Posts Tagged ‘Tripods/Heads’

Sachtler - FSB-6Black Magic Design created a huge buzz in the filmmaking industry with the introduction of its amazing Cinema Camera, providing a true feature film look and amazing dynamic range for beautiful images, delivered at an affordable price. But the new camera’s unique form factor requires a versatile fluid head system. A perfect match for the Cinema Camera is the Sachtler FSB 6 Fluid Head, which provides Sachtler’s well- known operational feel and familiar dependability for precise panning and tilting, with specifications to let the Black Magic camera’s user get the most out of his Cinema Camera.

Introduction of Black Magic Design’s Cinema Camera has spawned a large assortment of film-style camera and lens accessories. Camera users mounting a variety of lenses and accessories find themselves dealing with a wide payload range, from the bare-bones camera weight of 3.75 lbs (1.7kg) to over triple that. The FSB 6’s 2 – 13 lbs (1 to 6kg) payload range more than covers that span. With its 5 inch built-in monitor on the back of the camera’s housing, many of the Cinema Camera’s users choose to operate using that screen in place of an external viewfinder. With little weight behind the camera’s tripod mounting tap, the FSB 6’s 4.7 inch (120mm) sliding plate range is essential to placing the camera, lens and accessory package squarely over the fluid head. The FSB 6’s 10 steps of counterbalance lets the user position the exact center of gravity over the head to keep the camera in place at any angle of tilt through the head’s entire +90°/-75° tilt range.

The FSB 6 also features three vertical and three horizontal grades of drag (+0), which provides Sachtler’s familiar pan and tilt feel and dependability.

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Veteran Director of Photography, Paul Maibaum, ASC has always been conscious of the importance of the best support for his projects. That’s why he’s chosen four Vinten Vector fluid heads and Vinten pedestals for his new ABC Family comedy, “Baby Daddy”. This multi-camera series follows three single guys living as roommates in Manhattan, New York, who find themselves collectively thrust into fatherhood, when a baby is left at their doorstep, the result of a one-night stand.

“I wasn’t a multi-cam sitcom operator, so my familiarity with the use of the Vinten heads and pedestals had been limited to how I see as them being used by the hands (and feet) of experienced operators like we have on ‘Baby Daddy’,” says Maibaum. “The shots seem so effortlessly executed.”

“In today’s multi-camera sitcom environment, the camera operators are required to work with cameras on peds and are consistently tasked to deliver shots that are cinematic, where they must dolly, focus, zoom, pan and tilt on their own,” he explains. “The cameras (we use four Panavised Sony F23s) are loaded down with monitors, focus assist devices, thick cables, large zoom lenses and in the case of this show, eye-lights mounted above the camera lenses. It all adds up to a sizeable weight.

“The Vinten Vector fluid heads can be so precisely balanced that the operators not only achieve very complicated shots, but in addition, they whip the cameras across the set on cue, to capture a close-up of an actor as he enters through a doorway or appears suddenly upstage from a back room. I have not seen another piece of equipment perform as flawlessly as the Vinten Vectors.

“The members of the cast on ‘Baby Daddy’ are young and full of energy. The scripts call for scenes with a lot of movement from the actors and no matter how well rehearsed the operators are, there are always surprises,” says Maibaum. “On one episode entitled ‘On The Lamby’, Emma, the baby in ‘Baby Daddy’ loses her well-worn stuffed sheep affectionately referred to as ‘Lamby’. The boys try to get Emma to sleep but she has never been able to do so without this stuffed animal. The boys go into a panic trying to find it. When one of them finds it, they toss the hapless toy like a football from one to the other in order to get it to Emma before she has a meltdown.

“The scene is staged as if the guys are throwing a football, diving over furniture to make catches and they ultimately succeed in getting Lamby into the crib with Emma. In this scene all four operators have to follow the actors as well as the small stuffed sheep as it is tossed around the set. The action is fast and furious. The wing cameras with long focal length lenses have to capture the action as well as the center cameras with wider focal length lenses and since a real baby is part of the scene, there isn’t the luxury of having a lot of re-takes. In my estimation, the success of the operators’ execution of these shots within a scene like this greatly depends on the kind of equipment that is used. This is where we all can count on the Vinten heads to perform.”

