Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Friday 24th June 2016, 06:17   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 202
Blog Entries: 3
Selecting a tripod.


I am looking for recommendations on a tripod / head that can make smooth pans with cameras/lenses that have high magnification. My camera is of the compact super zoom type (a compact still camera with video capability) so it is very light weight but has the same magnification (30 x optical zoom) as a 35 mm camera with a 750 mm lens. I currently have an inexpensive video tripod and when I try to make short pans at full zoom it takes so much force that it moves too far, and there is recoil so that when I stop panning the the camera moves back in the other direction.

What tripod and head do you recommend for a light video camera with a lot of magnification? I am on a tight budget so if you can suggest something as inexpensive as possible that would help. But by "possible" I mean something with smooth motion for short pans using a telephoto lens and no recoil.

I'm very much a beginner at video and at the moment I can live with the limitations of my camera, but I need a tripod/head that works. I am looking for recommendations based on personal experience because I've found there is a lot of unreliable information out there.

Thanks very much in advance for advice and suggestions ....

Last edited by u9jzp6 : Friday 24th June 2016 at 07:20.
u9jzp6 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th October 2016, 09:25   #2
Malcolm Stewart
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Milton Keynes
Posts: 606
I've recently added a 50x optical zoom camcorder (Panasonic V510) to my collection, and I quickly found that my lightweight carbon fibre tripod was not good enough.
I'm now using a Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 tripod with a Manfrotto 128RC video head, and that's just about good enough - if I'm careful when at maximum zoom. Both my tripod items were bought used, and in good condition, so that kept the cost to a reasonable level. My biggest problem now is that this camcorder has no viewfinder - just an LCD, and uses a touchscreen for most of its controls, so changing settings during a shot is impossible without causing shake etc., but the 50x zoom is getting shots impossible without much heavier and more expensive "pro" video gear.
- - - - - - - - -
Malcolm Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
Malcolm Stewart is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th October 2016, 10:46   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 818
In still photography light weight cameras can use lightweight tripods, within reason. With video the weight of the camera has less to do with smooth tracking than the ability of the tripod to cope with the loads put on it by the video head. Cheap heads have sticktion which causes judder and all will put loads on the tripod that are fairly independent of the weight of the equipment.

I have tried everything from a massive 'pro' style tripod, which worked but didn't get out much because of its sheer weight and bulk to a cheap lightweight 'video' set-up that was useless except for stills.

Malcolm has recommended a good compromise and I also got reasonable results from a Velbon DV-7000, though it worked best with heavier kit, its a case of having something that will balance out the weight of the pan arm.

In practice I found that I tended to use a viewfinder hand held, but the lcd on a tripod, the camera at a lower height with the lcd angled upwards, a bit like the angle finder on a scope - glare can be a problem. Unfortunately touch screens are a pain and I am fortunate that I have a remote that attaches to my pan and tilt grip for zoom etc. This is not an option for your camera unfortunately.

I am at the stage of debating whether to keep my last video camera as much is now possible with modern cscs - my cscs are not so good for the audio side from the point of view of external mics and monitoring so it will probably remain around for a bit longer.
iveljay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 10th May 2017, 00:50   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 202
Blog Entries: 3
I bought the manfrotto 290 Xtra aluminum legs with the 128RC head. They were sold together (in a boxed package).

They are an improvement over the tripod I had been using - the main improvement is that my old tripod had a lot of recoil and drift on the tilt movement. There is no drift and much less recoil with this new tripod. I didn't want to spend more so I think this was probably a good choice. It is hard to pan smoothly at high magnification so I think if one wanted to spend more, a head with adjustable drag would be better (maybe the manfrotto 502HD which was recommended to me but is too expensive for my budget).

And there is no bubble level - but I have one I think I can use.

I don't have experience with a wide range of tripods so I don't know what is realistic to expect but when testing at 120x magnification (digital zoom) I still get some recoil when panning and tilting and vibrations when touching or letting go of the pan bar. 120x magnification is a lot so I don't know if it is realistic to expect perfect performance under that magnification.

There is also a problem in that using image stabilization on the camera helps with the vibrations but sometimes it causes a lot of drift after panning and tilting.

I would assume that with good equipment, one does not use image stabilization when making videos using a tripod. Is that right?

Someone elsewhere recommended a gimbal head. Are they used for video?

It is not convenient for me to get to a store where I could try something out before buying but I would recommend doing that if possible.

Last edited by u9jzp6 : Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 09:00.
u9jzp6 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need Help On Selecting Binoculars suitor Leica 15 Sunday 24th April 2016 17:32
Help selecting frst set of binoculars gjcrop Binoculars 2 Sunday 27th November 2011 17:25
Help Selecting New Binoculars elduderino260 Binoculars 24 Friday 29th July 2011 13:41
Help selecting a printer required The gaffer Computers, Birding Software And The Internet 15 Saturday 12th April 2008 03:44
Help Selecting Binoculars w5blt Birds & Birding 8 Tuesday 4th October 2005 14:08

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.14039803 seconds with 16 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 01:57.