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Author Topic: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?  (Read 14524 times)

cayenne

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Hello all,

Just wanting to get some advice on getting a budget, starter tripod kit....looking for a fluid head and solid tripod for video primarily, but would also start it using for stills too.

I would also maybe get a separate budget/starter ball head too...but looking for advice on the fluid head for the 5D3 on a good tripod for a starter kit.

I've seen these on amazon, and hoping for the $180-$200 or so price range....

http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-055XDB-Tripod-Outfit-128RC/dp/B000V7H8R0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&coliid=I30851FKIKUYIZ&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP

Or this which is currently sold out...

http://www.amazon.com/ePhoto-Heavy-Video-Tripod-WF717A/dp/B003HNJ5HQ/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&coliid=I225NP0YGHOE1R&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP

Any good solid starter sets you might could advise on and why (pluses and minuses on each choice...I don't know what to look for in a tripod or fluid head).

Thanx,

cayenne

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bonedaddy.p7

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 09:23:03 PM »
A friend of mine is an amateur film maker and has been borrowing my tripods while he's researching his purchase. His budget is limited to around your budget and he's settled on this Fancier starter kit: http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Heavy-Video-Camcorder-Tripod/dp/B003UOMWOK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1338945564&sr=8-2

He said he's read many reviews and they were all positive, comparing it to a more expensive manfrotto, and the design does indeed look similar to one of my manfrotto/bogen video tripods.
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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 11:31:00 PM »
The issue with low cost tripod heads is jerky pans.  Unfortunately, the good ones are very! expensive, so get the Manfroto, its low cost and will not win any awards, but its at least competent.
 
Then, someday, you can get a Oconnor.  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_OConnor&Ntt=video+head&N=4291309161
 
And the legs  are cheap by comparison  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=oconnor+tripod+legs&srtclk=sort&Ns=p_PRICE_2%7c1&N=0

cayenne

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 06:59:34 PM »
The issue with low cost tripod heads is jerky pans.  Unfortunately, the good ones are very! expensive, so get the Manfroto, its low cost and will not win any awards, but its at least competent.
 
Then, someday, you can get a Oconnor.  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_OConnor&Ntt=video+head&N=4291309161
 
And the legs  are cheap by comparison  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=oconnor+tripod+legs&srtclk=sort&Ns=p_PRICE_2%7c1&N=0

I think I may go for the manfroto...just looked, on amazon.com is about $204 from them (if it gives another seller, look at the other offers). The one from amazon also has a mail in rebate off THAT for $35 additional dollars off.

Sounds like  a perfect start for a noob!!!

C

westr70

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 12:16:22 AM »
I got the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro tripod and the Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid head and had great success with both.  I don't have any comparative experience with others.  The tripod is heavy. 
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whoismatt

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2012, 07:53:46 PM »
I got the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro tripod and the Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid head and had great success with both.  I don't have any comparative experience with others.  The tripod is heavy.

I would second that.  A Manfrotto 701 or 501 head is great!

paul13walnut5

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 09:39:32 AM »
My first choice for DSLR work is a Sacthler Ace.

A bit above the budget (not that much more than comparable Manfrotto set ups) but the best movements on the head at the price, with handy set drag and variable counterbalance.

(there are two tricks to smooth movements - a properly set up counterbalanced head -take 5 mins at the start of your shoot to achieve this, and setting your position up so that you unwind into a comfortable position at the end of your movement - i.e. don't try and do a smooth ramp to and end position where you are standing on one leg and can't see the viewfinder / lcd.   Put your camera in it's end position, stand so your feet are both flat, and set the screen so you can see it without straining.  Then go to your start position - this is a trick that actually works!  although better heads are better)

If you don;t want to spend as much as on the ACE then you should look at the manfrotto 502HD, it's a little more expensive than the much older 501HDV, but is a far smoother head, it uses fluid rather than teflon discs, and has an easier to set up counterbalance.

The 701 is a toy.  No offence to folk who use it, but there are much better heads for not much more money.  Counterbalance, set up and position are the keys.

055 legs are ideal, 190 legs are actually okay too if you keep an eye on the max capacity.   I prefer these to video legs proper as they tend to have a lower min and higher max height and can be used on uneven terrain much more easily (although the ace comes with a mid level spreader and spiked feet, also quite capable).   They are less braced and so more prone to twisting, but with typical SLR loads they will be fine.

