Browsing: Camera Support

Sticks and heads and other contraptions.

Camera Support
First Look at the Letus Helix

All images and text on this page are the exclusive copyright of the author, Zeb Beadle, and are published here with his kind permission. At NAB this year I walked the floor looking for the next new thing for a…

Camera Support
Review: Miller Solo Tripod and Compass 15 Head

When choosing a tripod the range of models available is confusing and baffling. There are so many different tripod weights, payloads and heights to choose from, so it can be difficult. Also while there is such a thing as a good all round tripod (as we shall se in a bit) there is also no such thing as one tripod that will be perfect for every shoot. The most important thing to consider when choosing a tripod is the payload that it will need to carry. This is the total weight of the camera, lens, batteries as well as any support equipment like rods and rails or monitors attached to the camera. Don’t underestimate how heavy this lot can get. You will want a tripod that can comfortably carry the payload you have, you never want to be right on the upper limit.

Camera Support
Review: Vinten Vision blue3 Camera Support System

The Vision blue3 is the third Camera Support System in the blue series, sitting somewhere between the original Vb, and the Vb5 I reviewed last year. The “blueBridge” Small Camera Adapter (SCA) is Vinten’s take, and an extremely well thought out one, on a Centre of Gravity (COG) lifter, a subject I talked about briefly last year in the Vb5 review. The only thing that has changed between the Vb and the Vb3 is a different spring rate. The sticks, case, spreader and head are in all respects identical down to the last detail, but for that spring change. So, if you want all the details, refer to my original Vb review. For this review of the Vision blue3, I’ll skip the usual format and concentrate on the Vb3’s place in the blue hierarchy, the measurable differences between their individual spring rates and, additionally, the effect of using the blueBridge SCA with them both.

Camera Support
DJI Phantom – Flying Commercially in the UK

To me the Phantom is a tool to which I can attach a camera to take stunning photographs or video from an angle that is totally alien to us. To some and sadly a few of our newspapers the Phantom is a drone, a device which is seen as being used for surveillance, to strip away our privacy. As responsible pilots we need to act in a manner that doesn’t harm this emerging market for aerial video and photography. My fear is that sooner or later a member of the public will be hurt by somebody flying irresponsibly. The press that will follow will put all multirotor pilots in the spotlight in a negative way.

My involvement with multirotors has up to this stage been as a hobbyist. I was introduced by a friend to this technology about 18 months ago and have fallen in love with it. I was involved with building my first rig, went on to buy a Phantom and have almost finished building the larger DJI S800. From this point on my interests are of a commercial nature, I want to provide aerial footage to a niche and specific market. To do this though however brings about what appears on the surface to be another set of complexities.

Camera Support
The Padcaster

Every year at NAB we see new and improved hardware accessories for taking mobile device video to new levels. Now, we have the Padcaster. The Padcster consists of an aluminum frame containing a rubber insert that will accept any second…

Camera Support
Review: Vinten Vision blue5 Video Support System

Another NAB, another Vinten review! Yes, it’s that time again: tinker and test, tweak and note, dust off the keyboard and set about disseminating the information. This is something of a “two for one” deal. This was necessitated by the fact that Peter Harman at Vinten kindly sent me the Vision blue5 for the review, and very nice it is too. However, it’s COG/ Mass graph quickly demonstrated that all of my Video cameras, even piled/ bolted one on top of the other, weren’t going to get the Counter Balance system to play ball in a fit. Cue: a mad scrabble to prise one of the very first prototypes of the new CB100 (more of that anon) out of my business / design partner / machine and powder coat shops in Texas. As I write this (eight days before copy deadline) it’s currently shown as “somewhere between Chicago (?) and New Zealand,” just what I really didn’t need.

Camera Support
Review: Manfrotto 504HD/ 546GBK Video Support System

The three levers, tilt, pan and slide plate lock, all have 6-position spring loaded lever arms allowing easy re–positioning at 60º intervals, although the latter two are not retained, so can easily be wound clean off the head. They all look readily replaceable in the event they take a fatal smack.

I have read somewhere that there is an issue with the slide plate lock lever swinging above the head plate and thus not allowing a “hippy” camera system to lock, or only with difficulty. As that lever only requires a 90º swing from full lock to off, and vice versa, and the lever arm is repositionable in 60º increments, if you can’t configure the lever arm not to swing above the head plate, you simply haven’t grasped how these levers work. This is a non-issue, and it’s simply not true.

Camera Support
Review: Libec RS 250M Video Support System

The pan, tilt and slide plate lock levers have stops preventing them from being accidentally unscrewed from the head. In addition, the slide plate lock lever has a 90-degree throw from horizontal against the “off” stop to vertically downward, which keeps it from swinging above the head plate, which would prevent it locking with some of the more “hippy” camera rigs. Should that change due to wear, it is adjustable using an Allen key. Interestingly, that lever shows no signs of self-locking during transit, which is a big plus, but its position down behind the RH pan bar rosette and lever is the usual pain for access. The head is very easy to level, perhaps the easiest of the bunch, as a result of having exceedingly smooth finishes to both the head ball and the receiver bowl, in combination with a very jitter free levelling bubble and a “bubble centre” dot aiding correct alignment, IF you can get a hand to the clamp knob, which I’ll go into later.

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