First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

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robedge

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Mar 06, 2020 6:22 pm

robedge wrote:I think that the camera’s 1/4”-20 is strong enough to support the MixPre-3. Now trying to decide whether to order a MixPre-3 v. 2, which can send timecode to the camera, before Monday’s price hike.


Further to the above post and photos, I’m picked up a MixPre-3 v.2 this afternoon. This means that I can run timecode straight to the camera, and turn off the camera audio, which I’ve been using as a sync backup to my slate, for good. No further need to deal with expendable camera audio tracks when editing, and this should reduce heat generation and battery draw a bit. The question is whether I become too lazy to slate :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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rick.lang

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 4:14 am

There’s an office pool going on now on when you’ll start recording 32bit audio on the MixPre-3 II.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 4:38 am

rick.lang wrote:There’s an office pool going on now on when you’ll start recording 32bit audio on the MixPre-3 II.



I happen to have just posted about that: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=97842&start=550#p600604

Actually, the feature that I’m really intrigued by is something that I haven’t seen anyone talk about - the inclusion of a compressor, which has a lot of potential uses. Comments about the compressor in the above post too.

:)
Last edited by robedge on Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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rick.lang

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 4:39 am

Yes, I saw your earlier post after I had written my tongue-in-cheek post. Sigh!
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 4:50 am

rick.lang wrote:Yes, I saw your earlier post after I had written my tongue-in-cheek post. Sigh!


Might as well paste the post here :) ...

I purchased a MixPre-3 v.2 today so that I can run timecode from it to my Pocket 4K. I picked up a standard 12” cable, but also asked my sound vendor to make a 4’ (1.2m) cable. One thing that I want to do is park the camera and MixPre, with timecode running, on my tripod, as shown in these photos: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105319&start=150#p600076

Now that I have one of these recorders, I suppose that I should find out what 32-bit is about. There’s lots of talk on the internet about the theory, much less on the practicalities from people who have actually used it. I know that 32-bit requires 33% more storage capacity than 24-bit, but one of the things that I want to find out is how long it takes to process and render 32-bit audio. More generally, what does it do to one’s workflow? I hope to find out over the next few days.

I was both surprised and interested to learn today that Sound Devices has included a compressor in v.2. That’s what a limiter basically is, but under “Custom” there are now settings for ratio, threshold and release. Musicians, voiceover artists and podcasters will use this. For sound design/effects, the compressor makes it possible to test, in the field, what the impact of compression would be on a particular sound. That is cool, and potentially quite useful. Compression is one of those subjects that is hard to understand in the abstract, and I think that having a compressor in a field recorder is also a great learning opportunity.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Mar 09, 2020 11:36 pm

On the previous page of this thread, Rick Lang and I talked a bit about high hats/risers.

Before I take the step of breaking the Loctite seal on the Miller head in order to make it easy to use on a flat base (e.g. on my monopod), I want to try using a riser. In addition to my monopod, I could also use a riser on a slider or, if screwed down to a piece of plywood, as a very short "tripod". Today I ordered one, 6" (150mm) tall, from an Illinois company called ProMediaGear. I have no experience with this company, but it appears to have a good reputation: https://www.promediagear.com/TRHH2-75mm ... p_414.html

Here's a photo:

pmg-riser.jpg
pmg-riser.jpg (26.69 KiB) Viewed 1045 times



I was also interested in a riser made by a Polish company called Sliderkamera, but it has no North American retailers and their quote for shipping was prohibitive. Worth checking out their version, though: https://www.slidekamera.com/high-hat-bo ... -bowl.html

Like Rick, I'm also looking at short tripods. The main ones on the market appear to be:

1. Benro Hi Hat (US$205 for 75mm, $255 for 100mm, aluminum): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... bowl.html/

2. Induro Baby Grand ($360 for 75mm, $400 for 100mm, half bowl not included, carbon fiber): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... grand.html

3. Really Right Stuff TVC-32G ($500, 75mm half bowl not included, carbon fiber): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ies_3.html

4. Really Right Stuff TFA-32G, which is an interesting aluminum tripod, just updated (old name, TP-243), but it would have to be used with a riser or a head that can be mounted on a flat base ($395, flat base only, aluminum): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... eries.html

The first three tripods above use the Gitzo Systematic system. Benro and Induro are said to have common ownership. That would explain why their two tripods appear to be identical in design, except that the Induro has carbon fiber legs. These legs save nothing in weight. For tripods of this size, I find it hard to see what advantage carbon fiber has over aluminum. The Benro/Induro rubber feet can be screwed into a plywood board, but I think that RRS’s optional Rock Claw feet would work as well with less hassle, and are more versatile. One of the attractions of RRS’s TFA-32G is that going between rubber and spike feet is just a matter of reversing the direction of the second leg section.

Note that any of these tripods, configured with a flat crown, could be used as a base for a monopod. It’s a matter of screwing the tripod’s 3/8” stud, instead of the monopod’s foot, into the bottom of the monopod. Indeed, hybrid monopods have become popular, especially it appears among wedding and sports photographers.

B&H has the Benro and Induro on display, and I plan to drop by this week to have a look.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 10, 2020 8:46 pm

Nice to have a few intrepid explorers sharing their expeditions with those less fortunate working at the end of the world. Oh well, I’ll have to be content that Prince Harry and Megan (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) live only a few miles away at Land’s End.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 10, 2020 9:26 pm

rick.lang wrote:Nice to have a few intrepid explorers sharing their expeditions with those less fortunate working at the end of the world. Oh well, I’ll have to be content that Prince Harry and Megan (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) live only a few miles away at Land’s End.


Since Harry’s and Megan’s escape, I think that the titles aren’t on, at least until Harry sees the light and realises that while Victoria may be named for his Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother, it ain’t London :)

I plan an expedition this week on the E Train to Penn Station, and will report back from the wilds of 34th and 9th, aka B&H.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Mar 11, 2020 1:06 am

I made a decision tonight about a short tripod because a Really Right Stuff TVC-32G was available in excellent condition at a fair price. Here is B&H on it, with photos, specs and a couple of purchaser reviews: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ies_3.html

The tripod comes with a flat crown. However, because the tripod uses the Gitzo Systematic system, I can use my Gitzo 75mm bowl with it, the ProMediaGear bowl (one comes with the riser discussed above) or purchase RRS’s bowl ($60). I do want to see how the tripod/flat crown work as a base for my monopod and with the ProMediaGear riser. I will probably purchase RRS’s Rock Claw tripod feet, which on B&H get very favourable customer reviews: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _foot.html

I still plan to visit B&H to check out the Benro and the Induro, but I’ll probably wait until I can take the RRS into account in the comparison. I should have the RRS before the end of the week, and the ProMediaGear riser is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday. Photos to come.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 3:00 am

Looks like both the Really Right Stuff ground tripod (TVC-32g) and the ProMediaGear 6” (150mm) riser will arrive tomorrow. Photos and impressions Friday or Saturday. Visit to B&H on Sunday or Monday to check out/compare the Benro and Induro short tripods and a couple of traditional high hats.

For details on this stuff, see the post four up.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 5:03 am

Thanksgiving all the leg work on this. Good luck.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 3:59 pm

rick.lang wrote:Thanksgiving all the leg work on this. Good luck.


Hi Rick,

It’s easy for me to drop by B&H and I’m interested in checking out these products.

The ProMediaGear riser and the Really Right Stuff tripod arrived this morning. The riser is very well made; at US$150 it’s $50 more than Ikan’s but I did not like the fact that the Ikan riser is held together with screws.

I’ve never owned an RRS tripod, but it is said to make some of the best and I’m impressed with this one. Very solid, love the small footprint. I think that your interest in the Benro is on the right track. Having played with the RRS a bit, I’m satisfied that the ability to adjust height is a real advantage over traditional high hats. While the RRS, unlike the Benro, Induro and traditional high hats, can’t be screwed down to a piece of plywood, so far I can’t see why I would need to. With the camera roughly balanced before I mount it on the tripod, I’m not concerned about the tripod tipping over, and with the Miller on maximum pan or tilt drag, the tripod doesn’t move. If you get the Benro, I doubt that you’ll need to use that feature.

For me, the underlying question is whether I should break the Loctite seal on the Miller so that I can use it on a flat base. Not convinced right now that I need to.

Tomorrow or on the weekend I’ll post photos of the tripod and camera in various positions, maybe also using the RRS tripod as a base for my monopod.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 10:32 pm

Here is the text for six phone snaps that I’m uploading tomorrow of the Really Right Stuff tripod (TVC-32G) with my Pocket 4K and the Fujinon lens. Because the forum only allows three photos per post, the photos will be spread over two posts.

While the photos show RRS’s tripod, the same general idea should apply to the Benro Hi Hat and Induro Baby Grand.

I was skeptical about the utility of a tripod like this, but I’m sold. It can be used in many circumstances where my Gitzo is impractical, and it is much more compact with a much smaller footprint. I also think that it will work well with my monopod, the bottom of the monopod screwed into the tripod’s standard flat crown.

The RRS comes with rubber feet. I plan to purchase its Rock Claw feet for use on rough terrain and perhaps pavement: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _foot.html

I roughly balance the camera before mounting it on the tripod. Not an issue with a lightweight prime lens, but I have no desire to investigate how stable the tripod is with the camera, and a long lens like the Fujinon, poorly balanced. It’s probably not a problem, but I have no need to find out.

The tripod can be set at six principal heights. The height can be fine-tuned by changing how much the second leg segment is extended. I’m making these photos because I think that it’s useful to photograph, and to measure and make a list of, the six principal heights.

The first two photos use the tripod’s standard flat crown because the tripod is not tall enough to use a bowl. The rest use a Gitzo 75mm bowl (for Gitzo Series 3 Systematic tripods) because I already have one. RRS makes its own 75mm bowl, which at US$60 is $55 less than Gitzo’s. I use a Miller CX6 fluid head on the bowl. Changing between the flat crown and the bowl is easy, requiring only a 3mm hex driver or key.

RRS says that the maximum working height is 35cm (14”). I can use the ProMediaGear riser (see seven posts up) to increase this by 15cm (6”) to 50cm (20”).

With the Miller head and Sachtler Ace base plate, the height from the tripod crown to the centre of the Fujinon lens, at whatever height the tripod is at, is about 26.5cm (10.5”). This gives two maximum shooting heights:

1. 61.5cm (24”) without the riser;
2. 76.5cm (30”) with the riser.

Photos to follow tomorrow...
Last edited by robedge on Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 11:26 pm

Good stuff. Merci.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 12, 2020 11:45 pm

rick.lang wrote:Good stuff. Merci.


De rien:)

To hell with traditional high hats. This thing is the cat’s ass. If it’ll work instead of a standard tripod, I’ll choose it every time.

Forecast here is for “heavy rain” tomorrow, which may delay the photos until Saturday.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Mar 13, 2020 6:53 pm

Here are the photos discussed three posts above.

In photos 1 and 2, the tripod is not high enough to use a fluid head with a half ball and tie down knob. The camera is mounted on the tripod’s standard flat crown, not a bowl.

In photos 3-7, the distance from the top of the tripod to the centre of the lens is about 26.5cm (10.5”).

Height 1: first leg segment at its widest angle, second leg segment fully retracted

Height from the ground to the top of the tripod crown: 7cm (3")

rrs-w-r.jpg
rrs-w-r.jpg (551.38 KiB) Viewed 853 times




Height 2: first leg at its widest angle, second leg fully extended

Height to the top the tripod crown: no meaningful increase over height #1, but leg extension can be useful to help level the tripod.

rrs-w-e.jpg
rrs-w-e.jpg (550.67 KiB) Viewed 853 times



Height 3: first leg at its middle angle, second leg fully retracted

The riser on the left is 15cm (6") tall. I put it in the shot as a height reference.

Height to the top of the tripod crown: 18cm (7.2”)

rrs-m-r.jpg
rrs-m-r.jpg (527.36 KiB) Viewed 853 times


More photos to come...
Last edited by robedge on Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Mar 13, 2020 6:59 pm

Continued from the post above...

Height 4: first leg at its middle angle, second leg fully extended

Height to the top of the tripod crown: 26cm (10.2”)

rrs-m-e.jpg
rrs-m-e.jpg (530.93 KiB) Viewed 848 times



Height 5: first leg at its narrowest angle, second leg fully retracted

Height to the top of the tripod crown: 24cm (9.6”)

rrs-n-r.jpg
rrs-n-r.jpg (541.86 KiB) Viewed 848 times



Height 6: first leg at its narrowest angle, second leg fully extended

Height to the top of the tripod crown: 36cm (14”)

rrs-n-e.jpg
rrs-n-e.jpg (550.12 KiB) Viewed 848 times


One more photo to come...
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Mar 13, 2020 7:02 pm

Continued from the two posts above ...

Height 7: Height #4 plus 15cm (6") riser

I meant to shoot this at height #6, but this looks like #4. The ProMediaGear riser is 15cm (6”’) tall.

From height #4, this raises the tripod height from about 26cm (10”) to 41cm (16”), and the shooting height from about 52.5cm (20.5”) to 67.5cm (26.5”).

From height #6, it raises the tripod height from about 35cm (14”) to 50cm (20”), and the shooting height from about 61.5cm (24”) to 76.5cm (30”).

The riser is included in a number of the photos above as a height reference.

rrs-tallest-riser.jpg
rrs-tallest-riser.jpg (523.2 KiB) Viewed 845 times
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Mar 13, 2020 7:40 pm

In summary, the height range of the RRS tripod is 7cm to 36cm (3” to 14”) and the riser extends the maximum height to about 50cm or 20”. With a Miller Compass X fluid head and a Sachtler Ace base plate, the maximum shooting height is about 76cm (30”).

I plan to drop by B&H on Sunday or Monday to check out two competing short tripods, the Benro Hi-Hat and Induro Baby Grand.

Happy to try to answer any questions about the RRS tripod or ProMediaGear riser.

I’m definitely getting RRS or Gitzo (they’re interchangeable) claw or spike feet. I took the photos above just after a rain, and the tripod’s rubber feet slid pretty easily on the wet wooden bench that I used for several of the photos.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 14, 2020 5:15 pm

Further to the above photos, I want to comment on levelling the RRS ground tripod (TVC-32G), and other short tripods such as Benro’s Hi-Hat and Induro’s Baby Grand, without using a half ball head.

It is very easy to level a short tripod without using a head designed for levelling. In this photo, the camera’s Sachtler Ace base plate is mounted directly to the RRS tripod. The time that it took to level the tripod was negligible. I should add that setting up these photos has allayed any concerns about the stability of the RRS tripod with a long lens:

rrs-legs-different-heights.jpg
rrs-legs-different-heights.jpg (542.1 KiB) Viewed 788 times



Here is the camera, without using the Sachtler base plate, on Manfrotto’s MVH500AH flat base video head. Levelling the tripod took seconds. If I break the Loctite seal on the Miller stud so that the stud can be unscrewed, I could use the Miller head the same way:

rrs-on-manfrotto.jpg
rrs-on-manfrotto.jpg (469.74 KiB) Viewed 788 times


Levelling the tripod, rather than the head, reduces weight and makes it easy to use the RRS tripod at its lowest height, which is 7cm (3”) from the ground. At this height, I think that the ability to extend the second leg segment is mostly useful for levelling. Alternatively, one could use a small object as a shim:

rrs-w-r.jpg
rrs-w-r.jpg (551.38 KiB) Viewed 788 times


Benro addresses the low height issue by including an adapter for half ball and flat base video heads that consists of a short stud and a knob. This is also sold as a separate product: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... apter.html

The idea is to unscrew the current stud on one’s half ball head and replace it with Benro’s short one. Benro uses this adapter throughout a promotional video for its Hi-Hat, although the adapter is probably only useful at the Hi-Hat’s lowest height, which as with the RRS tripod is 7cm (3”). With the RRS, I have had no problem using the Miller half ball at the next lowest height of 18cm/7.2” (see four posts up, photo “Height 3”). Incidentally, the half ball head in the Benro video is a 100mm Benro BV10 (US$685):




As should be clear from the Benro video, setting up a half ball head with this adapter involves dealing with highly restricted working room at the tripod’s lowest height, and reduced ability, probably at all heights, to apply torque to the tightening knob. With the Miller head, assuming that the adapter’s short stud will work with it, I’d have to break the Miller stud’s Loctite seal just to use the adapter. If I’m going to do that, and really want to pan at 7cm/3” (i.e. can’t change the height relationship between the camera and the subject by a few centimeters/inches), I think that I’d just use the Miller as a flat base head; in other words, like the Manfrotto head in the above photo. It seems as simple, indeed simpler, to just level the tripod as it would be to set up and level a half ball head with the adapter. More fundamentally, I don’t anticipate a great need to pan the camera, much less tilt it, at a tripod height of 7cm (3”) in the first place.

If someone here is using this Benro adapter as low as 7cm (3”), it would be interesting to learn what head they’re using it with and what their practical experience is with it. Benro is not the only company making this kind of adapter, so there is presumably a market for them.

Note that the Benro Hi-Hat comes with a bowl and does not include a flat top plate. For the reasons above, if I were buying the Benro I’d purchase a flat top for it. The Induro Baby Grand, which appears to be identical in design to the Benro, comes (like the RRS tripod) with a flat top instead of a bowl, so the issue with that tripod is to purchase a bowl if one wants to use it with a half ball head.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 14, 2020 10:50 pm

Great summary and comparisons.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 3:19 pm

rick.lang wrote:Great summary and comparisons.


