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Deciding on a tripod


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#1 TinaLouise Smith

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:10 AM

Hi

I am about to buy my first camera for documentary filmmaking - a Canon XF100.

I am constrained by budget in all regards, but am also trying to make sure I get equipment that will serve me well.

I have received two quotes on tripods and even though the one is more than half the price of the other, I am not sure whether it is so cheap because it may be flimsy and easy to break. Also, the salesman (A) who gave me the cheaper quote was subtly sexist and proved himself (through messing something up) to be less technically sussed than me when it came to the editing process. Because of his bungling of the editing process and his sexism, I am less likely to trust him. Salesman B, however, openly admitted that he could not comment on the editing and did not display sexism of any kind, so I warmed to him and feel more likely to trust him and his products.

Because I am aware of my emotions coming into play as I try to decide AND because I can only find reviews of Salesman B's tripod on bhphotovideo.com, but not of Salesman's A tripod I hope there is someone who knows their tripods out there, who may be able to compare the two for me.

I know they're not the best, but could someone tell me which one may be the better of the two:
SLIK TRIPOD VIDEO 504 (264.80 US$, but quoted in ZAR) and Velbon 686 Photo/Video Tripod (92.60 US$, but quoted in ZAR)

Regards
TLS
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

You should test the tripods yourself, they're very personal things. You should check if the legs twist when full fluid tension is applied (although I suspect they use pads rather than the fluid action of the more expensive heads), how smoothly they pan and tilt, especially when you've using a long focal length lens. Check how easy it is to level the head, how easy it is to extend and lock the legs, also if they stay locked.

I'd check out other brands in your budget range like Libec and others, also read the video tripod system reviews on B & H and physically check yourself the ones that are getting 4 stars.
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#3 TinaLouise Smith

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:51 AM

Will do.

Thanks Brian!
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

Will do.

Thanks Brian!


I second the Libec recommendation. I don't think SLIK or Velbon tripods are all that great. They are okay.

To go way off base, I used one of these on my last shoot and really liked it:

http://www.amazon.co...ripod/dp/B00158

Konig are more of a name for tripods to support satellite dishes so you may not find one out there in South Africa! Hardly reknoned but it was a really nice tripod considering the budget price. Only criticism was it was substantial, so it slowed me down ever so slightly and was a pain on public transport but that also meant that it felt stable and was suprisingly smooth for something at such a low price. Better to get a proper tripod like a libec if you have the budget tho. I have a libec tripod and like it a lot! :)

love

Freya
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#5 John Woods

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:15 PM

If you're going to spend $3K+ on a camera then at least look at a tripod that is in the $300-$500 range but a $1000+ will get you a lot more. A $92 tripod is not going to cut it for professional use. If you get a quality piece of gear your tripod will outlast the life of your digital camera and could be used for 10+ years if treated well.

You have to choose a tripod that is appropriate for the weight of your camera and the type of work that you want to do with it. If you want to just lock off wide angle shots then a cheaper one might be ok but if you want fluid camera moves, and rock steady close ups and macro shots then you really need to look at better gear. You need to consider the weight and material of your equipment as well. If you move your gear in a car then a heavy tripod is not that big a deal but if you're shooting a film on mountain goats then you might want lighter gear to carry.

Manfrotto 501HDV PRO's are pretty good and popular for price/performance for prosumer cameras. I personally like the Sachtler FSB series more.
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