Sub-$700 video heads - without bounceback issues? at DVinfo.net

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Old January 17th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #1
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Sub-$700 video heads - without bounceback issues?

I've heard that the the Libec LS-38 kit doesn't suffer from the bounceback problems that some other tripod/head kits do (the head moves a little after having finished a pan movement, which becomes more visible at larger zooms). From my own experience I know that the Manfrotto/Bogen 503 has this problem. Are there other kits/heads out there - in the same price range - that don't have these problems?
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #2
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I have a Miller DS-5, and unfortunately it exhibits the "bounceback" effect also. However it's pretty minor and once you know what to expect you can compensate by gently releasing pressure at the end of a pan. As you say, it's only a problem at extreme zoom range. But I still wish it wasn't like this....
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:26 AM   #3
 
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FWIW...

In engineering terms, "bounceback" is referred to as either sticktion or hysteresis. It's extremely common in friction dominant mechanical designs. Overcoming sticktion can be, mechanically, a very expensive proposition. Finding a low cost, sticktion free design is antithetical.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #4
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The Libecs are quite good, but still not perfect. The are, however much better than the Vinten/Manfrotto that is so common nowadays. The one little snag with the Libec (I have a 55, with two stage drag settings) is that you have to be a little careful removing the lock on tilt, it is a very firm design, and unlocking it needs careful doing if you are zoomed in, else there is a distinct 'lurch'.

FOr me, the pan drag is a little different to the tilt, making a diagonal slow starting move a bit more tricky. I have a couple of old, but originally expensive and over-engineered Vinten heads, designed for much more massive cameras, and they are so different - but at a modest price point, I'm happy with the Libec, far better than the 503 and Vinten I have had in the past.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #5
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Ole,

I have toyed with the idea of doing a short video on the proper use to the tripod and heads. I am by no means an expert but I have a background in mechanics, hydraulics, machining and such and I have noticed that many people seem to miss use the systems. Not intentionally, but because they are uninformed. I have gone to the websites of many of the top manufacturers and not found the info that most people need. I have used a small spring to test my systems out, but Iím looking for a force meter that is light enough to use to make the video. People will need to see the readout to understand probably. That being said, until that time please read the information below.

Much of what is attributed to sticktion or hysteresis, as Bill stated, is simply misuse of the equipment. I know that many say that the 503 suffers from sticktion or hysteresis, but in all honesty I have two and don't find that condition.

Check these things:

1. Make sure that if your tripod has a crank up center column, that it is locked in place. They are able to move slightly if it is not locked. So lock it. Simple enough, but read on!

Tripods are being to be made lighter and more flimsy, for lack of a better word. But, they are still rated as higher capacity. I have two old Bogenís that are not sold anymore, and I would not trade them for much of anything out there right now. I donít know what my 3030aís were rated at when they were made but Iíd guess right around 15 lbs. This tripod today would probably be rated at 40+. I have graphite one that is rated at 77 lbs that seems less sturdy than the old Bogenís. About a year and a half ago I bought a new Bogen from B&H and when it arrived I found it to be so flimsy that I gave it away with a camera I sold. Well I did add a little to the price, but I got rid of it. It was rated at 13 lbs, if I remember correctly, and Iím sure it would support the weight without a problem. But, overall it was loose and flexed a lot. This adds to the problem!

OK, why is this important! See #2.

2. Make sure that the tilt and pan locks are totally released, sometimes they are not. Now, if you are going to do pans, which are where most complain about sticktion, release the friction in the head as much as possible. I donít mean that it should be fully released, but just have enough for you to feel a slight resistance and so that the camera does not move from a slight touch or after you release the handle. Now, why this is very important:

No head, regardless of the cost or manufacturer, can operate visually free of sticktion if the friction is set to high and the legs and such on the tripod twist with movement. You will be adding rotational torque to your tripod and causing it to twist. It is a very minor twist to be sure, but it will be there. It may not be noticeable to the eye, looking just at the tripod, as you pan back and forth, because it is spread out over the long flexible legs and unions or joints of the tripod, but you will see it in your viewfinder because the movement will be magnified many many times over. Any material bends, graphite-aluminum-steel, etc., it is less noticeable in some. Remember that you could bend a glass rod into a full circle if it were long enough.

3. Turn off any image stabilization systems. They will fight your movement and induce their own movement, even with the best head you can buy.


Sorry for the long post, Iíll work on the demonstration video, but try what I said. If it does not totally relieve the sticktion, it will certainly reduce it greatly. Remember, this will not cure a non-fluid head of all of its sticktion. Iím sure my old 501, gone now, would still have had some. But, remember it was not listed or called a true fluid head. There are many ďtypesĒ of fluid systems, and most will work acceptably if you follow these directions.

