Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Off brand tripods
March 30, 2010 at 2:01 PM #47876
I was searching ebay for a fluid head tripod and found this
There are others similar, up to about 350. WHats the difference between these and the name brands like Bogen/Manfrotto? Has anyone used these cheaper models and are they okay especially if you are not shooting everyday? I have a Canon xha1 that I plan to use it for. Thanks for your help.
March 30, 2010 at 10:01 PM #196989
In many, MOST, cases you truly do get what you pay for in tripod purchases. Bogen/Manfrotto, Miller and other name brands might seem quite a bit steep in price per pound, but when you consider the stability, the balance, the sometimes ultralight rigs made of exotic materials that somehow find the sweet spot between lightness for transporting and run-and-gun floor-to-shoulder-and-reposition in less than 10 seconds moves and overall maximum stability, and DECADES of useful, low-maintenance life, it is GREAT economics to spend between $1K and even $3K for a quality, name brand product.
I invested nearly $1K into a set of Bogen sticks, spreader, dolly wheel spreader, and heavy duty head more than a decade ago, and that puppy is STILL our main support for shooting. Second unit tripods in the $100 to $250 range have come and gone; emergency purchases for 2nd or 3rd camera units picked up at Ritz Cameras or other retail stores on the way to last-minute gigs have come and gone over the years – NONE of them alive and in working order today.
I invested in a heavy-duty monopod with Bogen branded fluid mini-head and foot brace that ran me close to $500. It too has seen heavy, constant work. Although it is a good bit heavier than traditional monopod units and can get heavier during a run-and-gun event, I am glad I spent the bucks because that unit too has outlasted a host of lower-priced, off-brand products.
You really do, most of the time in tripods anyway, get what you pay for.
April 2, 2010 at 2:47 PM #196990
Thanks for your response. Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment. I always hear good things about Bogen/Manfrotto and basically planned to buy something along the lines of 500 to get started with a semi pro tripod. After checking BHphoto though, it looks more like 800 especially with a dolly. Up to this point all I have used is cheap tripods, but now that I have invested in a much bigger betteer cam, I am ready to step up my tripod as well. I have been shopping around though and hoped I might be able to save as much as 300-400 by getting an off brand model since I am still a hobbyist. I don’t shoot daily so I thought it might work for me. Sounds like I should stick with the name brand though. If you have a moment, check out this tripod and tell me what you think. Its not top of the line by far but at least this one is Davis & Sanford and appears to have good ratings.I plan to get a dolly as well.I am going to be shooting with a Canon Xha1.
April 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM #196991CvilleParticipant
A friend of mine just got this Davis and Sanford with a free dolly. It seems to be quite nice for the price. He is happy with it so far but only time will tell how well it holds up. I included the b&h link for this unit.
I have the Mathews M25 and I like it. I think there is a video review on this webside of the unit. Again only time will tell how these moderatly priced tripods will hold up.
April 2, 2010 at 6:11 PM #196992
Thanks for the tip. BH’s price is actually $10 less than the seller on ebay, and they throw in a free dolly! For 200 I think it’s at least worth a try. Even if it doesn’t last as long as a Bogen/Manfrotto or other more expensive brand, it’s still a good investment at this stage for me. I can look at it like my back up tripod…I’m just buying it before I get my flagship tripod.
April 2, 2010 at 6:11 PM #196993futball8Participant
I have had that Davis and Sanford tripod for just under year. Ironically, the eBay auction in the first post has a tripod head that looks IDENTICAL in every way to the Davis & Sanford FM18 head – I believe it is the same head, just sold under a different name apparently.
After a year of use and abuse, my Davis and Sanford rig has held up pretty well. The head has gotten a little play in it, but I think that is from using it in freezing cold temperatures and really reefing on the handles when the head is cold and stiff. It is really smooth – I’ve used Manfrotto heads and new out of the box, this FM18 head is certainly as smooth. All in all, it is a solidly built unit, however, I agree with EarlC – I don’t anticipate this thing surviving 5-10 years like a Manfrotto/Bogen unit. But the first year with nearly daily use and plenty of abuse, it has done well – I expect it to keep ticking for at least another year or so.
