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Old November 10th, 2008, 04:54 AM   #1
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Portable wind blocker

Hi,

I am working with the EX3 and long Nikon still lenses. I realize that even the lightest breeze introduces unacceptable vibrations. I don't think a heavier tripod or camera+lens support can avoid that.
I feel the only way to get rid of these vibrations is to protect the camera+lens from the wind. I bought a big umbrella which I mount on a separate tripod and it seems to do the trick.
I wonder if anyone else uses this or a similar solution.

Cheers,

Ofer Levy Nature Photographer
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Old November 10th, 2008, 05:10 AM   #2
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Well I guess it can also keep the camera dry too? With a decent tripod and head, I don't have any problems - and I live in a really windy exposed area. I did some stuff recently where I could hardly stand up, but the images were solid
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Old November 10th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #3
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Well I guess it can also keep the camera dry too? With a decent tripod and head, I don't have any problems - and I live in a really windy exposed area. I did some stuff recently where I could hardly stand up, but the images were solid
Thanks for your input Paul, what tripod and head do you use? I guess you are using relatively short lenses. I am referring to a 3000mm effective lens which I really don't see how it can be used in strong wind with no vibrations, but I would be very happy to learn.

Thanks,
Ofer

Last edited by Ofer Levy; November 10th, 2008 at 08:11 AM.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #4
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Ofer,

It looks like you have found the one big draw back with long lenes. You can get it stable but you do need good mounting plates/rails, a top range tripod HD tripod ( I see you are in AUS havea look at the top end Millers). You then need to make sure it is well balanced so that it remains postioned where ever you angle it. Then its down to plenty of practice.

Hope this helps

Regards

Mick
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Old November 10th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
Ofer,

It looks like you have found the one big draw back with long lenes. You can get it stable but you do need good mounting plates/rails, a top range tripod HD tripod ( I see you are in AUS havea look at the top end Millers). You then need to make sure it is well balanced so that it remains postioned where ever you angle it. Then its down to plenty of practice.

Hope this helps

Regards

Mick
Thanks Mick, I have discovered Miller tripods and I am using nice CF Miller legs as welll as the very nice Miller Arrow 25 fluid head....(-:
However, as I have said, I don't think any tripod/head/balancing/practice can totally eliminate the vibrations caused by the wind when using very long lenses.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #6
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Hi Ofer,

I also use a twenty five which I got from direct from Millers here in the uk. Fortuanetly they are close to where I live and was able to do a lot of testing in their with one of their aussie directors whilst he was here in the UK . I use it with Canon XL1h. I have to agree with you It is difficult to keep steady. Another tip I forgot to mention is to keep the legs wide and the camera not to high. Another thought would be to use a portable hide for protection. Most of my filming here in the Uk is in forest conditions which does tend to act as a bit of a wind break.

I know it sounds odd but useing rails with a mount that lifts the camera 1.5cm above the tropod mount gives a better centre of gravity and more stability.

Sorry can't be of any more help

Regards

Mick
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Old November 10th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
Hi Ofer,

I also use a twenty five which I got from direct from Millers here in the uk. Fortuanetly they are close to where I live and was able to do a lot of testing in their with one of their aussie directors whilst he was here in the UK . I use it with Canon XL1h. I have to agree with you It is difficult to keep steady. Another tip I forgot to mention is to keep the legs wide and the camera not to high. Another thought would be to use a portable hide for protection. Most of my filming here in the Uk is in forest conditions which does tend to act as a bit of a wind break.

I know it sounds odd but useing rails with a mount that lifts the camera 1.5cm above the tropod mount gives a better centre of gravity and more stability.

Sorry can't be of any more help

Regards

Mick
Thanks Mick, I think a portable hide is the ultimate solution for this problem. However, I currently film with the tripod legs nearly fuyyy extended so a hide wouldn't be tall enough. I think the umbrella is a reasonable solution but I need to test it some more.

Cheers,

Ofer
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Old November 10th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #8
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You can also hang a sand bag from the hook under the tripod head or even lay the sandbag over the camera. Obviously, the heavier and sturdier your tripod is the better off you'll be.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #9
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I have tested my system (Canon XLH1,Canon 100-400 zoom, Bogen 516 head, Gitzo Studex very heavy tripod) and found that the wind instability seems to be greatest at the point where the camcorder attaches to the head via the mounting plate. My "research" consisted of wiggling parts of the system. There was very little wiggle in the legs, regardless of the substrate they were on. The same with the head itself, but wiggling the camcorder gave huge movements (telephoto speaking) both horizontally and vertically and the movement seemed to be centered at the joint mentioned above.
Ofer, your idea of an umbrella on a tripod sounds intriguing, but how do you keep it from just blowing into you and the camcorder in a stiff breeze? Also as far as portability, it doesn't seem like a setup that would be too airline friendly with their new baggage restrictions and costs.
One last question. It seems (at least with my setup) that wind causes bigger vertical than horizontal movements. Does anyone else see that? It's counterintuitive.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:58 AM   #10
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Hi Ofer,

I have just spoken to a friend who films a lot of wildlife footage for the BBC. He uses mainly hire gear depending on the budget. His advise is similiar to what has already been said. His tripod of choice would be a Ronford Baker, heavy duty camera mounting supporting both camera and lens. This eliminates most problems vibrations. High winds are always going to be trouble its a matter of as you say is shielding. He would keep the legs wide and low to the ground and wherever film from a sheltered location. If this is not possible then its a matter of spending long enough in the field to obtain enough footage in the hope that some of it may be usable.

