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Old February 19th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #46
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i am very happy with my miller ds20 on 2 stage cf solo legs. very quick & easy to setup, close & carry around. balances well with my oversized ex3 camera.
David Issko
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Old February 19th, 2009, 01:55 PM   #47
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We're using the Sachtler DV12 head with the ENG 2 CF legs.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:51 PM   #48
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miller ds20 on 2 stage cf solo legs
Sony EX1 v1.11, crap loads of SxS, Macs w/ Final Cut Studio
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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #49
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Hi Guys,

I'm about to take the plunge as well :)

So you think a Satchler DV 6 isn't heavy enough? I'm hoping to load mine with a matte box, ST-7 shoulder mount and an Anton Bauer battery...

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Old February 19th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #50
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I've been using the Gitzo 1380 head with Sachtler 75 sticks. Very,very smooth head, not too heavy. It comes with 6 interchangable springs so I have used it with a 25lb cam in a pinch. The pan and tilt locks are the only weakness. They work, but you really have to crank them down sometimes.

I would suggest trying out as many as you can. Some of the lighter weights just can not pan or tilt smoothly. The Miller Solo is also a good choice.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:00 PM   #51
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I've got the Sachtler FSB-6 with carbon legs and it is truly the best tripod I've used with my EX1. Fabulous construction, lightweight and an incredibly smooth pan & tilt. You won't be disappointed.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #52
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As much as i love my miller tripods, the DS10/20 have issues with the EX3 and its mounting plate. I've found it impossible to mount an EX3 to a miller DS10/20 tripod and it being secure. There ends up being so much play in the connection that anything but a wide shot is very tricky to achieve. When on the long end of the lens its impossible to keep anything still unless your not touching the camera.

This is definitely not the tripod manufactures fault, its a sony issue that we all know about. It just gets exaggerated with the miller DS heads.

No issues with EX1s however.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 01:20 AM   #53
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DM-Accessories - EX3-PLATE Reinforcement Plate for EX3 Camcorders plus DS20 for me. Had the DS20 for 10 years, solid unit.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 05:28 AM   #54
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I love my Miller Arrow 55 System.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 11:26 PM   #55
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Back on topic, I think the original head that the Varizoom Zero Gravity is sorta kinda patterned after would be your best bet.

I believe what you're looking for is the Ronford Baker Fluid 7. They're obviously not made any more and so would be harder to find these days, but the one main advantage that the F7 has over the rest is that it had proper nodal mounting capability, which I'm not sure that the ZG head has.

In other words, with the F7 it's possible to put the center of rotation of the X, Y and Z axes slap bang in the middle of your "film" plane, at the exact center point of your gate/sensor array.

As you know, most heads have their pivot points way below the camera body. This means that as you tilt up and down, your film plane moves backwards and forwards on an arc. i.e. you have to pull focus when in closeup.

Now on the long end of a tele set at infinity that may not mean a thing, but if that tele has a closeup diopter on it and it's tracking a caterpillar in huge macro, then it's easy to see that if you have your camera set up on its focus node and the caterpillar is climbing pretty much perpendicular to your film plane, then you don't have to pull focus as you tilt to follow.

This may all be academic nowadays, especially in the autofocus age, and who shoots that critically any more anyway?

Well, for those who do, this matters, and for those who don't, not.

The VZG is set up differently. Here it's not the focus node that's being set, it's the CG, the center of gravity that's being pinned to the center of rotation. Which means long lenses can be used without the thing swinging one way or another and having to use springs or weights to compensate, and, theoretically, less backlash and all that other stuff that comes with having a camera that's mounted with its CG above the center of rotation.

Having said that, it might also be most possible to set the ZG up for focal node as well, but probably just the lowering of the CG of the camera would bring the focal node a lot closer to the pivot center as well, so you'd get most (if not practically all) of the focal node benefits as well, especially at longer subject to camera distances.

"The content, not the container."
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Old April 7th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #56
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Thank you for the great input Chris. I have already got the Miller Arrow 25 which does the work for me. I mostly use very long lenses so I needed a head which will give me smooth motion - the Arrow 25 does the trick.


