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Old December 12th, 2003, 02:12 AM   #16
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Sorry, I either read that wrong or the post was edited. OIS means optical image stabilizer.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 09:49 AM   #17
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It's funny that you just described one of the most demanding uses of a tripod. The only thing tougher is recording a supercross or car race. At least with surfing you'll only need minimal panning.

However, if you do plan to pan to make your video more interesting you'll want stability. Using a tripod at HEAD HEIGHT will really seperate the "men from the boys", so to speak. The higher the pod the SHAKIER the pod. Even with my Gitzo, which put me a bit under a grand, at head height, it's not dead stable when zoomed in. Tripod capabilities from easy to hard are:

Wide angle... widest legs spread... lowest to the ground: easy.

Tele/zoom... normal to close spread (to achieve height): HARD.

You also mention light weight. Light weight pods are almost always less stable then heavier ones. Weight and stability are compromised to one another, but I'm sure somebody will disagree with me 'cause they got a carbon pod. The double leg models (two legs per leg, so to speak) are also more rigid then single leg models. Single leg models with a center column are the LEAST rigid when the column is extended.

Get a lightweight 3 leg with center column extended, to get that height, and then zoom all the way in on your surfer, and you'll find the slightest breeze will cause vibration in the shot. You'll notice that pretty much ALL pro tripods have no center column.

Since you want to spend the least I would recommend a bogen model with fat legs. Just pick a pod with high weight capacity. There's several models I like, but really anything under $500 total is pretty much going to be closer to a toy then a tool. I have a sub $250 pod that's great when I'm shooting wide and low with minimal panning. I don't bring the big pod into museums and places like that, but who knows maybe you'd be satisfied with something like that? Bogen 3021pro with 3130head or similar? I actually like that pod a lot... but it's junk in comparison to the big Gitzo. I can't imagine how nice it would be to use a REALLY high end pod.

With the Gitzo I can pan so smooth it's nuts. I can zoom into a picture and move around the picture alla "Ken Burns" style. You can turn an 8x10 into a :30 scene that's still interesting. I guess you could use a photo image pan program to do the same thing, but the point is that I couldn't even do that with the cheaper pod.

There have been a lot of times that I'm shooting with the Gitzo and I think, "Damn! I LOVE this thing!" I never thought that once with the cheaper one.

Try a pod with a head leveler and a counterbalance so that you can point your cam anywhere... up, down, whatever. You let go and it STAYS! I used a buddies pod/XL1 and I almost let the cam SLAM down when I let go of it. I forgot that not all pods HOLD the cam. Try a pod with those features and get back to me.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #18
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wow Matt,

thank you so very much for your input. man i guess i really have my work cut out for me. i got to go and see whats really right for me. it sounds like i will spend a pretty penny, eh?

well thanks again,

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Old December 12th, 2003, 12:43 PM   #19
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Frank, he said he *won't* be using image stabilization.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 05:19 PM   #20
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their advice is right on but as a surf videographer i use the bogen 501 with 3001 legs and i could not be happier (even more so because im a college student and i didnt drop a grand on a tripod)
the 501 is more than fluid enough for my needs, which includes filming reef breaks and filling the shot with the surfers body.
im sure a lot of people will disagree with me because they are using very high end pods but coming from a cheap ambico tripod...which still produced good shots i might add.. i am very happy with my pod and i believe a lot of filming surfing has to do with the filmer.
check b&h... i bought mine from them as a complete set and got a good deal on it.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 09:23 PM   #21
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thanks jerry i'll check it out. how are those east coast breaks, i heard you guys had a good huricane summer, eh?
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Old December 12th, 2003, 10:04 PM   #22
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we got great swell all fall... in fact that was what convinced me to get a new pod, a cheap wal mart plastic thing wasnt cutting it in the wind, a small gust would blow the cam all over the place.
with the 501 head, it is heavy enough to resist the wind and the heavier legs are a huge advantage when it comes to the wind...
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Old December 13th, 2003, 12:27 AM   #23
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i saw the 3001 bogen legs with 501 head on b&h website, i dont know jack about pods. to me it looks kinda cheap. but you say its good right. i know you cant judge it by a cheap little jpeg. it sure is affordable. you love it though. is it pretty accurate in the pans. you know when you got a cheap pod and you have to over exagerate your movements to get the proper response from pans and then you get to the correct point and let go and then it moves again? does that pod do that or is it stable and accurate.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 01:52 AM   #24
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Hi Joel,
I just had to get a word in here about those 3001 legs.
Right off I'll tell you that I've never used those legs.
But I currently own seven tripods, so I know something about them. And so, obviously, does Matt. I agree with everything he said.
Now here's my thoughts.
Due respect to Jerry, but my opinion is that there's
*no way* that those legs are gonna work for you.
Don't even bother looking at them. The good news is this: you are *not* gonna have to spend a bundle
to get what you want -- *if* you are willing to give
up the idea that you want a light-weight tripod.
Actually, in my opinion, your situation calls for a
heavy tripod anyway for the reason that, even if you
were to get a light weight tripod that was stable,
you are gonna be working in outdoors in the open.
The wind is gonna be whipping. That 3001 only
weighs 3 1/2 pounds. The head weighs as much
as the legs! And your GL2 isn't a heavy camera.
The wind is gonna be working on your whole setup.
When you're zoomed it, the wind is gonna ruin your
footage. Your situation calls for a heavy tripod
that's very, very stable. That 3001 setup is neither.
One problem with the 3001 is that it's very light
weight so it's flimsy. The second problem with it
is it's quite short. It's maximum height with the
column fully extended is 5 feet! How tall are you?
Do you want to be looking down all the time?
And like Matt said, almost any tripod, when
with the center column maxed out, will be very wobbly.
You won't be able to even touch your GL2 without
shaking the camera!
Here's what I'd advise. Like Matt said, that's a very
demanding situation you're shooting in. You need
a heavy tripod with either three thick legs or, if it's
the kind with two columns to each leg, you can
get away with thinner legs. And you need one where
the legs meet at a point that is neck height for you.
A center column does not matter. Go back to the B&H site and find all the Bogen tripods that fit that
description. I own a few like what I've described.
If you have questions about any particular models,
just ask.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 03:12 AM   #25
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ok thanks dave. i am very pleased to have so much info. iam 6 foot 2 inches tall. and heck no i dont want to be bending down all day long, my neck will be killing me. ok so if i find some models that i feel might work will you give me some feedback on those. matt gave me very good information i feel even a pod just under a "G" will be kind of pricy since i just got my gl2.

thanks all

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Old December 13th, 2003, 04:06 AM   #26
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You don't need to spend anywhere near a G.
If I've had experience with the model, I'll give my
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Old December 13th, 2003, 08:44 AM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jerry Ricciotti : the 501 is more than fluid enough for my needs, -->>>

You may very well find this to be the case, and coming from a cheapo tripod I'd agree that the 501 feels great. I have one and used it exclusively with a VX-2000 for several years. But once I started doing things that required full telephoto zoom I realized just how limited it is. Despite all my practice I absolutely couldn't get nice smooth pans and tilts. You will have to choose something that fits your budget, but just realize that there is a huge difference between the 501 head and the more expensive ones.

I think the "sweet spot" where you'll get the most bang for your buck is going to be the $700-$1000 range. From what I've seen, if you can't spend that much then you're probably just as well off to get one of the complete Bogen/Manfrotto kits in the $200-$300 range.

Now I mostly use a Miller DS-5 which I really like, and it was around $800 at B&H.
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