Thanks, I’m finding it useful to document the thinking behind gear for the camera and how the gear works out in practice.

I had planned to go to B&H to pick up an order and check out the Benro tripod that you’re interested in while I’m at it. However, my partner needs the car and I’d rather not take the subway given the coronavirus situation. I’ve now asked B&H to mail the pickup order, and I’ll maybe check out the Benro later in the week. To be honest, after watching CNN’s special on coronavirus last night I’m not feeling inclined, at the moment, to go to a large retail store unless I have to :)

I set up the RRS tripod as a base for my monopod this morning and I’m extremely happy with the result. Will post one or two photos later today.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 4:51 pm

Definitely stay safe!
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 7:38 pm

When I purchased my current monopod I looked at several by Sirui, Manfrotto, etc. that have a mini-tripod at the bottom. These hybrids have become popular with sports and wedding photographers, but I decided against them. The idea is interesting, but the hybrids struck me as both cumbersome and inherently unstable, an accident waiting to happen. Indeed, there are YouTube videos about these devices falling over in moments of inattention.

This morning, I decided to try setting up the RRS tripod as a base for my monopod. I’m happy with the result. The RRS is a proper tripod and well built. As discussed four posts up, it is short enough that the time that it takes to level it is negligible. Indeed, when using it with the monopod on uneven ground, I think that levelling the tripod itself is essential. However, for the photo below I wanted to see how the tripod would handle my Miller half ball head. It was just fine.

As someone shooting in a city, using the RRS as a base for my monopod is extremely attractive. It’s portable, it has a very small footprint and it is stable. I won’t walk away from it, but I’m not worried about it falling over either.

The setup in the photo consists of:

1. Really Right Stuff TVC-32G tripod at a height of 18cm/7”
2. Gitzo GM4542 Series 4 monopod (58cm/23” when collapsed)
3. ProMediaGear Riser (15cm/6”)
4. Miller CX6 fluid head, Sachtler Ace Base Plate, Pocket 4K (about 26.5cm/10.5” to centre of lens)

In the photo, the monopod is collapsed and the height from the ground to lens centre is just under 4’/1.2m. I can increase the tripod height by up to 18cm/7” and the monopod height by up to 1m/40”. The collapsed carrying length of the tripod and monopod is 84cm/33".

The camera can also be mounted on the monopod directly or on a ballhead, replacing the ProMediaGear riser and Miller head. I could also dispense with the Sachtler base plate, and in many situations, especially if using a prime lens, probably would. See the post four up to get an idea of what simpler configurations would look like.

I’m still prevaricating, but this setup is another argument for breaking the Loctite seal on the Miller stud so that the head can be used on a flat base, i.e. without a riser.

Now I just need to add wheels :)


rrs-monopod.jpg
rrs-monopod.jpg (582.72 KiB) Viewed 733 times
Last edited by robedge on Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 9:13 pm

Looks reasonably stable especially compared to conventional monopods that includes tiny legs.

Here’s a quick look at the new Manfrotto Fast legs that can be spread to a very low height of about 11” now. If I was using that, I may not need the Benro high-hat.

https://www.cinema5d.com/manfrotto-fast ... ntroduced/
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 9:32 pm

rick.lang wrote:Looks reasonably stable especially compared to conventional monopods that includes tiny legs.

Here’s a quick look at the new Manfrotto Fast legs that can be spread to a very low height of about 11” now. If I was using that, I may not need the Benro high-hat.

https://www.cinema5d.com/manfrotto-fast ... ntroduced/


If you don’t need the Benro’s small footprint, that’s very interesting pricing. B&H already has these tripods on its site. Looks like stock is imminent: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N ... yes&sts=ma

Given that the Vitec Group owns both Manfrotto and Sachtler, it might be interesting to compare these to the Sachtler range to see where they fit.

Cinema5d/Nino Leitner did videos on both Manfrotto tripods at IBC 2019. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the twin leg one:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 9:59 pm

Thanks, it shoots quite low alright as long as you have the room for those lens to spread out. The nice thing about the Benro and other solutions you’ve documented is that you can go low in tight quarters. I do like the Manfrotto 645 FTT.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 11:54 pm

Well that was easy. Turns out that a Blue Loctite seal isn’t hard to break. It just took a good tug on the Miller stud with a 13mm wrench. I can now mount the head directly on the RRS short tripod or on my monopod. I only need to use the riser if I want to use the head to level the camera. This does save bulk and weight and gets rid of a complication in the chain. If I want to go low, it also saves 15cm/6”. I’m going to try this for a week or two. If I don’t like it, I can reapply Loctite, although I’m satisfied that failing to use Loctite does not create a significant monitoring problem.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 17, 2020 2:58 am

This may sound minor, but ... I had to kneel or sit on wet and/or hard, dirty ground for the photos above of the RRS tripod, which means the same when using the tripod. No thanks - this calls for a knee cushion/pads or a portable seat. Today, I got a Walkstool, which B&H happens to sell (for less than Amazon) because they are popular with sports and nature photographers. The Walkstool comes shorter and taller, but I got the 55cm/22" version: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... lding.html

Not cheap, but owner reviews are overwhelmingly positive. As this photo shows, the seat can be used at two heights. Made in Sweden:

rrs-walkstool-forms.jpg
rrs-walkstool-forms.jpg (80.51 KiB) Viewed 655 times


Here's a sports photographer using one (germane to the photo five posts above of my monopod mounted on the RRS tripod):

rrs-walkstool-photographer.jpg
rrs-walkstool-photographer.jpg (604.33 KiB) Viewed 655 times


The artist who made this YouTube video chose the 45cm/18" version:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Mar 18, 2020 8:23 pm

Here's a phone snap of the Walkstool Comfort 55 with the camera, which in the photo consists of:

1. Really Right Stuff tripod (TVC-32G at 18cm/7")
2. Gitzo monopod (GM4542 collapsed, 58cm/23")
3. Miller fluid head (CX6, configured for mounting on a flat base)
4. Sachtler Ace Base Plate & Pocket 4K

I'm 1.83m/6' and the seat is 55cm/22" high. Seated, the Pocket 4K display is below eye level, which gives me a clear view beyond the camera. I can lower the tripod by 10cm/4" or raise it as much as 18cm/7". The monopod is at its collapsed height and can of course be raised significantly. In the photo, the centre of the camera lens is at a height of about 98cm/39".

