The beauty of HD video is that it’s incredibly crisp and detailed—and that’s also its difficulty. Even a small amount of camera shake can be hard to watch for very long. If you’re getting into video with one of the latest HD camcorders or an SLR that offers HD capture, you want to give your camera proper support.
For the steadiest video, combine a sturdy tripod with a fluid head. A fluid head, as the name implies, is ideal for stabilizing hand-controlled camera movements such as panning, tracking and tilting. The Gitzo G2180 fluid head, for instance, uses a specialized polymer construction for dampening vibration and reducing camera shake. There are separate friction and pan controls for finely tuned tracking ability, and the counterbalance system works in seven different positions and can offset up to 5.5 pounds of weight, perfect for a video D-SLR with lens attached. List Price: $250.
Ideal for both video and still shooting on location, the Davis & Sanford All Terrain Pod with FM18 video head features weather-resistant aluminum and stainless-steel construction, in addition to two-section legs that are self-cleaning. The rectangular, closed-channel design works well on unstable ground, and the freeze-proof vice-action leg locks, pivoting flat/pointed feet and self-locking gear mechanism provide precise “No-Drift” elevation adjustment and secure footing. The removable three-way video head is quick-release for following the action. The All Terrain Pod with FM18 head can carry a weight load of 35 pounds (tripod) and 18 pounds (head), more than enough for a video D-SLR. List Price: $244.
If you’re just tinkering with video and not ready to invest in specialized video gear, consider these support options which are, at least, a wise investment for your still photography.
For situations where carrying a tripod isn’t practical, some support is better than none, and a monopod may fit the bill. The Monostat RS16K Carbon Art monopod incorporates a unique foot—the Swivel Toe Stabilizer—that helps keep the monopod steady as you pan to follow the action. It also allows you to shoot at up to a 60-degree angle from horizontal. Lightweight at 1.4 pounds, it collapses to just under two feet long and extends up to 64.2 inches. For taller photographers, model RS16SL is similar in specs, but extends up to 71 inches and weighs 1.85 pounds. Both models can support a maximum load of 50 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $175 (RS16K); $295 (RS16SL).
Although far better for stills than video, the swivel design of a ballhead does allow you to move the camera in any direction, and Giottos’ Pro Series II ballheads provide rotational freedom and complete maneuverability to follow the action. Threaded camera mounts, flanged edges and a safety lock with auto lock prevent camera slippage. Bubble levels also are available on some models for keeping video balanced. Estimated Street Price: Ranges from $16 to $223.
|Davis & Sanford