Tripod: mid level vs bottom spreaders

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    • #44508


      Finally investing in a new tripod for video work. Looking at theManfrotto 504HD,546GBK Kit With 546GB Tripod and it comes either as a mid-level or bottom spreader.

      I am a photo guy and this arrangement is foreign to me, so what are the pluses/minuses of each?

    • #186362

      I dunno about the plus/minus except that I have a Bogen set of sticks and purchased a bottom spreader when I acquired. I use it OFTEN and it is wonderful on floors or other flat surfaces.

      Mid-level, knowing what I know now about the bottom spreader limitations on all but level, flat surfaces, would have likely been a better choice. What I HAVE done is acquire some hardware chain and snap clips and a sturdy ring and made my own mid-level spreader for those times when I’m out and about on uneven or other turf.

      While the spikes on the bottom of my tripod firmly secure its placement, the spreader, of course, in the event of a footing slip or something, would keep the whole thing from collapsing on me mid-shoot. Yikes! I’ve also attached the chain spreader when I’ve somehow forgotten my bottom spreader, or left it in the car and it’s too late or too far to walk to get it, and no assistant or other person to send for it. The chain assembly fits easily into one of the two ditty bags I keep with me and ready at all times, though heavy I suppose, but it’s there in an emergency.

      So, for more diversity of use and similar security, I would suspect either a commercially manufactured or custom-made mid-level spreader would come in handy more often than a bottom spreader. But I find myself shooting on flat, level turf most of the time I use my Bogen so I don’t use the mid-level creation often enough to make an informed comparison over time.

    • #186363

      Anticipating the need tobe on un-level ground from time to time, I bought a nice mid-priced Libec with mid spreader. I also got a Libec dolly to go with the tripod which acts as a bottom spreader for flad ground ( the mid spreader detaches when the dolly is lashed on ). The dolly wheels allow me to move about the floor without having to detach the camera and re-set the tripod for each setup.

      Rick Crampton

    • #186364

      One thing about the Bogans you are talking about, the middle spreaders will extend further than the bottom spreaders. Basically, you can get a lower angle with mid spreaders from Bogan. Hope it helps.

    • #186365

      I’ve used both and each has it’s good points and PIA’s. All the ‘pods we use have mid-levels as I’ve found them useful in outdoor shoots in uneven terrain. A bottom is good particularly if you’re going to put individual dolly wheels on the rig. On the economic end, mid-levels tend to be less expensive than bottoms and Bogen/Manfrotto makes some good gear. I have yet to have a spreader fail (fingers crossed.)

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