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    Invest in the best vs. makeshift solutions
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    It seems to me that all of us AF100 owners are here because we are seeking the best possible solution within the constraints of a somewhat limited budget. If this weren't the situation I'd assume, in most cases, that most of us would be using other cameras. That being said, I've found in my limited time attempting to find solutions, that there are some necessary items that you should invest in the very best. I want to attempt to address what those items are in the forum.

    It seems to me one should invest in the best monitor, follow focus, and baseplate system possible. But I am still in a bit of a no-mans land as to what else belongs in this category. Should one invest in the best tripod? or just buy the best head you can afford? matte box? filters? battery system? shoulder rig? outboard recorder?

    Obviously in terms of glass you should invest in the best you can... But it seems that quality and price aren't totally correlative in that instance. Perhaps price and quality aren't correlative in a lot of instances.

    I'd love to know your thoughts on this.


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    I think a very good tripod is absolutely crucial. I used ok ones for years, but once I finally got my Vinten, I was a very happy shooter. Got it used so it wasn't as expensive, and I don't see why I would ever need to replace it. Many say the same about their Satchlers.


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    If you spend the money on a quality tripod it will most likely outlive your camera and any other piece of gear you purchase. Bite the bullet and purchase the best one you can afford. There are a lot of different options out there. The two mentioned in the previous post are good gear. Another I recommend is Miller tripods. I have two and love them. Their light, strong and sturdy and don't require you to take out a second mortgage on your house.

    you'll be glad you have a good one for years to come.


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    Putting money into a good tripod will outlast an investment in anything else. Cameras, external recorders, monitors and other accessories are getting cheaper and better all the time in this digital age. You can even find cheap Chinese matte boxes and support rigs that are of a great quality/price ratio as long as you know what you're looking for and avoid the crap. What they haven't managed to produce to a sufficiently high quality yet are tripods (tripod heads, to be specific) and sound equipment. These two things have held their value really well over the years.


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    I really don't think a monitor fits in that category. I'm actually a bit iffy about base plate and follow focus, since those are things you can do without if you need to. But you can't do without a tripod.

    As with the first post, I'd say lenses except that you can adapt cheap vintage lenses which are very high quality, so price doesn't always enter in. But getting the best quality you can is certainly worth mentioning, regardless of which end of the price spectrum it is.

    I would also say audio except that we're talking about camera operators. So I'll say either a quality audio system or a competent audio engineer.


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    I have had tripods last for 20 years or more with good care. Tripods are a long haul item so buy quality.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Smith View Post
    I have had tripods last for 20 years or more with good care. Tripods are a long haul item so buy quality.
    I think that's the real question. What are the long haul items that you should buy the best possible. In terms of audio, I invested in a couple of lectrosonic 411 packages, and a sennheiser 416 that have served me really well. In hindsight, it made everything so much better than if I had bought some gb2s, and a rode or even something less serviceable.


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    I'm a firm believer in spending as little money as possible, however I'm also a firm believer in buying the best gear you can afford as well as JUSTIFY. As a part time wedding videographer who has a full-time career that's not related to video, I can't personally justify spending $1000 on a tripod.

    I currently use this:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...od_System.html (the most recent review is mine)..

    and let me tell you, it's an excellent tripod/head. The panning is buttery smooth, it's relatively light, and it can hold a good amount of weight (I actually have 2 of these)...HOWEVER, if it's very cold outside, the head gets noticeably stiffer. I'm aware of this and, since I don't shoot weddings outside during winter, it doesn't affect me.

    Along with my $189 tripod, I have a $3200+ AF100 and a $2500 Olympus 14-35mm lens.........why? because this is the gear that I need to do what I want to do. The lens is expensive as hell but it's a variable prime that's excellent in low light and allows me to frame a shot without moving, which is key for weddings.

    It all comes down to what you're shooting and what you can justify buying. I can easily go out and spend >$1500 on a Supersonic Sachtler Ultra 1000 tripod head, but I just don't need it and I simply can't justify it. If, however, someone calls me and says "I need you to go to Antarctica and shoot some penguins and I'll pay you $25000", you can be sure I'll be buying a $5000+ tripod/head that works perfectly in low temps.

    Buy what you need to shoot what you want to shoot...and just remember to make sure you are able to justify your purchases.

    I was just in a store today and saw a 59" Plasma TV for $950 and I was like damn.....for the money I just spent on my olympus lens I could have 2 of those TV's......but I put it in perspective -- the TV's won't make me any money. I can justify the purchase of the lens.


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    Justifying it is a good point. You have to look at the cost to benefit to decide if any purchase is a good long term investment or not based on expected financial projections. That's the basis of all of my large purchase decisions. In some cases the benefit is my personal enjoyment, but with video and photography equipment I will only pay for something that will pay for itself. As someone getting out of the media production business and moving to more feasible options that limits my purchases quiet a bit.


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    #10
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    So if you were going to buy a tripod system right now that you would want to last you 20 years, what would you get?
    It would have to be versatile enough to do moderately on the go eng stuff, while still working for semi-heavy duty narrative stuff.
    Price not totally an issue, within reason.


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