Thread: Tripod recommendations

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  1. #1 Tripod recommendations 
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    Hello RED Hivemind,
    I'm looking at upgrading my tripod from a cheap Manfrotto 502 to a 75mm or 100mm ball head. I do a lot of event videography and often have to lug all my gear around in one trip, so I'm looking for a setup that is lightweight and versatile. I've been eyeing the Flowtech 75 sticks but haven't had a chance to actually use them yet, I like the design and ease of height adjustment. My current rigs are roughly ten pounds, going up to fifteen.

    My budget is about $2500. I've looked at some Sachtler Speedlocks on eBay but I'm hesitant on buying used heads or sticks.

    Is is worth putting more money into a 100mm head and get decent used sticks for an all-purpose rig?
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  2. #2  
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    100mm is much more universal and you will want that in the future. Used tripods can be fine, but they will be at end of life for the manufacturers eventually and you'll be unable to get parts. Good tripods can last 25-30 years, and I have several, but the plastic fittings will eventually crack and the heads will leak. I think a new head that you get to test in person and used sticks can be a great compromise.
    Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Justin McAleece
    Sigma Pro Primes and Video Production
    Justin at BLAREMedia dot net
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  3. #3  
    I wouldn't waste my money on a 75mm set-up. 100mm minimum. I've bought every head and set of legs brand new, over the last 22+ years, until a few weeks ago, when I picked-up a studio pampered head for a steal(about 1/3 of it's new price). If budget is a concern, you can find really good heads on the used market. And if they're taken care of, you can get 20+ years out of them, easily. My oldest head is 22+ years old, now and still outperforms most brand new, cheap stuff. The legs have long since shuffled off, though. The heads will outlast even good carbon fiber tripods.

    When speccing out a head, you do not want to "max it out" and you also need to know at what height/center of gravity is the manufacturer quoting the payload counterbalance capacity. Most of your good companies, like Vinten, Oconnor, Sachtler, etc. will have graphs available to show you this.

    I have a client with a bunch of those Manfrottos. They're cheap junk. Not even a step above consumer crap at Best Buy. I hate them.

    Personally, I'd be looking in the range of a Vinten Vision 100LF, Oconnor 1030/1030DS or new 1040 or a Sachtler 18(not a Sachtler fan, though) and Flowtech 100's. I have three sets of Sachtler Speedlocks and a set of Sachtler Flowtech 100's and the Flowtech's are my favorite to use. The Speedlocks were, up until last year. The Speedlocks are still very good sticks, but the Flowtechs are quicker and have more torsional rigidity, so there isn't any twisting or backlash(or if there is, it's almost imperceptible). And if buying new, are actually less expensive, by the time you complete a set of SL's with feet and spreader.

    I have seen several sets of Vinten 100's with legs on eBay for around $2K to just under $3K.
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  4. #4  
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    100mm minimum for sure. You might want to look for a Miller Arrow or Miller Compass head. They are pretty great, and for some reason don't get the name recognition so they are often available for a good price.

    Vinten is good as well, but I feel like lots of the used ones come from ENG guys that tend to beat their tripods to hell.

    Sachtler Video 18/20 are excellent, as are the O'Connor 1030 heads. But these are likely out of your price range (though I've bought Sachtler 18 setups for $2500-3000 in the past).
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by RobMNeilson View Post
    100mm minimum for sure. You might want to look for a Miller Arrow or Miller Compass head. They are pretty great, and for some reason don't get the name recognition so they are often available for a good price.

    Vinten is good as well, but I feel like lots of the used ones come from ENG guys that tend to beat their tripods to hell.

    Sachtler Video 18/20 are excellent, as are the O'Connor 1030 heads. But these are likely out of your price range (though I've bought Sachtler 18 setups for $2500-3000 in the past).
    Being an ENG guy at heart, I wanna say that’s not true, because I take care of my gear and always have, but I know too many guys who you just described to a ‘T’. I used to know a guy who would just toss his HDX-900 in the back of his van floor and let it roll around like it was a $10 basketball. I treated my C-stands better than he treated his wireless gear or HMI’s.
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  6. #6  
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    Hey all, thank you for the recommendations. I'll scour around on eBay and see what I can find. I'd love to pick up one of the combos mentioned. The Miller CX series looks affordable for the features, plus I like the expanded counterbalance range. The Flowtech 100 looks amazing, just a challenge to justify the price point! But it would last forever... After buying so much cheap junk I would love to just make one good investment for a change.
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