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FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?
  
 
daggah
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


I came across this Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flm-the-berlin-38-4-tripod-photography

Under normal circumstances, I'm not one to support kickstarters/preorders/etc but from what I've gathered, FLM is a pretty well-respected German company that's made a good name for itself in Europe. However, this one is going to be manufactured in North America, I think? Or at least, it'll be manufactured for the North American market. And they're saying that the tripods should ship out in February of next year, which personally is well-timed with the end of the deployment I'm currently on, so the wait isn't a big deal. As far as I can tell, the CP-26 travel tripod that FLM Canada previously crowd-funded has gotten good reviews.

Only three backers so far, but according to the campaign, anyone who pre-orders on Indiegogo will get a tripod, with the only thing being that if the campaign is not funded fully, it'll be a one-off limited run.

The tripod itself seems to compete with the RRS 34, I think?



Oct 26, 2017 at 11:03 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


It is heavier and shorter than the RRS TVC-34. Are you using this for a heavy video rig or have some other reason for a 100mm bowl? If you add a 100-75 adapter, the weight is even more.

EBH



Oct 26, 2017 at 11:35 AM
daggah
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


I wouldn't get it with the bowls, I'd use the flat base. So in that scenario I'd be funding the cheapest tier, which I think seems to be a very good price for this level of tripod ($550ish) and the highest discount over their estimated MSRP if they start producing this tripod for normal sale.

I'd probably pair it with some sort of Acratech ballhead and use it with a D850 (which I don't yet own) and 14-24/24-70/70-200/24mm PC-E lenses.

I did notice that it was heavier than the TVC-34, and it's also heavier than the other tripod I'm seriously considering, which would be the Feisol 3472.



Oct 26, 2017 at 11:50 AM
sjms
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


i am not fond of split platform rings. they simplify some things in manufacturing but can create other potential issues. you don't split a circle.


Oct 26, 2017 at 12:07 PM
daggah
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


Well, I've decided I'll give this one a shot. I didn't back the basic tier - I went ahead and backed the tripod + 75mm leveling bowl + CB-48FTR ballhead for $1,078.


Oct 26, 2017 at 02:09 PM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


isn't disposable income great?


Oct 26, 2017 at 02:59 PM
Melancholia
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


I funded the CP-Travel campaign and it was excellent. Zero problem, other than them underestimating the delivery time. They admitted it was a problem so they addressed for the Berlin 38.4. It was my first FLM product and it really is built well. I was really looking forward to this tripod but it falls short in terms of maximum height for me. I love the collapsed length of 20" and the 4 sections.

I'll pass on this one and look forward to hearing from owners of the Berlin 38.4 when it's delivered.



Oct 26, 2017 at 05:43 PM
m1mgd00
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


Thanks for the link. This looks interesting to me, as I've been contemplating a stouter (i.e. Gitzo Series 4/5 or equivalent) tripod for long glass. I've read good things about FLM tripods, but I already have a perfectly useful compact travel 'pod (a Velbon Carmagne 640, though I replaced the pan-tilt head with an RRS BH-30 ball head ages ago), and they didn't make anything at the other end of the spectrum until now.


Oct 27, 2017 at 04:03 AM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


Hi everyone,
My name is Ari, I'm the distributor for FLM in the USA and Canada, and I'm also the guy who got the Berlin 38.4 off the ground and onto Indiegogo. Hopefully we'll make our goal and offer the tripod for general sale in February.

Daggah, thank you for supporting the tripod project, greatly appreciated. We're looking forward to making quite an excellent tripod.

To briefly touch upon some of the things mentioned in this thread:
yes, our CP26-Travel tripod was a great campaign: 200% funded, and the tripod has since gotten rave reviews
forum member sjms mentioned the split apex ring; we did have a non-split ring made as well (prototype), but it wasn't as versatile
one of the main draws of this tripod is the ability to use 75mm and 100mm systems on one tripod; you can also use any standard-size accessory from other manufacturers (Gitzo, RRS, Induro, etc) such as center posts, leveling bowls. We will be making our own flat plate, 75 & 100 leveling bowls and adapters for the Berlin
also important is that it's almost the size of some travel tripods, but can support 88 pounds; key here is internal structure and 10 layers of carbon fiber
I've been using it extensively with a Toyo 810M view camera, which alone weighs 16 pounds; the tripod barely notices that weight, and I can easily carry the tripod around with me all day.
the tripod was built, prototyped and tested in Germany (and by me here in North America); they're also making some parts, as are our regular suppliers worldwide; final assembly is in Canada.
forum member Melancholla: we'll hopefully be introducing a taller 3-section version of this tripod in spring/summer 2018, which is why this current tripod is important. We need to know if there's enough demand for a high-end, bowl-ready German tripod before making another one.

If you have any questions, just let me know by PM here or through the FLM Canada contact page: http://www.flmcanada.com/contact.html

Thanks, everyone!



Nov 01, 2017 at 03:57 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


could you explain how it wasn't as versatile?


Nov 02, 2017 at 04:59 PM
 

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ATPphoto
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


sjms wrote:
could you explain how it wasn't as versatile?


Good question.

For starters, it couldn't accommodate both 75mm and 100mm bowls. The designers were also thinking that the flat plate would have to stay fixed to the tripod. Thankfully, they ditched that idea fast.

Also, the tolerances for bowl accessories across brands is akin to what we've come to call the "Arca-compatible" standard. There's a lot of variation in the plate and clamp dimensions and dovetail shape, yet they're all "Arca" type items.
The same goes for bowl accessories; had we made a closed apex, then, for example, the center post from brand A would have fit, but the same size center post from brand B would have been very tight, or very loose.

