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-   -   Gear head (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/tripod-sticks-heads/90807-gear-head.html)

Joe Bowey April 5th, 2007 06:38 PM

Gear head
Has anyone used the Bogen 3263 gearhead for a video camera? I have the jcvhd100ua camera and looking for a cheap gearhead.

John Beale April 13th, 2007 07:15 PM

By odd coincidence, I have the exact same question. I'd really like to be able to make smooth fine adjustments which I just cannot do with my current 501 head. Geared heads have a mystique and are thought to be very difficult to learn but I haven't tried one yet.

Jaron Berman April 13th, 2007 07:54 PM

Geared heads are generally used for heavy rigs and for super-precise moves. Then there's the hot gears, but thats essentially a remote-gear head. For the majority of moves, a good fluid head is plenty, especially when 20 yr. old motion picture gear heads cost a few times what that particular camera costs. Bogen makes some nice gear heads for still photos - I use one with my 4x5 gear because it is so precise. BUT, it's not at all meant for motion use - there's a lot of slop at the beginning and end of moves, there is no consistency in the drag - depending on how soft or hard you let go of the handles, it has more or less drag. And, it's only 1-speed, a very very fine adjust speed. True gear heads have either multiple speeds, or are at least tuned to a moderate pan/tilt pace.

If you're looking to get practice on a gear head, there are some old bolex heads out there for basically nothing, or you could check rondexter.com - he has plans for a homemade practice head using cheap machine-tool parts. But these days, it would be a rare occasion to run into a job that's using only gears...not totally impossible, just rare.

Or you could always get a good fluid head and spend some time practicing on it. The 501 isn't a fluid head, and while it can "carry" a great deal of weight for its price, its anything but precise. Invest a chunk of change into a decent head, and all of a sudden, you may forget all about "needing" a gear head to make accurate moves. There are hundreds of opinions all over this board concerning the relative merits of basically every tripod/head combo out there under $10,000. But I'd suggest that unless you're day-playing on film shoots on a regular basis, you may find your time and money better invested into getting a good fluid head and learning its nuances.

John Beale April 29th, 2007 02:08 AM

fluid heads - internal photos
I was interested to note that the larger fluid heads that O'Connor makes for film cameras range in price from $6k to over $14k. http://www.ocon.com/fileadmin/user_u...rices-2007.pdf
I had no idea you could spend that much on a head, not even including the tripod. That is of course much more than my HDV camera costs.

I picked up a very old O'Connor model 30 head from Ebay. You can see photos showing some of the insides, and for reference a partly disassembled Bogen 501 head, here: http://www.bealecorner.com/fx1/OConnor30/index.htm

The 501 head is vastly simpler in design than the old O'Connor #30. The 501 does not even seem to have any ball bearings or roller bearings. It looks like just a plain bearing and some grease, so I can see why its motion would not be as precise.

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