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Old February 20th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #16
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Miller DS20 Video review

Philip Bloom Blog Archive Miller DS20 Tripod Review

Hopefully this shows you just how cool this little baby is...
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #17
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Miller DS10/DS20 - Corrosion Issue?

Phil, nice review. I had a look at the Miller stand at Broadcast Video Expo in London this week and was very (VERY!) taken with the idea of a DS20 on Solo legs for my EX3. They are sending me a brochure so I can drool some more....

However, after a quick search on here I found the thread below from a little while back which talks of a worrying corrosion problem with them - sounds like it's because of a pretty basic but fundamental design flaw.

Anyone care to comment on this issue from their own personal experiences of it? (or lack of it)

Miller DS20 OK for VX2000/Z1? - The Digital Video Information Network
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Old February 21st, 2009, 09:23 PM   #18
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Miller 20 Series 2

I see local listing for a Miller 20 Series 2 tripod. Does anyone have any info on this tripod? The seller listed this link for reference: Used Video Equipment Sales - Professional Video, Audio, and Broadcast Equipment - New Pro Video

But there's no specs on size, weight, load, etc. I think it might be an older model so I'm not sure how much its worth.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 06:27 AM   #19
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OK, now this thread has been amalgamated (with the one I linked to above) by the mods, anyone got any comments about both the sqeaking noise and the corrosion points mentioned? Are these isolated problems or more general issues with the Miller DS20?

Sorry for the bump ....but I really want to know before I consider spending the best part of 1000 on one of these...especially since money will be tight now I've seen the Sterling price of the new Mac Pro I'm just about to buy :- (

Thanks!
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Old March 4th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #20
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Andy, I just took another look at my tripod. Back then I smeared the surfaces of the bowl and head with a bit of silicone grease and started packing them separately but more recently I have just been storing them together. I can report that the corrosion has not got any worse at all and absolutely does not affect the function. My tripod may just have been an isolated case where it wasn't finished very well. I wouldn't really let this issue put you off getting one, but I would smear a little grease or petroleum jelly on those surfaces.

My DS10/Solo combo has done pretty good service now, although I haven't used it a huge amount. It really is easy to transport and set up and can give stablilty in a huge variety of tricky situations. It does feel like it gets smoother after a bit of use each time I use it, like it needs to be "warmed up", so when I get started on a shoot I usually spin it back and forth rapidly several times. But it's certainly not "graunchy". I have only used it with a VX2000 and a Z1 and I have never used the friction drag. To be honest I wish it didn't have that feature because all I ever do with it is make sure it's wound all the way off.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #21
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Thanks Nick. Any other user comments from anyone else with one of these DS10 or DS20s?
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Old March 7th, 2009, 03:47 AM   #22
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I have the DS20 Solo Carbon for my EX3 as a super lightweight travel kit. I think that it is great. Performs well, easy to carry and perfect for smaller shoots. You can see it in use here recently on a shoot on Great Mercury Island: Ben Ruffell

For a small form factor piece of kit I have no complaints.

Ben
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Old March 7th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Thanks Nick. Any other user comments from anyone else with one of these DS10 or DS20s?
We've had several DS10 heads fail and they're not really economical to repair.
One issue to watch out for is the rosettes used to lock the pan handle can grind away as they're only diecast. Once that happens you'll most likely need to replace the head unless you know someone with a mill or if you're very handy with a file. You could in theory mill or file away a little the housing and drill and tap two holes to fit a replacement rosette from the more expensive Miller heads or from someone like P+S Teckniks.
Your best approach to minimising this problem is to make certain the pan handle is tightened down hard so it cannot slip and is completely loosened off when adjusting it or in transit.

The Solo legs themselves are excellent.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #24
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I've got a 12 year old Miller DS-20, before the Solo, still going strong. The only thing I've had to do is to re-glue one spreader lock.
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Old March 8th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by David C. Williams View Post
I've got a 12 year old Miller DS-20, before the Solo, still going strong. The only thing I've had to do is to re-glue one spreader lock.
Agreed. We've had no problems with the heads on our 4 DS-10s or 3 VJ-20s and they've done a lot of miles. Something changed at the time they started selling the Solo. Miller are aware of this, I've certainly made my feelings very clear to them and the local sales rep was in agreement that their heads are not what they used to be.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #26
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OK, thanks for all the replies. I think I'll pass on this DS-20 Solo for now and keep going with my Libec LS37 for a while longer until they sort this out.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #27
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I just received my DS-20 solo carbon fiber setup, and first impressions are mixed. I purchased this setup for a month long assignment I am going on to Chile. I already had a Manfrotto 503/351 combo that has served me well with my XL2 but I was never truly happy with the pan performance of the 503. It rebounds enough on a pan that it is totally unacceptable with my HD setup, namely my EX3. So based on the reviews and comments around I decided the DS-20 would make a good system for my trip.

First the head. It is a perfect match for the EX3 in balance spring setting one. The fluid drag seems to work properly and there is no rebound or stiction. As long as you don't care to add any more drag than the default setting, all is fine. Add some friction in the pan and it doesn't perform very well at all. It sticks and is pretty rough. Perhaps it improves with break in, but I won't be using any added drag because it takes away from the smoothness of the head completely.

Next, the legs. They are light and well made. They aren't as stiff as I had hoped however. They wind up a considerable more amount than my Manfrotto 351s. I realize that everything is a compromise but I expected a bit better. At least leg windup can be compensated for much easier than the rebound in a Manfrotto 503 "fluid" head.

Together, the package makes a nice travel setup even if just a bit springy on the legs. Don't get me wrong, it's not wobbly or anything unacceptable like that. The trade off here is the nice lack of excess weight and the versatility of the legs and the positions that can be used.

If I had this decision to make again, I might have gone for the Manfrotto 519 head on my existing legs. Fortunately the Miller DS-20 also fits on the Manfrotto 351 legs so I can use a heavier setup when I need or want to. The 351 legs aren't the best either but they are a bit stiffer.

Final thoughts: Buy the DS-20 Solo system if you have no other tripod system yet and want a versatile do almost anything setup. As is common with do it all devices, it isn't the best for any one particular task but it is a good buy. Just make sure you know what you are buying going in.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:26 PM   #28
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This is my follow up from Chile where I am currently on assignment.

So far the Miller DS20 Solo carbon fibre system is just OK.

The head works fine as long as you don't expect zero movement during lockup and release on the vertical and horizontal axis. A light touch, a very light touch, is needed to just add enough lock or it will shift. This is in contradiction to the manual which states that the disc brake lockup causes no shift. This is far from the truth. Pans a tilts have been good, very smooth and controllable with no wind up or back step. The drag boost is another function that is questionable in its function and smoothness so far.

The legs are very good and very versatile. My initial assessment of their stiffness has been tempered with use. I like them very much.

I have encountered no reliability issues yet and have had to work with this system in run and gun situations.

Upon removing the locking screws for pan and tilt, it is apparent that a small modification could be made to ake lock ups movement free and it would add nothing to the cost. Currently the locking screws are flat on the end. If the were made ever so slightly convex then I am sure the problem would go away and this would be a very good system instead of just OK.

I intend to try out or even buy a Manfrotto 519 upon my return to Canada in two weeks to see which is a better head. I suspect I will like the 519 more.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Nagy View Post
This is my follow up from Chile where I am currently on assignment.

So far the Miller DS20 Solo carbon fibre system is just OK.

The head works fine as long as you don't expect zero movement during lockup and release on the vertical and horizontal axis. A light touch, a very light touch, is needed to just add enough lock or it will shift. This is in contradiction to the manual which states that the disc brake lockup causes no shift. This is far from the truth. Pans a tilts have been good, very smooth and controllable with no wind up or back step. The drag boost is another function that is questionable in its function and smoothness so far.

The legs are very good and very versatile. My initial assessment of their stiffness has been tempered with use. I like them very much.

I have encountered no reliability issues yet and have had to work with this system in run and gun situations.

Upon removing the locking screws for pan and tilt, it is apparent that a small modification could be made to ake lock ups movement free and it would add nothing to the cost. Currently the locking screws are flat on the end. If the were made ever so slightly convex then I am sure the problem would go away and this would be a very good system instead of just OK.

I intend to try out or even buy a Manfrotto 519 upon my return to Canada in two weeks to see which is a better head. I suspect I will like the 519 more.

Hey Les.

So now that you've had the Miller DS-20 Solo for a while do you still think it's just "OK"?

I'm on the verge of pulling the trigger on one. I have been using a Manfrotto 501 with aluminum legs and a column. They act like the miller legs in that you can position them individually, and go low when you remove the column. So to anyone, I have been looking for a system that works the same as far as the legs go, but is of much higher quality. The Miller DS-20 Solo set up looks the closest. I've seen Philip Blooms review. I like the looks of everything, except that you have to screw the things on the legs to extend, rather than the flip locks on my Manfrotto.

Questions:

• Is there a comparable system to the miller DS-20 Solo that's better for under 2,000.00?

• Does the Miller head actually collect metal scrapings and grind them around like I read in this thread? I mean that's probably a unique occurrence, but is Miller gear solid?


Thanks!

Chadfish
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:59 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Hey Les.

So now that you've had the Miller DS-20 Solo for a while do you still think it's just "OK"?


Questions:

• Is there a comparable system to the miller DS-20 Solo that's better for under 2,000.00?

• Does the Miller head actually collect metal scrapings and grind them around like I read in this thread? I mean that's probably a unique occurrence, but is Miller gear solid?


Thanks!

Chadfish
Short answer: Don't get the Miller DV20 Solo.

Long answer: Read my comparison here.
Sachtler FSB-8 + 75 CF Speed lock VS Miller DV20 Solo CF

The Sachtler setup is much better. Even possibly better is to get the Sachtler FSB head:

and put it on Gitzo legs such as:
Gitzo | GT3531LSV Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT3531LSV

or

if you want really tall:
Gitzo | GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT3541XLS
but it will require the bowl adapter:
Gitzo | GS5320V75 75mm Bowl Adapter | GS5320V75 | B&H Photo Video

Last edited by Les Nagy; January 5th, 2010 at 12:14 AM.
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