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Geared Vs. Fluid Head


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#1 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 11:52 AM

I've been shooting short films digitally over the past few years, and I'm in the process of going over to film. I've been planning on getting a new head to hold the heavier head, but I'm not sure what to get. I've talked with a few people around town about this, and got varying opinions.

Here's what I'm looking to do: buy a head that will hold both 16 and 35mm cameras (something like a CP-16R and a Arri BL-4/Evolution style camera). I somewhat prefer fluid heads (because they're simple to operate), but I don't mind getting a geared head if that's what will work best. My budget's $3-$4k. Any ideas?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:31 PM

If you can't carry both a fluid head and a geared head, I'd opt for the fluid head just because there are a few types of shots where a geared head is harder to use, like a dolly move in extreme low-mode, or in a tight space where the camera is pushed against a wall with a short eyepiece on the camera.

You'd want a fairly beefy fluid head.
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#3 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:40 PM

If you can't carry both a fluid head and a geared head, I'd opt for the fluid head just because there are a few types of shots where a geared head is harder to use, like a dolly move in extreme low-mode, or in a tight space where the camera is pushed against a wall with a short eyepiece on the camera.

You'd want a fairly beefy fluid head.


That brings me to another question I've yet to be able to find a solid answer to: What is a good, beefy fluid head? And can I get one for my budget?

From what I've heard, fluid heads don't usually support cameras that big. That is to say, they can't hold the weight and slowly tilt down over time. I don't know though. I know Sachler makes a 100 pound variety, as do some others. Which fluid head would be beefy enough yet not too expensive to purchase (like the Atlas)?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 01:01 PM

I have only dealt with the heavy Sachtler Studio heads and the O'Connor Ultimate for rental. An owner/operator would have to advise you on what's affordable but heavy-duty enough for an Arri-35BL set-up. I would think it was basically on a sliding scale, i.e. you can use a lighter head (to a point) but it won't be as stable.

You might also consider getting a flat base (Mitchell) rather than a ball-head if you are going to put a heavy 35mm camera on it -- I find that ball-heads slip too easily if the camera is very heavy, and not worth the convenience of being faster to level at that point.
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#5 Rik Andino

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 01:34 PM

That brings me to another question I've yet to be able to find a solid answer to: What is a good, beefy fluid head? And can I get one for my budget?


You can get a beefy Sachtler
The Studio 9+9 would be good
But might be a little beyond your price range
You can search for it in the used market.

A Sachtler Cine 75 HD could also work--it's a little big though
A Sachtler Horizon is also good if you're looking for something lighter
Of course these heads are priced upwards of $5k
So it might be beyond you're budget...I dunno.

An O'Connor Ultimate 2575 should be very useful.
And it might be in your range

A Ronford would be ideal but it's probably too expensive

You should search respective web-pages for what you're looking for
Also contact dealers and see just what's available in your range.

Good Luck
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#6 Tim Tyler

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

something like a CP-16R and a Arri BL-4/Evolution style camera


Unless you own the heavier 35mm camera(s) I recommend you buy an affordable quality head for your CP and then just rent a bigger head when you rent your 35mm camera package.

I CP-16 will fit nicely on a $1000-2000 ENG-style fluid head.

Beefy heads for heavy 35 packages are expensive and necessary.
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#7 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:24 PM

Be wary of no name brands (or even cheap name brands) at work we got a spirit head with a cartoni legs. The locks barely work, and the legs slip, even after much adjusting and tightening. We took it out of use after just 2 weeks.
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#8 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 04:27 PM

So, looking t visualproducts.com, they have a few I'm curious if you all think would work with a 35mm camera: the Oconnor 100, Ronford Baker 2015 Fluid Head (which the site says "is made for those larger cameras, from 30-100pounds like the Bl1-4, 35III, 535, 435 or even 16mm studio rigs").

I'm really not that lazy about researching this sort of thing, I just can't seem to find anyone around Idaho that knows anything, and the internet sites can never tell me what a product's like from experience.

Thanks a million for all the help.
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 04:49 PM

Cartoni makes fine fluid heads - they're just not as popular as Sachtler and O'Connor for soem reason so you can probably get better deals on them.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 06:57 PM

An O'Connor Ultimate 2575 should be very useful.
And it might be in your range


The 2575 is one of the best all-around heads. I use it for everything from DVCAM up to the 535 with no problems.
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#11 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:49 PM

The 2575 is one of the best all-around heads. I use it for everything from DVCAM up to the 535 with no problems.


Those look rather expensive too. Has anyone seen one for around the $5k range?

--Tim
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