Z1 setup, Cartoni or Sachtler? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 12th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #1
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Z1 setup, Cartoni or Sachtler?

After using the libec th950dv tripod for my Z1 this summer, I figured out I need something better, overall(i know the 950 ain't up to it regarding weight, but budget didn't allow for a new tripod).

So now I'm going shopping, but for what?

I'm doing everything from ENG to shorts and run'n gun event shooting, in all kinds of weather, which means i need a tripod that can cope with the cold up here i Norway. In the pricerange i'm looking, Sachtler Dv6 SB is the most expensive i can afford and say the Cartoni focus seems a more sensible choice when it comes to the budget.

Currently I'm using the Z1 only with a light powered by the camera battery(np970) and shotgun mic so it isn't to heavy, but if i decide to add a mattebox or even upgrade to a Hvx200 i need to take that into consideration.

And what about legs? I shoot a lot of outdoors so the legs often end up full of dirt and dust, or snow in the winter time, I'm actually surprised the libec i have now actually survived the last years...

It would be nice to just by the Sachtler Dv6SB with the speedlock legs, but if say the focus head + a decent pair of legs is as good as the sachtler, why spend two times more on the DV6 head?

And the 100mm vs. 75mm bowl? 100 seems a bit overkill for a Z1? Or?

Any experience or thoughts?
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Old August 13th, 2007, 01:14 AM   #2
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Hi Christian........

OK, two different questions in there from my perspective.

The Head.

I don't know what a Z1 weighs or it's particular "COG" signature, but even with a light on top, probably not a lot.

From my investigations, few of the current crop of heads give much in the way of counterbalance options with the lighter cameras. Below about 9 pounds (4 kg) the only one I am aware of that has continuously variable couterbalance is the Manfrotto 519 and even that needs a spring change @ 5 kg to go to 10kg.

I just bought a Vinten Vision 3 thinking the "changeable spring" idea would be fine with my Canon XH A1 - boy, was I mistaken. I have, incidently stumbled upon a config which works fine with both the #2 springs I now have ( a very long story which I hope to put in a "soon" review of that head).

Soo, don't expect to get perfect "stays where it's put" action with any head with lighweight camera systems that don't have continuously variable counterbalance facilities.

When and if you get past the "head" selection you then have the "sticks".

The Sticks.

Well, another rude shock for me with the Vinten was it's almost total inability to work with my current crop of Manfrotto sticks. Sneer if you like, but it is simply put in there to illustrate that going for a set of sticks not compatible with the chosen head can raise serious issues that you would think impossible with systems that profess being either 75mm or 100 mm.

If you can give us an idea of the base weight of the camera, the weight all up in normal shooting config (and I do mean everything you are likely to glue on to it) I'll have a stab at a head for you.

However, as I've discovered with the A1, the weight alone is no indicator, it's where it's placed, and the A1 is a marked departure from previous Canon designs with stuff moved to totally new locations, thus changeing the "COG" signature dramatically. It even gave Vinten a bit of a "turn" when they discovered the discrepancy.

Hope this helps.


CS
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Old August 13th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #3
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My Z1 Setup now weighs about 3,2kg.

What I have at the "considering" to buy list is either wide angle lens(century), mattebox or a wireless mic system. The weight for say one of those accessories is from about 200grams(wireless reciever) to almost 1kg for a mattebox system with rods. But what i will get depends on both i need and how much i spend on a tripod system which i need the most.

I've tried a manfrotto 501/503head and did not like the feel at all, and after seeing how little abuse the 501head can take I'm not very keen on manfrotto. That's what led med to Sachtler and Focus, they both claim to have heads that can be used with no problem in very low temperatures and again both have very satisfied users.

Sachlter have the Dv2/4/6 and Cartoni HiDV and Focus heads.

The DV2 head from sachtler might be just to "light" for the Z1 setup and the Dv4 lacs any adjustment at all appart from on/off and the Dv6SB and Focus heads might be enough for say the Hvx200 with accessories.

Is there any way of measuring the COG for the camera the right way?

As for the sticks, I've read about some heads not working well with some sticks, so to sort out what head i need is the first thing to take care of.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 05:35 AM   #4
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Chris, you know that it is acceptable to "adjust" the fixed springs in the Vision 3 head?

A Vinten rep explained to me that you can back off the retaining screw (by a quarter, half or even a full turn or two) to reduce its tension on the spring, to balance it accurately to your specific camera, laden with its accessories. (You need to get a spring stronger than the one that is nominally "correct" for your camera weight to do this. Vinten loaned me the full set to determine the correct one before I bought - I use a No.4 now.) Of course, you also need to slide the camera back and forth on its plate to the right position, and a millimetre makes a difference!

I only mention this, as I use two Vision 3 heads with two different Z1s, laden with a different combination of accessories, and they work well. Just so Christian doesn't rule out the Vision 3.

