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Old September 23rd, 2014, 02:22 AM   #1
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Tripod for wildlife and nature films

I am photographer turned cinematographer and looking for good tripod for a wildlife and nature films. So, I use Sony FS700 with rig, CD Oddyssey7q, V-lock battery and heavy lens. Future upgrade to FS7 is possible.

What tripod do you recommend? It has to not only support weight of the camera&lens and smooth camera movements (moving animals), but also be lightweight and durable enough for field use.

I am ready to invest into really good tripod...

Thanks, Goran!

Last edited by Goran Safarek; September 23rd, 2014 at 03:48 AM.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 06:00 AM   #2
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

My tripod reviews here

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Old September 23rd, 2014, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Hi Goran,

I also do wildlife and am very happy with my Gitzo GT3531 tripod. It's carbon fiber and the legs are 3 section. It is solid, as it bears 9-10 kg of weight with the head and camera. It has a center pole, very useful when you need to raise the camera quickly, which I often do filming birds. I use a Sachtler FSB8 head which is superior to any of the Manfrotto heads I used to use in smooth motion and balance. The tripod and head together weigh 5-6 kg.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Have a look at Miller's Solo tripod with Arrow head. I have the Solo Arrow 25 combination which is great quality. Big, big advantage of the solo tripods is that you can spread the legs almost flat, so you can have a pretty low position above ground. For me the perfect tripod. Not cheap though.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Thanks!

Yes, low position is also very very useful, to get the eye level of smaller animals...

Last edited by Goran Safarek; September 24th, 2014 at 05:59 AM.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 07:03 AM   #6
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

The Gitzo tripod legs also spread down practically to ground level. Remember that at very low heights, grass and other objects will be in your line of sight. There is no Photoshop for video.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Hi
I can only recommend Sachtler fluid heads when you need movemens to work. I know it depends on where you are in your "video-life". A Sachtler 1006 DV 10 SB Fluid Head will work for your camera and the FS7.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

What is that heavy lens you refer to? Long focal lengths have need for greater stability.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 09:20 AM   #9
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Got to find the right balance between weight and stability. If you are carrying long distance a heavy tripod will really grind on you. My tripod is currently in the shop. While on an outing yesterday I borrowed an extremely lightweight tripod. What a joy to carry. But no way this could produce good stability but I guess better than nothing.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; September 24th, 2014 at 11:09 AM.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 11:47 AM   #10
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Michael View Post
What is that heavy lens you refer to? Long focal lengths have need for greater stability.
I use Canon 100-400 and even more often Canon 600mm. Considering though upgrading it to lighter 600mm II, if I manage to sell 600mm I at good price. Recently, Canon 200-400 with in-built 1,4 extender caught my attention, but it is rare even in photography, let alone cinema, at least what i know.

Last edited by Goran Safarek; September 24th, 2014 at 12:01 PM. Reason: precising the fact
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Old September 24th, 2014, 02:35 PM   #11
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

If you are doing wildlife cinematography, you might want to think twice before spending money on a prime lens. The ability to go from extreme close-up to wider on a moment's notice is hugely valuable in video.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 03:17 PM   #12
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

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Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
If you are doing wildlife cinematography, you might want to think twice before spending money on a prime lens. The ability to go from extreme close-up to wider on a moment's notice is hugely valuable in video.
Steve, I know that...but I had 600mm lens from days when I only took photographs, and I still use it for stills. Even for photography it is too heavy, but still, very useful in some situations in video. Speaking of long lens, any suggestions for wildlife cinematography, regarding 4k that I will mostly use?
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Old September 24th, 2014, 05:18 PM   #13
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

Sigma 300-800 for sure.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 10:42 PM   #14
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Re: Tripod for wildlife and nature films

If my understanding of 4K is correct, it is only available with a full sized sensor. If your crop factor is less than 2 (which it will be with a full sized sensor, no matter what lens adapters you use) then you are looking for a really long lens, relatively large subjects (heron size and larger) or the ability to get close, as in a blind or hide. A zoom lens with greater than 400mm focal length will be heavy, and less than pristine quality. The best zooms for wildlife are those like you already have. I assume you don't want to go the way of very expensive video lenses.

Have you thought of digiscoping? Reasonable cost, easy to do 4K, and in the right hands, gives excellent results.
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