All in all, if you can afford a Bogen or Manfrotto, go for it – if not, Davis & Sanford is a worthy substitute that will serve you well.
April 3, 2010 at 1:24 AM #196994
A solid year of use and abuse…dailly usage. Oh thats great. Then I am really set. That makes this the ulitimate deal !!If I just continue creeping along as a weekend warrior, I get the 5 year longevity of the big boys. If I really start to hustle as I get better at my craft, I’ll make money whice will further warrant stepping up and by which time I’ll have even more money to afford it. By the time I buy my a more expensive model, I’ll have a really good second tripod and a great first string player. All for around 1k total once I’ve gotten the Bogen which I’m getting regardless. This just gives me a chance to do it later without having to sacrafice quality up front giving me more money to put into another component. I get the short term, long term, affordable, reasonable, practical, rational, quantity, and quality, and last but not least pure unadulterated fun !!Where else can you get that. Life is great !!!You know what I love about this most is that this is one time when there is no argument. No one is wrong…everybody wins. No egos involved. Everybody just sharing thoughtthrurespectful input..
My bad fellas, Ikind of got caught in a moment of life therapy that this whole thing brings to me…….
Now if I can only get them to get it to me before Fri April 9. I’m filming a Sweet 16 party for a friendSat Apr 10. Having the tripod and a dolly would make a huge difference. Unfortunately looks like I won’t be able to take advantage of the free shipping !!!
April 3, 2010 at 2:49 AM #196995
Quick question. I was just on the BH website and noticed 2 versions of this tripod. One is regularand supports 18lbs,and the other has a pneumatic center post and supports 12lbs. Is the pneumatic centerpost a feature I want or even need? If so why? Is it worth giving up 6lbs of support capability? Price is only 10 difference so money isn’t an issue.
April 3, 2010 at 3:56 AM #196996
IMHO models with extended center posts do not provide the same level/degree of stability as bowl or mounted-head styles and would not be useful for me. That center column on any such models I’ve used simply has too much wobble and play after a few uses.
April 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM #196997
Earl, so you think the model with the regular centerpost and greater weight capacity would be more stable and therefore a better choice, correct? Also,when you say”extended” centerpost, do you mean the one with pneumatic centerpost? Maybe I am confused. I assumed they were both the same length or height, and that the pneumatic centerpost only meant that it uses air to raise or lower the height. I remember reading once a guy said he used it get a smooth motion as he change the postion of his cam to higher or lower level while filming. I could see where it might allow for a cool shot here or there in certain sitiuations but it doesn’t seem like it’s common to me. Sounded to me like a way to simulate a technique used in film or tv maybe but they have special equipment used to mount and move the cams for those shots.
April 3, 2010 at 5:45 PM #196998
It is my experience that tripods with center posts that extend, however the method (pneumatic, hand-crank or other) and regardless of the method for locking it down after the desired height is reached, stability is sacrificed in the process.
At its BASE level, without the center post extended at all, this and most other tripods of this style are relatively stable. Post extended, they are not. At least not to the same degree as when NOT extended.
In using various types of equipment for special shots, experimentation and analysis of the results is always in order. Interesting shots can be made in interesting ways with a huge range of creative tools or outside the “normal” boundaries of specific professional tools. Folks in the business do this all the time, but you just have to be aware of the consequences of using a particular video tool (in this case the tripod) in an unconventional manner.
Can be fun. Can be interesting. Can be GREAT. But there’s usually trade-offs involved with stability or some other side-effect.
April 4, 2010 at 12:44 PM #196999
Ok got it. But how do you adjust your height for various shooting situations?
April 4, 2010 at 3:13 PM #197000
With my tripod height is gained either by extending the telescoping legs, reducing the amount of “spread” of the legs (but that can make the tropod support less stable for those who have a habit of leaning on them during shooting), or sometimes I have a platform I set up to gain 18″ to 24″ – there’s a snappy, but expensive tool called Spider Pod that helps gain elevation for tripods as well.
Essentially, I either go with the height the tripod allows (I don’t use tripods with center post extensions, sorry) or find a way to elevate it as mentioned above.
April 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM #197001
ok sir. thanks for the tips
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