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Old November 23rd, 2015, 12:20 AM   #1
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Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

Found an awesome manfrotto tripod with a good head for a decent price, only issue is it has a ground level spreader instead of a mid level spreader.

How much of a pain in the butt is the ground level spreader going to be at a wedding?

These are the legs
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...&fromDisList=y
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 01:26 AM   #2
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

It'll be fine as long as you film on nothing but flat services. Occasionally though if outside or if setting up over steps or a ramp, the ground spreader will work against you.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 05:08 AM   #3
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

I've owned the 525 legs for years and while it came with a floor spreader, I've never used it because I have a center spreader for them. I don't remember the model # but I do remember they were inexpensive. I have never taken it off the legs. They fold up nicely with the spreader and the combo works great.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 11:05 AM   #4
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

I guess I could purchase a mid level spreader, but that's an extra $100

Last edited by Joe Riggs; November 23rd, 2015 at 12:25 PM.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 02:26 PM   #5
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

I use a ground-level spreader Manfrotto when shooting for a friend, and mostly find it preferable. I'd see how you get on with it at first, but I'm an inexperienced poster, so take what you will from it. I like kicking the centre part and then watching as it all comes together really easily... I don't feel I could be as rough as that with my Ace tripods.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 10:15 PM   #6
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

I've used a Manfrotto tripod that is very similar to this and I found that it was way too heavy and bulky to be practical for my use. If I were doing a commercial shoot or a shooting a short film I would go with something like it, but I tend to shoot on a tripod 60% of the day during a wedding and the one I had was not easy to use. Depending on your budget, I would look at something like these two:

Manfrotto MVK504AQ Spreaderless Video Tripod MVK504AQ B&H Photo


Manfrotto 504HD Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod 504HD,546BK


The 504HD head is pretty good and the legs on these will be much easier to work with than a set with a ground level spreader.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 10:41 PM   #7
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

G'day, gentlemen.

Ground level spreaders are a complete pain in the proverbial because of their intolerance of non smooth surfaces, even a wheeled dolly is preferable, if a lot heavier.

The Manfrotto 525 of yore was perhaps the worst HD video camera support Manfotto ever produced, the new one I cannot comment on but is definitely reworked from its predecessor, but I shan't hold my breath.

As for the 504/ 546 combo linked to below, this article by someone by someone claiming to be me didn't think much of it:

Review: Manfrotto 504HD/ 546GBK Video Support System

Bitching about spending 100 bucks if you're professing to shoot HD pro video is akin to not topping off your tanks before attempting to fly across the Atlantic in a 1930's plane, short sighted in the extreme.

Just my two cents worth.

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Old November 24th, 2015, 06:04 AM   #8
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

I use a Libec LS-38(2A) with a floor spreader and I haven't any problems as nearly all the locations that Id use it in would be pretty level.
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Old November 24th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #9
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

Can't remember if it was this same model but didn't like it and returned it in favor of a Sachtler. I found it to be heavy and cumbersome especially in regards to the mid level spreader. Seemed I had to fight with it deploying and packing up fingers pinched etc.

I've never found floor spreaders convenient. The times I could use the extra stability in theatrical performance I either limited by space or need to straddle seats.
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Old November 24th, 2015, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: Manfrotto TRipod with ground level spreader

To each his own I guess, but I used the 525 legs with a 501 head, a 501 HDV head, a 503 head and for about 3 years + a 504 head always with a center spreader and I can honestly say I never had a problem with the legs. I never pinched my fingers or found the legs to be overly heavy. I used everything from an 8 pound setup to a 25+ pound set up. Maybe it's just me and I learned the secrets to using the legs with the different heads over the years. Oh yes, I used Sachtler, O'Connor, Cartoni and Millers and while obviously the Manfrotto is not in the same league as most of those for what it is, for the money and the type of work I was doing the legs and especially the 504 head worked just fine with my various camera rigs. Like anything else you have to know the limitations of your gear and either be willing to work within those limits or get something else.
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