1. Lock down anything on the tripod that can be locked, center column, legs, etc.

2. Loosen the tension knob on your head as much as you can without loosing control of your camera. Even the best head made will induce rotational torque in the system if the tension is high.

3. And donít forget to turn any image stabilization systems. They will fight your movement and induce their own.

I hope this helps you out. JMHO

Mike
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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:04 AM   #6
 
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Mike..

very good advice!
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Old January 18th, 2007, 12:03 AM   #7
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My experience with a 503 is that it doesn't have problems with stiction; the head is easily capable of really smooth pans and tilts, BUT it has a huge bounce-back problem on tilts. The spring is way too strong for a 4 lb. camera and, unless you keep pressure on the head, it returns to the level mark so fast you could catapult something off of it. Outside of this issue, my experience is that the 503 is a very good head at a very reasonable price.

Best wishes,
Peter
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Old January 18th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
1. Lock down anything on the tripod that can be locked, center column, legs, etc.

2. Loosen the tension knob on your head as much as you can without loosing control of your camera. Even the best head made will induce rotational torque in the system if the tension is high.

3. And don’t forget to turn any image stabilization systems. They will fight your movement and induce their own.
Thanks, Mike. The problem I describe is there with image stabilization off, totally loose tension knob - and the tripod doesn't have a center column. Unfortunately, a number of other 503 users have the same problem (look eg. here: http://dvinfo.net/conf/showpost.php?...6&postcount=12 or http://dvinfo.net/conf/showpost.php?p=259573 or http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=13090) - there are several threads dedicated to the 503 head problem.

On my 503 the drift-back is very strong - I would not recommend it for a Canon A1.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 07:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rhalter
My experience with a 503 is that it doesn't have problems with stiction; the head is easily capable of really smooth pans and tilts, BUT it has a huge bounce-back problem on tilts. The spring is way too strong for a 4 lb. camera and, unless you keep pressure on the head, it returns to the level mark so fast you could catapult something off of it. Outside of this issue, my experience is that the 503 is a very good head at a very reasonable price.

Best wishes,
Peter
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Don't think that the 503 was designed with a 4 lb camera in mind! :) Any head with functional spring counter balance tilt springs would have that problem, unless it was specifically designed to handle a very light camera. You do need to stay withing the design perameters of the head.

Good thing we do a lot less tilts than pans isn't it? :)

Mike
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Old January 18th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #10
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Sounds like your mind is set on the Libec LS-38, so go for it, and you should be happy. But, if you read the posts you listed, which I had already, you will find problems with loose screws and image stabilization turned on, etc..

I would never say that the 503 is some perfect head, it is not perfect. I was just trying to point out the mistakes that some make. Two biggest ones are not having everything locked down, and the biggest I think is using much more tension than is necessary. The tension may feel good in your hand if you are not steady, but it twists the tripod.

Best of luck-------Mike
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Old February 9th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #11
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I know this thread is a little old, but I just wanted to add my experience with the 503.

I originally bought my 503 and 747B sticks (?? can't remember exactly) for my XL1s with a few accessories totaling 13lb. The 503 head worked great pan and tilt.

I've also suffered from the same problem Mike was mentioning about the entire set of sticks torquing. I always keeps my drag pretty tight because I just liked it that way, but on the pans the bounce back was terrible. I finally removed the drag almost to nothing and the bounce back was hardly noticeable at 16x zoom. I've also had trouble with the OIS faking movements I didn't intend... made pans terrible and I didn't know at the time OIS should be turned off, but it was solved when I got the 16x manual.

Anyway, I've recently sold that cam, and now I use the tripod with my A1 occasionally. The tilt problem is very apparent because the thing only weighs 4lb, but it pans quite nicely from what I can tell. Hardly any bounce back, but I haven't used it very much in different weather conditions, so it may get better or worse as the temp changes. The last experience I had was a pretty mild day in the 50s, and it was great.

I may eventually get another head and some better sticks, but I like the set I have now, and I really don't use the tripod as much anymore. It's quick to setup and easy to adjust, not to mention pretty light and easy to travel with. I think I paid around $400-$500 new from B&H, so it was really a good deal, and makes some ultra smooth pans/tilts if you weight it down a little.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #12
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I had bounceback problems when I first got my 503 much to my dismay. Two years and a lot of use later, it works like a charm. Once I got it tensioned right and worked it in the bounceback went away.

John
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Old February 13th, 2007, 01:16 PM   #13
 
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...or just hang 8 lbs of deadweight on the tripod. be sure it hangs from the CG. :o)
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