (uneven ground or amongst stadia seating) then yes, a ground level spreader is of no use - but in such a case I'd just take it off, possibly off just the one leg, so the two legs on the same level are still fixed relative to each other.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 10:41 PM   #48
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Hi, David.....................

Those 75 CF's are the very ones I mentioned I use for STILLS ONLY.

They are, IMHO, way too floppy for video and even for stills I have to ensure I'm between them and any good breeze (we get a lot of them) otherwise they wave around like a three cornered flag.

They're only a 2:1:1 configuration, the alternatives I gave you are 2:2:2 (best) and 2:2:1 (not so good). At 2:1:1 the 75 CF's are hopeless. Great theory, shame about the practicalities.

However, you're pain threshold may be way different to mine and the chance of freebie testers from Sachtler will give you a chance to have a play with any or all the three mentioned sticks.

See if any of them cut the David mustard!


CS
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Old January 4th, 2016, 01:12 AM   #49
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Chris do you know of any speed locks between the 75 and the $2400 2:2:2?
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Old January 4th, 2016, 01:51 AM   #50
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Yep, the very ones I highlighted as a PS on my second to last post:

Sachtler Speed-Lock CF Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs 5586 B&H Photo


They're only 2:2:1 though, but you might like to try 'em, heck, it's free, apart from the return shipping.


CS
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Old January 4th, 2016, 05:13 AM   #51
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
you might like to try 'em, heck, it's free, apart from the return shipping.
That's a pretty hefty fee from the UK to USA! I dunno.. they still look very heavy duty.. I'd be inclined to try the 75's first I think, the size of them seems much more what I'm used to.. Are they really that terrible? Bare in mine my favourite tripod to date is still this cheapo one!

Velbon DV-7000N Video Tripod (DV-7000N) - Wex Photographic
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Old January 4th, 2016, 02:15 PM   #52
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Hmm, I've been using the Sachtler FSB6 with CF Speedlock since 2008 with a Sony EX1 mostly. I have no issues with the spreader. It's easy enough for me to un-tighten the spreader to shift the legs. I'd much rather that then having to bend all the way down to the ground. I've used it both for indoor situations in tight places where I needed to narrow the angle as well as out door press conferences. Perhaps I'm just used to it.

I do have a much lighter Benro carbon fiber tripod when I use a light camera (BMPCC and Sony X70) and I need to move quickly.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 02:34 PM   #53
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

OK, now I'm officially confused.

Sachtler & Vinten products destined for European countries are distributed from the UK; London, I believe.

Products destined for America (North & South) destinations are distributed from the USA, where, I don't know, possibly New York.

Your DVinfo tag says you're based in the UK, so there should be no shipping to/ from the USA.

Quote:
Are they really that terrible?
Ah, he's where that pain threshold comes in.

You have to remember my first set of pro HD sticks was a set of Vinten FiberTec's, which are still my "rock solid support of a Mack truck required" system. Also in my arsenal are two other Vinten sticks, nearly but not quite as grunty as my FiberTecs.

Add a Manfrotto 528XB which is stronger than any of the other 3 but weighs more than any two of the others combined.

Compared to that lot the 75 CF's are the 7 stone weakling. Squirreled away somewhere I have an antique aluminium spreader-less center column Velbon set of stills sticks and even they are gruntier than the 75's.

However, everything I shot prior to the FiberTecs was standard def on a set of Manfrotto 520 or 525's. Standard def pretty well hid the worst of the 520's behaviour BUT when I made the switch to HD the wheels fell off on the very first shoot and stayed there till I seriously upgraded my camera support system.

Cue Vinten.

Using the 75's for HD video just takes me back to that first HD shoot on the 520's when the first 30 seconds of footage shows the camera waving around like corn in a stiff breeze. No thanks.

Are you as touchy on the subject as I am? Don't know.

