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M Joel W

Basic Tripod Question

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I feel really dumb. I'm using a Miller Compass 20 with a camera that's probably a bit small for it, 5-6 pounds at its lightest (haven't weighed it, but that's my guess).

But the camera is back-heavy and I cannot get the mini euro sliding plate assembly far enough forward to balance on the tripod.

So I removed the camera plate assembly and bought a standard Bogen-style tripod plate. 

Same thing.

Should I buy the extra long tripod plate? There are no returns on it.

Also, what counterbalance settings would be best for this set up? 

Thanks. Sorry for the newbie question. Getting back into shooting.

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I used my Ronford quick release plate as an adapter for my Aaton film camera on a  Sachtler Horizon tripod to move the camera forward on the head.. If you're any good at basic metal work you could easily make your own adapter plate.

Counterbalance settings need to be adjusted depending on the camera and lens being used, so there's no real way for people to tell you.

 

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Thanks, makes sense. 

Oddly, if I swap the screws in the plate and mount the plate backwards, I can line the small screw up with a hole at the back of my baseplate. And then I need to slide the camera on from the front of the tripod rather than the rear. But it balances okay. But this feels like a strange solution and looks odd.

I have no metal work skills.

Is there any reason not to do this? Seems odd, but also seems to be working.

 

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Ideally you set the counterbalance strength so that when you tilt the camera it doesn’t spring back or want to keep tilting, but stays where you position it. The force required to move it should be even throughout the range.

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The tech specs say the head can counterbalance down to 4lbs: https://www.millertripods.com/media/wysiwyg/Operating_Manuals/1_Fluid_Heads/D7881-3_OPM_Compass_20_Fluid_Head.pdf

So I think you just need to find the balance point of your payload and rig the tripod plate there. Swapping screw positions around is a pretty normal way to do this. Which camera are you using? 

One way to quickly find the balance point of your rig is to place the camera on a flat table and place a round pencil or pen underneath, cross-wise. Then roll the camera back and forth until the camera balances on the pencil, front to back. Mark that spot and place the tripod plate there. 

If you have a constantly shifting payload, like if you frequently change between large and small lenses or if your batteries are different sizes, then you may need a longer tripod plate. Or use an additional sliding baseplate system like the ARRI dovetail. 

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Thanks, I think it's counterbalanced properly now. Or close to it. Stays put no matter where I tilt even with lowest drag setting setting. Doesn't feel as well-balanced or consistently smooth as when my friend demonstrated counterbalancing on an O'Connor 2060, but that was a much larger camera set up and had the benefit of inertia. Maybe I'm still missing something but it seems fine now. 

23 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

The tech specs say the head can counterbalance down to 4lbs: https://www.millertripods.com/media/wysiwyg/Operating_Manuals/1_Fluid_Heads/D7881-3_OPM_Compass_20_Fluid_Head.pdf

So I think you just need to find the balance point of your payload and rig the tripod plate there. Swapping screw positions around is a pretty normal way to do this. Which camera are you using? 

One way to quickly find the balance point of your rig is to place the camera on a flat table and place a round pencil or pen underneath, cross-wise. Then roll the camera back and forth until the camera balances on the pencil, front to back. Mark that spot and place the tripod plate there. 

If you have a constantly shifting payload, like if you frequently change between large and small lenses or if your batteries are different sizes, then you may need a longer tripod plate. Or use an additional sliding baseplate system like the ARRI dovetail. 

This is the potential issue. I am shooting with an EVA1 and very tiny lenses. I have some cheap off-brand baseplate that, as well as being cheap, is very light, which I like. But its options for mounting screws are severely limited and poorly thought-out imo. I do worry about balancing larger lenses but will cross that bridge when I get there.... 

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If you’re used to an OConnor counterbalancing system, everything else will pale in comparison. With tripods, the old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true in my experience. 🙂

Anyway, glad you got it sorted!

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27 minutes ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

I thought that the Germans were quite litigeous and would have slamed Smallrig for calling that an Arri rather than Arri compatible. 

The plate looks good though, and absurdly cheap. If one wants the cheapest fix possible, then simple cheese plates are available online. Smallrig do one about $12. Spoils the chance of learning to do that oneself though......

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