I used the Miller's spirit level to judge whether the camera was level. To get to level, I had to extend the leg nearest the front in the photo by a few millimeters. This took less than 10 seconds. If I want to level from the Miller head, the riser needed to use the half ball and tie-down will add 15cm/6" to the height, but as noted above I can lower the tripod by 10cm/4".

I think that the Walkstool Comfort 45 would work equally well. It is at standard chair height (45cm/18"). However, I like the additional height of the Walkstool 55 and the fact that its low seating position is at 33cm/13" rather than the 45's 28cm/11". Using the low position involves using your two legs and the retracted Walkstool legs (see the first photo in the post above) to create a tripod. I find this both easy to do and comfortable, and I think that the low position may turn out to be quite handy.

Obviously, the Walkstool can also be used with a standard tripod.

In addition to the 45 (18") and 55 (22"), Walkstool makes a 65 (26") and 75 (30"): http://www.walkstool.com/comfort

rrs-walkstool-miller.jpg
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Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 12:13 am

A couple of John Brawley's posts talk about a camera support called a Cinesaddle. I like the concept a lot. Here's a photo from the Cinekinetic/Cinesaddle web site:

cs_photo.jpg
cs_photo.jpg (284.75 KiB) Viewed 542 times


I use Sea to Summit dry bags for various purposes and have used one as a makeshift camera support. The attractions of the Cinesaddle are that it's purpose built, has attachment points and comes with a shoulder strap. The canvas construction may help it retain shape.

There are photos and videos on the Cinekinetic/Cinesaddle web site showing many uses: https://www.cinekinetic.com.

Also, John Brawley has a couple of photos on his Flickr account that show using one as a support for handheld shooting :
Photo #1: https://flic.kr/p/pXNnwn
Photo #2: https://flic.kr/p/pVSG4b
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 3:05 pm

Unfortunately, there’s a major pricing problem with the Cinesaddle discussed in the post above. In Australia, where the product is made, the “original Cinesaddle” is AU$370 or US$215. In the US and Canada, it is US$370 at B&H and AbelCine, for an increase of US$155 or 72%.

Filmtools actually wants US$450, which makes the US/Canadian price more than double the Australian price. How does Filmtools get to US$450? That price just happens to coincide with the price if an American or Canadian orders an “original Cinesaddle” direct from the company’s web site: US$370 for the Cinesaddle plus US$80 for shipping with one week delivery (US$70 for 2-3 week delivery). In other words, US$450 is the price if Cinesaddle isn’t sharing its profit with a retailer.

We’re talking about a canvas bag that weighs 35oz/1kg. I like the concept, but I can’t think of any legitimate explanation for Cinesaddle’s US/Canadian pricing.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 5:06 pm

Maybe a saddle is a good idea for something quick, but BMD cameras generally pull in cool air from the bottom and I don’t know how air flow can be maintained when the camera bottom and side are a soft bag.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 5:56 pm

rick.lang wrote:Maybe a saddle is a good idea for something quick, but BMD cameras generally pull in cool air from the bottom and I don’t know how air flow can be maintained when the camera bottom and side are a soft bag.


John Brawley raised the issue of ventilation in one of his posts, having inadvertently left his camera on while it was enveloped in a Cinesaddle. From my point of view, this is just something to be aware of and to manage. I don’t think that it’s a difficult problem to address.

The obstacle is the U.S./Canada pricing, which I think is indefensible. It’s too bad, because yesterday I had a brief exchange with Mike Young, who makes the Cinesaddle, and know which one to order. But then I looked at what’s going on with pricing, and for me the Canada/U.S. pricing just isn’t acceptable.

I’ll stick with another Australian product - Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags - which are very well made and priced sanely in North America, even if they don’t have all the Cinesaddle’s features: https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/ ... er-dry-bag

I should check whether someone like Domke makes a largish canvas bag that might work.

P.S. Sea to Summit dry bags, and no doubt similar products by other manufacturers, are great for storing and transporting microphone windshields :)
Last edited by robedge on Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 6:37 pm

Agree about the pricing. That new Crane 3S is $649 USD and $1,089 CDN at Vistek. The Canadian dollar is low but the exchange rate is not $1.68... yet!

Such a turnoff from Vistek. They should offer it at $899 CDN. Which they probably will do later this year and pretend it’s a sale price $190 off regular. Gosh we are treated like idiots by some firms.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 2:48 pm

A new member (freddog) sent me the following personal message because he's not yet approved to post. I think that this is a really helpful contribution to the discussion. Freddog has a Cartoni Focus 12 and Stabilo tripod, which he's using with a Canon C100 camera and Canon 70-200mm lens. I found it necessary to use my desktop computer to view his Google Drive video on panning; my iPad didn't work.

Personal Message:


I wanted to post a reply to your thread (highlighting on the tripod saga) but the admins won't approve my post, so here it is as a private message.

Hi all. I'm a first time user of this forum and I actually came across it via this post when searching for information on the Miller CX line. I have been going through similar deliberations as those in this thread (speaking to many of the same people at various distributors, I'm sure), however, I ended up going a route that wasn't taken by any of the above posters, I believe. I found a great deal on a Cartoni Focus 12 with Stabilo legs, so that's what I've got.

I agree with the various observations made about it in general, however, I thought I might add some more detailed notes from personal experience with a critical question at the end:

The euro plate quick release system is great. As long as my kit stays the same, I can just click it in and be balanced. I should say that the speed of it isn't a huge must for me in my particular workflow, but I don't see any downsides. The sled has clear markings and can be slid around just like a sliding or side load plate can be. No loss other than maybe the size.