David “Boomer” Dougherty, Maibaum’s “C” Camera Operator on “Baby Daddy” echoes Maibaum’s sentiments. He is a firm believer in the Vectors. “The fluid head, with its precision pan, tilt and fulcrum adjustments, becomes an extension of your being,” he says. “The most difficult shots on this show are always rising or sitting actors, and the fluidness of this head makes the action effortless. I tend to set the pan and tilt at a tighter setting than most, yet I can still whip pan and make delicate moves without having to change the tension. I am a real stickler about balance of a camera. When I set the balance and fulcrum, the camera comes in to its own zero gravity and I love that kind of precision. Whether I am zoomed all the way in on the lens, making a dolly move or holding a wide shot, I can trust that the Vinten Vector fluid head is always there to give back what I put in.”

“Baby Daddy”, an ABC Family sitcom, stars Jean-Luc Bildeau, Tahj Mowry, Derek Theler, Chelsea Kane and Melissa Peterman. The series has just been picked up for a second season, with the new episodes being shot now, and airing early Spring 2013.

Director of Photography Paul Maibaum, ASC, who is best known for the recent hit “Sons of Anarchy”, has also shot series such as “Samantha Who?” and “My Boys”.

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Bill Wages, ASC is glad to be shooting USA’s Necessary Roughness on location in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia instead of commuting to far locations. When the ASC Television Career Achievement Award winner packed for the move back to Atlanta, he made sure that his most vital tools would be on hand for his new series. High on the list was the OConnor 2575 and “a really old but extremely reliable OConnor 100,” he adds. “I won’t do a show without OConnor.”

Necessary Roughness is a series about a female psychologist whose main  practice is the fictional NFL team, the New York Hawks. “Atlanta for New York,” Wages laughs. “You gotta love Hollywood’s creativity! Actually, we really do get a lot of mileage out of the various local locations. Since she treats other sports and show business patients, we end up with a wide variety of subjects – and an even wider variety of challenges. We average 50 to 60 setups per day. One day I’ll be shooting a football game, and the next a rock-and-roll concert. Because of the amount and range of set ups, my support is crucial. There is no room for error. That’s why I chose OConnor’s 2575 – and no gear heads.”

Wages says he has never seen a shot that he can’t do with the 2575. “But I’ve  seen a lot of shots that a gear head couldn’t do. Sure, there’s a place for both but with a large package like ours (four ALEXAs), I have no room for excess, so the OConnor 2575 fluid heads were it.”

While shooting football scenes, Wages goes for documentary-style shooting that  is rather free form. And the OConnor shines. “It’s very intuitive. No restrictions, even when we point almost 90-degrees up and down. My A-camera operator, Steve Andrich, shoots for the NFL so he knows how to follow a passed football with a 500mm lens and fill the frame. He never loses it with the OConnor. Try it with a gear head. Not possible.”

Wages really puts OConnor into challenging positions. To get a very low angle,  he will hang the head and camera upside down on the dolly to get right to the ground. “Comes in handy when tracking player’s feet as they run,” he says. “I know, the OConnor isn’t designed for this but it gets the shot.” And in post, the image is inverted with a push of a button.

Sometimes he brings in his OConnor 100, “once owned by Fouad Said (his name  is engraved on it). It was used on the original I Spy,” he laughs. “This thing is so strong that when I’ve used it on other projects, Joe Dunton has built a side-sling rig for me to allow the camera to sit beside the head, just above the ground for an extremely low angle. I’ve put a Panaflex with an 11-to-1 and 1000 foot magazine on it with no problem. This is a tremendous amount of torque – on a 50-year-old piece of equipment. You simply can’t hurt it!” Necessary Roughness, starring Golden Globe nominee Callie Thorne, will begin airing new episodes on USA in the coming months. Bill Wages, ASC is a two- time winner of the ASC Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography award for Buffalo Soldiers and Riders of the Purple Sage. He has also been nominated for six other ASC Awards and two Emmy Awards.

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Disney’s “Pair of Kings” is an unusual multi-camera series, to say the least. It is filled with incredible battles and amazing stunts as well as special effects and “lots of really funny stuff,” says Director of Photography Johnny Simmons, ASC. “We shoot both four-camera and single camera style; maintaining the use of all four cameras, shooting coverage inside the proscenium.

