Pan/Tilt Video Head Product Selection

john_dennis wrote on 3/19/2016, 3:07 PM
Last year, while looking at replacement cameras, I decided I needed to improve my overall kit to improve my video acquisition. To that end, I've been looking for a smooth pan/tilt video head.

Has anyone had experience with the Benro S4 Video Head for light cameras and infrequent use?
I was considering getting the head to attach to my old tripod or getting a Benro A48FDS4 Series 4 Aluminum Monopod with 3-Leg Locking Base and S4 Video Head as I'm shooting mostly sports video where I have to step on deck, shoot, and get out of the way.

I'm open to different manufacturers and approaches. I expect to close this deal before the swim season starts next month. I appreciate your comments.

John Dennis

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel

Comments

NickHope wrote on 3/19/2016, 3:42 PM
I have the smaller BRA1573FS2 Model A1573 Tripod with FS2 Video Head.

I bought it for absolute minimum weight for trekking, and on that front it does deliver. And I like the fact you can raise the whole bowl and head up, like a photo tripod. On the inevitable downside it's not as solid and smooth as some heavier tripods and you get a bit of springback. The build quality is very nice. Benro make nice stuff at a reasonable price. And the S4 looks more solid so may not suffer from these issues.

I wish the plate was Arca Swiss so I could use the same plate as I use for my Gorillapod etc..

If weight is not so important I take my chunkier Miller Solo with Miller head.

If you have to move around a lot then that monopod is a good option, but maybe you should also consider a one-handed gimbal. More expensive though. What camera are you using?
john_dennis wrote on 3/19/2016, 3:50 PM
Currently using a Canon G15 point and shoot and will likely replace it with a "bridge" camera like the Sony RX10ii or a Canon G3X. I'm unlikely to ever use an actual camcorder.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel

john_dennis wrote on 3/21/2016, 2:19 PM
"[I]I wish the plate was Arca Swiss so I could use the same plate as I use for my Gorillapod etc[/I]"...

This S2 version has an Arca Swiss compatible plate. Since I don't have any other equipment to match, I'm neutral or uncertain if I should have Arca Swiss or 501PL plates.

"[I]...maybe you should also consider a one-handed gimbal[/I]."

This one is a little pricey for my effort and this one seems to be finicky with setup. At least for some users.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel

NickHope wrote on 3/22/2016, 1:19 AM
Thanks for that S2H link John. Ah, so the Benro plate is actually a Manfrotto 501PL standard? I hadn't realised that. I guess Arca Swiss may be more of a standard if you might end up getting more gear, and I like it because you can get short ones that don't protrude from small cameras. I didn't realise the S2H was available and it's pretty cheap. I might make the switch, if the rest of the functionality is the same.

Besides my Gorillapod's Arca Swiss plate, I also fitted an Arca Swiss plate to my Miller DS10, on top of it's big plate which was designed for bigger ENG cameras. So the different plate on my S2 head ends up being a bit of an annoyance.

I was more thinking of gimbals with motors rather than mini-Steadicam style. But they're much more expensive ($600 up). Dave Dugdale just uploaded an example of what can be done with one when shooting swimming:

john_dennis wrote on 3/22/2016, 1:43 AM
I found an extremely detailed review of the Benro models in . The "set back" shown at about 40:30 made me wonder about even the S4, but the reviewer answered my comment that there have been updates since the review. I do like the feature of the S6 that allows locking the head without changing the drag.

Obviously, Dave was at a practice and NOT a meet.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel

NickHope wrote on 3/22/2016, 1:50 AM
Yeah my S2 does that type of spring back and I'm not surprised to see it on the S4, although those examples look particularly bad. You can reduce it a bit by slowing the pan towards the end and keeping some pressure on the handle until it settles.
john_dennis wrote on 6/18/2016, 9:57 AM
Yesterday, I bought the Benro A48FDS4. It's heavier than I expected. I spent a long time looking at different options but finally decided to buy this one at a local store whose employees put up with a lot from me.

Going to shoot right now. We'll see.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel

riredale wrote on 6/19/2016, 2:51 PM
I've used two Velbon tripods for years, a big one for my big Sony and a "Videomate607" for the Babycam. No springback, velvet-smooth fluid motion.

For some reason these tripods are invisible in the community, but they give me great service. Not counterbalanced or spring-loaded, though. I mount a fore-and-aft plate for balance.
john_dennis wrote on 6/19/2016, 3:56 PM
Thank you for the tip. The brand has been invisible to me, too. One of the things this experience reinforced for me is that one has to touch and feel things like video heads and tripods. I wouldn't have bought the Benro until it finally showed in a local store. I'll be using this head on my old, cheap tripod until I find a reason to abandon it. Most of what I'm shooting now is best done with a monopod.

I noticed a pattern of mine: When I'm following a subject whose motion speeds and slows (as a breaststroke), I tend to stop the pan. I think it would be better to adopt a smooth camera motion and let the subject drift in the field of view. Maybe I can fix that now that my tools are somewhat better.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedennischannel