Cartoni M100 review at DVinfo.net

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Old May 17th, 2006, 12:22 PM   #1
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Cartoni M100 review

I'd asked for user feedback on this jib arm before buying it, and found no users, so I figured I'd post my own review.

The Cartoni jib is a standard jib arm that fits any 100mm ball sticks. IMO, it's extremely well-constructed and designed.

It's a parallelogram design, like most jibs, and each side of the parallelogram telescopes independently, thus giving a significant amount of tilt capability to the bowl without using the fluid head's own tilt capability. The back end also telescopes, so there's tremendous range in both boom height and counterweighting, while packing up to a small package (about the same size as single-stage tripod sticks). The bowl also can be loosened and panned L-R (though not while in operation), giving you the ability to shoot sideways off the arm.

The butt end of the jib includes a hefty vertical post for adding standard barbell weights (the kit comes with 20-25 lbs of weights in assorted sizes) with a large plastic lock-down screw, plus a smaller built-in metal counterweight that slides along the jib arm for fine adjustment of counterweight. The locking screw for the small counterweight is a brass-threaded plastic core...good for not digging into the aluminum jib arm, but not so great for durability. Mine was shipped with the locking screw in place, and it sheared off in shipping. I'd suggest that it always be backed all the way out and stored separately for airplane/UPS shipping, or wrapped with a ~lot~ of bubblewrap. The counterweight is easily secured with gaff tape to prevent it banging around during shipping without the lock screw.

Movement on the arm is silky and precise... better than what I've experienced in other jibs in this price range (street $1000-1500). My only druthers would be that it came with a custom-fitted case...it comes completely naked.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 08:55 PM   #2
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Now that I've had more time with this unit, I'll add a few observations:

The pan lock knob on the M100 is a bit unpredictable; it tends to lock, then the knob will slip when you try to unlock it, requiring a quick application of the handy Leatherman tool to the center bolt. Grrr. There may be an easy fix to this; I just haven't had time to take it apart.

Even with an HXV200, a lightweight camera, you end up with about 25 lbs of counterweighting in a typical situation. By the time you add the weight of the jib, the camera and the counterweights, the locks on the Cartoni sticks are prone to slippage. This might be less of a problem with the studio sticks; for ease of transport (before I knew I'd be buying a jib), I'd chosen the more lightweight sticks. Still, they're rated to carry much greater weight than what's being put on them. And I'm not flinging the jib around; we're talking slippage on a very light, smooth move. Horrifying when it happens.

I've got a call into Cartoni to see about tightening the locks (the sticks are almost as new as the jib; less than 6 months old) -- I just always worry about cracking the carbon fiber. I do have to say that once I got a number for their parts department in CA (the Service link on their US webpage is a dead link...arggghh!!!), they were very helpful for a couple of spare parts I needed.

As other things -- good or bad -- become apparent, I'll continue to post them.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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Further observations

As it turns out, my problems with the pan lock were due to the fact that it had been broken in shipping. The damage wasn't apparent until I compared it to the replacement Cartoni shipped (no questions asked - they've been great to deal with).

As for the tripod legs slipping, that was just a matter of tightening them beyond the relatively light factory setting.

Ironically, now that I've gotten the kinks worked out, I'm moving up to a much heavier camera and will be selling the jib in favor of a beefier unit.
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