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The quest for a small, light, levelling video tripod and head - the result

Andrew Reid

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Where to buy - Acratech Levelling Base at [url="http://www.adorama.com/ACRLBS.html?KBID=66885"]Adorama[/url] in the US and [url="http://www.bobrigby.com/acratech/levellingbase.html"]Bob Rigby in the UK / Europe[/url]. Manfrotto 701HDV [url="http://www.adorama.com/BG701HDV.html?KBID=66885"]at Adorama[/url] US and [url="http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001D2LJ3Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=ec0d4-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B001D2LJ3Q"]Amazon[/url] UK.

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/content/6692/the-quest-for-a-small-light-levelling-video-tripod-and-head"]In part 1 I began my quest[/url] for a small, light and compact video head with levelling capability to level off a shot quickly. Because I move around a lot on location I set a weight limit of 3kg including legs and to keep in the spirit of what DSLRs are all about, the price has to be as accessible as the camera.

Here’s what I settled on…

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/content/6770/the-quest-for-a-small-light-levelling-video-tripod-and-head-result/"]Read full article[/url]

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Hi Andrew, my first post here.
I have been using similar setups for about 6 years and have come to the same exact conclusion: Budget wise suitable light weight compact legs, leveliling base and Manfrotto 701HDV head.
For years I used that small Gitzo but it wasn't that good and eventually broke in air transit. Plus with compact "fluid" heads it's always great to have a longer sliding plate for better balancing with different lenses.

Once I made a prototype levelling base for video which had an illuminated bubble level but back then there wasn't much interest in light weight professional accessories as it is now...

All the best,
Tonis from LCDVF/kinotehnik
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Thanks for the post Andrew.  This is exactly what I've been looking for.  I have the 701HDV and I think it's a great piece of kit for the price and weight.  I've ordered the Acratech base and can't wait to try it out.  Looks like quality.


I've been using the 701HDV up here in Montreal, Quebec this winter and I've used it in a lot of sub zero temps ranging from -5c to -20c, for around hour stretches or so.  It's not fun trying to handle camera equipment at -20c  that's for sure, but as far as the performance of the head is concerned I was quite surprised that the changes were more subtle than I was expecting, definitely not a deal breaker.  I think the head itself is rated to -10c. 



[quote author=Tonis link=topic=166.msg1243#msg1243 date=1326449688]
On the negative side, I think the Manfrotto 701HDV is temperature sensitive to the extent that it can't be used at sub zero Celsius.

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Sorry to disagree with you guys but I'm VERY satisfied with my Gitzo combo G2180+Gt0541+Acratech as second/small tripod. It weights only 1.6kg, measures 60cm when closed and I feel it's solid like a rock. On the legs the hook at the bottom of the column helps adding weight like hanging your backpack on it. It's possible to invert the column and make real ground level shots and that's amazing! Also the head is a joy to use. Weighting only 0.5kg it's a good improvement when used on my slider, the reason why I bought originaly. I had Manfrotto in the past and already tested the 701 and for my taste they're not good. The movements on the 701 are stiff, and for a light camera like GH2 this is a pain. It has no adjustments and also no spring on-off button, unlike the G2180. Of course a heavy lens like the Nikon 80-200 f2.8 compromises the head performance but it works great with the 14-140 kit lens and smaller ones. And the last good news is that the 501PL plate fits smoothly on it so I can use all my rapid connect adapters... 8)
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First post here.
I like this combination a lot, I still hesitate between this kind of set up or a sachtler Ace which i tried recently and it seem to be very good.
do you think this set up would work with carbon fiber benro sticks? I'd like it to be as light as possible.
What the maximum payload for this set up? would a canon C300 be ok on that for example?

Thank you for this blog.
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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
I am also looking for a small and light tripod, that can hold the GH2 well.

I got a heavy one by Cullmann, but you can fold it to just around 70cms.

I like Andrews setup, but its just a bit too expensive for me. 150 € for the moment would be good, i can still exchange some parts later.

Any suggestions?

Could i just use the benro legs with the manfrotto head?
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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi, I had similar dilemma for a tripod head for my GH2 with 100300 and 14140 combo.  I mainly shoot wildlife (elephants) and nature movies.  My solution was ultimately a self designed gimbal which weighs 350 gms (.75lbs).  We (I own a precision manufacturing shop) now plan to make it commercially available.  Do visit :

www.steti.co.in and http://igg.me/at/stetimicro 

We are running a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.



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