View Full Version : opinions on Bogen products

john david pope
13-Feb-2000, 12:13
Being new to still photography, I am surprised at how many photographers use Bog en products. In film and video Bogen is pretty much considered junk equipment. No professionals I know would dare to think of using Bogen stuff, if for no othe r reason than the image that is projects.

In film and video we use Sachtler, O'Connor, Vinten, Miller, and some news guys use Gitzo. I won't even touch Bogen lightstands. Can it be that the quality of Bogen gear is that different for still cameras ?

What is your experience ? I'm looking for a 4 x 5 gear head.


Brian Yarvin
13-Feb-2000, 13:00

Usage patterns with still gear are far different than with film equipment. In my day to day work, my Bogen tripods, lightstands, and SuperClamps seem to do a fine job.

There is just too big a difference between what happens on a film set and what happens even on the most demanding still shoot to make this sort of comparison.

Brian in Queens NY

Daniel Taylor
13-Feb-2000, 13:54
I have purchased Bogen (Manfrotto) tripods, heads, and light stands. each time I do so, I am impressed with what I get for my money. I have purchased Manfrotto support equipment, legs, clamps, attachments, that seem to be sold for less than the cost of materials. sure, when I want a really heavy tripod I take my Gitzo, but I am always aware of how overpriced it was, and how much easier the Bogen tripods are to work with. buy from CameraWorld and I think you come away with the most for your money. you have to factor in price, and accept compromises if you don't want to pay the bill.

Bob Salomon
13-Feb-2000, 13:55
Bogen, Manfrotto and Gitzo are all owned by the same company. Vinton.

Sean Billy Bob Boy yates
13-Feb-2000, 16:12
Just check the price difference between something from Miller, like a C-stand or a new set of Sachtler sticks and the equivalent product from Bogen. Most still photogs that are using Bogen gear do so because they can afford it.

Having worked in both areas I can attest to the frequency of Bogen auto-poles, light stands, clamps and other grip gear in the still industry and it's relative dearth in film and video. However, they do show up at weddings and under student grade video cameras and public access gear from time to time.

I personally do not like the Bogen heads and quick release system but I do find their sticks acceptable. I forget what number it is I'm using now, but it's one step down from the really big one intended for 8 X 10. Eventually, when I can afford it, I'll get one of the film/video models with the 100mm ball leveling heads, or an old wooden Miller or O'Connor for my 8 X 10. But unless I win the lottery, I simply cannot afford to buy a new Sachtler or Vinten or any other new pro-oriented video gear.

Ellis Vener
13-Feb-2000, 17:34
Actually the Bogen/Manfrotto Avenger grip equipment and C-stands is thought of p retty highly by many grip and film production rental houses that I deal with, maybe even better than comparable gear from Matthews.. In general I think Manfrotto's equipment for still photography is okay. What size of 4x5 are you looking to support? Is it for use in the studio or in the field? unless you absolutely need a geared head, my preference for a rational head for a large fo rmat camera is the Arca Swiss B2, which unlike all other rational heads is a double t ilt/single axis design 9all others are dual axis/double tilt designs.

For a geared head in the studio it is going to be hard to beat a Majestic, but Cambo a nd Bogen/Manfrott alos make very fine big & heavy geared heads. If you are using a Sinar, The Sinar head is wonderful, but it only has a single (fore & aft ) tilt joint. For field work there is the Manfroto mini geared head (it's catalo g number is either # 410 0r 3275), but it is as heavy as the Arca Swiss b2 and doe sn't lock down as securely. It is also about 1/3 the price of a B2.

james mickelson
13-Feb-2000, 20:37
I'm not a gear head so I don't know much of the differences. I bought a 3021 Bogen tripod and have liked it very much. I shoot primarily with a 4x5 Gandophi Variant. The Bogen is light enough to backpack with for a few days but strong enough for my 8x10 Gunlach Wizard at full extension. If the wind blows on my Wizard it doesn't matter what pod I have it on. I don't know the mod# of my head but it is a quick release system I like very much. James

Larry Huppert
13-Feb-2000, 23:03
Technically, Bogen is a distributor of other manufacturers equipment. I'm not aware of Bogen making anything themselves, although they may private label some stuff. Among others, they rep: Manfrotto, Gitzo, Metz, Elinchrom, Gossen and LPA Design. I've never been a big fan of Manfrotto heads, nor their entry level light stands, but some of the Avenger stands are my favorites. Gitzo tripods are expensive, but they are very stable and highly durable products. Metz makes some very nice flash units. Elinchrom is considered one of the top makers of strobe equipment (I've only used them in one workshop). Gossen meters aren't the most popular out there, but they are credible products - certainly not junk (I prefer Minolta). LPA Design may be at the top of the heap when it comes to radio controlled triggers. Overall, it is my opinion that Bogen represents some very fine equipment. Whenever I've called Bogen tech support with a question, I've usually gotten someone to answer in a timely fashion, and give an knowledgeable response.

Robert A. Zeichner
14-Feb-2000, 22:03
Having sold Sachtler, Vinten, O'Connor, Miller, Cartoni, and yes, Bogen tripods to the film and video industry for many years, I can only say that generally, you get what you pay for and that not everyone can afford the best. It's also interesting how certain product lines get pidgeon holed as less than desireable because some buyers expect the less expensive product to work like the more expensive ones and after "saving all that money" discover the shortcomings. Some folks don't know the difference or care and still others turn their nose up at anything less than the most expensive product. While I would not sell a Bogen Cine Video head to a person buying a $50,000. Ikegami Broadcast Video Camera, I do own a Bogen 410 mini gear head and while it's not an "objet d'art industriele" if there is such a term, it really does a great job under my Wisner 4x5. When I'm making architectural images, being able to make those fine adjustments is just the ticket. When I'm out in the dunes, I used my Calumet ball head. My advice to anyone looking to purchase support equipment is to evaluate the specific need (speed of operation, weight, size, capacity, etc.) and try to make choices that are application driven rather than brand driven. While it's true that buying the best (most expensive) might be a better long term investment, many less expensive choices will serve well and in the hands of a careful user, last a long time.

Chris Hawkins
16-Feb-2000, 07:46
The Bogen minigeared head allows easy and precise adjustments. I don't use a 4x5, but works well with an F100 with an F2.8 80-200 zoom.

I have a Bogen 3258 in use for supporting a 8x10 monorail. It is a very sturdy and very heavy beast which makes a lot of sense for my application. It's a good value with a price from B&H for a new one = $330.

J Quantz Jr.
22-Feb-2000, 16:30
While I have never used a Bogen tripod for video uses, I have used a Bogen extensively for outdoor landscape shots with a Sinar 4x5. While you can spend hundreds more on Gitzo equipment my Bogen 3236 with the Deluxe 3047 head works fi