Jump to content


Photo

Tripod opinions. Libec, OConnor, Sachtler


  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 09 April 2008 - 03:15 PM

Does anyone have experience with any of these?
OConnor 515
Sachtler Video 14
Libec LS60

The camera is a loaded Aaton LTR54. I'm womdering if the 515 OConnor is heavy enough as I'd like to stick to that name but I was told it is rated at only 20lbs. though if OConnor ratings are conservative maybe its enough.

I've never touched a Libec and am worried about the quality. With the Sachtler I'm worried more with price.

Any opinions are appreciated!
  • 0

#2 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 09 April 2008 - 03:44 PM

I don't know those models specifically, but in my experience there's no such thing as tripod/head that's TOO big. Just because the specs say it can take the weight doesn't mean it will operate smoothly when loaded up. Counterbalance becomes even more important when you're maxing out the weight capacity. Exceeding the weight capacity means very crappy control over the camera.

Personally I wouldn't put an Aaton on anything smaller than an O'connor 1030 or similar. Don't skimp on the size of the head, you're not doing yourself any favors. You'll just end up renting the "right" head when you need it anyway.
  • 0

#3 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3057 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

Libec tripods always strike me as cheap & nasty. Sachtler are good, but I wouldn't use anything less than the Video 25 head. O 'Connor heads are great. The 2060 head would be perfect for this sort of load, but they are not cheap.
  • 0

#4 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 09 April 2008 - 04:55 PM

I agree with you for the most part but I think the really large heads with smaller cameras bring with it a practicality problem, not to mention a budget problem. I'm also more comfortable, personally, with lighter weight yet commercial quality gear that stretches to lights and dollies too.

And yes, renting something for a certain project will and does happen but I need one that I can hike down a trail with and reliably set up the camera. Personally owning one of these lightweights are also useful for doing tests, shorts, run and gun shooting, back up, etc.

I'd love to have a 1030 but they cost about the same as my old car did. If I can own a Libec 60 or 70 to get a small job done, then I think it's worth the under $2000 price tag.
  • 0

#5 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3510 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:41 PM

The Sachtler Video 18 head will be fine with the Aaton, as long as you're not putting on a huge 35mm zoom lens. 16mm zooms and primes should be fine. O'Connor 1030 would be good also, but expensive. Never used a Libec, so can't comment.
  • 0

#6 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:56 PM

Believe it or not, these crusty old Oconnor 50's can do a decent job. I can't vouch for the condition of this particular one, but I had to use one the other day and it help up well enough with a full sized broadcast camera.
  • 0

#7 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:06 PM

The Sachtler Video 18 head will be fine with the Aaton, as long as you're not putting on a huge 35mm zoom lens. 16mm zooms and primes should be fine. O'Connor 1030 would be good also, but expensive. Never used a Libec, so can't comment.



I would go with the O'Connor 1030, I am using one the next couple of days and I can't wait! Though sometimes it is a little hard to get the tilt and pan settings right with heavier cameras loaded up, it seems either too much tilt or pan or not enough, it is hard to describe . . . If you can get them right, they are a joy, of course. Actually I would recommend going with the next step up O'Connor if you are renting. A 1030b head will set you back $10k new.

Some Libecs are not bad, I have used the 60T or T60 head/sticks and it was fine, I liked the sticks more than the head, BUT I was using my ACL with 200' mags, so it was not a heavy cam situation at all. DO stay away from smaller Libecs!

I have an Aaton myself and either O'Connor or bigger Bogen (516+) heads are usually fine with it. Vinten has some nice tripods as well as Miller, and some people REALLY like Sachtler.

Ultimately it really all depends on user preference, budget and camera weight/ size.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 09 April 2008 - 08:09 PM.

  • 0

#8 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:12 PM

I had seen that one too Michael but after it was fully serviced and repainted, it might be better to just buy the one Visual Products has for $850. Theirs looks new, in the little pics at least, and with their reputation I would bet it's fully ready to shoot with.

