I use my tripod all the time. I own a tank-like tripod that has gone everywhere. It's the Manfrotto 3021Pro, and I own the second generation of the model. It's silver-metal, heavy and built to take abuse. I use my 3021Pro with a Manfrotto 484RC2 for most of my photography needs.
In photography mode, the 3021Pro and the 484RC2 have never let me down. When I use my 3021Pro, I can open and drop the legs with one hand, while I work my camera with the other. The standard post of the 3021Pro has a great little steel clip at the end of the post that I use to suspend my gear from when I am in the field. The weight of my gear, suspended from below the tripod makes for an amazingly stable platform, and often keeps my gear out of the poop that is "in the field". The little steel clip is a great feature of the 3021Pro
Using my 3021Pro is second nature and the clack-clack of the legs dropping into position or closing is a common sound as I am out and about getting my images.
Lately, with the video capabilities of my Pentaxes (K7 and K5), I have done more video. Obviously, the standard post that comes with the 3021Pro and the 484RC2 are not designed for video.
I upgraded my 3021Pro with a Manfrotto 555B - a self leveling post.
I also bought a 128RC Video Head. The 128RC was also compatible with my quick release plates and is one of the smallest video heads that Manfrotto makes.
With the 3021Pro and my 555B/128RC, I now have the ability to switch back and forth from photography and video relatively easy. It's a great capability to have the 555B/128RC and have my old head and shaft available in a split instant.
However, in practice, I noticed some things that I didn't like with the 555B/128RC, that could potentially have been a deal breaker.
You can see the velcro strap that goes into the bore with a through length custom retainer
Here is a picture of how the pin goes through the rear of the device. There is no side-to-side play and the strap/bore is exactly 1". The pin rolls inside the bore and the pin diameter goes through the entire length of the bore.
The pin makes use of a technique where I make a custom knurled head, that is then pressed on an existing screw/bolt, and then I clean up the edges on the lathe.
The inner circle is the lip that duplicates the stock device's lip and what pulls down on the inner shaft to tighten the self-leveling head. It is polished with 2000grit and is smoother than the stock one. The "chatter" marks are miniscule, maybe .001 of an inch and have no affect on the mechanism. The multiple bores and concentric circles and depths were very difficult to duplicate from the stock Manfrotto piece. This was a solid 6061 round that was bored on both ends, tapped and polished. A VERY difficult thing to create!
The "shorty" can be mounted as in the images above or can be reversed. In addition, it can be rotated to suit whatever hand position you might want.
You can use the 90 degree lever, or remove it. The thread is 3/8-16, so it can also accept standard photo accessories. The material is 6061 solid aluminum, so you can clamp to it or do whatever you want.
Reversed in the head.
The mods to the 555B/128RC make my old 3021Pro into a very nice video tripod. These mods, allow me to keep a sturdy tripod around, without having to have both a video and photo tripod. The 555B/128RC make a great combo.
I hope you enjoyed my project.
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