Miller DS-10 vs. Sachtler DV4 II at

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Old July 15th, 2003, 03:40 PM   #1
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Miller DS-10 vs. Sachtler DV4 II

I've been looking for my tripod for the past few weeks. I've got some good advice from Ken regarding the DS-10. However, just wondering if anyone have every compared the Sachtler DV4 II with the Miller DS10 (Besides all the thread that I've read)? I have a Panasonic AG-DVX100 and I'm looking for precise, smooth pan/tilt action for event videography.
I tried the Cartoni Action Pro but I wasn't very happy with some of my footages so ended up returning the tripod. I've thought about the Libec tripod but not sure if they're up to par when comparing to the Miller or Sachtler. Figure when I'm spending that much money as a long term investment, might as well get a good set of sticks and head so it'll last me for a while...

Just thought I like to get some feedback from people who own or tried either one of these systems.

Does the Miller have a variable drag control on the head? I heard from the Miller U.S. distributor that they're coming out with a new DS-10 head that will have two step counter-balancing instead of the current fixed counter-balance.

I've heard that the Sachtler, even though it has the ground level spreader, it still will fold up easily when you are moving around. Do people have tough experience using them in outdoor settings since it doesn't offer mid-level spreader?

Here's some of Ken's thoughts on the subject:
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2003 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: Hi Ken

I do, indeed, own a Sachtler DV-6 as well as a Miller DS-10 and a big Bogen/Manfrotto.

I do not shoot weddings (although I am lying a bit, since I shot my first one for a close friend last weekend) but in imagining the
characteristics that would be important for such jobs using your
camera, they would be (in descending order):
1. relative light-weight / excellent portability,
2. durability / reliability,
3. smoothness of pan/tilt.

Among the tripods/heads that I own, the Miller DS-10 would be my choice for your camera/jobs for the following principal reasons.
- Relatively light-weight. You're not going to kill yourself carrying
it around all day.
- Detachable mid-level spreader. This makes set-up/tear-down a
10-second cinch. It also makes set-up on uneven ground simple.
- Shoulder strap on both the soft case and on the tripod. It's easy to carry just the tripod if desired.
- Excellent pan/tilt performance for small, light cameras such as the DVX100. Yes, it's a friction-based drag system rather than a spring counterweight. But it's an extremely well-engineered friction system that has never disappointed me. I most often use it with my GL2 and sometimes with a stripped-down XL1s.

The Sachtler DV-6 would be overkill for your camera. Yes, it's a
wonderful head but it's designed to manage much larger, more eccentric loads and might be difficult to balance with only a 4-6 lb load. I bought mine specifically to handle a fully-loaded XL1s (Panasonic 7" lcd monitor, 2 BP-945 batteries, Chrosziel matte box, FU-1000 b&w viewfinder, etc.) which it does very well. But if I strip the XL1s down to its basic configuration the DV-6 is nearly overkill for that.

Within the Sachtler line, I don't really think that the DV-2 is a very good value. I'd be inclined to look at the DV-4 II

I've never tried a Cartoni and know little about them, so I really
can't say whether or not they might be a good value.

For legs, I might consider looking at a set of carbon fiber sticks.
The weight savings and slightly greater rigidity might be worth the extra expense to you over the long run.

One last tip: smoothness of pan action is trivial. All of the better
brands of heads can easily meet this requirement pretty well.
Smoothness of TILT, combined pan / tilt motion, and range of tile is a much greater challenge and separates the men from the boys in heads. The physics and mechanical engineering of managing a tilting load smoothly is for more complex.
I certainly don't mean to dissuade you from a Sachtler; they're excellent heads. But I'm pretty confident that the DS-10 would handle your camera and accessories with no trouble. The Sachtler's precise drag resistance controls are handiest in situations where you need to precisely repeat camera motion across multiple takes and/or scenes. These controls are generally handy to have but not essential, in my opinion, for event coverage.

Honestly, the ground spreader is good news and bad news. On the good side, it makes the tripod perhaps a bit more rigid. On the bad side, it can be a hassle to move the rig, each leg of the spreader must be locked and released during set-up/tear down, and the rubber feet covering the spikes are attached to the spreader, not to the legs. It's possible to select a different set of legs for a Sachtler head, so that might be worth investigating.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 08:12 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
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Mid level spreader makes a big difference if you do field work. Ground level spreaders just don't work well on uneven or rocky ground. I find tripods with mid-level spreaders have less torsional twist, hence smoother pans.
Jeff Donald
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 08:49 AM   #3
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DS-10 user

I can tell you that the Miller Ds-10 is an absolute quote a good Aussie saying...I use it with my PD-150...How great is this tripod....and yes it came with the switch for spring adjustment...well two setting anyway and variable pan and tilt dials....very cool...hope this was of some help..cheers Michael
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