It's time finally....I need a Good, TALL tripod at DVinfo.net

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Old June 2nd, 2007, 03:22 PM   #1
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It's time finally....I need a Good, TALL tripod

I have 20+ years in event videography and my two current camcorders are the Sony DSR 300A at about 16-17 lbs fully geared up and just purchased JVC HD200 for HDV needs which is several lbs lighter.

I jotted down notes from a videotaping seminar about 19 years ago that if you spent money wisely for a good quality tripod once you would always have it and be happy, as opposed to skimping and possibly buying over and over. So I spent about $1700 I think back then for a Sachler with about 16 lbs capacity but I've used it several lbs heavier a number of years ago with a different camcorder setup. And they were right I've loved it ever since. Pretty nice head, claw ball for ease of leveling, very light, spreader or legs individually placeable for difficult situations and very quick & easy set up. Plus light, hard round carrying tube. Perfect! What's not to like? The fact I guess it only goes about 68" tall max at it's minimum spreader width.

And from time to time I have to shoot from rear situations where I can't get elevated and am fine with an audience seated but it's the luck of the draw what I can still get when they stand at times. Who's tall, who's not.

Many times I have borrowed from one company that I shoot for a lot this "beast" of a bogen tripod with I think 3 sections and a center column. This thing weighs I'm guessing 25-30 lbs but can get you up probably 8-9 ft. Head is big and OK but doesn't make me want to replace that of my Sachler. And of course you miss having the claw ball for quick set up. I'm guessing for that kind of height you would have to lose it?

Is there anything out there under $600-800 that would give me that kind of height with a decent head and maybe in a lighter (but still stable) and still easy to set up package? Center post OK if that keeps it less expensive. For limited usage I hope not to have to spend a bunch here.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Last night was the final straw. I was pretty lucky actually with the luck of not too many tall people obstructing at times....could have been a lot worse. Good shoot all in all. But I thought enough...this is silly....buy a second tripod!
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 11:13 PM   #2
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I don't know about other brands but Bogens 3246 legs with a 516 or 519 head might fill the bill.
The legs with the center column raised will go to about 8 feet and the 516 head will handle the load. I do it all the time. Just keep in mind the stability with the center column all the way up is a bit shakey but there really isn't anything you can do about that. Any tripod with the column raised is that way.
The price is in the range as well. The legs are about 300 and the 516 head is about 500.
I've had 22lb rigs on the set up and it worked just fine.
Don
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 12:57 AM   #3
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Hi Ron,

About the stability issue, I've got a Bogen 3011 Tri-Pod with that pesky center pole. I've done 3 things to reduce/eliminate the shakies when brought to full height:

1) found a metal pole that fit snugly inside of the center pole tube, cut to length, and shoved it in. Pole now much more rigid.

2) found some HD plastic pipe (at Home Depot) that fit over the center tube, to go between the Head and the center leg mount, cut to size (pole fully raised), and now put it in place when using fully raised. Acts as an external shim/brace to the center pole. No more center pole movement.

3) use a 10# leg weight put around the center leg mount at the bottom of the center pole where it enters the leg connection unit. Whole system now more stable.

These 3 mods make the system very stable with the center pole fully raised.

At least it has worked for me. Simple, easy to do, and cheap.

Harold
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:14 AM   #4
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The 3011 legs are not really made for video cameras. I know some folks that use them but nothing too heavy on it. IIRC there is no spreader, the center column is not geared nor are the legs rated for any kind of heavy weight so the stability of the legs goes away completely. I've seen cameras come crashing down and die a fast painful death because the tripod wasn't made to handle the weight of the camera rig.
The 3246 is just one of many center column tripods that is made to handle higher weights, with doubled upper sections, big geared center column and center spreader. I only brought up the stability issuse with the center column because I have had it along with every other person I know that ues those legs with any kind of camera rig that weights more than about 7 or 8 pounds. But it is nothing more than science-the more weight, the higher you go, the less stable the the becomes. Not much you can do to make it rock steady but the amount of shake would probably hardly be noticeable.
Don
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 10:20 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses guys. I also continued to do searches like "tall tripods" and came up with maybe the same Bogen I've borrowed many times, a 3258. 17.4 lbs without head. 95.3 max height w/o center pole extended, and 105.2 with. So you don't have to put the pole so high (which I recall) or at all in some situations. Rated at 44lbs. I think why the borrowed one is so heavy is it also has a big ole outdated head on it too. But at Adororama they are advertising as "in stock" (it looks like as you can add it to a cart) the new 503HDV head which B&H says available in July. This is a great range for it, along with the new features, rated at 17.6 lbs and weighing 4.29 lbs. The two combined price in at $808.

Looks like that might be the best combo for elevated work off of the floor with a step stool or small step ladder which I also always bring to jobs.

I had also thought Friday evening about those collapsible platforms that get you up about 2 feet with shorter tripods, but they're even more money and heavy & bulky too. The tall tripod is probably easier all the way around.

edit....I also came across this slick item which looks like it would give close to the convenience of claw ball leveling on Bogen tripods that don't have them.

http://www.buytelescopes.com/product.asp?pid=11995

Last edited by Ron Fabienke; June 3rd, 2007 at 11:06 AM. Reason: more information
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 07:22 PM   #6
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Hi Ron,

Hope you did not think I was suggesting the Tri-Pod I have, I was only trying to point out that you can usually improve on most any piece of equipment's functionallity.

Do you use a small monitor mounted lower on the Pod, and perhaps an extended length control handle, so you don't have to stand on a step ladder or such for the whole event ??

Harold
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:43 PM   #7
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Have you considered?

Hi Ron:

Just thinking out side the tripod box here, rather than trying to put the camera way up high on a tall tripod, have you considered renting or purchasing a Spider Pod? I have used them with great success in similar situations. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...d_Support.html

Enjoy!

Dan
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 09:34 PM   #8
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I don't mind standing on the top step of the short black step ladder (I have foam wrapped on the top of the U of the frame with black electrical tape and it's fairly comfortable to lean into with my legs about a foot above the knees. With the 300A I bought and rigged up underneath the B&W viewfinder with a small stiff piece of wood, velcro and a thin black bungy cord a Nebtek 5" diagonal color monitor which really makes tripod work a lot easier than having to have eye tight to the viewfinder for long periods. Can precisely focus there and then use the light weight monitor with a Sony lithium battery right below it to monitor for most minutes of the shoot. Even use it hand held and it's peace of mind to know what the color is while shooting. Very proud of the setup.

And yes Dan, the Spider Pod is what I was referring to above when I mentioned collapsible stand. Those look really nice but are pretty expensive and around 40lbs. Very cool though!

Actually, I just looked at that link and it's a less expensive version and lighter than another version I've seen before and found again on line. That other one is like $2,500.
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