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Neil Fisher June 23rd, 2017 05:53 AM

Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
After many months of debating, reading thoughts from other people and trialing every possible option - I've believe I've finally found a great lightweight travel video tripod. I primarily document wildlife and a whole lot of travel is done on foot, so weight of the legs and head were the biggest priority.

For legs I was stuck between Manfrotto's 535 legs, Miller's Solo DV 3-stage legs and Gitzo's GT3542LS legs. I've used legs from all three of these manufactures previously and the reason I went with the Gitzo legs was their relatively short collapsible length, outstanding load capacity and fancy swap-able center port system.

The head was a bit easier of a decision. I've primarily owned Manfrotto heads previously, but used Sachtler heads for ENG work and I've never been satisfied with ANY Manfrotto head. Not to say Manfrotto doesn't build good heads - but they're just not anywhere close to higher-end Sachtler, Miller or O'Connor pieces. Things came down to Miller's DS-10, Sachtler's FSB-6T or Sachtler FSB-8T and ultimately the FSB-6 was exactly what I was after. The price difference between the FSB-6 and FSB-8 is significant and as the cameras I typically use aren't overly massive, the more affordable FSB-6 was the winner.

I've been using this, Gitzo GT3542LS and Sachtler FSB-6T tripod system with a Canon 1DxII and a 400mm 2.8L IS II and it's been a dream.

Big thanks to those who have openly discussed their success and failures in regards to light weight systems here - it's been incredibly helpful.

Here's a quick video I've put together to summarize things:

Shane Coburn July 22nd, 2017 12:21 PM

Re: Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
I'm going to be buying my first tripod soon, and found this video really helpful. Thanks for the review and tutorial! Also, the nature footage was fantastic.

Unfortunately, I don't have the money for this particular set-up right now. Was wondering if you had come across any cheaper combinations that, if you had been on something like a $1000 budget, would have been worth considering for you.

My camera set-up will be a GH5 (1.6 lb.), various Olympus lines (1.9 lb. being the heaviest), and Rode VideoMic (.5 lb.). Will add a XLR adapter eventually, but can't imagine I'll be balancing more than 7 lbs. on top of my tripod anytime soon. Also, I don't mind bearing the extra weight of aluminum legs so I can put a little extra money toward a good quality head.

Any thoughts on tripod combinations I should take a look at?

Mark Watson July 22nd, 2017 06:30 PM

Re: Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
Neil,

Very good choice in my opinion! I have been using my Gitzo Series 3 Systematic legs with the FSB-6 (side load) head and FSB-4 for a number of years now and it's always been a pleasure to use. I have the tripod packed in a suitcase right now as I prepare to visit Australia's Gold Coast. It's the off season I think but there might be some surfers out there yet.
I also have a lightweight Gitzo stills head that snaps right into the tripod base so my Canon 6D has a place to mount as well.


Mark

John Wiley July 23rd, 2017 07:47 AM

Re: Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
Mark, If you're looking to shoot surfing on the Gold Coast now is the best time of year. In fact you just missed an amazing swell that lit up several spots over the past two days. Duranbah will have decent waves most days throughout winter, and if the swell gets larger Snapper Rocks and Burleigh will generally put on a good show. If you have access to a boat or ski you'll find South Stradbroke Island is a consistent spot for quality waves and talent. Basically if there's any good waves on the Gold Coast, it'll be packed with pro's and punters alike all year round.

Mark Watson July 24th, 2017 08:15 AM

Re: Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
John,

Thanks for the tips. I spent about 4 hours at most of those places today. Very nice day and had some whales breaching in the background. Snapper Rocks was where I got my best surfing shots. Couldn't find my CPL for the AX53 though, and that would have helped.

... and the FSB-4 with Gitzo sticks didn't let me down.


Mark

John Wiley July 25th, 2017 02:00 AM

Re: Successfully Found Great Travel Combo
 
You probably wouldn't have missed the CPL there too much - you're often panning through nearly 180 degrees to track a surfer for a full ride, and the Polariser tends to give some weird effects in the sky when you're panning that much.

And it goes without saying that for a pan that long a nice tripod comes in handy!


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