Game plan: Get a set of the 75's and see if they do the job required. If they do, job done. If they don't, step up to the next set and try again. Repeat if necessary until you run out of wallet.

It might be worth asking whomever for an estimate of shipping costs to get whatever back to them if they don't suit.

Can't see you've much to lose and it sure as heck beats the "buying - oh shit" scenario.

However (there's always one) what are you gonna do about a decent head? No point spending big on a set of sticks and parking a 20 buck hunk of junk on the top.

Better game plan: Contact Sachtler, tell them what camera system you shoot with and ask them to suggest an appropriate head to accompany the first set of sticks.

Head's great but sticks don't cut it? Send back the sticks and try the next step up, keeping the head. New set of sticks do the business but now the head doesn't cut it? Send back the head and try the next step up.

Continue till wallet has been reduced to whimpering wreck hiding under the bed.

You should at least have a decent support system by then.

Just one more thing. The 75 CF's have a 75 mm bowl, the other two CF sticks are 100mm so you'll need a 100mm to 75mm reducer if you make the step up with a 75mm ball head. A Manfrotto unit will be significantly cheaper than the Sachtler alternative and perform exactly the same function.

BH (Links)


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; January 4th, 2016 at 03:23 PM.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 03:16 PM   #54
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Preemptive Strike

To terminate your probably inevitable next question, which you'll get around to sooner or later; yes, you can use your existing flat based head on a half bowl tripod if you absolutely must.

You simply source one of these:
Manfrotto 520BALL 75mm Half Ball 520BALL B&H Photo Video


Screw the 3/8" bolt on adapter into the (hopefully) 3/8" hole in the base of the head, screw in the 3 lock screws located underneath the adapter half ball to lock the head in place, remove adapter clamp knob, insert 3/8" adapter clamp bolt into hole in center of tripod bowl, replace clamp knob.

Job done.

If the hole in the head base is only 1/4" you're kind of, well, screwed. Before you buy the adapter, remove the flat based head from your existing tripod and check on the fitting size - the easiest way is to see if the tripod head bolt will fit perfectly into the tripod attach hole in the base of your camera. If it does it's a 1/4" X 24, game over. If the bolt is way to large it's a 3/8" X 16 and you're good to go.

Of course, if the head simply will not be removed from the tripod without physical destruction, which is the case with some of the real cheapo's, it's back to the drawing board.


CS
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Old January 4th, 2016, 04:35 PM   #55
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

At least with good sticks and a cheap head, one can lock it down and push buttons and adjust focus without the image jolting about. It's only when you pan and tilt that a head really comes into play (unless it's so bad that it wobbles when locked.)

Back to spreaders, I used to use a floor spreader for our corporate speaking events. Unfortunately, one of the meetings was on carpet and my lens (EF 200/2.8 II) didn't have stabilization. I felt like I needed to hold my breath for 90 minutes.

Since then, we got a 70-200 with IS and a mid-level spreader. We haven't shot these events on carpet since, but I'm now prepared!

And yes, the mid-level spreader needs to be adjusted when changing height, but I don't find that to be a problem. I found the floor spreader to be a much bigger hassle as it had three separate adjustments, didn't attach all that well, could flop over center when nearly folded up, had to be compressed to stow the tripod, and required flat surfaces. It's one advantage was that I could lift from the center ring and hold the head with the other hand to move the tripod quickly from here to there.