The reason I was staying away from the 50 though was the 45degree tilt limit. This would really get on my nerves I think as I'm used to 70-90 limits. Did you notice this and was it a factor for you?
  • 0

#9 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:21 PM

Saul, I had tried out the loaded Aaton on a 516 and it can not deal with the weight when it comes time to lock the head in anything but a level position. The braking system isnt big enough to deal with film cameras. I felt like I was going to break it trying to get it to hold a tilted position and that was without my 7" monitor attached. I had to turn the little lever as hard as I could to stop it from moving and that head was basically new when I had used it. A large HDV camera setup or smaller 16mm would have been fine on it because other than the locking weight issue, it felt ok.

Edited by Vincent Sweeney, 09 April 2008 - 08:25 PM.

  • 0

#10 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:37 PM

The reason I was staying away from the 50 though was the 45degree tilt limit. This would really get on my nerves I think as I'm used to 70-90 limits. Did you notice this and was it a factor for you?


I used it only with very limited movement. Yes, 45 tilt would be a liabilty, but what do you want for $13.49? :P

I've been using a 1030B with Betacam pretty regularly for several years, and it's never let me down. I've never experienced anything funky about the tilt/pan drag; it's set up to be infinitely variable, unlike the preset tensions in the Sachtlers. Friction is always dependent on the shot and moves you need to do; there's no such thing as one fits-all setting for the camera. If you're having probelms getting the friction right with a heavy camera it could be because you haven't set the counterbalance properly. Too much or not enough counterbalance can make a huge difference in the feel of the friction.
  • 0

#11 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:58 PM

Thanks for the info. Yeah that tilt limit is the kind of thing that would make me stay awake at night, really.

I can suddenly make it to NAB which is the perfect place to test out heads. Mitch is bound to have an Xtera sitting around to let me take and test with. (Who sells production insurance for 15 minute periods?) ;)
  • 0

#12 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3510 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 10 April 2008 - 01:28 AM

I've been using a 1030B with Betacam pretty regularly for several years, and it's never let me down.

Michael, I've noticed when I've used the 1030 head that even with the pan and tilt drag turned to "0", the head never seems to be fully loose. Makes me kinda nervous when I pack the sticks away for transport back to the rental house. Is this just the way the head is designed or do I have to loosen the counterbalance all the way as well?
  • 0

#13 Zachary Vex

Zachary Vex
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 208 posts
  • Other

Posted 10 April 2008 - 03:19 AM

Anyone familiar with the O'Connor Model 150? I've got an LTR-54 that I'd like to mount on a jib with a Mitchell starter and it's got a Mitchell mount, making that head ideal in one way. Does it have any annoying limitations? I can't find a thing about it online.

Edited by Zachary Vex, 10 April 2008 - 03:20 AM.

  • 0

#14 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5069 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 April 2008 - 05:15 AM

Sometimes it's better to get a used high end tripod that's in good condition than to buy a new HDV tripod. Chances are that the older tripod will still be working away, while the new tripod be having problems due to the lower quality engineering and the cheaper manufacture cost design not being suitable for repair.

Having used my old Ronford F4 as a Dutch head on my Sachtler Horizon (film version of Video 25) for years, it's now back in it's old role shooting HDV. On my Sachtler CF legs it's great, and really quick to set up compared to the usual lighter tripods intended for the HDV cameras.

A Sachtler Video 18 or 20 will be fine for an LTR 54, I've never really noticed the clicking in, compared to the continuous wind in counterbalance, being an issue with 16mm or Betacams. However. it's great on the 35mm rigs.
  • 0

#15 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 10 April 2008 - 05:21 AM

Michael, I've noticed when I've used the 1030 head that even with the pan and tilt drag turned to "0", the head never seems to be fully loose. Makes me kinda nervous when I pack the sticks away for transport back to the rental house. Is this just the way the head is designed or do I have to loosen the counterbalance all the way as well?


I've never had a problem with the friction set to "0," so I guess it's just the way the head is designed. For transport I think the idea is just that everything is loose so that there's less stress during shipping. For any more specific info I guess you'd have to consult O'Connor.

I can say that with the two 1030 heads I've used for years with the same client, I haven't had to take any special precautions.
  • 0

#16 Robert Skates

Robert Skates
  • Guests

Posted 10 April 2008 - 09:25 AM

Anyone familiar with the O'Connor Model 150? I've got an LTR-54 that I'd like to mount on a jib with a Mitchell starter and it's got a Mitchell mount, making that head ideal in one way. Does it have any annoying limitations? I can't find a thing about it online.

