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12-26-2011, 01:35 AM   #1
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New Head for Vanguard Tracker 1

Hi,

I have a Vanguard Tracker 1 tripod. My problem is that the default quick shoe is too small for my lens (which has a long "support"). Does anyone know if I can change the head? Which one could be used in my case (lens weight: 7kg)?

Regards.

Malsi

12-26-2011, 03:38 AM   #2
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You may be able to unscrew the head from the centre column and put on a different head. I'm not familiar with that particular tripod model. I just picked up a 2nd centre column for my tripod with a 3/8-16 stud on it so that I could use a ball head (the original 3 way head was permanently attached to the original column). My tripod is an older model that uses a smooth tubular 28mm column that is fairly common.

For a lens that heavy I would take a serious look at a gimbal head, with my second choice probably being a really heavy duty ball head. Either will cost quite a bit.
12-26-2011, 09:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
You may be able to unscrew the head from the centre column and put on a different head. I'm not familiar with that particular tripod model. I just picked up a 2nd centre column for my tripod with a 3/8-16 stud on it so that I could use a ball head (the original 3 way head was permanently attached to the original column). My tripod is an older model that uses a smooth tubular 28mm column that is fairly common.

For a lens that heavy I would take a serious look at a gimbal head, with my second choice probably being a really heavy duty ball head. Either will cost quite a bit.
Hi,

Thank you for your answer. It doesn't seems to be natural because I will have to remove screws. I'm going to take pictures to show you.

Regards.

Malsi
12-27-2011, 04:20 AM   #4
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Hi,

I've done some photos of the traker 1 head. I can see two levels of screws (photo 3). I don't know which ones I have to unscrew. Is there any risk to lose a part (spring...)?









Regards.

Malsi

12-27-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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If the head is removable I would expect it to unscrew around the joint I painted red without removing any of the screws visible in your third photo. There would be a 3/8-16 threaded stud in the center of the column, and a threaded hole in the head.

This is what my column looks like with and without a head:







I need to engage the pan lock and use a fair bit of force to loosen the head.
12-27-2011, 12:10 PM   #6
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Hi,

Thank you very much for your help; I will try it and give you a feedback. If this screw appear, it will be a good news.

Regards.

Malsi
12-27-2011, 12:28 PM   #7
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Hi,

I've just found this: Vanguard PH-50 Magnesium 3 Way Pan Head - Value Priced | eBay. This is what I should find .

By the way, do you think that I could use it with a FA* 600mm? My problem is the quick release plate. It is quite small compared to the lens foot.

Regards.

Malsi
12-27-2011, 07:25 PM   #8
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In the third picture, three slotted set screws - loosen them until they protrude about 2 or 3mm proud, the 3-D head should just unscrew off the centre column. You have a very nice and expensive lens but your tripod is more or less a travel tripod. Replacing your current head with another that's at best marginally better head isn't going to make any difference. If I had an FA*600, I would make sure my tripod kit is robust enough to support the camera/lens kit by a margin of 2x or more of rated support specifications. I just don't think an entry level Vanguard tripod is adequate enough to do the job.

12-28-2011, 10:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
In the third picture, three slotted set screws - loosen them until they protrude about 2 or 3mm proud, the 3-D head should just unscrew off the centre column. You have a very nice and expensive lens but your tripod is more or less a travel tripod. Replacing your current head with another that's at best marginally better head isn't going to make any difference. If I had an FA*600, I would make sure my tripod kit is robust enough to support the camera/lens kit by a margin of 2x or more of rated support specifications. I just don't think an entry level Vanguard tripod is adequate enough to do the job.
Hi,

Thank you for your answer and your advice. The Tracker 1 can support a maximum fo 8kg. What "tripod + head" should I use?

Regards.

Malsi
12-28-2011, 01:28 PM   #10
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I would be taking a serious look at a head like this one: Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Tripod Head II with Quick WH-200 B&H

I have used other people's and they make a lens as heavy as a 600mm f/4 very fast and easy to handle once you have it set up on a tripod and balanced. The downside is that a high quality gimbal head rated for a 600mm lens weighs quite a bit and will likely cost $500 plus new.

