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PRO Gimbal VS. XCS...


Tom Wilkinson
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And while that was true in 2005 it's not my opinion now. Both the PRO gimbal and the XCS Gimbal exceed the performance of the MK-V gimbal that I owned in the past.

How and what makes PRO and XCS gimbal performance better than MK-V?

Can you give more detail?

 

Based on your statement, today PRO and XCS gimbal are much better than the gimbals they made before 2005?

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Nguyen.

Bearing technology. Both PRO and XCS have bearings custom made for their gimbals. The MK-V gimbal uses two taper roller bearings which is great for inversion but ultimately has higher friction than high tolerance ball bearings

 

Eric,

You also posted in 2005: "I found myself overshooting fast pans and stand-ups the first few times due to the lack of friction."

 

What did you mean by "lack of friction"?

What did you mean "...has higher friction than …" when replying to my post?

 

I will contact PRO and XCS to see if they did upgrade their bearings after 2005.

And WHY they din't inform us?

If it is true, it is not a right way to do business. The X arm incidence is proved to be a honest sample of doing business.

So hat up to the fellows from Tiffens.

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Nguyen.

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I will contact PRO and XCS to see if they did upgrade their bearings after 2005.

And WHY they din't inform us?

If it is true, it is not a right way to do business. The X arm incidence is proved to be a honest sample of doing business.

So hat up to the fellows from Tiffens.

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Nguyen

 

 

Exactly my point Ken,

 

When Tiffen announced their GX series arms and x upgrade to older G arms we heard lots of complaining. At least they let us know that they are changing something in the build and offered a way to upgrade for older arms. if what Eric said is true (it still sounds weird and very unlikely to me but what do i know i'm just a newbie) both PRO and XCS did something very wrong by not announcing their performance altering bearing upgrades of '05. Hopefully, soon we will hear an official response to all this by XCS, and PRO-GPI spokespersons.

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Easy guys, there's nothing nefarious going on here.

Wasn't the X mod on the Tiffen arms a fix for a problem people were having?

It's not like there was anything wrong with either gimbal that needed to be corrected.

I have no first hand knowledge of any of this but IF GPI and XCS changed/upgraded their bearings over the years that's great for us.

Both Jack and company and Greg are stand up people and I can't imagine either trying to pull anything over on us.

I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this conspiracy soon.

 

Edit

I bought a new pan bearing a couple of years ago from PRO and I remember Jack saying they had switched vendors, that is all.

Edited by nick franco
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I'm not trying to bash any of these very respectable companies. i heard only good things about pro and xcs be it their equipment or their customer service. what i'm trying to do is analyse Eric's statement.

 

according to him;

 

-Before '05 MK-V's V2 gimbal was performing much better than XCS's and PRO's gimbal. So much so that he had trouble getting used to its extremely low friction.

-After '05 both companies (XCS and PRO) upgraded their bearings making their product not only catch the V2's performance but surpass it.

 

what i know is (please correct me if i'm wrong);

 

-neither companies didn't announced anything about such an upgrade publicly nor they named their new gimbal design any differently in order to help us distinguish the new from the old or good from the significantly better.

 

so;

 

The whole premise sounds wrong to me:

 

Either they didn't upgraded their design significantly or at all

 

OR

 

They did and didn't announced the design change which is just bad customer service to say the least.

 

To me the first option sound much more believable. I have hard time believing that BOTH PRO and XCS -both with excellent track record- upgraded their hardware significantly AT THE SAME TIME and BOTH choose not to communicate this huge news with the public.

 

And if they did this very unfair business practice why no one didn't call them out while there was a huge bashing campaign towards Tiffen when they publicly announce their new design and an upgrade path to older arms -which is much much smaller offense than secretly upgrading the most important component on a rig.-

 

I would be OK if Eric said that his personal preferences changed by it self after '05. But he speaks of a dramatic design upgrade which forced him to change his preference.

 

in order to shed more light to this contradiction i would like to hear from pro and xcs.

Edited by Evrim KAYA
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I recently had the opportunity to use the new MK-V Nexus 4 and it really was fantastic. I also used a PRO for a week on "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and a Steadicam Ultra 2 for the rest of it. They are all fantastic rigs. They feel very different from each other, but I think thats a matter of taste. As someone who also pushes Dolly, I feel the debate is similar to the Fisher 10 vs Chapman Hustler one.

 

The one thing I can say for sure is that my operating is equally bad with all three, so the sleds (and gimbals) are innocent.

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Are you genuinely saying that PRO and XCS changing bearing suppliers circa 2005 could have made enough of a difference to the coefficient of friction to have made a noticeable improvement of usability that made the gimbles previously inferior to MK-V Gimbles to now superior?

 

I am going to stand by the fact that once a rig is fully loaded it would be PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to tell a pre 2005 to post 2005 bearing. Actually you could shove a load of thick oil in there and with a fully loaded rig you simply cannot tell!

 

With an old 3a gimble ages ago I tried this. I tried three different thickness grades of oil. Sure one could tell immediately when free spinning the gimble with no sled but once loaded my experiment went completely out the window because I knew which version oil was in there. If I was honest with myself there was ZERO difference although my superstitious mind thought otherwise. Sure it is best to have the best combination in there but we humans are simply not sensitive enough to check on a nuanced 0.00001N force difference on a 25kg rig.

