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Old December 30th, 2003, 06:19 PM   #1
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Miller DS-20 Solo

Now that it's been out for a few months...I'm wondering if there's more feedback. I have an XL1s with an MA200 adaptor. I'll be loading on wireless receivers and with time, probably more accessories. I have a price of $1,400.

Does this sound like a good match? I've read other posts with positive reviews of the Vinten and Sachler. Are they preferable. I'm a producer/correspondent but have shot a fair amount as well. Once had the high end Sachler for my old BetaCam and loved it.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Jim
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Old January 1st, 2004, 11:52 AM   #2
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The higher end tripods are great. But the Miller/Manfrotto's
aren't bad either. Couldn't find anything on google.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #3
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Miller DS20 OK for VX2000/Z1?

Local dealer here in Thailand is out of Miller DS10 heads and is trying to tempt me with a good price on a DS20. I'll be using it on Solo legs.

The trouble is that the DS20's advertised payload range is 5kg-10kg but I will be putting less than this on it (VX2000/Z1/HVX200 = 2-2.5kg, a bit more with W/A lens).

Do you think it will work OK or should I wait for him to get more DS10 stock?

Nick
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:34 AM   #4
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I don't think it will be OK. The advertised payload range for the head is for compatibility with the spring counterbalance. Since you will be putting much less weight on the head than the payload range, the head will feel extra stiff in the tilt direction, instead of feeling neutral.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:58 AM   #5
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According to the specs there are two payload settings. Their specs state as follows
Counterbalance- flexible camera carrying capacity with 2 counterbalance positions. Position 1 lets you support up to 5kg miniDv camcorder loads, while Position 2 handles up to an impressive 10kg of DVCAM camcorder.

so according to the above you should be OK.

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Mick
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Old February 26th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner
Position 1 lets you support up to 5kg miniDv camcorder loads, while Position 2 handles up to an impressive 10kg of DVCAM camcorder.
But he's only supporting 2-2.5 kg, which is less than half of the "1" setting. The point of the counterbalance is to make the tilt feel neutral throughout its range. Now he will be fighting the counterbalance with a 2.5 to 3 kg difference. That's a lot!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #7
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Just put some 3kg weight extra item on, it will be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim N Le
But he's only supporting 2-2.5 kg, which is less than half of the "1" setting. The point of the counterbalance is to make the tilt feel neutral throughout its range. Now he will be fighting the counterbalance with a 2.5 to 3 kg difference. That's a lot!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:19 PM   #8
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The DS10 has two ranges itself within its 5kg limit which obviously gives more options. For example range 1 for a VX2000 on it's own, and range 2 for Z1 + wide angle lens + mic.

I think I'll hold out for the DS10. Thanks for the replies.

Nick
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Old February 27th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #9
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The height of the COG of the camera above the rotational axis of the tilt is also significant, 125 mm seems to be a common standard. I have raised my XM2 by about 20 mm using a Manfrotto sliding plate, to improve the counterbalance on a Manfrotto 503.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hope
The DS10 has two ranges itself within its 5kg limit which obviously gives more options. For example range 1 for a VX2000 on it's own, and range 2 for Z1 + wide angle lens + mic.

I think I'll hold out for the DS10. Thanks for the replies.

Nick
You are doing the right thing by waiting. I had a VX2100 on a DS10. The DS10 is what you want.

Nick
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Old October 15th, 2006, 02:46 AM   #11
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I got the DS10 and Solo legs about 6 months ago. I like how it works but I've used it very little and it's never got wet but already there is corrosion on the aluminium bowl where it's been sitting in storage against the bottom of the head. The aluminium has gone a bit powdery/pitted and the paint nearby has blistered. It still functions OK but I'm disappointed.

I guess the bottom of the head is cast iron and so it's galvanic corrosion because of the different metals. It is humid here in Thailand. I'm now storing the legs and head separately. I suppose I could try and get a replacement bowl under warranty. I'll probably email Miller direct about it.

Just thought I'd mention this so others could think about storing the legs and head separately.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:18 AM   #12
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Miller DS20 Squeaks Like a Squirrel

I'm actually not sure what a squirrel's squeak sounds like, that was purely speculative.

Anyhow, I just picked up a DS20 with some nice carbon-fibre legs second hand off ebay- it was part of a bargain kit (PD150 + Sennie ME-66 & K-6 + Sony Wireless Lavs + DS20 + Bits and Bobs= AU$2500) that I'm using to replace some crappy gear.

I was quite looking forward to the DS20- as I've been a big fan whenever I've used Miller gear- however I sadly found, at the very first pan of the head, that all traces of "fluid" had been replaced by "grating squeaking horror."

In fact whenever either the tilt or pan drag knobs are turned to anything but the "drag off" position, it feels like two metal plates are just scraping against each other, and when the drag is cranked right up, most pan or tilt movements are met with a horrendous squeaking noise.

Not knowing anything about how a fluid head works, can I ask what may have happened to this lovely, poor creature? Is this a common thing to occur? Is this common to miller (surely not?). Can I fix it with canola oil? (That last one is only half-serious).
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #13
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Matt,

The DS10 and DS20 only have one level of fluid drag. The drag adjustment they provide is a "friction boost". According to the manual:

Quote:
The DS10/DS20 fluid head provides adjustment for tilt and pan drag control (Fig 4.) Rotate clockwise to engage friction resistance, anticlockwise to return to fluid action.

Note: The fluid drag plate system has been designed to suit most operating conditions. The friction drag adjustment should only be utilized when extra resistance is required.
So what you're hearing probably is the friction boost.

With that said, my OConnor fluid head does make a very, very slight noise when I move it. Although, it literally sounds like fluid moving around.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 07:59 PM   #14
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Hey Tim, thanks for the reply.

I hadn't realised the drag adjustment was a friction thing- I think I was assuming that the DS20 was something far more incredible than it actually is.

That's not to say it's a crappy head- it's smooth and creamy- i'll just not touch the drag adjustment ever again.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #15
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Nick
The upside is that you can send the kit back to Oz to get it fixed up ant tropicalized, you're not far away.
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