Final thing you need for a video tripod is a level base for the tripod head.  Dedicated video heads use a bowl. Manfrotto have a couple of modestly priced work arounds, my preferred is the 438 level head, which has a QR level, gives you a decent amount of adjustment and fits between your chosen tripod and head.

If you use a tripod without a bowl or similar then your pans will go wonky, unless you spend a frustrating 10mins setting your tripod up with a spirit level.  A bowl -or similar- levels the head in 5 seconds.

Tripods are expensive, but a good tripod, well set up, and the right posture makes a fantastic difference to the quality of your video.  A good tripod bought now will be working for you in 20 years.  If you buy a cheap tripod you'll bin it and buy a good one anyway.

Best bang per buck:

basic cheapest 055 legs
502HD head (not the bowl one, head only)
438 leveller

A bit more than your budget, not as much as an ACE, but a very decent DSLR tripod set up.  Any less than this is so riven with compromises and operational caveats, or just downright poor performance, that it really isn't worth buying.

Read this post in a years time and tell me I'm wrong.

Read it in 10 years and confirm that the slightly more expensive tripod you bought is still working well for you.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 09:42:27 AM by paul13walnut5 »

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 09:39:32 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 12:40:59 PM »
Noticed you've bought a nice new 5D3 to shoot with?  Did you take the budget approach with lenses?  I'm not being funny, but shooting on a very good camera is more of an arguement to using a very good tripod, not less of one.

The $200 tripod is going to be weakest link in your chain, you WILL need a tripod, and so the quality of the video from your $3000 camera is going to be determined by the quality of movements from a $200 tripod....

The 128 (LP & RC2) is not well dampened, and wobbles slightly when the locks are off (I have been that soldier, which is why -as you may have picked up- I am something of a good tripod evangelist)

The other tripods are clones of budget libec, sachtler ace and manfrotto video tripods.

The difference is that with libecs, sachtlers and manfrottos is A) they work B) will keep on working C) can be serviced D) spare parts can be bought if something does break E) won't fail and break your camera.

Please do consider what I've said.

COUNTERBALANCE MAKES FOR SMOOTH MOVEMENTS, TAKES LESS TO MOVE IT & SO LESS TO STOP IT.
The 501HDV head is the absolute cheapest you should go for, preferably the much improved, marginally more expensive 502HD.   

BOWL HEADS MAKE FOR QUICK SET UP AND LEVEL PANS
The 438 head is a good compromise if you are on a budget.

THE LEGS SHOULD BE VERSATILE
Mid level spreader or photo legs, ground level spreaders hopeless off of tarmac.

Honestly honestly honestly, $200 spent now is $200 better saved towards a good tripod.  YOU WILL HATE A CHEAP TRIPOD and you'll spend the money I've suggested anyway in about 2 weeks time.

If you had a basic camera and lens and were using video occassionally then a $200 tripod will suffice.
You've bought serious gear and are shooting video a lot.  You need a good tripod.  Sachtler ACE or my best bang for buck advice.


cayenne

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 12:49:54 PM »
Noticed you've bought a nice new 5D3 to shoot with?  Did you take the budget approach with lenses?  I'm not being funny, but shooting on a very good camera is more of an arguement to using a very good tripod, not less of one.<snip>
If you had a basic camera and lens and were using video occassionally then a $200 tripod will suffice.
You've bought serious gear and are shooting video a lot.  You need a good tripod.  Sachtler ACE or my best bang for buck advice.
Well, I did the best I could with my budget.

On purchase of the 5D3, I got the kit lens, the 24-105 L f/4 lens. I also bought the 85mm f1.8 lens. And I just acquired off craigslist, a nice 17-40mm L f/4 wide angle zoom (used for $500).
For now..that will be the last of any lenses that are slower than 2.8.....
What I have for now...seems to be good to start.

Thank you for the advice....right now, after camera and lens purchases...buying Aperture, and when 30 day trial of FCPX comes up middle of next month...well, I'm a bit tight on cash...and need some decent tripod NOW.....and can upgrade later....

So, let me look at the links you sent..and I'll check things out.
Right now...this one with a $35 rebate on top of it...looks like a pretty good deal?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V7H8R0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A17MC6HOH9AVE6

Seems to be a deal that is hard to beat for something to start with....?  $199 - $35 == $164

paul13walnut5

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 03:11:58 PM »
The legs are fine, the head is frustrating to use, it is not a fluid head, so smooth ramping is quite difficult, as soon as the tilt lock is off the head doesnt sit level.

