Davis & Sanford ProVista W3 ProVista 12 Tripod Kit. Is it good? at DVinfo.net
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 07:22 AM   #1
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Davis & Sanford ProVista W3 ProVista 12 Tripod Kit. Is it good?

I'm on a very tight budget trying to get started as an event videographer. My camera is a Sony HVR-HD1000U, which weighs about 6 lbs. My current tripod and head is too lght for it, so I need to get something heavier but with a fluid head that works well. How does this sound?

Davis & Sanford ProVista W3 ProVista 12 Tripod Kit in Camera Tripods at JR.com

They're including a dolly in the package, which makes it more attractive, but I don't want to jump in and buy it just because of that. If anybody has this, or at least the head (Davis & Sanford F12), I would like to know how smooth the head is, if you can do a nice pan and tilt without jumping.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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I am a newbie, so I won't comment on the tripod. However, as I was considering to buy this at some point, I can tell you that the dolly included is not considered very useful by some (unless you are using it just fro transportation of your tripod). There is a video here:

REVIEW: Universal Dolly Tripod W3 by Tiffen | Tux:Tops
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Old April 14th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #3
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Davis & Sanford Provista Tripod w/F12 Head

I bought one of these tripods off craigslist for $75. The tripod is exceptional for the money (new or used). The head stinks. There is stiction after sitting for just a few minutes. Every time you try to pan or tilt the head it sticks, then suddenly moves.

I took the head apart (requires a 10mm wrench) to see if it could be fixed. (Note: the fasteners are held in place with lock-tite. It may be necessary to heat the head to around 120 degrees to loosen things up.)

There was nothing visibly wrong. The slip/friction disks are made from soft plastic. The surfaces they slide against were not smooth.

I am an equipment engineer for a large aircraft company in the Seattle area. My impression is that they should have ground (if not polished) the bearing surfaces and the slip disks should have been made from UHMW polyethelene.

I lubed mine with a heavy wheel bearing grease. This only make the sticktion worse (far worse). I am going to try degreasing the parts and using silicone or graphite as a lubricant to see what that does. I also have an engine lathe and may make my own polyethelene slip disks.

If you buy this tripod, do so with the thought in mind that you may want to just toss the head. I put a Manfrotto 3126 on mine and it performs like dynamite.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #4
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im wondering is there a difference between the F12 and the F18 fluid heads?

B&H has the same kit w/ the F18 head for about $180...
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Old April 17th, 2009, 10:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
That video really cracks me up. Tripod dollies aren't intended for this use. They're merely used for static shots where one needs to reposition periodically. Funny stuff
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Old May 11th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #6
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Provista with F12 fluid head

I contacted Tiffen to see what it would cost to get the F12 fluid head repaired. They do not repair these. It costs $65 to replace it with a V12 fluid head.
I was quite disappointed in their response.
I do really like the tripod itself though.

I am currently using a Manfrotto 3126 on the Provista. I love that combination.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 06:23 PM   #7
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I had this before. The tripod is unncessarily heavy. Both the tripod and dolly, screws started to come out and disappear. Not very well assembled together.

I'm using Manprotto now. Much happier.

You can buy a similiar dolly at amazon for $40.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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About a year and a half ago I bought the Davis and Sanford 7518. Which I would reccomend before buying a Provista 12, because when your ready, you can upgrade and buy a 701 or 501 manfrotto head. Fits right on the 75mm half ball, except you'll have to cut the bolt a little short for it to fit the 701 as I found out today when I upgraded mine, no big deal. Or you can buy the manfrotto 520 75mm halfball about $44 at B&H, but cheaper to just cut the bolt. What I found with the FM18 Davis & Sanford fluid head that comes with the 7518, is that it gave me an undesireable amount of play when I would tilt up or down unless my pan was locked tight (lame). I would get a tiny little jerk followed by smooth movement. This is something you may not realize until you put a little weight on the tripod. But when you can upgrade to the manfrotto head it will solve that, meantime just be aware that it may do that, and try your best to compensate for it with super steady hands. You can find a 701hdv tripod head for $100 or less on ebay most of the time. From my experience with the D&S 7518 I've found that I like the strength and portability of the tripod legs, it's easy to kick/nudge the mid-level spreader up and move quickly from one place to another. Well there's my two cents hope that helps.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #9
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How to cure F12/V12 sticky heads

I have the ProVista tripod with V12 head. The V12 head also tends to stick like others had reported on the F12 head. There are several ways to fix this "stickiness".

On the front of the V12 head there's a self-stick V12 label (probably the same for the F12 head). Remove this label and you'll find an adjustable tension screw (big slotted white nylon screw) for the horizontal pan. You can try to dial the tension counter-clockwise to reduce the drag to see if the head now pans smoothly.

If that doesn't work (head still tends to stick) then:

- unscrew the tension screw, take it out of the hole. The tension screw attaches to an internal locking part to hold the head on the tripod.
- Take both the tension screw and the locking part out.
- Now you can lift the head off the tripod, clean all the lube/grease off the lower disc (the base that is still mounted to the tripod)
- Then use minimum 200-grid sandpaper and smooth the surface of the disc.
- Do the same for the mating surface of the head.
- Re-coat the sanded surfaces with silicon/lithium grease or your favorite grease.
- Re-assemble the head & attach the tension screw with its locking part
- Do panning test and clean off any leaking grease
- Enjoy your smooth fluid head
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