Just got Miller Solo DV10 and a little disappointed...(attn: Ken Tanaka) at DVinfo.net

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Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:07 PM   #1
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Just got Miller Solo DV10 and a little disappointed...(attn: Ken Tanaka)

Hey guys--I just got my Miller Solo DV10 package today (DS-10 head). I have been using an old (ancient?) Miller fluid head and wooden legs setup prior to this (no model number, just says Miller fluid head--probably out of the late 70's). This head was truly exceptional and has brought me lots of great use and smooth, sexy moves. But it was time for a modern tripod so I upgraded (I thought) to the DV10. The Solo pkg has great legs..everything I would ask for. The head is lacking. It doesn't have the silky, fluid feel of my old Miller. It feels to me as if there is less fluid in the head, or the viscostiy of the fluid is much lower. Trying to switch directions on a slow, creeping pan on my longest focal length and keep it nice is almost impossible, and it was easy on the old Miller. Dialing in the drag (which is just friction drag) doesn't help much--just adds to the static friction of the head, making it sticky on the beginning of a move. Needless to say, I'm not exactly thrilled. My question (especiall to Ken b/c he has both these tripods): I am pretty much for sure going to return this tripod. I'm wondering if the competing Sacthler (maybe DV6) is any better? I would go with an o'connor, but that is breaking the bank (5g's). I think the Sachtler is around $1800. Anyway, if anyone has experience with both of these tripods (Ken) please give me your feedback. If my description of the feel of the DV10's fluid head isn't enough, let me know and I'll try to be more specific. Thanks!

Peter
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:36 PM   #2
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I will add the Vinten Vision 3 into the mix. Also, I read in an old thread (2001) that Ken was going to post a comparison review of the Miller and Sachtler, but couldn't find it doing a search. Does anyone remember this?

Peter

and one more...

O'Connor DV-5 Aluminum Tripod System. This one goes for about $3200, which is way more than I want to spend, but what the hell.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 07:38 PM   #3
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 08:17 PM   #4
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Thanks David--I would have to agree w/ the comments of the reviewers.

Peter
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 08:20 PM   #5
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Hello Peter,
Sorry for your disappointment. My DS-10 head is pretty smooth with appropriate loads. But it's certainly a long way from a Vinten. The DS-10 is basically a friction head, albeit a pretty good one. Yes, the drag control is not terribly effective or subtle.

I've not yet made time to finish the article I promised. (To tide you over, here's a "beauty shot" for it: http://cakonos.image.pbase.com/image...1/original.jpg !)

The Sachtler DV-6 is very much a step up from the Miller DS-10, offering bomb-proof construction and finer tilt and pan drag controls. But it's also designed for slightly heavier loads and cannot adapt well to lighter loads.

My personal favorite, and the system I'll likely have for the duration, is the Vinten Vision 3. (I think the O'Connors are fine but vast overkill for little DV cameras.) If you want to make a once-and-for-all purchase get the Vinten Vision 3 with carbon fiber legs and be done with it.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 11:16 PM   #6
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THanks for the advice Ken. I am tempted by the O'Connor, but that is some serious scratch, even for a tripod. I use Vintens for a corporate client (theirs) on some Betacams and can't same I'm a huge fan. I don't think they are fluid heads, but maybe this is not an issue (if it feels fluid, who cares). I am def. tempted by the Sacthler. What specifically does the Vinten have over the Sachtler? Also, above ground spreader or spreaderless is important as I do a lot of doc. and field work. THanks!

Peter
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 11:48 PM   #7
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Vintens are about as "fluid" as you'll get. The ability to adapt the heads to different loads via interchangeable counterbalance springs is a terrific feature. Ground spreaders are standard but a mid spreader can be purchased for many of their legs.

Sachtlers are fine for a loaded XL1 but can be a wrestling match for smaller cameras.