If it is of help during editing I have recently had to resort to a stabilisation program Prodad Maccelli (I think that is how it is spelt) This was to stabilise some tiger footage shoot from the back of an elephant.

Regards

Mick
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Old November 11th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #11
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Hi Steve,
I am using it for light winds so when attached to my spare Miller Solo CF tripod there is no problem. Regarding portability - this is not something I would take to climb the Everst but for every day use its not that bad.

Thanks again for your helpful input guys!
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Old November 11th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #12
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Hi Ofer,
I just had a look at your website. I love your photos. One that did catch my attention though was the one of your bub holding onto the leg of your tripod with your camera attached. I would strongly recommend that you look at getting some rails to mount your camera to your tripod with. This will have a huge effect on how stabil your shots will be. Since you currently have only the lens mount fixed to the tripod, you will get a lot of movement between all the components. I bought my rails from this place http://www.cinevate.com/website/index.php/products/
and have been really happy with the results i get with them, plus you can of course then use a follow focus with it, which is a huge help when you are dealing with such shallow depths of focus. There are lots of others out there, have a look at the sponsors websites, i'm sure they will stock something that will suit your needs.

Regards,

Bryce
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bryce Comer View Post
Hi Ofer,
I just had a look at your website. I love your photos. One that did catch my attention though was the one of your bub holding onto the leg of your tripod with your camera attached. I would strongly recommend that you look at getting some rails to mount your camera to your tripod with. This will have a huge effect on how stabil your shots will be. Since you currently have only the lens mount fixed to the tripod, you will get a lot of movement between all the components. I bought my rails from this place http://www.cinevate.com/website/index.php/products/
and have been really happy with the results i get with them, plus you can of course then use a follow focus with it, which is a huge help when you are dealing with such shallow depths of focus. There are lots of others out there, have a look at the sponsors websites, i'm sure they will stock something that will suit your needs.

Regards,

Bryce
Hi Bryce,
Thank you for your input and kind words!
I am really not trying to argue just want to share my experience and listen to what you all have to say as this is how I learn. Today was the first time I used the stock lens. No vibration even when zooming all the way and even managed to get some decent flight shots in SM. I am quite impressed with the servo AF ability of the EX3 !
One thing I have realized though - it is a totally different thing working with the stock lens as opposed to working with 3000mm effective lens.
I doubt it if anything can eliminate vibrations caused by wind or touch when working with such long lenses. I don't think any rail is needed too as when there is no wind I get perfectly steady, vibration free shots.
Bar support system has many advantages including the ability to use follow focus as you mention but from my experience it is not practical when working with very long lenses like the 400, 500 and 600.
This is just my impression.
Cheers,

Ofer

Last edited by Ofer Levy; November 12th, 2008 at 01:26 AM.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 03:12 AM   #14
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Hi Ofer,

I know you are sceptical about rails, but they do work. As you said in still conditions all is ok. It is a matter of degrees, in extremly windy conditions shake is going to be difficult to eliminate. But, you can help to delay when the shake/vibrations start by having a a more stable kit. Don't forget rails also brings the tripod mounting to a more central point giving you a better balance and in turn more stability.

Regards

Mick
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Old November 18th, 2008, 02:46 PM   #15
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Ofer,

I am a little late on this thread but I thought I would share some thoughts:

A rail is one of themost important tools you have if you use big lenses!!
I tried a cava vision carbon rod rail first, just did not do the job (wasn't ment for that anyway)
I built a rail but it was to much of a pain to use but it was a mild improvement.

I broke down and had a rail made. wish I had done that two years back!! It was not cheap but it was worth every penny!!

While the rail is important as others have said, the legs and head are paramount too.

I use a vinten vision 6 and a gitzo 1380. I am partial to the vinten as i do not have to change springs!!

I have a farely heavey set of manfrotto legs. The combination of the three has made a huge difference.

Here in the canadian prairies we have punishing wind every day it seems!! 50 k today.

I shoot with lenses up to 500mm and if you follow the prior suggestions of getting low, block the wind in some fashion and use a rail you will be elated at the improvement!!!

Here is the picture of the rail I had made.
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