The telescoping pan bar is nice but I highly doubt I will use the telescoping feature really at any point. It changes the balance of things, so it's impossible to extend mid-shoot and I'm not too interested in reconfiguring an otherwise balanced package for it. It's something that has to be decided on ahead of time and I just don't see a reason that I would use it. The screw mechanism that attaches the pan bar to the head unfortunately comes into contact with the grip on my camera (a Canon C100), so any adjustments to it have to be made while the camera is off of the head. This is annoying.

The Stabilo legs are nice and, well, stable. They get quite tall and feel very robust. Deploying them is an absolute hassle. I'm already used to singe tube staged legs with my old Manfrotto kit, but the Stabilo legs use a twist mechanism instead of the Manfrotto's lever lock. Extending the legs takes a long time and there's always the doubt as to how tight things are or need to be. Also, the legs tend to pivot and collapse inward under their own weight, which causes me to catch my fingers between the leg and the tie down knob. I imagine I can probably tighten the nuts that attach legs to the bowl mount to fix this. The Focus 12 with its quick release plate and the Stabilo legs are strange bed fellows due to the mismatch in speed of deployment, but it's an appropriate combination for my use case. I need the extra height from the legs to get over the crowds at events.

To the head. There is no zero setting for drag like on Miller heads. It goes from what I would call a low-medium to very high (perhaps the telescoping bar is useful for the high end). At it's highest setting, I have to hold down the legs in order to prevent them from moving around (I would suggest that this speaks more to the extreme degree of friction in the head and less to the legs being flimsy or anything). When I do hold the legs down at max pan drag, there's a significant amount of torsional flex on the legs. I would've appreciated the range of drag settings being a bit lower, but maybe I'll see the use of going beyond the first few clicks of pan drag one day. Also, the tilt and pan drag settings aren't equal at their lowest settings, so there's some dialing in to do to make diagonals feel good.

Counterbalance is continuous and highly tuneable, which is nice, but there are no markings to tell what your current setting is, so you've gotta sorta remember how many clicks from the zero end stop your setting is if you want a sense of degree. Changing it back and forth between packages is tough for this reason. Assuming the counterbalance works right, I'd rather have a Miller type setup where I know that one package is a 6 and the other is at 11. Cartoni obviously recognizes this as an annoyance as their high end Maxima tripod head includes a digital readout of both the counterbalance and drag settings.

As for how the head functions in counterbalance and smoothness of movement, it's a story with some disclaimers. First, the good though. Movement is very smooth. There is no variability or stop/starting with movement. As long as you control it well, moves will look good. The counterbalance is also great. Once you've got it dialed in, the kit doesn't creep at all. It stays where it stops. The reason I say this and not, "It stays where you put it", leads me to my comments on coming to rest. The head has what I would call a significant amount of kickback for my use case. I invested in a fluid head because I shoot live events (talks) and find myself moving from subject A to B and back repeatedly over the course of most of my 1-2 hour shoots. I do this mostly at the long end of a Canon 70-200mm lens. While the movement itself is extremely smooth and is clearly limited by my ability to operate things in a controllable manner, coming to a stop feels like a different story. When I reach the end of a pan, I have to put a ton of effort into preventing the head settling back in the direction it came from. Easing it off ever so carefully over time, like it's working off some built up potential energy, is the only way to have a semblance of steadiness at the end of a move. Check out this video of me testing it at 200mm (and excuse the funny whiteboard drawings) to see what it looks like when I put not much effort into coming to a stop: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LXih0F ... WsU25/view

As with robedge, this is my first real fluid head, so I was perhaps expecting more than is really deliverable here. I still don't know if this is unusual or totally typical for fluid heads in this price range, but it's my experience with the Focus 12 and it isn't a matter of having received a bad copy. The people at Manios Digital, who are really awesome, even shipped out a replacement (which was a newer revision with red locking levers instead of black) when I contacted them with this complaint and I found that it behaves the same. I was considering buying a Miller CX6 to see if it does the same thing and returning whichever is worse at the end of the day.

Can any of you all confirm whether what I'm seeing with the Cartoni is something I'd experience if I got a Miller CX or a Sachtler FSB, for example? I know I'm probably being demanding wanting nice clean stops at 200mm, but it's just gotta do the thing that I bought it for otherwise it's not worth much to me.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 4:10 pm

I plan to reply to the question at the end of freddog's message/post immediately above. I want to do a test first with the Fujinon at its longest focal length of 110mm full frame equivalent. If I feel it’s necessary, I’ll also test with a Leica 90mm (180mm equivalent) or 135mm (270mm equivalent).

Freddog confirms my understanding that Cartoni heads always have some drag; in other words, there isn't a zero drag setting. However, I wonder about the practical utility of frictionless pans and tilts. I can set my Miller CX6 to zero drag, but I've yet to use it. I've even put the Miller on drag setting #1 to do a whip pan.

Is zero drag useful for fast action? Alister Chapman doesn't seem to think so. See what he says at 07:15 of this video about using drag when filming motor racing:


Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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rick.lang

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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 5:39 pm

Thanks, freddog, for that detailed post on the Cartoni Focus 12 and the Stabilo-3. Good point about the tripod elevating the camera over 6’ but operationally it seems disappointing. The Focus 12 pan and tilt leave something to be desired if there’s bounce back at the end of the movement. That Maxima may be great but the cost of the head is about double the cost of the OConnor Ultimate 1040 which I would doubt has that problem:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1504131-REG
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 6:12 pm

This is a response to the question from freddog three posts up:

Can any of you all confirm whether what I'm seeing with the Cartoni is something I'd experience if I got a Miller CX...


I just did a quick test with a Miller CX6 and a Fujinon MK 18-55mm lens at 55mm (110mm full frame equivalent).

