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Old Tuesday 4th April 2017, 16:45   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Finland
Posts: 1,465
My impression is that people's opinions about video heads also depend on their habits of using it. I might be a bit out-of-date with this generalization, but when I have been birding in the U.S. and elsewhere, rather few birders seemed to use their scopes for tracking birds in flight. Tracking birds in flight is something we do a lot in the Nordic countries, and this places higher requirements on smooth operation of the head.

There are also some unit-to-unit differences in how smoothly and with how much resistance fluid-type heads pan and tilt.

I used to have the Nikon ED 82 A, and now have a Swaro ATX 95. With the Nikon, I mostly used a Gitzo 2380, which was very sturdy and had rather good resistance and damping for both panning and tilting, but lacked a balance spring. I now have a rather early specimen of the Sirui VH 10, which is just as sturdy and vibration-free as the 2380 was, but has the additional benefit of a balance spring which is excellent when following birds in flight. My Sirui has just about perfect tilt behavior, but I'd prefer a bit more damping for panning, especially in warm temperatures. In below-freezing temps, the action stiffens up enough to be rather close to ideal. Newer VH 10's seem to have even less damping in the horizontal movement, so it is worthwhile to try these out before buying. Shape, size contours and controls are very good on the Sirui.

The GH 1720 I have no personal user-experience of, but have seen it in stores and briefly tried it out.

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