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HDV Fluid Heads

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I'm a spoiled Dir/Camera who likes my O’Connor and Cartoni for commercial work...but will be travelling with a friend shooting HDV interviews...white water canoeing...vistas.

Any recommendations on a +$1000 fluid head for the Sony HDV Z1U?

The Sachtler DV-2 II reads nice.. but I have never seen one.

Steve McWilliams
http://www.steveshow.com
Director/Camera


I myself recently got the Gitzo G-1380 which weighs about the same as the DV-2, has more tilt range, lifetime guarantee, and costs about $850.

I use it on my Miller Solo DV sticks and this set-up makes the perfect match for my Z1 and LTR when needed for quick set-ups, portability and durability. The head has five springs that balances payloads from 1kg-10kg (2.2-22lbs).

The thing I love the most about the Gitzo is its design. Check it out:

www.gitzo.com

I myself got this for a month long project travelling to four Middle Eastern countries which is upcoming, though I'll only be going through customs and portages so can't comment on that!

Best,

Cortlan McManus
ReBirth Cinema LLC
200 E. 10th Street, Suite 914
New York, NY 10003


I have tried just about everything out there (I own a Sachtler 20 and 35 for my F900 and Betacam, and Cartoni Action Pro and some Bogens) and here's what I like best for my Z1U:

Cartoni makes nice carbon fibre legs with an above-ground spreader (a must) and Bogen just debuted some as well that are excellent. Lightweight and inexpensive ($200-400 range)

The Bogen 503 is the best bang for the buck of everything I've tried. I never use my Cartoni any more, and it's better than the Sachtler DV heads at a MUCH cheaper price.

Has ball-levelling (also a must, of course). Legs/head under $1K. (They also make a cool compact high-hat/baby stix that rock!)

Bogen also has a cool monopod with a quick release plate, and quick-release leg(s), great for using the Z1U with Steadyshot-- very tripod-like.

As you know, the heavier the head the smoother the moves, but when I want something quick and light that is still smooth, the above combination has served me well.

(BTW, the same parent company owns Bogen, Sachtler and Vinten, and they require Bogen to sell at a lower price point as to not compete with their "higher end" Sachtler and Vinten lines, even though some Bogen products are superior performing! Take advantage of that when you can...)

Jody Eldred
Director/cameraman
Los Angeles


>I'm a spoiled Dir/Camera who likes my O’Connor and Cartoni for >commercial work…The Sachtler DV-2 II reads nice.. but I have never >seen one.

Steve,

I, too, have been spoiled in the bigger format world with the likes of the O’Connor and similar heads. But for work in smaller formats like DV, I have a Sachtler DV 4 ll. It is a bit disappointing for it only has one drag setting for the tilt and pan. You might want to spend a little more money and get the Sachtler DV 6. It will be usable for more types of these cameras and thus be of more use for you in the long run. I plan to upgrade one day.

Sachtler has been really helpful in providing excellent service when I have any problem with the legs or head. They have replaced the spreaders for the system for no cost even after I bought it used on Ebay. I also went to their new facility in NY and they readily helped adapt the DV 4 head to my 75mm hi hat. I heartily recommend them for the service and support they provide for their products.

Of course, I have no affiliation...

Hope this helps.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


> Any recommendations on a +$1000 fluid head for the Sony HDV Z1U?

I use a Miller DS10 head with their Solo Carbon Fibre telescoping tripod. Interims of bang for buck, nothing I've seen comes close.

http://www.miller.com.au/products.cfm?sectid=20&subsec=

2020&productID=81

Pieter de Vries ACS
Cinematographer
Sydney, Australia


>The Bogen 503 is the best bang for the buck of everything I've tried. I >never use my Cartoni any more, and it's better than the Sachtler DV >heads at a MUCH cheaper price.

I agree. Bogen/Manfrotto have a kit, with that head, three-stage QR legs, spreader, and soft case for like $650 that's really quite good, and I think is the appropriate scale for the FX-1.

Tim Sassoon
SFD Vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA


Jody Eldred writes:

>The Bogen 503 is the best bang for the buck of everything I've tried.

I've been using a 501 head, which is in many ways an OK bang for the buck, but it has a tendency to get sticky-tilt after being held in one position for more than a few minutes. The 503 seems like the same head with a counterbalance spring, but some people say it's basically a better head. Have you had any stiction problems with your 503?

I use a Bogen 3011 lightweight aluminium tripod for travel. The screw-type leg locks are a little fussy, but otherwise OK. I've rotated them 90 degrees so the knobs don't stick out when the legs are folded. The extension column has been VERY useful. I'll never go back to conventional legs that won't get you up over 6 feet.

Unfortunately this system has no ball levelling. So I just got a Manfrotto 438 (aka Bogen 3502) ball leveller that goes between the flat-top tripod and the flat-bottom head. Adds 1.25 lbs to the package, so I still might leave it off when travelling light.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>I've been using a 501 head, which is in many ways an OK bang for the >buck, but it has a tendency to get sticky-tilt after being held in one >position for more than a few minutes.

I have not noticed that on my 503. You might contact your Bogen dealer as it sounds like there may be a problem with that head. Has it taken any licks? (fallen over, been hit hard in shipping or transit. etc.) All mine have of course from time to time, and its possible a fluid module (that's what Sachtler calls theirs, at least) might be damaged... but the "stiction" problem doesn't sound related to that.

Have them check it out for you.

I've been sorely disappointed in my Cartoni Action Pro. Pan mechanism is not smooth at all, the tilt lock is not positive, resulting in the stix falling over with a PD150 on it, crashing to the ground and breaking an expensive Chroziel mattebox. Only time that has happened to me in 30+ years of shooting. I even sent it back to Cartoni. They returned it saying nothing was wrong with it! Needless to say, they've lost a customer.

And Bogen has gained a good one!

Jody Eldred
Director/cameraman
Los Angeles, CA


I went with the Bogan 503 and 3445 Manfrotto carbon fibre legs. So far so good. The legs tend to collapse when I lift the camera to reposition...

I will investigate tightening them a bit. I do like the 'off ground' spreader feature... and the legs will release to give me a very low platform. Nice case! The 75mm ball level is a must and it functions well. I like the 503's captive sliding base plate. Once the camera has clicked in...it can't come off without depression of the little red button. That is nice. I wish both the pan and tilt locks were a bit more positive....but for the >$900 I paid for them...I won't complain.

Now I've got to study up on Cineframe 30 and Cinematone!

Steve McWilliams
Director/Camera
Dallas, TX


I hope others have enjoyed this thread as much as I have. The information has been very helpful. I haven't made a decision yet...but I have my homework to do comparing the different options.

Thanks all for sharing quality information.

Steve McWilliams
Director/Camera
Dallas, TX


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