I panned the camera with my index finger at drag setting #1 and eased my finger off the pan handle at the end of each pan. The camera did not ease back. However, it did ease back a bit on drag settings #2 and #3.

I'm now motivated to do a full test, including both pan and tilt, with lenses ranging up to 135mm (270mm full frame). There is a highly symbiotic relationship between camera rig weight, centre of gravity, counterbalance and drag, so this test is going to take a bit of time. I should do it anyway, because it's useful to get the settings for all my lenses written down. The fact that I haven't done it yet is down to laziness. Among other things, I want to see if I can rectify the easing that I saw on my quick test at drag settings #2 and #3. I'll give this a shot tomorrow or Tuesday.

In a personal message, freddog noted that there is some slight easing in the Alister Chapman video, two posts up, at 01:45, when the camera operator pans a bit to the left :)

Freddog, you referred to the CX6 in particular. Miller New Jersey has told me that the CX2 and CX6 are identical internally. I think that they just have different internal settings for maximum load. If your camera is within the CX2 load limit, and if it matters to you, the difference in price is US$233.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 8:14 pm

rick.lang wrote:Thanks, freddog, for that detailed post on the Cartoni Focus 12 and the Stabilo-3. Good point about the tripod elevating the camera over 6’ but operationally it seems disappointing. The Focus 12 pan and tilt leave something to be desired if there’s bounce back at the end of the movement. That Maxima may be great but the cost of the head is about double the cost of the OConnor Ultimate 1040 which I would doubt has that problem:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1504131-REG


I think that it's useful to take a practical approach to this. The act of panning places torque on a tripod, and the more drag, the more torque. If my Miller head had five drag settings instead of three, it wouldn't surprise me if setting five affected how well my fairly light carbon fibre tripod stayed put. There's a point where tripod weight, including whether it's been weighed down, becomes a factor. At least some video tripods, and all traditional high hats, are designed so that they can be nailed down. Then there's the issue of tripod composition and rigidity. Steel, carbon fibre, aluminium? You know what happens if I have the Miller configured for a flat base and I pan left with a fair bit of drag? The torque is now counterclockwise, and if I'm not paying attention the whole head can start unscrewing from the flat base stud :)

Unfortunately, there seems to be practically no information on the internet about fluid head easing, apart from complaints about it. Freddog has a very specific requirement that includes no visible movement with a 200mm lens. He's motivated me to investigate this further on a Miller CX6, but I'm not going to die in a ditch if I discover that there's a limit to what is possible. As far as I know, these heads do use springs, and springs do spring. Amusingly, freddog caught some easing in Alister Chapman's own video (three posts up), but honestly I think that it would go unnoticed by 99.99% of viewers. The one thing that I know is that the Miller is a hell of an improvement over my Manfrotto MVH500AH.

The other thing to note is that getting the best out of these heads is not a matter of 2+2=4. When it comes to setup, there are a number of factors that are interrelated and that require some judgment, indeed fiddling around. On top of that, the head doesn't do the panning and tilting by itself. As I'm discovering, technique comes into play, which means practice and experience, something Chapman points out in his video. If one wants perfection, especially on diagonals, there's always a geared head, which I'd love to try but have no intention of purchasing :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Mar 29, 2020 8:35 pm

U of Central Florida Professor Michael Walsh's video demonstrating the Proaim Orion geared head. If I had a regular gig filming lectures or stage plays, I would consider this. Interesting that Walsh refers specifically to long lenses. Note: the video link below requires clicking through to the YouTube feed.

Hey Rick, Proaim is a ferry ride from you, and as I understand it you shoot stage performances :)

Here’s the Orion Geared Head page on Proaim’s site, also available from Adorama and B&H: https://www.proaim.ca/products/proaim-orion-geared-head

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 8:48 pm

Further to freddog's personal message/post six up...

I think the reality is that an image made with a long lens mounted on a fluid head, even a fairly expensive head, is going to show a bit of movement at the end of a pan.

I tried it today with a 100mm focal length (full frame equivalent) on a Miller CX6. On the Blackmagic display, at all three drag settings the image appeared to come to a full, hard stop. However, when I brought the footage into Final Cut Pro X a bit of movement was noticeable. I’m doubtful that a casual viewer would see it, but it’s there. In most cases, I think that it could be edited out.

Freddog’s Google Drive footage is worse than what I experienced, but that may be because he’s using a 200mm lens. That said, in the first and third pans in his video, the pan bar can be seen to move, which is not something that I noticed.

So far, I haven’t had a need to bring the camera to a full stop at the end of a pan. However, I’d like to find out what the limits are, so I’m going to try this again over the next couple of days with two different camera rigs and both wider and longer focal lengths than 100mm.

There’s a chance that my technique is lacking, so I’m also going to try a couple of different ways of handling the pan bar and also try panning without using the pan bar.

If anyone reading this has words of wisdom, this would be a great time to speak up. At the moment, I have a feeling that I’m finding out why geared heads are sometimes still used.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 9:44 pm

Thanks for reporting back. I got on with my real name and got my username changed, so I can hopefully post in the clear now.

I'm planning to get ahold of a CX6 (or other Miller head) and just do a side-by-side with the Focus 12. I've been hand-wringing over trying to get the best head I can get for the money (I do plan to rely on it for at least a decade, so it feels worthwhile) and this seems like the most straight-forward way to go about it. I too will post on my observations once I can.

And thanks to robedge for posting my post for me while I was unable to.
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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 11:32 pm

robedge wrote:... Hey Rick, Proaim is a ferry ride from you, and as I understand it you shoot stage performances :)

Here’s the Orion Geared Head page on Proaim’s site, also available from Adorama and B&H...



https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1555802-REG

I’d love to use that. There are some limitations as pointed out in the video just relating to the weight and some of the movement. I’d only seen the larger versions with cameras the size of a large suitcase, but this mini version is really worth a look. I know some of the quality legs out there can work with fluid heads on ball mounts as well as convert to a flat base. Good find!

