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A Little Surprise
on April 13, 2011
Having read previous reviews, I knew what I was buying. This product does not replace a true dolly unless your shot is on a gymnasium floor. That had been iterated more than once in the reviews. My comments will concentrate on the product, not its applications.
DISCLAIMER: The following comments take into account the price of the item (~40 USD.) This is not a high-dollar item.
The tripod-"foot" locking hardware is plastic with threaded metal inserts. While not a machined piece of engineered aluminum, they work well and seem moderately durable. When locked onto my Manfrotto 3401, the dolly became one with my sticks and remained as stable as legs alone.
The wheel locks function at the touch of a toe and unlock just as easily. Very snug when engaged.
The base is metal yet lightweight. I wouldn't stand on it, but it seems durable. There is no slop when locked in the "open" position. Again, very snug/stable. The pins that lock the two moveable base "legs" snap into place and are pulled to release. The spread is adjustable. For my particular set of sticks, it doesn't quite extend to allow full separation of my tripod legs, but this does not affect the stability.
The dolly folds nicely and carries well with the integrated handle. The bag is what you would expect: minimal, but clean and well-fitting.
OVERALL: I recommend buying this dolly immediately after you get a good tripod. (Repeat: GOOD TRIPOD) A good tripod is a necessity. A good means to move that tripod efficiently and safely comes next in my opinion. This item certainly fits the bill.
BONUS!!! I also got (unanticipated) a free mini-tripod in the box. It has little telescoping legs, 1/4" thread, and supports my mini cams. Totally cool. Almost surpasses my affection for the new dolly.
EDIT EDIT EDIT:::
I just finished a shoot this evening with the dolly. This was my first "gig" with it. Here's the scoop.
GYM FLOOR! Yes, bumps and shakes are evident on all but the SMOOTHEST of surfaces. I had a flat marble lobby with VERY tiny joints (the cracks between the pieces)to use for some venue shots, and it was pretty good. If you weren't aware that I had some roughness in the shot, you might not notice... but, now that you know, you would see the very slight bumps in the footage. So, unless you are running on a gym floor for dolly shots, there will be slight bumps (almost unnoticeable.)
HOWEVER, the dance floor shots with the dolly were magnificent. I'll try to post a link to a clip or two. But for now, take my word for it: this dolly will get you some VERY professional shots under the right conditions.
Lastly, simply for moving the cam from shot to shot, this was a time saver and total breeze. The carpet I was on was a tightly knit, Persian-style surface. The dolly moved freely and without much overall rattle. Still, not for filming, but great for getting around.
I recommend that you buy this. Period. (And I do not work for or have any affiliation with the maker.)
FINAL EDIT (this is getting long-winded....)
Here is a link to some test shots from the aforementioned shoot:
youtube(watch?v=fDIxOr2HSW8) Dolly begins at 0:11 and continues for about 20 seconds.
In the first scene, I was on the marble floor. Next you will see dance floor dolly shots.