“On the multi-camera shows that I’ve been shooting, Vinten® has pretty much been the standard,” he adds. “Coming from single camera, I wasn’t that familiar with what sitcom camera operators wanted to use. I asked for advice from seasoned operators and cinematographers and the answer was always – Vinten.

“On this show, my camera operators are faced with fast moving scenes with quick camera moves that test their skills on a continuous basis,” he adds. “They need quality support to make those moves, and that’s what we get, thanks to our Vinten pedestals and Vinten heads, paired with our Sony 1500 cameras.

“On some episodes, we make use of a system called Lightcraft,” explains Simmons. “It is a real time virtual compositing system. We shoot on green screen and the virtual environment is being recorded in real time. The environment might be a mountain range, an ancient temple or a sandy beach. The operators are looking at the composite on their monitors as we shoot the actors doing stunts flying through the air or fighting some strange beast that isn’t there. It makes for a long day, all on green screen.

“It’s another situation that relies on the reliability of our Vintens to perform,” he adds. “The camera moves are precise. A pan and tilt needs to stop and start when it’s supposed to in this virtual world. It’s always very well planned in advance of shooting. When the operators show up, it’s all been discussed, but they are seeing it for the first time and have to perform as if they’ve been a part of the prep. Thanks to their excellent skills and good equipment like Vinten, they get it done–and done well.”

Series operator Ray Gonzales says “The Vinten head is superbly better over the rival friction heads for smooth dependable camera moves. On “Pair of Kings” we’re dealing with sets that appear to be ancient temples and jungles filled with different creatures of every kind. I have to have top equipment.”

Operator Larry Blumenthal agrees, “Thanks to the Vinten heads, with their solid and consistent quality, I know I have support to follow my operating needs; from fine to coarse, in nearly an intuitive way.”

“Operator Ken Herft summed it up for me recently,” says Simmons. “He told me that ‘as a camera operator on sitcoms, the quality of his work is only as good as his equipment. Working on shows like “Pair of Kings”, there is no margin for equipment failure.’ We all agree – Vinten has always been the industry’s best and that’s why we use them.”

This is the second year that cinematographer Johnny Simmons ASC was nominated for an Emmy for his work on “Pair of Kings”. Series operator Ray Gonzales has also been nominated for his work on the series.

The teen multi-camera sitcom “Pair of Kings” is the story of a pair of fraternal twins, one white and one black, raised in Chicago who find that they are heirs to the throne of a fictional Polynesian island. It airs on the Disney XD channel.

When Simmons wraps this season of “Kings”, he will move to a new Disney show, “A Dog With A Blog” and will pick up Turner Broadcasting’s “Men At Work”. Simmons will go back to “Kings” for the next season. Simmons adds, “It goes without saying, on all my shows, Vinten heads and peds are there.”

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Vinten®, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company, will showcase its Vision blue5 pan and tilt head and tripod system for at this year’s IBC 2012 in stand 11.E55.

The Vision blue5 has the same superb functionality as the extremely successful Vision blue system, but with a higher carrying capacity of 12.1lb to 26.5lb/5.5kg to 12kg @ 100mm CofG. This makes the Vision blue5 ideal to support the latest generation of larger cameras used by professional videographers.

The Vision blue5 is the latest addition to the company’s renowned Vision range and the second addition to the blue series of lightweight pan and tilt heads and systems. The range provides today’s camera operators with genuine broadcast quality and exceptional performance.

The entire Vinten Vision range offers a cost effective solution while delivering all of the quality and performance operators have come to expect from a Vinten Vision head. This includes Vinten’s Perfect Balance technology, providing consistent movement and easy positioning of the camera at any angle, as well as its LF drag technology that enables complete control of the camera at any level of movement.

Peter Harman, product manager, Vinten, says: “The unrivalled performance of the Vision blue5 provides operators with all the benefits of Vinten’s renowned Vision support systems at a premium value. It was designed in response to the feedback we received from our customers all around the world. The result is a new system that is effortless to use with all the broadcast quality you would expect from a market leading brand.”

“Everyone in the industry knows that to appreciate the true potential of equipment like this, operators need to see and feel the product to recognize its outstanding capabilities.”

