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Author Topic: Fluid Head for Gitzo Tripod Recommendation  (Read 11152 times)
Chris L
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« on: January 30, 2013, 06:00:04 PM »
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I have a large Gitzo tripod used for 4x5 cameras and wish to get a fluid head that will fit on it. Typically I hang sandbags from my tripod to weigh it down. This will be used for video with my BMCC. My rig is fairly light and compact; No matte box, EVF, microphone. Its just the camera, voigtlander pancake lenses, 15mm rails with follow focus, and a Grid Loupe 5.0 ( as an evf ). It probably weighs about 6 lbs. Can somebody recommend a smooth fluid head that will work for this set-up? I am interested in panning horizontal and vertical, and to follow subjects in a smooth manner. Of course I am on a budget but do not want to skimp out. Perhaps a few hundred bucks?

The Gitzo is so old that there is no model number on it but it looks like your typical Gitzo ( non carbon ).
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 10:28:00 AM »
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The Manfrotto 502 HD video head will do fine. There's also a cheaper 701 option.

In fact, for video, the head is really critical, so I wouldn't recommend anything cheaper than a Manfrotto.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 11:13:17 AM »
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It is worth considering leveling the camera

Now with a still you only need to level the shot

But with a video pan you need to level the entire head or the horizon goes wonk during the pan

This means the head must be entirely flat.

That is where a video tripod with a bowl comes into play.

I think you will find creating the level by just adjusting the leg length on the sticks extremely annoying..

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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JonRoemer
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 12:01:26 PM »
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If you have a systematic Gitzo (series 3-5) then you can get a Gitzo bowl adapter.  They come in 75mm or 100mm and will allow you to use a regular bowl based fluid head.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 12:03:16 PM »
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A general comment about Gitzo Sticks... and Miller Solo.

I have found that global height adjustment of these to be a bit of a pain with a heavy camera onboard.

Basically you can find that you have one hand taking the mass of the camera up high and are bent to the floor trying to adjust the hight of the three legs with the other hand - its like playing twister but a lot less fun for an ageing and broken body like mine

I still use my Solo sticks for work 'out and about' were I may have to walk to the location

But for general work I have now purchased satcler legs with a ground spreader

To move the camera up you can loosen the legs off, place a foot on the ground spreader and raise/lower the camera

It makes a huge difference that is hard to verbalise but easy to feel.

I think anyone investing in a tripod should try it out in person at a store or a show

plan three shots and set them up - any ergonomic defficiencies will fast become apparent..

Price wise my satchler legs cost 400 ukp ex rental (no head) they are probably from 1995 and I consider them better built and better to operate than the satchler speedlocks that I had intended to buy at quadruple the cost to upgrade from my miller solos... the only trade off is that they are heavy and unsuitable for hiking.

Consider??
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nice-Vinten-Vision-3-fluid-head-on-dual-stage-tripod-Sachtler-Cartoni-/281036041564?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416f0dad5c


S
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 12:21:46 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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Ron Steinberg
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 07:35:05 PM »
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I wouldn't use anything less than the Sachtler Ace for that camera combo, it's a true fluid head (unlike the Manfrotto 502, which I have used extensively. There is NO comparison, no offense Sareesh but just walk right by the Manfrotto and try the Sachtler) As someone else said, try to get a bowl adapter for your Gitzo sticks. I'm using a Systematic Series 3 now with the bowl adapter, and will put the Ace head (the sticks are just ok, the head is a steal but you can only buy it as a kit) on those.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 07:22:45 AM »
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Quote
There is NO comparison, no offense Sareesh but just walk right by the Manfrotto and try the Sachtler

None taken. Smiley
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Chris L
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2013, 06:05:56 PM »
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I wouldn't use anything less than the Sachtler Ace for that camera combo, it's a true fluid head (unlike the Manfrotto 502, which I have used extensively. There is NO comparison, no offense Sareesh but just walk right by the Manfrotto and try the Sachtler) As someone else said, try to get a bowl adapter for your Gitzo sticks. I'm using a Systematic Series 3 now with the bowl adapter, and will put the Ace head (the sticks are just ok, the head is a steal but you can only buy it as a kit) on those.

thanks. I searched online and it seems as if you can only buy/use it with the sticks it comes with, am I correct? I couldnt just buy the head and use it with my existing Gitzo sticks?
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Bern Caughey
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 10:55:05 PM »
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I think anyone investing in a tripod should try it out in person at a store or a show

Definitely try before you buy!

I started with a Manfrotto head on a Gitzo stills tripod, but quickly moved over to dedicated motion sticks. Lived with it for awhile, but eventually picked up a Satchler system.

In my case it was the FSB 8 head with SideLoad plates, & Speedlock CF sticks with 75mm bowl. The head is so much better than any Manfrotto I've used that it instantly made my operating smoother, while the SideLoad plates are identical to Manfrotto's 501 series, so can be used on either system, which was a consideration as I use Manfrotto heads for applications that are well suited to a flat mount, especially monopods.

But one thing to beware of with the Satchler is mine has a short mounting post that doesn't play well with many other manufacturers' bowls. I have two Hi Hats the Satchler won't fit, but they do offer a longer post that I've been meaning to order.

The SpeedLock sticks are great, & the 100mm versions are extremely popular with news crews, but are optimized for speed of operation, & don't go as low, or high, as many others. On paper the Carbon Fiber version doesn't seem that much lighter than the aluminum, but in usage it does, & more than paid for itself in reduced airline overages.