Thank you



Nov 02, 2017 at 05:46 PM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


the 75/100 differentiation seems to be the one and only advantage. i use the 75mm bowl and haven't had to go to 100. i agree with the variations factor to a point. by going the split you may have "increased versatility" but reduced overall security and possible durability. you have introduced a human factor for possible issues. i hope in the long run it works well for you.


Nov 02, 2017 at 07:08 PM
ATPphoto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


sjms wrote:
the 75/100 differentiation seems to be the one and only advantage. i use the 75mm bowl and haven't had to go to 100. i agree with the variations factor to a point. by going the split you may have "increased versatility" but reduced overall security and possible durability. you have introduced a human factor for possible issues. i hope in the long run it works well for you.


Build quality, internal design (e.g., longer one-piece tube guides), built-in spikes, small pack size, high maximum load and 10 layers of carbon fiber are some of the other advantages.

I've been testing the tripod (two of them, actually: 1st-gen and 2nd-gen) for the last two years.
I work mostly outdoors with 8x10, 4x5, 6x7 and DSLR cameras; both tripods are rock-solid, utterly dependable pieces of gear.
We wouldn't put out this tripod if we weren't 100% sure of our design and hadn't tested it through and through.

Thank you



Nov 02, 2017 at 07:16 PM
sjms
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


built in consumables like spikes to me are not a good option i prefer modular designs that allow interchangeability. i have used cinema gear on my legsets.
i have seen the FLM product at Photo+ by the B&H setup.

and i have no doubt that you put out a product that is well made and that you believe in.

i guess we come from 2 different design concepts





Nov 02, 2017 at 08:09 PM
ATPphoto
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


sjms wrote:
built in consumables like spikes to me are not a good option i prefer modular designs that allow interchangeability. i have used cinema gear on my legsets.
i have seen the FLM product at Photo+ by the B&H setup.

and i have no doubt that you put out a product that is well made and that you believe in.

i guess we come from 2 different design concepts




We must have met last week at Photo Plus, or perhaps you met my wife while I was on a walkabout.
In any case, the proof for me is how well the tripod has stood up considering all I've subjected it to; it never wobbled, vibrated or shook, even under heavy loads. It's always been easy to carry, and switching from flat plate to 75mm bowl is a breeze.
I've never found the split apex to be a problem in the real world, not the way this one is designed, and most of all, it's allowed me to concentrate on making photos, which is really the goal.
Overall, the tripod works fantastically well, though I know it may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's ok.



Nov 02, 2017 at 11:09 PM
ATPphoto
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


A customer emailed me about the safety of the apex; he wanted to know if he could carry his gear short distances while mounted atop the tripod. He asked if there were any problems in doing this since he's read about Gitzos having had this problem a few years back. It's also timely given the recent exchange with sjms about the apex design.
So I just wanted to add an illustration to what I said above about testing the tripod.

Here's a photo of the camera I used for my tripod tests:



It's a Toyo 810M, it weighs 16 pounds without a lens. The camera is attached to the tripod via the 75mm bowl adapter and 75mm leveling bowl.

Here is the same camera but held to the tripod upside-down using the same 75mm bowl gear:




So not much chance of a heavy camera/lens combination slipping off the tripod accidentally, unless the user is careless about fastening the appropriate allen bolts.



Nov 10, 2017 at 03:14 PM
daggah
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


With the leveling bowl setup, is there any way to attach a hook at the bottom of the leveling bowl?

Also, the 3D render doesn't seem to indicate a spirit level on the leveling bowl, is that going to be a feature?



Nov 11, 2017 at 03:25 PM
ATPphoto
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


The hook will be part of the flat plate, but the levelling bowls should have a larger knurled end that would allow a bag to hang from it.

To add a bubble level to the bowl would have meant making a different mold, and that feature alone would have nearly tripled the cost of the levelling bowl. We're aiming for <$100 levelling bowl; that one mod would bring the price to ~$250. When the tripod is in stores, and priced regularly at ~$809, that levelling bowl with bubble level option is going to hurt a lot more.

The Berlin tripod can use other brands' accessories, so you could put a [RRS/Gitzo/SunWayFoto etc. etc.,] levelling bowl with integrated bubble level in our tripod.

There are also other accessories, or tools on your camera, that help with precise levelling.



Nov 11, 2017 at 04:05 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


If there is no bubble level, then how is a leveling base useful for normal ball heads or gimbal heads (not just LF cameras)

EBH



Nov 11, 2017 at 07:07 PM
ATPphoto
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · FLM Berlin 58.4 Indiegogo campaign/preorders - thoughts?


Good question.
1. I found that most levelling bowls do not have a built-in bubble level; I myself used a 75mm bowl without a bubble level. I have some cameras with built-in levels, and others without; for the latter, I use levelling accessories.
Most built-in bubble levels are not all that accurate, but they're ok to get you in the ballpark.
We recommend using the camera's built-in level, an accessory level, such as a card level or 2-way level on your camera's hot shoe.

2. The levelling bowl also replaces the ball head for many things, except the more extreme camera placements (straight up/down). It's smaller, lighter than a ball head and costs less. If you need only 20˚ of movements in any direction much of the time, a levelling bowl can be a big money-saver.

3. It's lower centre of gravity and simpler design also makes it stronger than a ball head, much less prone to vibration and slipping. The levelling bowl can hold many times the weight that a ball head can hold.



Nov 11, 2017 at 09:59 PM
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