Also on show at IBC 2012 will be several other products from Vinten’s highly acclaimed range of camera support products including the Vision blue, the Vision AS range, Vision 100 and 250, the Vector range including the Vector 430S and of course, a wide selection of Studio and OB Pedestals, tripods and accessories.

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Single Ladies, is the story of four modern women and one gay man looking for love, heat, romance, excitement, independence and to be taken care of. It takes place in the Indulgence Boutique in Atlanta, Georgia and cinematographer Joaquin Sedillo also explores the city— its clubs, high-end restaurants and stunning mansions. “This is a show where long lens beauty shots are prime,” he says. “We couldn’t do this much coverage in the time allowed without our two OConnor 2575Ds fluid heads supporting two ALEXA’s, carrying either Optimo zooms or our set of Zeiss primes.”

“In our season 2 opener we shot nearly a full day of our cast dancing a series of tangos while re-introducing themselves to the viewing audience and interacting with love interests – new and old,” he recalls. “The way we block and choreograph every scene throughout the season is, in my mind, not dissimilar to this sequence. These girls are navigating their way through a tricky speedway in their relationships and I found that the OConnor heads allow a wonderful organic dance to take place in every circumstance; particularly in the boutique where we are able to do a lot of pass offs, racking focus and introducing characters through the scenes. My most repeated note to my operators throughout the season was, ‘it’s a dance – don’t think – just do!’”

Because Sedillo trusts OConnor to help him make smooth moves, he’s often creating what in some operator’s eyes would have been designed as camera stabilizer shots in the Indulgence Boutique. “But, we execute them as beautiful long lens dolly moves that go on and on through sometimes four pages of dialogue,” he says. “Often we have two ALEXAs on one dolly (for the sake of efficiency).”

“One such circumstance occurred shooting the very last scene of the season,” he recalls. “My operators Jason Le Blanc and Spencer Hutchins mounted both ALEXAs with a 12:1 and a 4:1 (separated by a two foot offset) and dolly grip Matt Byrnes created and executed the most elegant scene covering nearly three pages of dialogue in just two setups while ‘weilding’ furniture in and out of the scene seamlessly and beautifully. Because we had OConnor supporting the cameras, our operators had the confidence needed to flow with these tricky moves.”

Sedillo has been a big fan of OConnor over his 25 years in the industry. “Ever since I started working as an assistant, I’ve admired the solid graceful way OConnor’s gear moves,” he says. “Because of the solid support OConnor gives us we don’t even carry a gear head on this show. I can’t conceive of doing any show without OConnor in my package.”

Single Ladies airs Monday nights on VH-1. In addition to serving as Director of Photography on the series, Sedillo directed two episodes and will return as director next season. At the moment, he’s prepping working on a series of Glee, “where I’ll be using OConnor, of course,” he says.

Ideal for camera packages weighing up to 90 lbs (40.8 kg) the popular 2575D features OConnor’s stepless, ultra-smooth pan & tilt fluid drag that is specifically designed to give the ultimate control and stability for film style shooting. It also features OConnor’s patented sinusoidal counterbalance system for true, accurate balance at any point in the tilt range.

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For over 30 years, producer Danny Grizzle has traveled the country documenting the log home lifestyle for the best known log homebuilder, Satterwhite. Today he shoots with a DSLR package that includes the Vision blue pan and tilt head and tripod system from Vinten. Adding the Vision blue to his arsenal has changed the way he works, allowing him to up his creativity and get more footage in less time.

Recently, Grizzle went out for three weeks to shoot footage not only of the exquisite Satterwhite homes, but also to document the lifestyle of homeowners. “I covered homes in the Blue Ridge area of Northern Georgia to Safire, North Carolina, which is prime high end territory that rivals Aspen Colorado. Then I went to the Northern neck of Virginia just 12 miles from where George Washington was born – where I captured the story of a family that raises bison for the restaurant market,” he says.

“I had little time to shoot, and interesting angles to capture,” he explains. “My package includes a Canon 60D rigged with a follow focus and a wide variety of lenses which I often have to change quickly. To document the Wildt family who raise bison, I had to go from intimate interviews inside their house to climbing up on a hay wagon they brought in so I could shoot over the 10,000-Volt fence that surrounds their very unfriendly bison.

