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Good Tripod Legs

Published : 15th January 2012

Since I do a lot of docs I've been fairly pleased with my Sachtler head (75mm) with Manfrotto legs. It's nice, light and a quick setup.

Now the locks have begun to slip a bit, and I'm in need of a new and improved set of legs. I've looked around but haven't been able to find a good set of double riser 75mm sticks with quick-locking legs. Ideally something that could get a little above eye level, and with a floor spreader. Anyone out there with a sexy set of legs to recommend?

Brian wengrofsky
man with a digital capture camera
New York


 

The Vinten Vision Blue is pretty damn good for the money... Never found a sub £1000 set of legs with head that counter balances as well as this.

I don't work for Vinten or any other manufacturer...

Matt Choules
1st AC, London UK


 

Brian Wengrofsky wrote:

>> I'm in need of a new and improved set of legs.

I have been very happy with this tripod;

http://www.lumieretech.com/store/product.php?productid=16320&cat=273&

page=2

I have been using it with a new Sachtler 18 head for about a year and it has held up nicely so far. I really like the fact that one handle on each leg releases both stages.

Mike Gluckman
Dp | Orlando, FL


>> Since I do a lot of docs I've been fairly pleased with my Sachtler head

>> (75mm) with Manfrotto legs. It's nice, light and a quick setup

I picked up a set of Manfrotto 535 carbon fibre sticks last year, and have been real pleased with them so far. Lightweight, 8-ply fibre, quick lock and with the height it sounds like you're looking for.

Hope this helps.

Alan Fitch

"The soul never thinks without a picture." - Aristotle
www.visualstorymedia.com


Brian Wengrofsky wrote:

>> I've been fairly pleased with my.... Manfrotto legs. ... Now the locks have

>> begun to slip a bit, and I'm in need of a new and improved set of legs."

Seems like you're happy with the set you have, so I'd suggest tightening up the locking mechanism, job done! If you're looking for an upgrade, that's a different matter. I'd have a good long play with any Vinten legs. While I really like their heads, I find the locks are the weakest part of their product design. For weight and ease of use, I think Sachtler makes the best legs, though the united lock from Lumiere seems like a great idea. My 2 cents.

Jordan Cushing
DoP
London, UK

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I have a set of Vinten carbon fibre Legs, last set from when the heads were still Grey. The CF legs have end stops which continually pop out and if they don’t pop out then the head gets sheared off. This is just from the action of unlocking and letting the leg drop. I had to glue foam to absorb the impact and stop this happening. Only set of Vinten's I've owned. I expected better for the price point so probably the last.

Richard Sutcliffe
Shooter Editor
Kinetic Media
Queenstown NZ


Jordan Cushing wrote:

>> Brian Wengrofsky wrote: "I've been fairly pleased with my... Manfrotto

>> legs. ... Now the locks have begun to slip a bit, and I'm in need of a new and

>> improved set of legs."

Colleagues,

Just don't depend on Manfrotto for spare parts.

I needed one tube for my sticks. I found the exact part number and ordered it, including the explanation that it was for a black tripod, so I wanted to make sure it was black. Black was part of the part number, by the way.

After some months, I got a shiny aluminium version of the wrong tube.

I called and talked to their parts manager who wondered why the silver one wasn't okay? I explained that I'm in a business that partly sells appearances. Could I please get it in black?

Then I got a wrong part in black. Then I got the same wrong part in black again. Then the right part.

Hilarious, really, in retrospect. But only in retrospect.

Your mileage probably won't vary, I'm guessing.

Doug vanderHoof
Producer, modern media
Moving and still
Direct, write, shoot, edit, consult

Chicago + Seattle
773.394.0029 voice + text

Samples of my work: DougvanderHoof.com


>> I'd suggest tightening up the locking mechanism, job done!

Manfrotto includes a hex key because their locks do need regular tightening after a bit of use. The problem is, after having tightened them up a hundred times, the locks seem pretty much as tight as they can get. They're so tight in fact, that they've gotten slow to use since I really have to crank them down hard. If I loosen them up a hair to make them easier to use, they start to slip.

If there's some servicing that can be done to fix this, I'd love to know about it. But I do need a second set of sticks anyway, and would love a set that doesn't begin to slowly slip at the most inopportune times (invariably, in the middle of an emotionally charged interview).

Brian Wengrofsky
DP NYC


Having never looked at the mechanism in my life, I would think the replacement or addition of a plastic washer would do the trick. Think of it as a brake pad -- yours may just be worn out.

Mitch Gross
Applications Specialist
AbelCine NY


What style of locks are you dealing with? Here's a link to a detail of a set of Manfrotto legs.

http://bit.ly/oBceWk

In this style there are two sleeves which the locking mechanism rides on (r351, 33) which may need replacing. I have had pretty good luck with service and parts for Manfrotto products when going through big local dealers, though apparently that is not everyone's experience!

If instead you're got something like the 525 series, there may be a similar bushing but I doubt it (not shown in this drawing http://bit.ly/oA1QS8 ). I was using a set of these today and didn't think to look. Replacing part E515.506F could solve your problem, but that's purely speculation. Taking the locks apart may inspire a simple solution like adding a shim at either end of it, or a bit of camera tape, perhaps roughing the contact points with sandpaper or a small hit of this :

http://www.plastidip.com/home_solutions/Plasti_Dip

I'll stick with just about anything Sachtler as my recommended lightweight legs.

Jordan Cushing
DoP
London


Jordan Cushing wrote:

>> I have had pretty good luck with service and parts for Manfrotto products

>> when going through big local dealers, though apparently that is not

>> everyone's experience!

Jordan,

A side note, given for amusement purposes only: I tried to get a Bogen/Manfrotto tripod part through a local branch of a lighting/gear company, Barbizon. It might have been a different part I was looking for from them, but the inert Bogen response was that nothing happened for months and months. Finally, the Bogen route guy was so embarrassed that he loaned me a tripod until the part arrived.

I'm continually amazed that some of these organizations are still in business in this economic climate. How do the rude or inept or lazy survive? I don't worship the Invisible Hand of the Market, but doesn't it work on these guys?

Cordially,
Doug

Doug Van DerHoof
Producer, modern media
Moving and still
Direct, write, shoot, edit, consult