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Small, light, levelling video 1,8m tripod and head


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Looking to buy fluid head and tripod for GH4, for mostly video vehicle tracking shots: fast cars, airplane landings etc. Thats both fast and slow tracking, panning and tilting.


There was a similar topic with 701hdv, but it was 2 years ago and there is new stuff available.
1. I've thought about Manfr 500 or similar like 502 - what do you think, buy 500 or 502 or other?

I am also looking for tripod allowing me to make shots from eye level perspective, and as light and small ( max 52 cm ) as it could be in a normal price range.
2. Any suggestions?

Price for whole set: tripod + head = < 350Euro.



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I started with a really cheap but increible funtional, light and transportable, Mantona Scout (1,6Kg / 69€) and later I added a Manfrotto MVH502AH video head (1,6Kg / 170€).

I´m talking for a Blackmagic Pocket.

Now I´m looking for a second one to use two cams, they are photo tripod without head:

-Induro AT014 (1,1 Kg) = 105€

-Benro A2580F (1,9 Kg) = 146€

The 500 is too expensive (380€ amazon) for me but weigh it´s OK 3,1Kg and it´s a video tripod.

I discard the 502AM for the price (540€ amazon)

For my uses (nature and live events), mobily and price is a must, I prefer a photo tripod + video Head.

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why not buy used? buy a used manfrotto head you like. I have used just about all of them and they all do the job and last forever. Be carefull buying the legs for it... my advice is buy carbon fibre legs that have 3 sections max. benro, sirui etc...

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I just have a few pointers that maybe will make your decision a little easier.

Concerning the heads:

Big difference between Manfrotto 500 and 502 Heads is Pan and Tilt variable drag control that 502 has which makes a huge difference when you need both slow and fast movements. The 500 has fixed Tlt and Pan drag, you have to try it if it works for you. It could be to loose for your gh4 and lens combination. I recommend to go somewhere and try it first. The 502 on the other hand can be adjusted to be completely loose or very stiff but still fluid. The 502 is much bigger and heavier and has controls on the oposite side, which many people hate, maybe you will hate it too, because of that I also recommend to try it first.

But in your case, I presume that you will be using a tele lens, so with that in mind I would reccomend the 502 because a small movement on the head is a big movement in the video on the tele end.

Concerning the tripod:

What you want is a small light tripod that extends a lot, and that's a problem becasue that kind of tripod needs to have a lot of stages (leg extensions) and with every additional leg extension adds to overall instability of the tripod. Also, having a lot of leg extensions is a real hassle, I mean real pain in the ars especially if you have to move quickly to another location and can't move with extended tripod.

Another thing, concerning the tripod (foto tripod legs) with many stages and a video head like 502 with Pan drag adjusted to be stiff, there will be a big problem regarding the tripod's Torsional Rigidity ( just google "Tripod Torsional Rigidity" ). When you pan the head in one side, the legs will twist in that direction and when you stop the movement and let go of the handle, the legs will twist again to return to their normal state and you will have a big backlash in your video. Just something you have to bear in mind. I have seen several times people blaiming video heads for the backlash, but actually the legs were to blame. Professional video tripod with a center or a floor spreader minimises that backlash.

Also if you are going to buy that small photo tripod to mount a video head on it, I recommend adding a ball adapter (half bowl) because adjusting for the horizon with the legs only is a huge hassle and time consuming. There are several on the market, cheaper ones like sunwayfoto dhy-66i (new revision) are quite good. ( http://foto-tip.pl/en/sunwayfoto-dyh-66i-leveling-base.html )

A light, small, good quality and afordable price tripod is very hard to find, though I have recently bought a Triopo foto legs tripod for 85€ and quality is very good so try to see if something from their range suite you like: Triopo GE-3232X8C ( http://foto-tip.pl/en/statyw-triopo-ge-3232x8c.html ) this is just an example, you can browse to see what other tripods they have, and maybe in your case, depends where you are from, you can probably find them cheaper somewhere else. Triopo is ok for the price, 24 months waranty in the EU and many web shops have it.

I would also recommend max 3 stages for a video tripod legs, but you need it to bee quite small when not in use and quite long when extended, and that complicates things.

Hope this helps a bit.


