Bogen + Spiderbrace = best tripod I've ever had at
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Old September 14th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Posts: 16
Bogen + Spiderbrace = best tripod I've ever had

My "daily driver" fluid heads are a pair of Bogen 701RC2s. I use them on a (Bogen) monopod with the little bottom legs that fold out, on a set of 190XDB legs for mobile/runaround work when I still want/need a tripod some of the time, and on 3021 legs when I'll be in one place for a while and/or need to get the vidcam 7' high to see over an audience. The monopod and short legs fit in my carry-on luggage, and the longer legs fit nicely into my standard (wheeled) checked bag. I travel a fair amount, so packability is important to me.

One thing I need to do stable pans is a seriously long pan handle. The Bogen standard handle is simply not long enough. I was going to make a longer one, but before I did I tried mounting a Bogen RC2 plate/mount on my Spiderbrace, with the plate on the bottom and the mount on top. This was dirt-simple to do (5 minutes with a phillips and 5 with a straight-slot screwdriver and crescent wrench) and allows me to use the Spirderbrace itself as my tripod pan handle.

I have RC2 plates on my Canon XH-A1, my Sony A1U, and my old Sony TRV900. I can pop any of them on or off of either tripod or the monopod by flipping a single lever. I have 2 Spiderbraces, and once again, flip the lever ON or Flip the lever OFF for a one-second conversion from walkaround to tripod work and back again.

I found some little Benk (also sold by Digital Concepts) cheapie LANC controllers (~$30) that fit nicely on the Spiderbrace, although I had to use a little gaffers tape to build up the diameter of the front hand-holds to mount the controller there for hand-held work. These controllers don't feel durable, but they do the job nicely, and at that price I happily grabbed a couple of spares "just in case."

The only other piece of camera support equipment I use is a Flycam (low-cost Glidecam knockoff from India) and once again I have an RC2 mount on it -- and I have pre-marked the adjustment balance plate for the XHA1 in my usual configuration and for the A1U with and without my (heavy) .7 wide-angles lens. I handle the weights of the two different cameras by sliding the bottom counterweights up and down as needed -- again, to pre-marked spots.

Minus the Flycam, I'd say all my support gear -- for two cameras -- cost under $1000, but since I've accumulated it over a period of time I don't have the exact numbers handy. Figure $500 or so to equip a single cam, perhaps with one fluid head, one set of tall legs, a Spiderbrace, and possibly a monopod.

As far as a Flycam, Glidecam, Steadicam, whatever..... I've gotten good enough with the Spiderbrace that I don't really need anything fancier to keep my hand-held work looking good. I only haul out my Flycam for things like running down a street or other specialty stuff, and I don't really do enough of that these days that I'd buy it over again if I was building a full kit from scratch today.

I've used some hellaciously expensive tripods and other support gear, but what I've described above does all I need with an XH-A1 or something lighter/smaller. I mean, even with an oversized battery, a shotgun mic and wireless receiver, and the wide-angle lens I hardly ever use on my XH-A1, I'm supporting less than eight pounds. With a smooth hand and a long pan handle, you don't need a heavy/costly tripod or head to make your shots look good when you're using such a light camera, HD or no HD.
Robin Miller is offline  
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