I own a Velbon Videomate 438 tripod. It is a nice tripod for, say, a 2-pound camcorder, nice and lighweight, easy to carry when traveling or doing run 'n' gun, about $100. I use it with a Sony FDR AX53, which I like.


I got a jar of this goop:

I was able to dismantle the pan mechanism of the Velbon and lubricate it with some of the Manfrotto fluid. The pan mechanism now has a very fluid, highly-damped action which is good for smooth panning shots; in fact, it may be too stiff for some.

The pan mechanism can be dismantled by removing a label which conceals a threaded brass disk which can be unscrewed; it's fairly easy to do. I used a chopstick as an applicator to apply the goop which is extremely thick and viscous, and I mean very viscous.

On the other hand, you may be perfectly happy with the stock Velbon 438; it all depends on personal taste.