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Thread started 18 Apr 2011 (Monday) 17:33
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What Makes The Perfect Fluid Head

 
Vermin87
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Apr 18, 2011 17:33 |  #1

Hi all,

I've been looking around at different fluid heads on the market and I'm trying to figure out what makes the "perfect" fluid head for DSLR video use? For those of you with some experience, please chime in on what features you think make or break a fluid head.

So far I can think of the following:

  • Adjustable Sinusoidal counterbalance (0-15 lb rigs)
  • Adjustable pan and tilt drag
  • Indexable and ambidexterous handle
  • Weight less than 4lbs
  • Quick Release plate system
Are there any heads that meet all of these requirements? I can't seem to find any small fluid heads with a sinusoidal counterbalance...or is that even necessary? I know the Oconnor heads are famous for that, but those are huge and meant to support 30+ lbs (not to mention the $5000+ price tag).

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FlyingPhotog
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Apr 18, 2011 17:36 |  #2

Pan and Tilt drag are pretty key in order to maintain positive control without slop.

Not familiar with the concept of sinusoidal (?) balance. I assume you mean being able to move your rig fore or aft to achieve a neutral balance?


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Vermin87
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Apr 18, 2011 17:40 |  #3

FlyingPhotog wrote in post #12248002 (external link)
Pan and Tilt drag are pretty key in order to maintain positive control without slop.

Not familiar with the concept of sinusoidal (?) balance. I assume you mean being able to move your rig fore or aft to achieve a neutral balance?

The Oconnor heads are what the movie industry uses. Sinusoidal counterbalance on the Oconnor heads allow them to be perfectly balanced regardless of what angle of tilt the camera is at. When you let go of the handle, the camera remains exactly where you left it. I've used a Manfrotto fluid head with counterbalance and it isn't sinusoidal because in some positions, the springs can cause the camera to move when you let go of the handle.


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FlyingPhotog
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Apr 18, 2011 17:47 as a reply to  @ Vermin87's post |  #4

Drag can help with that.

Most of the really large pan heads (studio or field build-ups) have roller cams that return the head to neutral if you let go completely and are meant to have some form of positive contact maintained.

Video heads usually aren't meant to be tilted to a particular angle and left there without the use of drag or locks. The fear of having a camera fall over runs high in the broadcast industry.


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Trey ­ T
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Apr 18, 2011 17:49 |  #5

start and stop should be smooth creating a smooth wave thus called sinusoidal. counterbalance is to assist the load when the rig is not flat.




  
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Vermin87
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Apr 18, 2011 17:54 |  #6

Trey T wrote in post #12248077 (external link)
start and stop should be smooth creating a smooth wave thus called sinusoidal

As much as I do see why you'd say this, I know for certain that is not what Oconnor means for their patented Sinusoidal counterbalance. When you calculate the torque that is generated from a camera tilting forward or back, it's sinusoidal. To be completely counterbalanced, the mechanism also needs to provide sinusoidal torque.


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FlyingPhotog
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Apr 18, 2011 17:55 as a reply to  @ Trey T's post |  #7

The truly big-budget heads are gear driven though so they have no springs to fight.

One of the tests for becoming a Hollywood camera operator was the ability to track both horizontal and vertical figure-eights via the pan and tilt cranks! I've tried it and it's damn hard! :lol:


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Trey ­ T
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Apr 18, 2011 17:59 |  #8

if you dot have counterbalance your camera will be the actual weight on incline (aka tilt)

Vermin87 wrote in post #12248108 (external link)
As much as I do see why you'd say this, I know for certain that is not what Oconnor means for their patented Sinusoidal counterbalance. When you calculate the torque that is generated from a camera tilting forward or back, it's sinusoidal. To be completely counterbalanced, the mechanism also needs to provide sinusoidal torque.




  
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Vermin87
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Apr 18, 2011 18:21 |  #9

So is counterbalance not that important for most DSLR video shooters then? From your two responses, the bigger concern is a super-fluid pan/tilt mechanism, correct?


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kjj512
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Apr 18, 2011 18:26 |  #10

In case anyone was wondering why exactly O'Connor calls it a sinusoidal head. GOOGLE KNOWS ALL.

http://www.google.com …cad=0#v=onepage​&q&f=false (external link)


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cwr89
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Apr 18, 2011 18:32 |  #11

I have this guy: http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1303169​501&sr=8-3 (external link)

I would highly recommend it, for the price it is ridiculously nice.

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Trey ­ T
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Apr 18, 2011 18:33 |  #12

no. I'm explaining why they call it sinusoidal. I'm on my phone posting these up so bear with me.

you need counterbalance bc it wants to provide the same amount of drag from tilt to tilt. if you didn't have counterbalance it's harder to operate bc the load at the handle will be dependent on the incline angle. with counterbalance you achieve the same velocity when tilting with the same amount of external force o to the handle




  
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Chippy569
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Apr 19, 2011 12:51 |  #13

it would take one hell of a lens/rig setup to make the weight of an HDSLR system overload a fluid head without counterweighting.


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mizer357
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Apr 19, 2011 13:22 |  #14

the lightweight nature of the cameras is what makes finding a head with suitable counterbalance difficult. good counterbalance will let you start and stop moves accurately, without drifting or rebounding. sachtler just released the cine-dslr head to good reviews. still, it's a stepped counterbalance. the only continuously variable counterbalance head for lightweight cameras i'm aware of is on the vinten vision blue, but even that has a minimum weight requirement of about 5 lbs., good for a 5d but not so much for a bare t2i. o'connor heads have no minimum weight and are smooth as silk, but cost a small fortune.


  
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Trey ­ T
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Apr 19, 2011 16:08 |  #15

But you want to have counter balance or else the tilting is very sticky, IMO. That's the reason why it's called "fluid" (not fluid as in gas or liquid).

This is one of the reason why you need to choose the proper head for your equipment. I believe many people use Manfrotto 501, 501HDV, and higher do not load it properly and adjust it properly and complain about the stickiness when start the pan/tilt.

This is what you don't do: Put a 4lb t2i with EF 50mm f/1.4 on a head that has a range of 10-20lbs.

Chippy569 wrote in post #12253529 (external link)
it would take one hell of a lens/rig setup to make the weight of an HDSLR system overload a fluid head without counterweighting.




  
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What Makes The Perfect Fluid Head
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