Bogen quality starting to slide? at
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Old April 9th, 2004, 12:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: California
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Bogen quality starting to slide?

I just received a 503 tripod head, a 3502 leveling head, and some 3046 legs from B&H. In putting them together I ran into a variety of problems, some of which were fixable via adjustments and some that I am still wrestling with.

The first problem was with the leveling head. The fixed adjustment screws were tightened so much that you could barely move the ball, even when the lock was completely loosened. I re-adjusted the fixed screws and the lock and now it works OK, although the ball doesn't seem as smooth as the first one I bought a year ago.

The 503 had similar adjustment problems. Even when completely loosened, the pan lock was too tight, resulting in a grating sound and some physical drag anytime you rotated the head. (How could this have gotten past inspection?) I fixed this by readjusting the lock setting.

I also noticed that the 503 head makes a fairly loud popping noise anytime you try to rotate the head relatively quickly. I think the grease in the head is sticky, and under rapid rotation, makes popping sounds as it intermittently releases. The problem is minimal at no drag, but as soon as you turn the drag up to a normal level, the problem becomes significant. If you pan very slowly the pop doesn't occur, but if you move quickly it does. I don't have a solution to this problem. In your experience with the 503, is this normal?

The tripod has its own noise problem. When you crank the head up and down using the crank arm, you get a very annoying spring scraping noise and a clunk for each rotation of the crank. I don't usually crank this up and down during filming, but sometimes I do make some adjustments. I notice that the hole in the 3046 that accepts the crank cylinder is significantly larger than the diameter of the crank cylinder, perhaps to the tune of 1/16 inch. When you turn the crank, the cylinder wobbles back and forth in the hole causing the clunk. The spring noise may be related to this fit issue or it may be due to a change in spring materials or a lack of proper lubrication. On my Bogen 475 tripod, the crank cylinder fits nice and snugly into the 475 hole, and there is no noise or clunk when raising or lowering it. Is this situation normal for the 3046 legs? If not, then I may send the tripod back for another. If it is, then I'll know that I cannot afford to move this during filming if I am depending on the camera mike for sound. Does yours have a similar problem?

I wonder if Bogen is making changes to their designs and materials in an effort to get costs down. I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising production engineer was making changes in the interest of reducing costs, without realizing the impact it might have on the characteristics of the final product...Or perhaps the quality control of their assembly processes has diminished as they bring up new manufacturing locations. In any event, I am disappointed by the worksmanship from a company that I used to believe delivered top notch products right out of the box.

Any thoughts?
Alan Christensen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2004, 01:31 PM   #2
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Location: Chicago, IL
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I own 3 sets of 3046 legs and have never heard the noise that you speak of. As for the 503 head, perhaps the grease needs to be worked around to fill all the gaps inside? I'm guessing on that but again my heads both 501 and 503 work fine.

I can't imagine Bogens quality control would go that far down the drain in that short a period of time. Scarey.
Good luck
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2004, 04:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 90
I have the exact same noise; mine is because the veritcal support post is not tightened with its 'thumbscrew' bolt.
So, when its tightened, you can't move up or down. This is ok since u not going to be raising AND panning too often :)
Richard Maloney is offline   Reply

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