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Old April 30th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #1
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vinten vis 3 or gitz 1380

Good morning.

I have been using my 35 year old miller f head for the last year and it was a fine improvement to hold me over.
Next month I am buying a new head and i was wondering about comparisons between these two heads.

I shoot with a gl2 and xl2 with large lenses.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old April 30th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #2
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I'm not an expert.

These days I was trying to decide between:

1) Sachtler FSB 6
2) Cartoni F100
3) Vinten Vision 3

This read made all the difference:

Originally Posted by Jaron Berman View Post
Having compared these heads myself, based on your criteria - ONLY smoothness, here's what I thought

Vinten with the Cartoni an eyelash behind
Sachtler - very smooth, but sloppy and flexes like crazy
Manfrotto - not in the same league

BUT, there is more to this story. Depending on the range of cameras you'll use, how heavy a system you can use, and how tightly you need it to balance, the decision once again gets complicated.

The Vinten, in my personal opinion, is the clear overall winner in quality. The Vinten fluid system is a cut above anything close to this price class - it feathers starts and stops internally, building drag as you push harder against it. Brilliant! BUT, it uses an archaic balance system. If you don't think you'll be changing the weight and c.g. of your camera very often, this is a non-issue. If you use multiple different configurations in the same day, this may not be the head for you.

The Cartoni is exceptionally smooth. The price is incredible, and it balances a large range of cameras. Plus, it uses the larger bowl, making it more compatible with accessories from dollies to hi-hats, to jibs and more. BUT, the build quality is not up to the quality of any of the others. While many users have had great success with it, the castings are not as good as the others, and long-term issues have come up in a large number of these heads. Oh, and it's like a lead brick. The thing is HEAVY.

Sachtler's upmarket offerings are, as has been pointed out, the industry standard. They are relatively lightweight and very durable...mostly. The quality of plastic used on the head casings is quite resilient. The plastic used for quick release knobs, kipp handles, etc.. is not as good. For some reason they use brittle, oddly formed controls on the spots most likely to break. Unlike the higher-end gear, the DV series does not use the castings/millings to protect the plastic parts... smart! So the majority of DV-series sachtler's I've used have been broken in all the same spots. Sachtlers are VERY linear in their feel, across the board. But I find a lot of slop and backlash in their DV heads. While moving, they are incredibly smooth, but at the beginnings and endings of moves, the DV's are easily outclassed (even with drag almost entirely off). They offer a nice range of drag, with repeatable click stops. As for balance, the speed balance system is very nice, though the lowest setting may still be too much for certain popular cameras.

As for the Manfrotto - if you're looking for nice features, this head has a lot. The balance system is the best of the bunch. The drag is adjustable in myriad ways. BUT, it's nowhere near as smooth as any of the others. It's VERY compact and lightweight, and in kit-form it's a great deal. You can, however, get a lot more for your money by spending just a little more on one of the others.

And for legs? I'm in love with the Miller Solo legs. Super light, very durable, no need for a separate hi-hat, no spreader, and they go HIGH when necessary. Very little wind-up at any height. If you're getting a 75mm bowl head, do yourself a favor and get these legs. A giant step up from any of the kit offerings of any of these heads for not a lot more (if any more) money.
Hope it helps you too.
Pietro Impagliazzo
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Old April 30th, 2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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Hi Dale.............

Interesting post by Pietro.

Can't really offer much comment on the quote as I'm only familiar with the Vision 3 and some Manfrotto heads, and the V3 wins by a country mile.

I'm curious as to why, exactly, you're buying a new head at this time? Is there something wrong/ restricting with your current support system?

I will, however, take issue with one thing mentioned in the preceeding quote (tho' as you've not mentioned changeing sticks, it may well be a complete non issue) and that is the subject of the Miller Solo's.

I note you're using long lenses on your gl/ xl 2's.

Long lenses/ HD cameras and the Solo's is not a match made in heaven, IMHO.

I would seriously suggest something a tad more robust.

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Old April 30th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #4
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Chris Soucy, I just love your sarcastic posts ranting about tripods.
I just get a kick out of them! haha

I bought a Manfrotto 501HDV system and as expected got hugely disappointed. Shame I didn't run through your posts before.

So what Jaron said is pretty much right? I'm sold on the Vision 3, but will I run into problems if I couple it with a cheap leg?

Hmmm let's say, this leg: ( ). I'm on a budget, so as long as doesn't collapse, I'm happy!

I'm currently using a Manfrotto 475B ( ).

I'll be shooting only in controlled conditions, so I won't have to worry about wind or whatever may affect the legs.

