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

Andrew Reid

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[url="http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/2011/12/14/size-matters-sky-news-beijing-bureau-cameraman-andy-portch-reports-on-a-year-with-the-panasonic-af101-and-gh2-cameras/"]Size matters – read the views of a Sky News camera man at DSLR News Shooter on the GH2 and stealth factor[/url]

Colin Chapman ran the Lotus F1 team in the 1970′s. When his rivals had powerful turbo engines that kept blowing up Chapman preferred to stay with lighter Ford power units which were less powerful. When his rivals had the upper hand on grunt (think 4K vs 1080p), rather than spend more money on more horse power he made the car lighter. For Chapman this was the smart way to go racing. ‘Add lightness’, he told his engineers.

So they’d add lightness until the car was on the verge of being too fragile. And they won with it. Not just in terms of raw performance but reliability. This is my aim DSLR for rigging. Strip the weight and complexity down until it is as light as can be without being over the limit and compromised for raw performance or stability.

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/content/6692/the-quest-for-a-small-light-levelling-video-tripod-and-head/"]Read full article[/url]

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Best $500ish tripod / head video combo I have tried are:




Othman - the Manfrotto 502 bridge head (new) is around $200 and has great drag control.  Perfect for DSLRs or if you want to support heavier items try the larger 504 or 509.  Stay away from older Manfrotto heads (as philip bloom will support) and stick with the newer bridge type.

Best of luck!
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Hello Andrew,

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this combination. I've been using the Benro C068m8 for the past two years. I've tried the Manfrotto 700rc2 & 701HDV, and lately the Gitzo G2180. The 700rc2 is light but hard to get a good pan or tilt out of. The 701HDV produces "first try" good pans and tilts, but is too heavy IMO at 1.8lb. The Gitzo at 1.2lb is beautiful, has good controls and produces good tilts, but panning is fair at best. However, I've decided I like the Gitzo enough to keep practicing until I can adapt to producing good pans with it.

Good luck,
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that's what I'm looking for !

What do you think about  this choice? [b]Oben CT3510 + 701HDV[/b]  my heart balance between your choice and this one
sorry the video is in Spanish


thank you for your invaluable advice
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OK secret is out, I'm going for the G2180 head, like Dan has. I have not laid a finger on one yet so going to try in store before I pick it up and review it on the blog. Did consider the 701HDV, it is a bit cheaper but not enough to justify the heavier weight and larger profile it has over the Gitzo.

I am also picking up a levelling base which is as compact and as light as possible.

Hi Sara - those are nice options but not compact or lightweight enough for what I am looking for, we're talking under 3kg for the tripod and head combined  8) whilst trying to keep it steady. Wish me luck!! ;D
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Hi Andrew, do let us know what levelling base you're going after!
By the way, just received my [b]Atomos Samurai Field Recorder [/b]([url=http://atomos.com/samurai]http://atomos.com/samurai[/url]), and it works pretty darn well on my EX1R, just waiting for the HDMI to SDI converters so I can use it with my GH2!
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Happy new year Andrew & EOSHD readers.

A great topic to begin the new year with.

I am also after a small, light, levelling video tripod and head for a canon xf100 camcorder and 5d mk2 for wedding events shooting. I am finding the bigger tripods are too cumbersome and not ideal for fast paced events such as weddings.

I have looked at the benro, gitzo and the giottos range but can't seem to pair up the ideal match. Any help for a great setup for £250-350? I could push it more but with so much other kit to get/upgrade i'm unsure what to get.

I look forward to everyones suggestions and findings.

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I was surprised with the main image of the post, as my walkaround tripod includes this fluid head. 8) Just to share, my delicious 1.6 kg combo is made of the Gitzo G2180 head, Gitzo GT0541 legs and the Acratech leveling base (1117), that works very well. Of course it's not a cheap combo and the fluidness of the head does not compare to my FSB-6 from Sachtler but I like it a lot!! The carbon legs are very light and make ground level shots possible, with the column inversion. I also use the head with my slider and the independent pan and tilt locks are very usefull. I recomend!
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