Sam mentioned a floor spreader which is a bit of kit I generally do not like. They're great on a flat surface like a studio floor, but on uneven terrain they're no where as useful as a mid-level spreader.

There are numerous great options available, & no one brand is best. If you have the time look into second hand options, but be sure to test drive. Generally the head is more important than the legs, but either can ruin a pan if they spring back at the end of a move, or aren't able to handle the load. Look for a system rated 30-50% heftier than your camera setup.

If your not using your Gitzo for stills anymore consider Jon's suggestion to add a bowl to it, & invest in a great head.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 11:28:02 PM by Bern Caughey » Logged
Bern Caughey
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 11:35:36 PM »
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thanks. I searched online and it seems as if you can only buy/use it with the sticks it comes with, am I correct? I couldnt just buy the head and use it with my existing Gitzo sticks?

The Satchler ACE is only available as a system & they do not sell the heads separately.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 12:17:04 AM »
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Sam mentioned a floor spreader which is a bit of kit I generally do not like. They're great on a flat surface like a studio floor, but on uneven terrain they're no where as useful as a mid-level spreader.

That is true.

I think I said above that I have Miller Solo sticks that I would in a a rough outdoor environment.

Thats why its all so personal and one needs to try.

My floor spreader IMO really helps getting the camera to a very accurate height, which is often important for interviews, it is also fast to use because you can stomp on it and pull the camera in to position fast

But yep - its best for concrete outdoors, or factories or offices or car parks .. the homes of corporate video.

S

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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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bcooter
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 03:01:38 AM »
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Satchler is great, standard of the industry ad costs more than anything made out of metal and goo.

I own manfrottos of all sizes (actually friction plates instead of fluid), some are better than others, they wear out, I also have rented fluid heads a lot of times, but honestly there isn't that much difference if you balance the camera probably, set the friction for the run through and think past the moment.

If your a operator with a rental budget go Satchler, if your shooting indie, get a good manfroto and tough it out.

I use our largest Manfrotto on a carbon fiber tripod without a spreader.  It keeps the weight down and has travel around the world twice without breakage (knock on wood). 

I do miss a spreader though when on a flat surface because setup is 50% faster.

Still, the main thing is to get the kit really balanced out  for the scene your shooting.

IMO

BC
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JonRoemer
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 10:10:59 AM »
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Definitely try before you buy!

I started with a Manfrotto head on a Gitzo stills tripod, but quickly moved over to dedicated motion sticks. Lived with it for awhile, but eventually picked up a Satchler system.

In my case it was the FSB 8 head with SideLoad plates, & Speedlock CF sticks with 75mm bowl. The head is so much better than any Manfrotto I've used that it instantly made my operating smoother, while the SideLoad plates are identical to Manfrotto's 501 series, so can be used on either system, which was a consideration as I use Manfrotto heads for applications that are well suited to a flat mount, especially monopods....

...There are numerous great options available, & no one brand is best. If you have the time look into second hand options, but be sure to test drive. Generally the head is more important than the legs, but either can ruin a pan if they spring back at the end of a move, or aren't able to handle the load. Look for a system rated 30-50% heftier than your camera setup.

If your not using your Gitzo for stills anymore consider Jon's suggestion to add a bowl to it, & invest in a great head.

Bern - actually what I have is the Sachtler FSB 8 on the Gitzo sticks.  It works well.  All of Morgan's comments about speed of setup with or ease of use with a heavy head/camera and video sticks are true but as was just discussed, on uneven surfaces, etc., the photo style sticks work very well.

I want to second your comment about trying before you buy. Based on Internet research I almost went with a different brand but I was able to get a Vitec rep to come by with Sachtler, Vinten and Manfrotto heads to try out. Testing my kit on the head with the range of lenses I use and an ext. monitor, etc., it was easy to quickly see which head would be the best fit.

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Chris L
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 11:42:13 PM »
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Gonna go check them out in person next time I am in LA.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 02:05:22 AM »
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I guess that you are from stills.

Now in stills I hate shooting from sticks only doing it for hotel int HDR images.

I have found the 'need' in video for sticks to be extremely limiting - but thats what happens in a media where your 'exposure time' in unlikely to be less than 5 seconds.

I find working handheld (with stills) I make extremely sensitive and small adjustments to my framing

Have a think about 'a shot' - Looking over a computer screen at the operator of the computer - a typical corporate vid shot?

Now if you raise the cam 50mm the screen will not be in shot, lower it and the operator is obscured by the screen

These sensiitve height adjustments critical to framing are where I get really tied up with tripods - lining two things up

When you test maybe plan 3 or 4 shots to try, and get them right to the compositional standard you would expect from your stills..
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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MarkL
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 11:59:48 AM »
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I'm totally new to video and own a Gitzo 1325. The head I'm looking at is the Sachtler fsb4.

Can I use this as a video tripod for a dslr or do I need a video tripod?
If it it suitable do I need the gitzo bowl adapter? I'd like to use my arcatech levelling base.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 01:07:48 PM »
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Hi,

I'm not a video pro. Anyway, I use a Gitzo 1325 on a RRS TA-3-LC, Versa 3 LB with Clamp.

As I have not used other stuff, I cannot compare.

Best regards
Erik

I'm totally new to video and own a Gitzo 1325. The head I'm looking at is the Sachtler fsb4.

Can I use this as a video tripod for a dslr or do I need a video tripod?
If it it suitable do I need the gitzo bowl adapter? I'd like to use my arcatech levelling base.
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