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Old April 8th, 2009, 12:00 AM   #57
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Awesome head. Have one for my Red setup.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:04 AM   #58
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Chris have you used the ZG? I'd be interested on hearing a review..
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 09:48 AM   #59
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I am of the opinion that O'Connor makes the smoothest heads in the industry...
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 10:01 AM   #60
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Varizoom Zero Gravity Head first look Review...

Hi Michael

Yes, I have one set up in my living room as I type this.

I'll be putting up a full review of it as I (maybe) use it as my A head under an EX1/Letus Elite rig for a feature film, a couple of commercials, two music videos and some short films.

First blush:

I've had the head for a few weeks now, which means that this one must have been one of the first production runs available.

Out of the case it seems like a solid piece, very well built and finished, markings clear.

I'd have liked a larger spirit level though, this one's tiny and un-illuminated.

Also, even though the head boasts a hybrid 75mm/100mm split bowl fitting which works as advertised, I have it on a 75mm Bogen tripod and there really isn't a lot of room down there for your hand to get in under to level the head.

So I'm going to switch mine out for a 100mm bowl tripod soon, and if you're stuck with a 75mm head then I'd consider getting one of those longer, Bogen or Gitzo style leveling clamps with the long tightening handle/grip, it would make life a lot easier. The regular shaped stubby tightening handle that comes with the unit would probably lead to skinned knuckles on a run-and-gun shoot.

So here's the deal. I don't want to be unfair to a new product, but I did buy this head myself, it's not a review unit, and frankly there are a few points about this unit that are left to be desired.

Tom McKay of Varizoom has graciously consented to advise me on them just as soon as his week at NAB becomes less frenetic, so please take what I write below with a grain of salt until he can weigh in and address an issue or two with the unit I now have.

In a nutshell, here's two quick points that you may want to know, for now:

a) this is a fluid-feel friction head. Not a true fluid head. (And of course, at this price point, how would it be?)

Which I'm down with. I don't care if it's a cardboard head, as long as it give me smooth, repeatable moves from creeps to whips without backlash or other complaints from the head, no matter what I throw at it.

Thing is, this unit (and Tom's already said that they've improved on it since the first release) had a definite sticky feel at the start and stop of pans. Not a good thing at all, and something that will need to be addressed first thing before I do any serious shooting with it.

b) there's plenty of camera positioning controls, more than most people are used to, and they're solid and well positioned. I was able to simulate 270 degree or more tilts with relative ease with my full HD camera rig, and that was cool - but there's only one control knob per axis, i.e. two knobs total, one for tilt and one for pan.

Yes, the pan/tilt drag control is the same knob as the lock off knob. You tighten to lock, then un-tighten to release, loosen more to lessen drag. One knob for pan, one knob for tilt.

For people who need to have a constantly repeatable drag setting in between takes (like, for instance, anybody doing serious commercial work, or macro work), this is going to be a pain in the proverbials, for want of a better phrase.

Like one of those do-everything shower control handles, you're going to have to remember how much you turned which control from its drag setting to full lock so that you can turn it back to "almost nearly quite" the setting you had before, if you ever need to lock off between takes, etc..

Since all the other camera positioning locks and knobs were double in each axis, this omission seems very strange to me, and something I'm going to have to discuss with Tom and the folks at Varizoom before bringing a final comment to bear.

So that's it for now. Construction excellent, design excellent, camera mounting and degree of positioning freedom excellent. Tom has said that they've fixed the stickiness I've had it my unit, so I'm okay with that and will get back to you on my updated model after NAB.

I've already been practicing compound moves and quick setup changes on the head in preparation for going into a shoot. Apart from the stickiness, the head feels like a professional piece of kit, very slick and sturdy. I'll be writing about the various applications on the shoots as I go, so stand by in the coming weeks for that.

So far it's very cool, working out new moves I can do that required much more expensive rigs to pull off before. For instance, it's a really cool dutch angle head if you mount the camera on the underside of the L plate and then reset it so it's not shaped like an L but a 7, if you get my drift (pictures to follow). And worked off a mini-jib it should be nothing short of awesome.

But that single control per axis... well, I leave that up to you, but for the price I'm practicing in my shower to get that single handle set just so...

YMMV etc


ps/ Hi Charles, and yes, what you said. I still have my O'Connors and will *not* part with them, ever!
"The content, not the container."
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