I would not use this head for video. 

I used it many many moons ago and it stuggled with a sony trv 900, an slr is harder to ballance, onthis tripod there is no sliding plate and no counter balance spring.

For video you need to think different.

For stills all you really need is a head that allows you to move the camera, for video you need a head that lets you movd the camera at an even rate with smooth start and finish.

I'm giving you the advice i wish i had recieved 15 years ago.

And if you think tripods are dear wait until you start pricing sound gear.

I am not on commission, but i have struggled by with inadequate tripods.
I would urge you to eats beans on toast, switch to own brand ketchup, move from malbros to roll ups etc etc.
Beg steal borrow, but dont buy a crap tripod head.

If you were local to me i'd give you a loan of my sachtler, or my old manfrotto 055/438/501.

I really can't offer any other opinion on your link other than to say it is an absolute false economy and the wrong thing for the job and that I don't think you should waste your time on it.

cayenne

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 03:49:37 PM »
The legs are fine, the head is frustrating to use, it is not a fluid head, so smooth ramping is quite difficult, as soon as the tilt lock is off the head doesnt sit level.

I would not use this head for video. 

I used it many many moons ago and it stuggled with a sony trv 900, an slr is harder to ballance, onthis tripod there is no sliding plate and no counter balance spring.

For video you need to think different.

For stills all you really need is a head that allows you to move the camera, for video you need a head that lets you movd the camera at an even rate with smooth start and finish.

I'm giving you the advice i wish i had recieved 15 years ago.

And if you think tripods are dear wait until you start pricing sound gear.

I am not on commission, but i have struggled by with inadequate tripods.
I would urge you to eats beans on toast, switch to own brand ketchup, move from malbros to roll ups etc etc.
Beg steal borrow, but dont buy a crap tripod head.

If you were local to me i'd give you a loan of my sachtler, or my old manfrotto 055/438/501.

I really can't offer any other opinion on your link other than to say it is an absolute false economy and the wrong thing for the job and that I don't think you should waste your time on it.

Again..thank you VERY much for the insight.

Hmm...well, maybe I go with these legs....

Is this the 502 Head you were talking about?
http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-502-Video-Head-MVH502AH/dp/B005ZMWSGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340135114&sr=8-1&keywords=502HD?

For now, I'm just using the Rode videomic, and it suits my purposes for what I'm doing now....I can upgrade later.

I have a zoom H2 I've had for awhile..and if not using the Rode directly from the hotshoe mount on the camera (when I'm doing stuff by myself, with me onscreen)...I can hook to the zoom and mount on a pole for when I have assistance with sound....

LOL...wish you were local to me too...I'd take you up on that loaner!!!
:)

C

paul13walnut5

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 05:26:39 PM »
Yup.  Thats the one.  Combined with a 438 leveller and those legs in your earlier link.  Awesome tripod for the money.

If your zooms on a boom how are you monitoring?

In fact leave it...  I dont want to sound like I'm picking holes.



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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 06:07:10 PM »

cayenne

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 06:32:05 PM »
Yup.  Thats the one.  Combined with a 438 leveller and those legs in your earlier link.  Awesome tripod for the money.

If your zooms on a boom how are you monitoring?

In fact leave it...  I dont want to sound like I'm picking holes.

Lol, I'm pretty much doing everything solo, so, doing best I can to set all shots parameters ahead of time, shooting and reviewing and doing again asneeded.

I have to get creative, and some things just notpossible till I get some co-conspititors.;)

paul13walnut5

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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 07:28:35 PM »
@NormanBates

The guy does not have a clue about what counterbalance is for, you cannot demonstrate it without a camera, and it is most definately not a self-righting system.

Counterbalance set up properly should have no spring to it at all, the camera should rest immediately as you take any force off the pan bar no matter the tilt.

The benefit of counterbalance is that camera moves become effortless no matter the size and weight of the camera, and provided your head has a smooth fluid cartridge the camera is absolutely still unless you are moving it, you should not be fighting against the force of any spring ever, or you are going to be screwing up your ramping.

You really cannot demonstrate this with zero load.

http://youtu.be/bZw6ZjxRUXM


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Re: Recommendations for first budget tripod/fluid head kit....?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 07:28:35 PM »