Zachary,
The O'Connor 150 is a monster. It is huge and better suited to a Arri BL4 with Cooke zoom & teleprompter. I used a 150 many years ago on a video shoot. We got the head from the rental house for next to nothing. We had a prompter so we needed a sturdy head. The counter balance spring is so strong that I believe it could be used to launch incendiary devices over castle walls. An O'Connor 50 is a good choice for an Aaton LTR-54. I own an O'Connor 50 that I use with my Aaton LTR-54. It works very nicely.
  • 0

#17 Mitch Gross

Mitch Gross
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2873 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 April 2008 - 10:29 AM

Vince, you should have taken my tripods when you bought my camera! We may have something used but the way you need to look at this is What can I afford to spend? and go from there.
  • 0

#18 Zachary Vex

Zachary Vex
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 208 posts
  • Other

Posted 10 April 2008 - 10:33 AM

Thanks so much for replying. The problem is that everything on my Jib/dolly is Mitchell mount, and adding adapters just keeps increasing height. From what you've said, it sounds like the 150's counter-balance won't even adjust to lower ranges... am I reading you right?

I've read that the O'Connor 50 has a proprietary ball size. Is this true, or some misunderstanding? Someone posted that it has a unique 110mm ball that won't fit a standard mount.

Zachary,
The O'Connor 150 is a monster. It is huge and better suited to a Arri BL4 with Cooke zoom & teleprompter. I used a 150 many years ago on a video shoot. We got the head from the rental house for next to nothing. We had a prompter so we needed a sturdy head. The counter balance spring is so strong that I believe it could be used to launch incendiary devices over castle walls. An O'Connor 50 is a good choice for an Aaton LTR-54. I own an O'Connor 50 that I use with my Aaton LTR-54. It works very nicely.


Edited by Zachary Vex, 10 April 2008 - 10:37 AM.

  • 0

#19 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 April 2008 - 12:03 PM

I used it only with very limited movement. Yes, 45 tilt would be a liabilty, but what do you want for $13.49? :P

I've been using a 1030B with Betacam pretty regularly for several years, and it's never let me down. I've never experienced anything funky about the tilt/pan drag; it's set up to be infinitely variable, unlike the preset tensions in the Sachtlers. Friction is always dependent on the shot and moves you need to do; there's no such thing as one fits-all setting for the camera. If you're having probelms getting the friction right with a heavy camera it could be because you haven't set the counterbalance properly. Too much or not enough counterbalance can make a huge difference in the feel of the friction.


I guess I would be getting closer to the actual weight range of the head, or I may be missing something because I can't get that counterbalance right under a heavy load, and boy, have I tried. The 1030B doesn't have the counterbalance dial like a 2575C head, so it is harder to instantly balance out when I am operating and need to park the camera tilted down without locking it after counterbalancing for the horizontal level position. So I end up having to be fighting it more often than not for a while until I can have time pause the camera and counterbalance to the new tilt position, by which time I have to move it anyway to a newer tilt position.

I love the head once I am operating fluidly and not having to park the camera on tilt waiting for someone to move at a split second notice.

The thing is, as I understand it , one counterbalances for a given tilt position, but if that position changes and the camera is rolling, the counterbalnce is now off for that new position and I can't counterbalance again without shaking the camera a bit and, and most importantly, without turning my attention away from the image so I have to just wing it until I can pause the camera, which can be several hours later, for I do live shows where the director may switch back at me at a split second notice. Once we are rolling I can't tweak it until the end of the show.

It's distracting when I am shooting, that is the problem, as no counterbalance setting is good for all tilt positions as the center of gravity changes for all of them if ever so slightly and I have to manually correct the drag, but I guess no head may work as well for that situation. Bigger heads, like the 2575C I have not had as much of a problem with when it comes to that.

I will play with it some more today before the show and see if I am missing something, but I have asked the other operators I work with and no one seems to be able to offer a good solution other than setting the tilt drag way up so as to not be fighting it so much . . .
  • 0

#20 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 10 April 2008 - 03:24 PM

Vince, you should have taken my tripods when you bought my camera! We may have something used but the way you need to look at this is What can I afford to spend? and go from there.


Yeah I regret it now. I had something I could use then but its not available now so it's time to buy something basic. If anything pops up under $2k, please let me know.
  • 0


Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Opal

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC