Vintage Miller...a good idea? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 8th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 56
Vintage Miller...a good idea?

I need to get a new tripod. I've generously been loaned a satchler for a while, but really need to get something to put my XHA1 on. The reason I was loaned the satchler was when I told a friend I was about to buy a manfrotto he said no way and lent me the satchler for a while. However, I don't have the money for a newish model of one of these. The tripod will be used for event videography. I found a very old looking miller fluid head at a local consignment shop. No model number on it, but it looks quite similar to this one on ebay...except it has aluminum legs...
Miller Wooden Tripod w/Fluid Head-PRO Movie Tripod - eBay (item 360136705057 end time Apr-04-09 14:46:11 PDT)

For around 250 dollars would this be a good set up or would my 250 dollars be better spent trying to snag a used bogen 501 or 503? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I can't find much info about these older millers online. Thanks,
Andy
Andrew Dryden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2009, 09:44 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 1,570
Those old Millers are great. We recently sold off a couple of them which is sad as after decades of use they were still going strong and they sure don't build them like that anymore. Check for any binding or noises and you should be fine with it.
There is one issue though. These were built before the days of release plates, when you want to get the camera off the head you have to unscrew it which will be a pain. A suitable Manfrotto release plate should solve that problem.
Bob Grant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 56
Thanks Bob. I noticed it appears to be missing a pan bar as well...but I am guessing I could make one relatively easily. Thanks again for the advice. I noticed it these are often advertised with the phrase "no leaks." Where are typical leak points to check? Is there a way to check the presence of fluid in the head?
Andrew Dryden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
The wooden sticks and the head itself are heavy but durable. Try to take care of it by packing it in a case for transport or a bucket over the head at least. Sticks are good, they don't wind up but need to be protected. The fasteners on the feet need to be kept tight otherwise you will lose them.

You will need a spreader otherwise the legs will splay out and collapse like an overloaded poisoned camel on a shiny floor indoors.

The thumbscrews can be damaged by a good clout.

They generally don't snap off but do bend and then bind in the threads before bearing onto the friction pieces.

Before using it with any friction applied, exercise the head throughly for about five minutes after leaving it in a warm place to loosen the friction material with all thumbscrews backed off.

If you cannot loosen the tripod handle (pan arm) in its hole, give the area a little spray with thread-eze CRC or whatever. Loosen off the thumbscrew, twist the tripod handle anticlockwise if it is on the right facing backwards or clockwise if it is on the left facing backwards. If it baulks, have somebody apply a little twisting pressure on the pan arm while you gently tap the shiny knurled collar insert with a screwdriver blade using another screwdriver handle as a hammer head. It should pop free.

If the friction material has extruded because of stroage with the thumbscrews tighened or slumped to one side in storage, tightening the friction screws may cause some metal-to-metal contact if the friction material is not circulated. This may damage the friction surfaces if you don't redistribute the friction material thoroughly first by exercising the head.

There does not appear to be a separate tilt lock-off lever. Later models had this. You may be able to rely on the friction screws as the camera is light. There is also no cam/spring balance. I prefer not to have them and you will also arrive at that conclusion after using this tripod.

It might be a heritage piece but enjoy. They work well.
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 56
So ultimately do you feel these are better than the prosumer grade tripods that Manfrotto puts out? I think the one I am looking at may be a little newer as it is on aluminum sticks with a spreader. Thanks,
Andy
Andrew Dryden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
I haven't played with Manfrotto so cannot advise you on this.

If they are black Miller sticks you should be okay. The DTC ones are fine also.

If a sliding leg section fails to lock, it is likely a ballbearing under the thrubscrew has fallen out. This works like a girling actuator by wedging as a cam between two obliquely cut followers which press against the side surfaces of the sliding leg sections. Your local bicycle repair shop may have loose bearing balls which will be a close match.

You will find the wingnut or column nut under the levelling ball can get a bit tight. There is no need to overtighten as the ball is solid, not segmented and tightens quickly or stays loose, no half measures which is why they later introduced segments in the ball surfaces or left the surfaces as rough cast so they would slide easier.
Bob Hart is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:10 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network