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Old September 10th, 2004, 09:38 AM   #1
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Best Tripod for Weddings

HI everyone,

Im just starting to get into wedding videography, and im wondering which Tripod setup i should get to put my dvx100a on.???

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

thanks,

kevin
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Old September 10th, 2004, 09:55 AM   #2
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something light, and not too ostentatious..

a single leg setup with a 501 or 503 head should suffice with a manfrotto 055 leg rig..
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Old September 10th, 2004, 12:57 PM   #3
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Yeah I'm using a 501 head now and would like to step up to the 503 head sometime- a true fluid head. The 501 is a semi-fluid head but uses teflon resistance.

I'm using the 3011bn legs (the simple black ones with leg warmers) think it's marketed as being a "wilderness" tripod beings it does have retractable spikes.
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Old September 10th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #4
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Tou might want to look at Libec. They make an excellent line of fluid head tripods for very reasonable money.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 07:57 AM   #5
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I have the 501 head with 3021/055 legs, and I paid $200 US for both, brand new.. Very pleased indeed.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 02:25 AM   #6
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Vinten...

I don't know about the US, but you will hardly ever see a pro using anything else in Europe. The 'Pro-Touch' series is affordable and excellent.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 11:36 AM   #7
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You have the same requirements in a tripod for weddings as you would for ENG work. Fast setup, stable, quickly leveled, very smooth pan and tilt with quick locks that don't interact with the drag for either movement. If you have to mess with the tripod, you are missing part of the wedding.

To me that knocks out the cheap Libec, the Pro-Touch Vintens (relabeled Manfrotto designs) and even the Manfrotto 503 which is not a true fluid head regardless of what they claim. Put a little wear on even the best of these and you will see what I mean.

It is unfortunate that the lowest cost tripod heads cost a minimum of $500 but thats what it takes to build a true fluid head. A decent set of sticks is about that too at a minimum.

With a tripod, you really do get what you pay for. That means you will eventually want to step up to something like a Miller DS-5, the Vinten Vision 3, or OConnor DV (if you have a heavier camera).

Once you've tried one of these real fluid-head tripods, you will know what the lower cost products are lacking. There is simply no comparison and the control they bring to the party is amazing.

It is very interesting to watch someone who has never had a pro tripod in their hands operate one. Sort of an, "Oh, that's what they mean," smile is the standard reaction.

One of the nice things about pro tripods is that they have very long lives in normal service. If you buy a used unit and nothing is missing or broken, they are very likely going to work and work well. When they need service, their manufacturers will service them even if the tripod is quite old.

I've purchased all of my fluid heads and most of my tripods on ebay with absolutely no problems. The latest, an OConnor 515/35a combo for my DSR-300 was snagged for $600 (it had a few missing levers and a missing camera plate). I added $385 in new parts from OConnor and have a fully functional pro tripod that today would cost me about $4700 list.

The little fluid head that Miller made for Super8 cameras costs about $150 used and is perfect for the smaller cameras. The Miller Master costs around $200-$300 and is perfect for a PD-150 sized camera.

The nice bit about tripods and tripod heads is that one can always get them to fit together because of the standardized mount and screw specifications. At least I've never found a set that cannot be fastened together.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 12:20 PM   #8
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I thought the 503 was the first true fluid head tripod on the Bogen line-up. The 501 is advertised as "fluid head" but uses teflon resistance knobs.

I just invested in a 503 and some legs last week- the difference between the 501 and 503 are alarming. I thought the 501 was smooth!...wow
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Old October 4th, 2004, 01:05 PM   #9
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I do not believe it is a 'true' fluid head, Glen. It is still a simple friction-disk setup. It is very hard to get the truth out of manufacturers.

In reality, the difference between the 'true' fluid head technology and other heads is one of degree.

The 'true' fluid heads use a 'disk pack' that is comprised of a set of disks attached to a shaft that exits the pack on one side and another set of disks attached to another shaft that exit the pack on the other side. A silicon fluid is poured into the cavity of the pack and acts as a dampner on the relative motion between the two sets of disks. An external lever can create pressure between the two sets of disks and thereby adjust the drag between the two sets. The whole thing is sealed up so it won't leak or become contaminated.

OTOH, the less expensive heads tend to have single disks or friction elements that are not sealed and to a large extent they also have poorer bearings. So even if they have silicon fluid between a set of disks, it is likely to eventually squeeze out or become contaminated. On top of that, they frequently use the same control to lock as well as control drag.

A good example of this is the low-end Libec tripod. If one releases the pan lock, the head will uncontrollably tilt back and forth on that joint. Take it apart and the reason is easy to see. There is a very small bearing at the top of the pan joint and a pair of concentric cylinders below, between which is some silicon grease. The pan lock/drag presses against the cylinder attached to the top of the head with a brake shoe. The only bearing surface on the bottom is formed by the two cylinders which are in turn, separated only by the silicon grease. No wonder it flops around. Over time, the joint will become contaminated and the drag will increase until the head is unusable.

In addition, the cylinders are made from a soft metal and will wear with use, making the joint even more floppy and the pan even more uneven.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:36 AM   #10
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I've read in other online forums from supposedly people in the know that the 503 is a fluid head but it has only one fluid pak for panning and tilting versus two that the better heads do.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:21 PM   #11
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Quick, someone tear theirs apart and look!
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Old October 11th, 2004, 06:17 AM   #12
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LOL
i like the ds10 with the Carbon fibre lightweight legs..

cost me a fortune, but it does work a treat (aussie made too ;) )

i still use my 501, after 4 yrs of service, its never let me donw, as heavy a a brick shithouse, but it still works a treat... :)
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