For the mid-level spreader, I bit the bullet and got a Vinten Spread-Loc. One twist unlocks it. Adjust the legs, re-lock, and done. Night and day compared to the cheap 3rd party floor spreader I had been using.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 07:03 PM   #56
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Back to spreaders, I used to use a floor spreader for our corporate speaking events. Unfortunately, one of the meetings was on carpet and my lens (EF 200/2.8 II) didn't have stabilization. I felt like I needed to hold my breath for 90 minutes.
I don't think the spreader made any difference there, surely? All it does is stop the legs splaying apart - any vibration would be transmitted straight up the legs, and a mid level would be just as bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I found the floor spreader to be a much bigger hassle as it had three separate adjustments, didn't attach all that well, could flop over center when nearly folded up, had to be compressed to stow the tripod, and required flat surfaces. It's one advantage was that I could lift from the center ring and hold the head with the other hand to move the tripod quickly from here to there.
But normally you shouldn't need to make any adjustment - simply have all three sections compressed. Then open the legs and the base is fixed by the (locked) spreader. Adjusting height is then simple - the bottoms of the legs don't move. The only time you should need to unlock the spreader adjustments is for absolute max stability, and normally with max leg extension. Then adjust all three to max, and you get a bigger (but also fixed) base triangle.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 12:51 AM   #57
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

One of the best set of legs that I ever used were the Manfrotto 542ART legs, maybe seven years back. A unique design and very fast to deploy and adjust. Problem was they were too expensive and were discontinued. There is a Korean outfit that is still selling new 542ART legs on eBay but in excess of US$2K. If I ever see a cheap set I will grab them.


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Old January 5th, 2016, 02:07 AM   #58
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
For the mid-level spreader, I bit the bullet and got a Vinten Spread-Loc. One twist unlocks it. Adjust the legs, re-lock, and done.
This sounds excellent to me. Although I have to admit I didn't consider having to readjust the spreader when you change height because I'm so used to the spreader on the Velbon that seems to be more for ease of extending 3 legs with 2 hands rather than stability as it moves up and down the center column itself when you extend the legs. This is the sole feature of the velbon that I really like.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 02:09 AM   #59
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
OK, now I'm officially confused.

Sachtler & Vinten products destined for European countries are distributed from the UK; London, I believe.

Products destined for America (North & South) destinations are distributed from the USA, where, I don't know, possibly New York.

Your DVinfo tag says you're based in the UK, so there should be no shipping to/ from the USA.
Sorry, I was referring to specifically the B&H link you posted. I see what you mean now.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 02:17 AM   #60
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Re: Why do people use tripod legs with spreaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
what are you gonna do about a decent head? No point spending big on a set of sticks and parking a 20 buck hunk of junk on the top.
Don't worry, I binned the velbon head on all 4 of my DV7000's the day I got them. I use Manfrotto 502HD's on my slider (which I really only use if I want to angle the camera when sliding - possibly overkill in a weight/usage scenario) and I use (I think...) Manfrotto 502AH (I have one flat version on the velbon and one bowl version on the Manfrotto 536CF sticks but this never gets used because of my issues with the sticks and the bowl system)

The problem I have with bowl and why I wouldnt consider using an adapter as I assume the issue would remain is that if I want to level out my slider after moving to uneven ground for a quick shot (saves me adjusting the feet - i only do that for more severe terrain) on a flat head even when locked down, with enough force on one end the slider will move and I can level it with a bit of a "whack" (I can see people rolling their eyes... sorry.. it's just the way I've gotten used to!) however the same whack with a bowl head results in it potentially moving in the forwards/backwards pane also and you end up with the head on a totally bizarre diagonal finishing position and I then sit there wrestling with the head to get it level before I give up, losten it and level before re-tightening. Totally understand this is the way I SHOULD do it, however, this takes 3 times as long as a quick wack on one end of the slider.

Without the slider I have no real issues with the bowl head (but also no major preference for one over flat head either) but I can't see myself ditching the slider any time soon.

I'm impossible to please aren't I? I think in short I'm happy with my head setup, I just need to find a flat based sturdy lightweight tripod with a similar center spreader to the velbon DV7000 where it can be used more for quick leg extension and retraction (I dont mean quick extensing and collapse of the legs like the speedlock although this would be a nice bonus).

I wouldn't be surprised if you guys bail out of this thinking "this guy will never be happy" but whether you do or do not I am overwhelmed by the amount of info and the time you've taken with your replies, thankyou so much
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