 

Here our discussion is with the same oil, same gimble sleave and different bearings. The physics of the sled variables WAY outweigh any bearing friction variables probably by a factor of thousands let alone the fact you are trying to compare a 1.5in gimble to a 2in gimble.

 

To any newbies out there I strongly recommend you ingnore this thread and focus your minds on making friends with DoP's, keep in touch with family you've not seen for a while and keeping your girlfriend/boyfriend happy as these will influence your operating a million times more. A DoP and Director will respect you for your love of film and framing a million times more than your knowledge of bearing superstition.

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I didn't say that in 2005 they changed bearing suppliers I said in the intervening years they did. and if you honestly thing that you can't tell the difference between a bearing with a "Load of thick oil" and one that doesn't, well then you need to fly some other gimbals.

 

Bearings make difference, period end of discussion.

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Well this thread got way off topic quickly! I believe the original question was whether there was a compelling reason for Tom to switch between his current PRO gimbal and the XCS gimbal.

 

I have not owned a PRO gimbal since 2007, but that one did quality, high-end work for 11 years before I sold my PRO 1 rig for an XCS system. It required little in the way of maintenance, and did everything I asked of it at an extremely high level. I am certain the new ones are the same if not improved since I last tried one. It is a top of the line component, and despite Howards claim in an above post, it is what the majority of top A-list steadicam operators are actually using every day on major motion pictures and television shows around the world.

 

XCS is a smaller company with outside the box thinking. My XCS gimbals are terrific and go hand in hand with my two XCS sleds. I have no reason to look elsewhere - for me and the way I operate, they simply work as they are supposed to, and allow me to do what the director and DP request without fuss. No maintenance issues, no mechanical issues, no customer service issues, just a dependable component that works the same every day it comes out of the case.

 

The one thing I can say about both the PRO and XCS systems (I own lots of equipment from both companies and have for years) is that you will not find better customer service anywhere - period. Check the archives on this forum; you wont find any long-winded negative rants about Greg at XCS or Jack at PRO. They are professionals, and good at what they do, both in building the gear and then standing behind it post-sale. They build quality, well thought out components that have elevated the way we work, and reduced or eliminated down-time that can result from equipment that is not manufactured to such a high standard. They both understand that we as operators are only as good as our equipment, and when it goes down, so do we. When there is a problem with products from either company, it is fixed. You could not ask for two better companies to choose from, however your decision goes.

 

Tom, I am afraid I cant help in making a decision - they are both solid products with incredible companies backing them. I am not sure there is a huge performance difference between the two, but there might be subtle differences or nuances in the way they allow you to operate if you were to put them side by side. I am not sure if there is a way for you to check them both out before choosing to stay with the PRO or buy a new XCS, but that would be the best way to insure that you end up with the best product for the way you work. Good luck in your decision.

 

Brooks Robinson

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I just wanted to quote a couple things here because I think this is about as good as the advice is going to get.

 

To any newbies out there I strongly recommend you ingnore this thread and focus your minds on making friends with DoP's, keep in touch with family you've not seen for a while and keeping your girlfriend/boyfriend happy as these will influence your operating a million times more. A DoP and Director will respect you for your love of film and framing a million times more than your knowledge of bearing superstition.

 

Tom, I am afraid I cant help in making a decision - they are both solid products with incredible companies backing them. I am not sure there is a huge performance difference between the two, but there might be subtle differences or nuances in the way they allow you to operate if you were to put them side by side. I am not sure if there is a way for you to check them both out before choosing to stay with the PRO or buy a new XCS, but that would be the best way to insure that you end up with the best product for the way you work. Good luck in your decision.

 

XCS, PRO, Tiffen, MKV, others.... they all make very good gimbals. They all make gimbals that are owned and used by operators around the world working on big budget, small budget, and everything in between, and I think it's safe to say these operators are reasonably happy with their decisions. A rational thinking person could only conclude that it comes down to little more than personal preference. Could we take these gimbals into a laboratory and measure the performance differences on a microscopic scale? Sure. Will those results affect your success as an operator? Absolutely not. It's very easy for a new operator (and heck, some veteran ops) to become hyper focused on their gear thinking it is the key to their success on set. Always remember the most important part of your kit is you. Your personality, your skill, your knowledge, your experience.... focus on those. Your gear is useless without them.

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Afton is right; it's all about you and as your finer skills develop only then are the subtle differences and preferences apparent.

 

The only time I noticed a substantial difference that required a bit of relearning and practice was when I went from the Tiffen Clipper 24 rig / gimbal to the XCS. The XCS was so slick and fast that I was over-steering the first few days for a lack of a better term.

 

Now that I own both PRO and XCS there's no operational difference in the two and barely any difference that I can perceive.

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I also think that with any gimbal it will be like with golf clubs. You can buy the most expensive, most professional golf clubs but if you don't how to shoot ball it is useless. I think that the feel for gimbal's performance coming with experience.

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If anyone has improved thier gimbal over the last few years it is MK-V we have it down to a science

Custom jigs that tell us if a part is even a fraction of a thou out, if it is, it is scrapped - there are No shims in MK-V gimbals - just good solid machining. Like Pro and XCS.

 

Our gimbals cost more to make than some peoples entire sleds.

And for the record Eric you have not even seen our new gimbal let alone flown it? so I don't see how you can compare it?

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