And I’ll bet they would make shooting video with telephoto lenses a much more stable viewing experience.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 31, 2020 12:41 am

rick.lang wrote:
robedge wrote:... Hey Rick, Proaim is a ferry ride from you, and as I understand it you shoot stage performances :)

Here’s the Orion Geared Head page on Proaim’s site, also available from Adorama and B&H...



https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1555802-REG

I’d love to use that. There are some limitations as pointed out in the video just relating to the weight and some of the movement. I’d only seen the larger versions with cameras the size of a large suitcase, but this mini version is really worth a look. I know some of the quality legs out there can work with fluid heads on ball mounts as well as convert to a flat base. Good find!

And I’ll bet they would make shooting video with telephoto lenses a much more stable viewing experience.


I would love to try this myself. My large format camera has a geared rail and I occasionally use a Manfrotto geared head for macro. Gears provide a degree of precision that I suspect eludes fluid heads, maybe even O’Connor heads. If I’m wrong, I’d love to be corrected. There are a few videos on YouTube about geared video heads. Pretty impressive, especially what can be done with diagonals.

If I were filming stage performances, I’d for sure be looking at this option. The cool thing is that you can probably get a local demo for the price of a ferry ticket. It would be interesting to know who is buying these.

P.S. Is the mainland/Vancouver Island ferry running regularly right now? Anyone taking it or does it sail mostly empty except freight? I saw JT’s statement and press conference today. Watching from afar, I think that he’s handling the situation well.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 31, 2020 1:06 am

I’m sure they’ve cut back as there’s only essential services travel. Now in a normal summer that little trip to Proaim could involve two sailing waits or more plus horrendous traffic to and from the ferry for a 12 hour day or more including a hour or so at the store. A really fast trip could be an 8 hour day but that would be rare. Plus well over $200 for the car and passengers on the ferry. It’s an event.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 31, 2020 1:07 am

philglaser wrote:I'm planning to get ahold of a CX6 (or other Miller head) and just do a side-by-side with the Focus 12. I've been hand-wringing over trying to get the best head I can get for the money (I do plan to rely on it for at least a decade, so it feels worthwhile) and this seems like the most straight-forward way to go about it. I too will post on my observations once I can.


Hi Phil,

I went with Miller largely because I had just committed to one when Chris at Manios sent me an e-mail saying that he could get me a Focus 10, which at the time was not yet available from retailers. Indeed, I’m not sure that B&H has it in stock, except as part of a tripod package, even now. Had I received Chris’s e-mail an hour before, I might be talking about a Cartoni head instead.

There is very little in the way of comparisons on the internet between Cartoni and Miller heads and I think that yours will be hugely helpful to a lot of people.

I also really like that you’ve raised the full stop question in a practical context. It’s got me doing some useful tests on the Miller.

Cheers
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Apr 01, 2020 4:01 pm

I just got some helpful advice from Miller New Jersey about what to do if I want to bring a pan to a full stop and hold, but see a small amount of backlash. I’m not seeing any backlash on the camera display, but a tiny bit is noticeable when I bring footage into Final Cut Pro X. First, check that the tripod, including the top (check the lug nuts), is not flexing. This hadn’t occurred to me, but clearly it’s a possible cause. Secondly, try panning by hand rather than using the pan bar. Miller also said that this is more likely to be an issue at higher drag settings.

We also spoke about standard plates vs Euro/Touch and Go plates. The result of this discussion is that I’ll go with Miller’s standard long plate if I decide at some point that I want more travel for balance reasons. The standard plates are side loading, which eliminates any potential rig interference issues. In any event, I’m finding the standard plate that came with the CX6 easy to use.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-3 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Apr 01, 2020 4:46 pm

Thanks for the tip Rob. I did generally go through the process of elimination to try to see where I could rule out flexing in the various components attached to the head. Panning with hands on the head itself was still giving me the same behavior on the Focus 12. As for loading plates, I think side-loading, euro style, and VCT plates are all good options. Just don't want to have to load in from the front or back like with the manfrotto plates.

So, wouldn't you know it I've got a CX6 and a CX10 on their way over from Miller to try out against the Focus 12. I'm considering recording the comparison as a full on review style video and posting it to Youtube.

FYI, I wanted to also note at some point that I tried another brand previous to Cartoni which was Ozen. They're a well-priced Chinese brand that makes Sachtler-style tripods that is lesser known in the US, however, they've been around in China for some time apparently. I tried out the Ozen Agile 6S and liked it in comparison to what I'd been using previously (an old Manfrotto 501HD head) and felt like it was an extremely complete package with a number of thoughtful features: the bag it came with had a separate pocket for the pan arm (which the Cartoni bag does not), the pan arm rosettes are easily replaced, all of their heads come in either a side-loading or euro-style plate, on-head storage for additional plate mounting screws.

The only point of preference that I have that would keep me from buying into the Ozen brand (considering the cost is so reasonable) is that there is a limited counter-balance range and I don't want to risk having a tripod that I can't use in the future due to unknown trends in camera weight. Their sales rep did acknowledge this and said that they had developed an even lighter payload head, the Agile 5, in response to the popularity of cameras such as the BMPCC. The Agile 5, does have a zero counterbalance setting, but between its relatively light maximum payload of 15lbs and the fact that within its counterbalance range there are a limited number of steps (7+0), I figured I'd sooner spend more and get a continuous system (Cartoni) or one with a greater number of steps (Miller). I want to stress that I would knock Sachtler for the same exact reasons, so this is really a point of preference more than anything else.

In reality, I was going to be sending the loaner back anyway because of a (presumably) quality control issue in the head that I received; it had a rough spot in the pan rotation range. There was a particular point in the 360 degrees of pan rotation where the friction was much higher. It was obvious enough to even hear at the lowest pan drag setting (it must've had some component rubbing internally) and it was clear enough to feel when I used it on higher drag settings. Between that, the aforementioned preference against limited counterbalance, and current supply issues with a company based in China, I figured I'd try other brands.
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