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Thanks for response. It's funny I was looking to buy in the same store... ;-)
Here is a complete list of what I've found on the internet ( >160cm, <55cm ) :

                                                                          Max height | Folded | Weight | Price
http://foto-tip.pl/pl/statyw-triopo-ge-3232x8c.html       190 / 47,5 / 1390 / 170$
http://foto-tip.pl/pl/statyw-triopo-me-3232x8c.html      188 / 48,5 / 1730 / 110$
http://foto-tip.pl/pl/statyw-triopo-mt-3232x8c.html       185,5 / 48,5 / 1730 / 109$  ...
Induro AT214 Alloy 8M - 167 / 54,5 / 2000 / 140$
Slik PRO 824CF - carbon - 163 / 47 / 1600 / 200$
Slik PRO 724CF - carbon - 163 / 47 / 1400 / 150$
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 - 170 / 54 / 2100 / 400$
Manfrotto 755XB - 165 / 46 / 2500 / 300$

There is also Benro A2980F 170 / 56 / 2100 / 130USD, but it's 1,5 cm too long for most cabin baggage size.

I am aware of Tripod Torsional Rigidity, that's one of the main problems. The quest is to buy a tripod for a ... hand luggage, not a "heavy one".
502 seems better thanks to hardness controll. I've though about Manfrotto levelling 338, about the same price.

Seems that Triopo is one of the best - ~130USD, >170cm and 49cm folded. I just don't know the quality and stability at full height when compared to others.

EDIT: On the other hand basic maths:
RyanAir: a55 x b40 x c20
diagonal across the bag= √(a2 + b2)   =~ 62-67cm
will show that a 60cm tripod will fit into a hand luggage bag easily if we put it diagonally across the bag, but ...

main question is: Can we travel with a tripod as hand luggage?

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That's funny, the same shop... they do have good prices indeed.

Now I get it, the tripod needs to fit the Airlines hand luggage, and Ryan Air and other budget Airlines have tough restrictions for their hand luggage. But I don't think they would allow it on board, it can be used to threaten someone and that's a no go. It's best to check with them, call them or send them an e-mail. Maybe just maybe a light carbon fibre tripod could be allowed, with no spikes on the tripods legs feet, just rubber. But honestly I would not even think about putting it in a carry on luggage. Perhaps others can share their experience?

As for Triopo, cannot say anything about quality of other triopo tripods, but I have recently bought Triopo MX-1327 ( http://foto-tip.pl/en/statyw-triopo-mx-1351.html ) and for that price it's unmatched by any other tripod, big and strong, but still not too big. Fully extended it does twist using the 502 head with big drag and a 2.8kg rig on top, but when you calculate the height of the ball adapter and the height of the 502 head, it doesn't need to bee fully extended to rech the eye level (I am 179cm). I've compared it with Manfrotto 055XProb and it feels the same in terms of stabillity.

If I were you I simply wouldn't bother with a tripod that fits in the carry on luggage.

As for the level head,don't know how manfrotto performs, it's more then double the weight and has much less adjustment then sunwayfoto dhy-66i (+5/-5 VS +16/-16 degrees). Also from the looks of it, it doesn't look that it's very easy to adjust...If you really want manfrotto have a look at Manfrotto 436, but it's even bigger and heavier. My sunwayphoto dhy-66i will arrive next monday, and I will test it on Triopo MX-1327 with Manfotto 502 head and a 2.5-3.5kg rig on top. I will share my experience then!

I do have to warn you again about reversed controls on the 502 head, if you are familiar with standard position of locking knobs on a video head, the 502 can give you headaches. I do not mind it, but it's something to think about.

Happy choosing :)


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I am still waiting for official reply about luggage - some airlines already replied that's it's ok, some say that I have to check with specific airport - no always yes or no answer.
The goal is to check and find the tripod to make many 3 days trips without the paid luggage. ( head + camera + tripod + level.. ~<7kg ).

Funny that I am looking for exactly the same set. 502 seems a better deal for me.
1. What rig are you using?
2. What could you say more about twisting? Is it really a big problem when head is hardened? What if we could: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj6fMcJ18aA :-)

Waiting for your sunwayphoto dhy-66i test with this rig.

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