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Old September 5th, 2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Miller vs. Manfrotto

I would appreciate any input on the following:
I am currently looking for a tripod set up and am considering the following:
Manfrotto 519 head and 535 tripod:
Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging 519,535K 535 Tripod 519 Head and Bag

or the Miller Solo DV20 2 stage cf tripod and DS20 head: Miller SOLO DV20 Carbon Fiber Tripod System

I do not have a lot of time and therefore cannot wait for an oos item. I will be heading off for a shoot in Kenya on the 13th and need to use whatever I buy for that shoot. I am planning to buy it at B&H since it's closest for shipping or trekking into Manhattan. I am leary of buying seperate components b/c I don't want to find out I am missing an integral piece. That said, I am also interested in the Miller Solo VJ legs, and a Sachtler DV-12SB Fluid head. Price is a major factor, but I also want to buy something with a certain amount of longevity. Ideally, I would like something rock solid (of course) and am willing to lug about some extra weight (and make my Lithuanian ancestors proud).

Things to consider:
I shoot solo in a variety of conditions and situations
I want a CF tripod with height
I don't want a spreader
Shooting with a JVC GY-HD110, small battery pack (not A/B) and wireless receivers
Very limited shopping and shipping time

TIA,
Samantha
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Old September 5th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #2
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Samantha:

I have to say a unreserved no to both of your picks. They are not up to the task.

First of all please read this regarding the Miller DV20 Solo:
Sachtler FSB-8 + 75 CF Speed lock VS Miller DV20 Solo CF

The Manfrotto 519 is not that good either and the legs I have no experience with.

Please read this too:
Which tripod for THIS camera, why why why

Now that you have read these you might see the wisdom in buying the following:

Probably the best for your camera weight
Sachtler | 0407 FSB-6 Fluid Head | 0407 | B&H Photo Video

or if you plan to get a bigger camera or accessorize a bit
Sachtler | 0707 FSB-8 Fluid Head (Black) | 0707 | B&H Photo Video

You want height, lower weight and good stability you probably will want this:
Gitzo | GT5541LS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT5541LS

and will need this bowl for the fluid head:
Gitzo | GS5320V75 75mm Bowl Adapter | GS5320V75 | B&H Photo Video

If you can live with a lower height and with a mid-spreader and need a lower price then this will be a good setup too:
Sachtler | 0475 FSB-6 Carbon Fiber Tripod System | 0475 | B&H

You are going a long way, know what you need to shoot properly. Don't skimp on part of your image! The tripod and head ARE part of the final image quality.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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Thanks, Les.
Your post has been most helpful.
If you wouln't mind commenting further, what is your opinion of the Gitzo GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 39.6 lbs (18kg)
Gitzo GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 39.6 lbs (18kg)
Do you think that the load capacity difference between that and the Gitzo GT5541LS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs, which you recommended, is too great to deliver the kind of rock solid support I want (on my budget)? Do you think that it is better to go for the greater load capacity and add a center column to increase height when the time calls for it?
Thanks again for you help, and your patience.
Best to you,
Samantha
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Old September 6th, 2009, 04:03 AM   #4
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Wow you really want tall!

Just to be clear, I have no experience myself with the Gitzo tripods. I am making my recommendation based on the repeated mention by Jack Walker who is another member of this forum.

In general the higher the tripod the springier it will be. In general the lower the weight capacity of the tripod the springier it will be. Jack has recommended the Gitzos over and over and has mentioned the one you have just asked about I believe. Get the higher tripod and it will probably fine and close to just as stiff when not set up full height.

I would not go with a centre column.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Pirnak View Post
Thanks, Les.
Your post has been most helpful.
If you wouln't mind commenting further, what is your opinion of the Gitzo GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 39.6 lbs (18kg)
Gitzo GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 39.6 lbs (18kg)
Do you think that the load capacity difference between that and the Gitzo GT5541LS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs, which you recommended, is too great to deliver the kind of rock solid support I want (on my budget)? Do you think that it is better to go for the greater load capacity and add a center column to increase height when the time calls for it?
Thanks again for you help, and your patience.
Best to you,
Samantha
I have the Gitzo GT3541XLS tripod:
Gitzo | GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT3541XLS

It is great! I don't think you need the heavier Series 5 version.

With the XLS you also need the 75mm bowl adapter.

The Gitzo GT3541XLS is rock solid. In addition to to the height, it also goes very, very low. However, to go the lowest, you need a short nut for the tripod head, or you would need to scoop out a little dirt underneath.

For it's features -- height, weight, rigidity, not twisting, etc. -- the Gitzo has no competition in my opinion. And it will fit in a standard size suitcase.

If you go to B&H you can see the tripods and decide which is best for your needs.

About a center column... you can't use one with a bowl tripod. It also adds weight. The XLS tripod with a bowl is the best way to go, I believe. (Note: the Gitzos will take a flat top, a 75mm bowl or a 100mm bowl, so they are very versatile.)
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Old September 7th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
About a center column... you can't use one with a bowl tripod. It also adds weight.
It's also worth noting that in general extending the center column compromises stability. Longer legs and no center column are a better choice when available.
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