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Old September 10th, 2019, 02:25 AM   #1
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Time to bite the bullet, again!

Some time ago my Sachtler FSB6 and Speedlock legs disappeared while I was elsewhere occupied and I have been making do with my old Manfrotto 756B legs and a Manfrotto 494RC02 ball head.

Enough, I said. The time has come, the Walrus said. When the wind gets up and I’m out in the open it’s a loosing battle; the wind wins as is painfully obvious in the recorded footage. I do need to upgrade my support system, I think.

As I view the huge range of products available I remind myself that my shooting behaviour has changed since my FSB6 days when a general purpose rig was appropriate’ The occasional wedding, small documentaries, family events, and suchlike was the day-to-day. Since then a couple of irreversible changes have been ongoing the most significant being I’m not as young as I once was and lugging the Sachtler and a Sony EX1 up hill and down dale is no longer my cup of tea. Furthermore nobody is getting married anymore, family are doing their own thing which is a good thing, while docos are a dime a dozen on YouTube.

These days I happily drive to the estuary, park my car, walk a few meters carrying my Manfrotto gear and a couple of cams; a Sony AX100 and a Lumix G9 with a long 100-300 lens and shoot locked down ‘moving portraits’ of the abundant wildlife in the area. If there is a breeze that long lens gets the micro wobbles and eliminating that problem is my primary objective.

And while a FSB6 or similar head mounted on a Flowtech 75 MS Carbon Fiber Tripod with Mid-Level Spreader and Rubber Feet legs is perhaps a solid solution it is somewhat hard on the wallet while not easy on the aging muscles. However if that’s my best option then that’s that. The thing is I would be upset to find after spending all that money that while the tripod, head and G9 remain rock-solid the extending 100-300 lens at the long end has a mind of its own and even in the faintest breeze jitters willy-nilly!

So perhaps I need a lens that extends internally, and that probably means I need a new cam…and lens.

The Lumix G9 (GH5 lite) delivers lovely 4k 60p footage during the dead calm but that’s too limiting altogether, especially at the estuary by the ocean. The AX100 is limited in other ways however a support system upgrade would be a good thing, no doubt.

So, wildlife shooters; suggestions please.

Many thanks.
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Old September 10th, 2019, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Hello John, long time no speak!


" that long lens gets the micro wobbles and eliminating that problem is my primary objective."

That may not be quite as easy as you might think. As I discovered with my Vinten FiberTecs and any of my assorted Vinten heads, no matter how rock solid the support or how good the head there was one limitation I never managed to find an elegant solution for, namely, that damn 1/4" X 24 20 cent screw which was the only thing holding my $7000 camera to my $7000 camera support system!

Given that those screws are effectively idiot proof and are thus only a 60% fit and that both the camera manufacturers AND the head manufacturers insist on covering the camera base/ QR plate interface with some sort of rubber buffers, any decent sideways wind produced a lateral rocking of the camera on said interface which was truly revolting to watch.

Going up to 3/8" X 16 in-line screws was out as I haven't found a camera that will take them plus, as they're in-line and the rubber interface is still there, I don't think it would stop this from happening. I did try talking Vinten into developing a 4 point fixing system and eliminating the rubber all round but it's going to take more than one voice in the wilderness to change an entire industry.

It is possible your issue is not this however. If you would like to try any of my Vinten gear up at Shag Point on the East coast (possibly the windiest location in NZ) send me a mail. However, it all comes with a Government Health warning which basically lets everyone off the hook if you blow a disc or give yourself a hernia!


Regards,


CS
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Old September 10th, 2019, 05:22 PM   #3
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Ouch Sachtler, that hurts.

I used to shoot airshows for HARS in Sydney. One time 2 of us grouped our gear, airside out from the large crowd. As we got further away from our gear we kept looking back to check on it.

Then I saw a couple of guys approach and stand by it. Uh oh, I went over and both had (fake) HARS airside passes clipped to their coats. Suspecting them, I pulled out my phone and faked a call to security. They both departed quick time.

What we did then is, attach those chained laptop movement alarms which would go off if anyone lifted the gear. We attached warning ‘Alarmed’ signs to them, strong winds won’t set them off.

Hope that helps.
Cheers.
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Old September 10th, 2019, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Hey Chris, thanks for your input and I trust all is well enough with you. And thanks for the invitation to meet up at Shag Point. That’s not doable right now but down the road should I be headed your way I shall give you a shout. By the way I already gave myself a hernia which the Government health system repaired for which I am quite grateful :-)

My issue is two-fold (make that three). My tripod, my long lens, (and my age); the first two being fixable (at a price). I am looking yet again at what’s out there in the way of support gear. The Flowtech legs certainly seems to be the latest greatest sticks. I am also looking at the Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Tripod Head II so deep into gear hunting.

The Susceptibility to wind of the extending Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS lens when fully zoomed is my immediate concern. A cheap and nasty solution is to do it in my car. I have a device, a Dinkum Systems ActionPod PRO (10") with a clamp on one end and a camera fitting on the other. I am about to pop a ball head on the clamp which in turn shall be attached to the camera and lens. The clamp is then clamped to a partially open window and the car provides wind protection. Obviously this might only work in lightish winds but that’s what I want. And interestingly the wildlife seem less perturbed by my car than me out walking nearby.

Thanks again, and my best wishes for a pleasant summer.

Cheers.

John
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Old September 10th, 2019, 11:18 PM   #5
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Ouch Sachtler, that hurts.

.
It certainly did and now I'm wiser after the event! Thanks for the input.

Cheers...

John
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Old September 11th, 2019, 12:46 AM   #6
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Reading Alan's story, I couldn't help but think how good it would have been to have a sign that said "Anti-theft security system by Claymore". ;-)

Just run a cable into the dirt and you're all set.

Andrew
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Old September 11th, 2019, 06:25 PM   #7
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Yep Andrew we should, this is a bit off topic but they’ll try anything.

HARS at Albion Park south of Sydney, runs an annual Wings Over Illawarra Airshow, started about 10yrs. ago and growing ever since.

https://hars.org.au

The first one was a new experience for everyone there, HARS anticipated about 5000 of the public and booked a very large field about a mile away, for a car park with a modest entrance fee.

About 12,000 turned up, HARS members were overwhelmed. Someone came up and told us, we should check on our car park.

There some clown turned up in a truck with rolls of fencing wire and some stakes. He’d fenced off some of the park and started charging his own entrance fee. We chased him off.

Yep they’ll try anything.
Cheers.
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Old September 11th, 2019, 09:47 PM   #8
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Re: Time to bite the bullet, again!

Ahh, those HARS guys.

I was only recently reading their page on the F-111 and it was just so well done. https://hars.org.au/general-dynamics-f-111c/

Please pass on some congrats for what looks to be a very well done website and content.

Andrew
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