Bogen 701RC2 - good head for smaller miniDV cam? at
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Old May 13th, 2006, 06:33 AM   #1
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Bogen 701RC2 - good head for smaller miniDV cam?

I recently got a set of Bogen 144 legs that are in great shape, but they had a still photo head on them. These are an older model but look to be the similar to the 3001n sticks. I got them for a steal and would REALLY like to upgrade from my terrible Quantaray tripod.

I have a Pana PV-DV53 that I use for filming high school sports, all loaded weighs about 2 lbs. I also don't see myself moving up to a larger camera anytime soon (probably will move to a Pana GS500). I'm on a pretty tight budget ($150 for the head) and wondering if the Bogen / Manfrotto 701RC2 would be a good choice for a camera this size. I'm thinking the 501 would be too much head for this small a camera.


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Old May 13th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #2
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For smaller budgets the 701RC2 is a good choice and has a decent price/performance ratio.

If you're willing to go a little higher, I'd skip the 501, and stretch a little for the 503, aka the 3460.

But for the weight of the camera you have, the 701RC2 will work great.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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i have one of these, and it should work for the cam you're describing. i use mine for backpacking, because it packs easily and doesn't add a lot of weight. i've even used it with my XL2, and it's not bad. not great, either, for that much weight. but useable.

the thing is, it has no friction or drag feature. if you really want to instantly upgrade the quality of your footage, but one that does. as michael said, the 503 is a better choice, for quality. i have a 519 for quality, the 701rc2 for weight.

someone posted a full review of the 701rc2 here a while back. do a search, and you'll get more, better info form the archives.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:45 AM   #4
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Might want to check out the 3130 or 3126:

I recently got the 3130 for my sony HC1 and really like it. I checked out the 701 but wasn't happy with it's feel - it's fluid but 'springy', attempting to bounce back to level. It also has no useable adjustable drag - tighten the screws and it sticks. The 3130 on the other hand is smooth throughout it's range of motion and you can actually get some useable variation on the drag with the adjustment screws. I didn't see the 3126 when I got mine, but it looks similar to the 3130 with a sliding plate for better balance - although with very light cameras the balance doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 07:46 PM   #5
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I use a 701RC2 with a Sony VX2100 and a Panasonic GS250. I also would prefer something with a real fluid drag, but you can put a subtle amount of tightening on the adjustment screws and pan just fine without stiction. Just don't torque it very much, and you may need to tweak it occasionally through a day of shooting. Weight wise, the VX2100 (with the big 970 battery) is about at its limit, and the GS250 is obviously no problem at all (probably the same weight as a GS500).

One annoying problem -- its not designed to have the pan handle on the left, but you can do so by removing a screw from the mounting plate that attaches to the camera and mounting it backwards, and then flipping the head around. All the knobs are still easily accessible in this way, its just stupid that they set the head up with the pan handle on the right (yes, I'm left handled, but I don't see how anyone could work the record/zoom controls with the pan handle on the right).

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Old May 22nd, 2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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I finally made a decision and bought a 701RC2. I received it late last week and the feel is pretty sweet. It is damped more than I thought it would be but has a MUCH silkier feel than my old Quantaray, both pan & tilt. The build quality is very good and the camera mounts securely to the head. The tilt return spring is not quite enough for my Pana PV-DV53 because the camera's mounting hole is nowhere near it's center of gravity (and no fault of the head). I can lessen the head droop, but not eliminate it. This is still a BIG improvement over my Q-ray which would drop the camera like a hammer.

In my case, I don't think moving up to the 501 or 503 would have been a good match. I have no doubt that these are excellent heads, but my guess (and its only a guess) is that the 501/503 would have to have even more dampening drag because of their higher weight ratings. For a setup as light as mine I'd risk tilting the whole rig on fast pans.

My first real test of the new setup will be tomorrow at a HS soccer game. I'm very exited to see how well it performs. I'll post back and let you know how it went.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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Well, I tried out the new head and I must say that I'm impressed. The build quality is quite good and the unit feels very stable. There are no loose joints or connections that will rock the camera. The camera feels very secure when mounted on the head.

Panning - Much smoother than the old tripod without any sticking on the starts or stops. It took about 20 minutes to adjust for the amount of dampening, but after that, I could follow the plays smoothly. I can see where there would be room for improvement by being able to adjust drag, but I can easily live with one good drag setting.

Tilting - Tilting could be a little better, as I had to use the lock to keep the camera from drifting upward. I knew this would be the case from my last post. During the game I need to adjust the head up & down a little for the different positions on the field, so these were not as smooth as my pans. This was only slightly better than my old Qray. But since I only need to tilt 5 degrees, and I pan 90 degrees, it is acceptable. If I can get the head to balance then this would work better, but for now I can live with it. Also the head does not drop the camera, a feature I can't stress enough.

My camera is not in the same category as a Sony VX2100 or a Canon XL2, or a pana DVX-100, as it only cost $350 new 3 years ago. An expensive tripod for this camera would have been like putting Pirelli tires on a Yugo. But I think the 701RC2 is a perfect (or nearly perfect) match for a setup like mine.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #8
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Moving the mounting point

I use a lightweight HDR-HC1 on my Manf/Bogen 700RC2 on a CarbonOne 3444 tripod. After adding the Sony wideangle the center of gravity was over 3" forward of the mounting hole and there is no tilt spring and little tilt damping on the 700RC2. So I cut a 1x4x.25" piece of aluminum and mounted the quick release block forward - to good effect. If you are carefull on the tape door edge, you can get it so you do not need to remove it to change tape. (Since the HC1 is bottom load, you cannot do it on tripod though)
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