Smooth Pans and Tilts with the E-Image GH15 Tripod

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Smooth Pans and Tilts with the E-Image GH15 Tripod

A piece in every cameraman’s (and camera woman’s) kit that can’t be compromised is a solid tripod. I heard that when I first started in the field, but went the affordable route and found myself buying a second tripod that same year, and then renting another one on bigger projects with heavier cameras. Don’t do what I did. Save your money, get a great tripod that will outlast your cameras and one that can work with a variety of rigs. I finally did that, and got the E-Image GH15 tripod from ikan.

Specs and Features of the E-Image Tripod Head

You can read all about the tripod head on the product page but I wanted to highlight some of my favorite features. The head supports 33lbs and because of the 9 steps of counter balance, it even works well with DSLRs. This gives a custom feel for every camera and for your preference. In addition to that, there are 5 grades of drag for both pan and tilt. I love having this many options to get the exact feel I need for certain shots.

on jib

red rigged out on jib

It is an extremely smooth and reliable tripod that I am holding on to. With the GH15 handling 33lbs, it was a bit over kill for my C300. Luckily, ikan carries a wide range of tripods and offers theGH10L which still gives you a 100mm half bowl and with 22lb max payload. This head is also offered in a 75mm half bowl design. Another difference between the GH15 and GH10 is the grades of drag. The GH15 offers 5 stages while the GH10 offers 3. Up to you and your shooting style to decide if this is worth in the difference in price.

Difference Between a Good Tripod and a Bad One

In situations such as interviews, the camera stays locked off and you never touch it. There won’t be much difference between a good tripod and a cheap one. As soon as your shots require you to pan, tilt, or both, you will start running into problems. Not to mention, if there are specific speeds that you must pan or tilt.

You don’t want a client or director asking you for a shot and have to tell them that your tripod won’t do that!!!

On a recent shoot, a quality tripod head was a necessity. I was covering a rally cross event and the cars where coming at me at 90mph, then drifting into turns. I had to pan and tilt while keeping the car(s) in frame which wasn’t always easy, especially when shooting with a 200mm lens. The tripod moves had to be smooth in order to look good because at that tight of a lens, any jerks would be noticeable.

tripod in rain

When I first started filming, I was working with the Manfrotto 503HDV due to my slider setup. I took that tripod system on the track with me and after only a few minutes I had my AC run and get the GH15. Instant satisfaction. The Manfrotto would get loose, pans wouldn’t be smooth, and it took me a few tries to get certain shots. As soon as I switched tripods, I was getting these shots in one take which allowed me to move on to another focal length and angle. This saved a ton of time and effort. Check out the video below to see how well it worked for me in the field.

The Legs

Along with having a solid tripod head, you will want legs that are quick in the field and can handle the weight. These legs, like most mono lock systems, were stiff in the beginning. I recommend breaking them in before using in the field. The floor spreader allowed for extremely low angle shots and made for stable slider shots (tested with the 2ft Duzi). I also like how there is a way to tighten the lock on the legs. Not every tripod offers this. The aluminum and carbon fiber 100mm bowl legs are rated to hold up to 133lbs. With the spreader fully compressed your sticks will reach 61.5″ and compress to 25.5″. The aluminum legs are 14lbs while the carbon fiber are 9.7lbs.

Click here to see all the available E-Image tripod legs.

More Information

If you have any questions on the GH10L, GH15, and/or the legs (I’ve worked with both the carbon fiber and aluminum) please don’t hesitate to ask. Another thing I want to mention is how great of a case this comes in. Although it isn’t a hard case, I would feel very comfortable flying my tripod in the provided case (may just add a towel). Click here to check out the case.

You can read more on the specs on all the products disucssed at http://ikancorp.com/productfamily.php?id=213. For more information on availability, warranty and ordering E-Image products, contact ikan.

4 Comments

  1. Anthony Miles
    March 30, 2015

    Hi I am really interested i the GH15 head. How would you say it compares to the Sachtler 18/20 and or maybe a Vinten 10,11,12. I have not had good luck with Manfrotto’s large heads as they have play in the tilt and that kills the deal on a long lens as it has vibration when you adjust on the first part of the move. Hope that makes sense. I have a nice cartoni focus but its to light for my rigged out camera. Thanks very much.

    Reply
    • Rob Ruscher
      March 30, 2015

      I’m a huge fan of this tripod. It is a great build and extremely smooth. No play at all on my end. I loved it so much I ended up buying the GH10L (22lbs max load). I almost wish I spent the extra to keep the GH15 due to it’s 5 stage tilt and pan drag. Perfect for getting just the right drag for the weight of the camera. I’ve had the same experiences with Manfrotto and this one triumphs all of those.

      Sachtler and Vinten are great tripod systems but very expensive. I rent Sacthler often and don’t regret getting this over those if that helps at all. Only experience with Vinten is at NAB. I feel the GH15 is very similar to a Miller system. I also love how I can keep my right hand on the pan handle and use my left to lock or unlock the pan/tilt. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Anthony Miles
        March 30, 2015

        Thanks Rob, I would be getting the GH15 so I want to be sure about it before making the investment even if it is only $1300. I appreciate your response and am glad you chose to post this review. Anything negative about the system? I would not likely buy the legs as I already have some great sticks, just need a better head.

        Reply
        • Rob Ruscher
          March 30, 2015

          I have nothing bad to say about them. Not as well known as Sachtler or Vinten but I usually don’t have requests to rent out sticks. I do love the case the kit comes with. Almost solid enough to fly with

          Reply

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