“I bought the Vision blue specifically for these kinds of situations,” he explains. “It’s near ideal for DSLR filmmaking – a real step up from any entry level video tripods. Vinten’s ‘Perfect Balance’ system is what sold me. Working with DSLR cameras is challenging and different from the way video shooters typically work. One major difference is frequent lens changes and constantly changing rig configurations.

“Every change to the camera alters the weight and balance on the head,” he adds. “The beauty of Vinten’s Perfect Balance is the speed and accuracy of resetting the head to precisely match constant reconfigurations of the payload. I have never owned or used any tripod so ideally matched to the specific task of DSLR filmmaking.

“The Vinten Vision blue pan and tilt movements are outstanding and free from backlash,” he continues. “This is critical for any image sensor such as DSLR because slow movements are required in order to avoid negative ‘jello’ image artifacts. This head delivers outstanding quality pans and tilts without the kind of slight repositioning that can ruin shots when the operator eases movements into final position and releases muscle pressure on the pan bar.

“I also appreciate the illuminated levelling bubble as well as the overall build quality,” Grizzle says. “I selected the mid-level spreader because much of my work is outdoors on rough ground. And I truly appreciate the not-so-little things, like the inclusion of a high quality fitted carry case. I travel constantly, so I value good cases. Vinten leaves nothing to be desired in this area.”

Grizzle’s most recent documentaries on the Satterwhite Log Home lifestyle are now running on the company’s website. He is scheduled to go out on another run to document more of the 30,000 homes the company has built throughout the country.

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Sachtler, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company, will present a new fluid head as well as six new tripods at this year’s IBC in Amsterdam in booth 11.E55.

Sachtler will unveil a new 75mm fluid head that broadens the selection for professional DSLR filmmakers and videographers with camera set-ups weighing up to six kilograms (13 lbs.). It will be available with different carbon-fiber tripods – a telescopic tripod and a tripod with a mid-level spreader.

Additionally, four new solid professional tripods will soon broaden the FSB family. This means the tried-and-tested Sachtler clamping used on 100mm and 150mm tripods for an especially quick set-up, will also be available for the first time in the 75mm range.

Apart from the presentation of new products, Sachtler will showcase its dependable camera support classics such as the Cine 7+7 HD and Cine 30 HD fluid heads as well as the beloved EB/EFP Video 18 S1 and Video 20 S1 fluid heads. In addition, the brand will present new features of the artemis Cine HD Pro modular camera stabilizer system, which, for example, uses HiCap cabling and Hot Swap technology to provide an uninterrupted power supply when changing batteries.

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Mike “Mikey Jibs” Milia is set to increase his stock of accessories from OConnor to support his rental company, NYC Jibs. Milia has been a strong supporter of OConnor, part of Videocom, a Vitec Group company, since he opened NYC Jibs ( in 2003. He also chooses OConnor when he works as a camera operator, where his credits include live broadcasts such as “Good Morning, America”, reality shows like “Celebrity Apprentice”, music videos for Mos Def and Method Man, as well as commercials and feature films.

“OConnor makes the industry standard fluid heads,” he says. “I’ve had to use others – and it wasn’t pleasant. Last year, OConnor brought their new Accessory line to my attention, and I was blown away with the build quality, adaptability and value of the equipment. I immediately put in an order for the whole line and have been using them on almost every job since.”

“The O-Box Matte box is amazing,” he says. “There are a lot of matte boxes available in this price range but they aren’t even close. I remember having to use one from another brand and the minute I opened the box, I knew it was going to break. Later that week, it did from the very first drop. You don’t get that impression when you’re holding the O-Box. The material that makes up the bulk of it is incredibly solid. It’s great for a matte box manufacturer to have enough confidence with the build quality to put mounting points on their products. There are mounting points on all four sides of the O-Box, which work perfectly with the O-Grips. And, I’ve mounted lights, monitors, and microphones off of the O-Box as well.

“The O-Focus DM lets me easily work with photo lenses, which in the past have been the bane of my existence,” says Mike. This is because the O-Focus DM Photo Set has a gear ratio of 1:0.75 so that 360 degrees of input results in 270 degrees of output, a unique ratio that provides greater accuracy for limited barrel rotation still photo lenses.  “It comes with a rubber tension gear just in case you don’t have the gear ring,” he adds. “I still don’t believe how well this works! I haven’t had it slip on me yet!”