For the legs I would be looking at something rated for 2 to 3 times the weight of your camera, head and body combination, so at lest 20 kg or more. You might ask around and see what other people here with the 600mm f/4 are using.
12-28-2011, 02:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Malsi Quote
Hi,

Thank you for your answer and your advice. The Tracker 1 can support a maximum fo 8kg. What "tripod + head" should I use?
Hi Malsi,

Specific tripods are hard to recommend since a lot depends on your height and the way that you intend to use your camera/lens. Whatever you choose, expect to spend some significant money to supply adequate support for your big lens . -- It deserves it. . .

A good rule of thumb for tripod support capacity is to get one that will comfortably support at least 2x the camera/lens weight that you plan to use it with, so in your case, at least @ 16kg. With a lens like the FA* 600, you'll want a very sturdy head, and for ease of handling, a full gimbal would probably be a good choice, but there are alternatives like the Acratech Long Lens Head.

Acratech Long Lens Head

In any case, I'd get a head that uses a QR clamp that's Arca Swiss compatible. This is the most universal and versatile QR system available, and there are plates available with longer lengths that allow you to balance the camera/lens on the head so you don't have to fight the mass of the camera/lens to move it.

Most of the quality gimbal heads use Arca plates, and they are available in lengths up to over 160mm, so you'll be able to find one to balance the FA*600.

The best known gimbals AFAIK are from Wimberley, Jobu Designs, and Kirk. These are pricey, but you'll be able to get the best customer support from the very experienced personnel from these companies, IMO.

Wimberley Professional Photo Gear - The Wimberley Head

Jobu Heavy Duty MK III

NEW Jobu Pro2 Gimbal

Kirk Enterprises : King Cobra

The Kirk King Cobra is a vertical clamp model, and I'd probably not recommend this for a really heavy lens like the FA*600. It's not that the head would not work -- it's just that mounting the camera/lens would be a lot more difficult, and you really want to take as few chances as possible with thousands of $$$ worth of gear. . .

Really Right Stuff also makes a very nice looking, but very pricey gimbal. The company is known for quality and a knowledgeable staff.

PG-02 FG: PG-02 Full Gimbal Head - PG-02-FG - Kit Configuration Page

Manfrotto makes a pretty good one for the money, but uses proprietary plates, and I don't know about customer support.

Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens 393 B&H

Other mfgs like Induro, Benro, and Vanguard as well as some no-name Indian and Chinese mfgs have also come out with gimbals, but I personally would be leery about the no-names and the budget models. Induro and Benro make quality tripods, but I'd question their experience with gimbals and their level of customer support.

Personally, the largest lenses I shoot are 300 f2.8 lenses (with and w/o TCs), and I chose the Wimberley Sidekick though there were less expensive alternatives. I chose Wimberley because of the company's long-time experience and reputation. My gear deserves what I consider the best support available. I chose the Sidekick because of its versatility, but from testimonials, this gimbal is probably not sufficient to use a 600/4 class lens to its best potential.

I'd choose the head before narrowing down the choices in legs since the height of the head can make a difference in the choice of legs since a gimbal will add some height to extended height of the legs. Also, your projected use is an important consideration. If you shoot birds in trees, and will be shooting standing, then you'd want a set of legs that will extend enough so when the camera is pointed upward, you're not going to be constantly bent over to sight through the VF. You probably also don't want a set of legs that you need to extend completely to get the height that you need since the smallest section of the leg extension can sometimes be a little spindly and might not support the weight as well as you might like. Regardless, you want a very good base, and you don't want to have to extend the center column to get the height you want, even occasionally, IMO.

There's a lot to consider in choosing the right support for your FA* 600. Do your homework, and you'll be rewarded.

Scott
12-29-2011, 04:09 AM   #12
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Hi Scott,

Thank you very much for your answer (and your time to write it). It is really usefull for me. I was interested by the Manfrotto head but I really prefer the Wimberley design (and those same). But investing 25% of the lens price in the couple "tripod + head" is hard to support .

Regards.

Malsi
12-31-2011, 08:46 AM   #13
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Hi,

Some news... I unscrewed all the screws but I've found some "fat". It seems that the system is one and indivisible . I'm going to ask Vanguard if they sell a central column with a standard screw on top.

Regards.

Malsi
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