I feel like saying blasphemies here man, asking the guy who praises the Fibertec if a 200 dollar tripod will do, hehe.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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good evening,

I have been through the tripod ringer with cheap tripods.

My miller head was a huge improvement over my velbon 686 and my sandford & Davis tiffen tripod.

I have the miller head on some manfrotto 525 legs. these are pretty solid and have no twist/torque at all even using the miller head stiffened up for pan.
It will hold my xl2 with a 400 mm lens on it pretty steady, it pans farely smooth once I get it adjusted. To be honest it is good for my gl2 which is farely light in weight.

With my xl2 with the rail under it, large lens, large battery, it is not totally adequate as the rig is about 14 lbs. I have to set the drag farely high and then it doesn't start the pan smoothly. If it is set at an angle I have to tighten the drag farely tight to keep it from dropping. This true fluid head has wet my appetite for a newer (like 30+ years) higher end head.

the vinten vision 3 and the gitzo 1380 are both about 1000 dollars, which I can afford at present. Both will work well on my current legs.

I was really looking for some information on the gitzo 1380 as well. I read it has 6 counter balance springs that come with it, the vinten only one and any other spring is like 40 dollars!!

Mostly how do they compare on steadiness, panning and stability when stopped at various angles!!!

thankyou for all responses!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old May 1st, 2008, 01:04 AM   #6
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Would I do a thing like that?

"Will a $200 tripod do", to paraphrase your question (if it was, actually, a question).

They'll do if they do, basically.

I started off with a set of Manfrotto 520 sticks/ 503 head and they did a great job for years shooting my XL1s.

It was only when I upped to my A1 that things "went to Hell in a hand basket".

I bought a V3 first and it was nearly as bad on the 520's as the 503.

Tried both heads on my then new Manfrotto 528's and it was a revelation, the V3 trouncing the 503 in every department. Shame I could hardly lift the 528's.

Decided to "go large" and, yep, raided the piggy bank and hey presto, FiberTec's.

If you're satisfied with them simply not collapsing, don't see how you can go wrong.


For your big rig I think the V3 could be a bit of a handfull (there are gaps in their spring range which means you could be miles out in the counterbalance department). The V6 would be more suitable IMHO, but a heck of a lot more expensive and probably your smaller rigs wouldn't even kick the counterbalance system into action at all.

Don't know squat about the 1380, hope someone else can jump in and give us chapter and verse.

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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:21 PM   #7
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I have the Gitzo 1380 and it works great. I use it on an XH-A1 and have used it on a JVC HD-110 and a PD-150.

It has all the springs, but springs are changed in just a flash. You wouldn't want to be changing back and forth between springs.

There is continuous drag in both directions. The head weighs about 5 pounds.

The tilt and pan locks have adjustment screws to if they start to wear, they can be tightened up.

There is a very positive review from a pro on B&H here:

Here are the Gitzo legs some use with this head:

I have the XLS (extra long) version of these legs. (The ones linked above and mine are Gitzo Series 3.) They are very light, seemingly small and unbelievably sturdy, even at their full 7-foot extension.

The Gitzo legs accept a flat adapter, a 75mm half bowl adapter, and a 100mm half bowl. My legs came with the flat adapter and I had to buy the half bowl adapters separately. The legs linked above come with the 75mm half bowl adapter.

My setup is specifically for travel by plane. I also have a Cartoni head, legs, dolly and jib I also use, but they are huge and large compared to the Gitzo.

The Sachtler FSB-6 is a little lighter and a very nice head (I saw one at a show and a friend bought one and likes it), but I don't have money for another head now, and the Gitzo is excellent for me.

For me the Gitzo legs are fantastic, but they are different from a traditional setup with multiple tubes and a spreader.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #8
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first thanks for the response. curious, using the heavier jvc 110 how was the 1380 head on pans starts and stops as well as the vertical stops and then how well does it actually stay there if perhaps you stopped at a 40 degree angle?? will it stay or does one have sinc there tightening of the lock at the same time???

The 3540 legs look like they will work for a back pack tripod for me!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old May 10th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #9
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I've pretty much made up my mind on the Gitzo 1380 but I would like to know if anyone could compare it to the Miller DS20 head or the Sacthler FSB-6?

Any thoughts?
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Old May 11th, 2008, 04:27 AM   #10
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Has anyone ever seen the innards of the G1380? How mechanically different is this head from a Manfrotto 503, except that it has interchangeable springs? The published temperature range for the heads is identical, the handle and plate look the same and, as I understand it, Gitzo and Manfrotto are owned by the same parent company. It makes me wonder if there are any more similarities beneath the skin.

Just curious.

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