Another key feature of the O-Focus is its ability to adapt between cine and still photo lenses with a simple manual swap of the handwheel. “Recently, we did a music video shoot with the Epic,” he adds. “We were shooting with Cooke S4s and about halfway through the shoot we realized we didn’t have the telephoto lens we needed. I saw the guy doing the behind-the-scenes stills out of the corner of my eye using a 70-200mm Canon zoom lens. Luckily, we had the Canon mount for the Epic, so we swapped the lens using the same camera, and all we had to do was change the handwheel on the O-Focus DM and the reduction ring on the O-Box. In less than five minutes we were able to completely swap lens standards using the same camera and accessories.”

Milia doesn’t stop there with his praise for the support OConnor gives him. “My favorite piece is the new 1030D Ultimate fluid head,” he says enthusiastically. “It is the fluid head I always wanted, but never had. It’s like OConnor waved a magic wand over the 2065 Ultimate Fluid Head package to make a compact, yet still durable and versatile system to accommodate our lightweight 5K cinema packages.” This fluid head offers the same features of the larger OConnor heads, including the stepless, ultra-smooth pan and tilt fluid drag specifically enhanced to provide ultimate control and stability for digital cinematography. The Counterbalance system provides true, accurate balance at any point in the tilt range, down to zero pounds, a handy advantage for lighter weight cameras.

“For jobs with heavier camera and lens packages, such as the ALEXA and the Optimo 24-290 zoom lens, the 2065 system suits our needs perfectly,” he continues. “However, for jobs that use smaller cameras such as the RED Epic and the lightweight PL zooms, the 1030D meets all our expectations of OConnor performance.”

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Redesigned Magnum Tripod product offers switchable counterbalance to accommodate all shooting styles

The Tiffen Company, a leading manufacturer and distributor of award-winning accessories for the still imaging, video, motion picture and broadcast markets, unveiled its redesigned Davis & Sanford® Magnum XG13 Tripod and FX13 Head. The advanced, state-of-the-art Magnum XG13 Tripod supports professional DSLR and video shoots. The new design is manufactured with high-quality aluminum alloy and is precisely machined to offer the quality and strength demanded by photographers and videographers. “No other tripod manufacturer in the market today has the depth of design and engineering experience like Davis & Sanford. A landmark release, the re-engineered Magnum XG13 is the digital imaging industry’s first advanced DSLR/video tripod developed with a switchable counterbalance to prevent the common problem of camera dumping with the freedom to unlock the balance and fully control the camera movement. The tripod is manufactured with a powder-coated and anodized finish to resist abrasion under heavy use and is combined with aircraft quality to offer users the best durability and portability available. Magnum is a signature Davis & Sanford build,” comments Steve Tiffen, President and CEO, The Tiffen Company. The Davis & Sanford tripod’s switchable counterbalance helps keep the camera stable on the platform while the photographer/videographer’s hands are not controlling the camera with the option to turn off counterbalance to enhance certain shooting styles.

About the Davis & Sanford Magnum XG13 Tripod and FX13 Head
Shipped with the Magnum XG13, the FX13 Head is manufactured with the new Davis & Sanford advanced, built-in fluid system. The fluid system is ideal for DSLR shoots in video mode as well as shooting stills of fast-moving subjects like birds. The FX13 Head also incorporates a switchable counterbalance system to prevent camera dumping and a long and short quick-release plate for video and still photography variable balance control.

Made of high-quality, low-weight aluminum alloy, the FX13 can carry a capacity of up to 13 lbs. The head has three spirit levels to ensure perfect leveling and an ergonomically designed single pan-and-tilt handle for maximum comfort. The three-way head has 360-degree pan, 90-degree down, and 60-degree upward tilt plus landscape and portrait tilt mode.

The Magnum XG13 Tripod aluminum alloy legs have also been redesigned to offer better ergonomics of the leg-angle release mechanism, and improved quick action leg locks. The leg ranges from a maximum working height of 72” to as low as 8”.

The Magnum XG13 provides speedy setup coupled with added security with quick action, lever-type leg locks, a low-angle adapter and leg warmers. The tripod is ideal for use with DSLR cameras, medium-format camcorders or scope use.

The newly designed Davis & Sanford Magnum XG13 Tripod and FX13 Head are available today through Tiffen resellers for a street price of USD 189.00.

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