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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 1st, 2014, 09:59 PM   #1
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Tripod recs

Looking to seriously update our tripods and monopods. Shooting on HMC150s and occaasionally an AC-90 so need something study for the weight, but light weight for lugging around. Not sure on budget at this time but would love to hear your suggestions. would really love advice from people shooting with similar gear. Also would like to support a short slider as well, but willing to get one devoted just to that purpose if needed. Advice appreciated!
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Old December 1st, 2014, 10:45 PM   #2
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Re: Tripod recs

I shot on HMC150s for about 4 years (still do for some events) and I have been using the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Aluminum Tripod. This was recently replaced with the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Aluminum Tripod which looks very similar and I can't really see any significant changes made to it.

The version that I own received 1093 reviews on B&H and averaged five stars so it's been used by LOTS of people and most of them seem very pleased with it. It's very easy to use when you're on the move, it's also quite sturdy and lightweight. The center column raises up quite high in case you need to get a high angle shot or shoot over the top of people. For the price I would say it's one of the best values for most applications with handheld cameras.

I own two of them and with each tripod I have a Manfrotto 701HDV fluid head. While I would certainly buy the tripod again, I probably would not buy the 701 head because it really doesn't give consistent fluid movements. I've found that when doing pans and tilts I've had to try the shot a few times before I felt like I got it. I have not yet upgraded the heads so I can't recommend a better one, but I would say you may want to go with a fluid head that costs more than the tripod because in the end the head is going to make more of a difference in the quality of your shots.
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Old December 1st, 2014, 11:31 PM   #3
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Re: Tripod recs

Hi Katie

I have been using 3 Weifeng bowl tripods for 5 years now and they are still going strong and half the price of the big brand names. The bowl makes levelling so quick and easy that I couldn't live without the feature. My Sony's are around 2kg+ and they take them in their stride. I'm too stingy to pay $1K for a tripod so just over $200 is more my style!!

However they do have one negative ...Because they are multi-tube like the Libec's they do weigh a bit more than the single tube legs but I still prefer them

Chris
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 10:46 AM   #4
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Re: Tripod recs

And here I thought that spending $7000 on a tripod was doing it "on the cheap"!

Shopping tripods is dangerous to the wallet since there is that trap of "for only a little bit more I can step up to that one. And for a little bit more than that I can step up yet again.". I start out browsing the Sachtler Ace and next thing I know I am browsing the Sachtler 18's with carbon fiber legs, speed balance, and speed lock.

If you have to cut corners, cut corners more on the legs than on the head. The head is your pan / tilt action. The head is your shot. You can always catch the camera before it hits the ground after the legs collapse on you!
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: Tripod recs

Thanks guys! Currently my husband is shooting with a tripod that operates one leg at a time, while I have been on one with a mid-level spreader....I prefer the spreader for ease of picking up and moving quickly (I didn't say that in my original post, but I was open to any suggestions! ) I feel like it just collapses up and I can move right away, whereas with his, it's one leg at a time and slower. I think I've converted him too, anyone out there have suggestions with a mid-level spreader? I've used one with floor spreader and hated it, I found it too clumsy to maneuver.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 07:33 PM   #6
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Re: Tripod recs

A friend of mine has the Manfrotto 504HD Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod System. Right now there is a $125 mail in rebate until the end of the year so that the system ends up around $625 after rebate. This head has very good ratings and many people say it performs similarly to heads costing twice as much. The tripod has a mid level spreader, is very solid, and will handle very heavy loads. It will raise up pretty high and because the head fits in a 75mm bowel it's very easy to level as you just need to twist the handle and then adjust the head (rather than adjusting the legs).

In case you had look at the Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod with FM18 Head, I would NOT recommend this. This is a very popular and inexpensive set up which is why I purchased one a while back. Unfortunately it has gotten little use because it is awkward to use, bulky, and takes longer to set up than any other tripod I've owned. So I would suggest going with the Manfrotto setup I mentioned if you're looking for a head and sticks. If you just need the tripod then the 546B still has the $125 rebate so you would just need to find a nice fluid head for it (I don't know that you'll find one as good as the 504HD for less money though.)
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