Actually, we have also used one Vision 3 head on a Libec DV950 set of legs and that works tolerably well too. Sure, the legs are rather bendy, but they're lighter, even lighter than Vinten's CF ones!
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:45 AM   #5
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Hi Martin...........

A man after my own heart! I had already worked that particular wrinkle out, tho' not followed through, as "as yet" not strictly necessary.

My point was, to Christian, that, having come from the relative hell of cheap Manfrotto heads (503) and discovering the wonders of the Vision 3 (when in balance) it really would pay to get the best balancing head possible.

Luckily I have been able to do that (with a heap of help from the great people at Vinton - bless their little cotton socks!) but it would be so easy to spend a shed load of money on something even the manufacturer (if asked direct) would say is not compatible, just because it has "a name".

I would, hand on heart, recommend anyone with a low weight camera system to consider the V3 as an option, but cannot, hand on heart, say it's going to work for everyone, therein lies my problem with it.

The fact that there is, apart from the "undo the spring" thing, no variable, apart from changeing the spring, leaves me with no option but to say, well, I don't think so, not at that price.

You know, that makes me really depressed as it's such a brilliant head - I've got shots with it already I wouldn't have dreamt of with the Manfrotto, but that is because for my system, it's worked.

Anyway, back to Christians' problem, hmm, think I'm going to pass tonight as it's now, erm, 11.30 and well past my bed time (it's been a veeeeery long day) so I will resume this in the am (all things being equal).

More anon.


CS
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:49 AM   #6
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Vinten is of course an alternative, but anyone have any experience with either Vinten, Sachtler or Cartoni in the cold? A winter in Norway can be everything between around 0 to freezing -20 where i usally shoot. I need a setup that will work under those conditions.

The Vision 3 setup is in the same pricerange as Sachtler Dv6sb, so a tiny bit more than the Cartoni Focus setup i've been looking at.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 07:10 AM   #7
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Chris: fair enough! Best thing might be to ask to borrow one? Vinten UK loaned me a Vision 3 for over a month to try before I bought.

Christian: it might be worth asking Vinten Norway if you could do that?

(Sorry, no experience of using it in the really cold, only the really damp of UK!)
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Old August 13th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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That's the problem here, only sachtler have a dealer that have demo's of products. And for some reason i can't remember seeing anything but sachtler used by the tv stations here, except from Vinten in studio and OB and a occasional manfrotto with a pd170 from local tv stations. I'm sure there are some Vinten and higher end libec's in use, but it seems sachtler is the thing

Also talked to a friend and he joked about sachtler being the only thing for shooting in freezing cold for smaller cameras. He had a customer on sachtler shooting in -30celcius and it was almost as silky smooth as if it were warm outside, the Z1 cams started shutting down due to the cold. He meant i should get a sachtler dv6 sb with alu sticks, I'll at least try them out one evening and see how they feel.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #9
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Cartoni HiDV will work for you...

There is a new Cartoni that I just bought that balances up to 11 lbs. and has continuously variable balance adjustment. It is between their Action Pro and Focus in price and differs from the Focus primarily in load capacity and not having a lit bubble leveler. It totally smokes the Action Pro in features for about another $100. I posted this on another thread, but it's relevant to this one as well. Buy it at B&H since they're a DVinfo sponsor. Here's the Cartoni link:

http://www.cartoni.com/eng/HIDV.html

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Old August 14th, 2007, 11:20 AM   #10
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I know Cartoni has a smaller and more economical choice, but now I need to check wether it actually will work in the freezing zero's. I know Sachtler does and probaly miller, but havn't seen anyone up here i the cold north use Cartoni.

Whats nice with say the Focus head and the Sachtler head is that i could use it now for a light Z1 setup or a fully pimped up hvx200, which will be the next step when i need to do HD.
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Old August 26th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #11
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I ended up with the Sachtler DV6SB with mid level spreader, not a bad choice after a weekend shooting actionsport.

The DV6SB head, it just feels like typical German overengineering. I can almost picture the engineers with their white coats having a meeting and asking them self(as Topgear said about German cars) "Have we thought of everything?"

So to say the least it very good, the only thing is the legs could be a bit wider so the get even stiffer. But again, bigger legs or 100m bowl and you lose the portability, the DV6 setup was easily strapped to my backpack which would be harder with a large 100mm setup or wider legs.
And ofcourse its EXPENSIVE! but will last forever...
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Old August 27th, 2007, 03:27 AM   #12
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Well done Christian.........

Hope they give you a lot of pleasure. Sounds like a nice system.

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Old August 27th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Hope they give you a lot of pleasure. Sounds like a nice system.
They already have, and the nice thing is that I can rent say a bigger cam, say a light shoulder cam and still use it, not ideal, but it will work.
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