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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.