You have not indicated what camera you use.
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 12:51 AM   #8
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Hey Ken--I'm using a DVX100A w/ very little or no extraneous gear (save a shotgun mic mounted in a shock mount on top). The Vinten's interchangeable spring counterbalance does not seem as effective to me as a system with built-in continuosly variable or steppable counterbalance. What do you do when you switch from a fully-loaded setup with matte box etc to a barebones setup? Do you have to switch out the spring? To me the Sachtler or O'Connor solution, or even the Miller (though there are only two settings) with counter-balance that can be dialed in, seems a better solution. Of course, on Vinten's other models (including the one I use with the Betacams) a continuously variable system is what is used. I'm not ragging on the Vinten, just trying to understand it. And truthfully, you are my best resource b/c you own ALL THREE tripods I'm interested in (save the O'Connor, but's pretty expensive). My main concerns are durability, easy take down setup, and number one: quality head. I guess I can't bring myself to believe that a friction head is better than a fluid head, but of course I am probably wrong. Loved the tripod porn by the way :)

Peter
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 01:11 AM   #9
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For my DVX100A I use the spring normally cited for the GL1/Gl2. Basically the cameras are close to the same weight. My Chrosiel matte box adds nothing to the balance, as it's featherweight. I can't say if the same spring would work well while using a Mini35 adapter on the camera.

The quickest legs I have are those on my Miller (mid-level spreader), although they're the least flexible in stance. If you're looking for a mid-level and already have the Solo legs I wonder if you could fit the Vinten head onto the Miller legs? I don't recall if they're the same bowl size.
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 02:05 AM   #10
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Hey Ken--The solo legs have a 75mm bowl. What's the vinten head? Also, out of curiousity, what's the Sachtler head? How would you desribe the difference in feel b/t the Sachtler and Vinten head? Sorry if I'm splitting hairs here, but obviously tripod is an important dec., and after my dissappointment with the Miller DS-10, trying to save myself another mistake. Thanks!

Peter
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 12:42 PM   #11
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I use both Satchler and Vinten tripods with our Betacam Sp Rigs.
I would say that both of the heads are just fine. It's the legs on the Vintens that rile me up. Those stupid little triangular locks on the legs come loose with the slightest brush or bump it would seem.
I dont have that problem with Satchlers.

My two cents,

Jeff Patnaude
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 09:47 PM   #12
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I just bought a Vinten Vision 3 after looking at display models of various Miller and Sachtler heads at B&H. I was not impressed with the Miller DV 10 or the equivalent Sachtler. Based on advice from Ken Tanaka on this forum (as well as others) I went for the Vinten and am thrilled with it. It is seriously well made and operates with precision. It is smooth as silk, and the tension is actually adjustable, as compared to the "adjustment" knobs on the Miller which I found to be either, on, or off, with no intermediate tensions. I'm using the #2 spring with a Sony PD170 with high capacity (heavy) battery and a Gefell mic on a shock mount. Balances perfectly. As a final touch I added a Bogen/Manfrotto 523Pro lanc controller. What a sweet combination. I made these choices based on the info and advice offered by this great forum, so thanks again to all who contribute!
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Old February 4th, 2005, 02:17 AM   #13
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Hey guys--Thanks for all the great feedback. I used the Miller on a shoot today, hoping I would be happier with it in the field...I wasn't. The legs of course are great, but frankly the head is pretty pathetic. Only with some serious concentration and effort was I able to execute moves that, with my old Miller, I wouldn't even think twice about. Everyone here really seems to love the Vinten, which is a little surprising b/c my own experience with them hasn't been too positive, but I trust your feedback. There is a retailer in Portland, OR (about an hour north of me) who sells both the Sachtler and the Vinten, so I think it's time for a little "head to head" (no pun intended) comparison. But the MIller is def. getting the boot, which makes me sad b/c I had high hopes. Ken: You mentioned that with the Sachtler DV6, you were fighting the head. If I am using a pretty bares bones DVX100 setup, would you recommend the DV4? I will report back here with my impressions after I test out the Vinten and Sachtler. THanks again for the help guys!

Peter
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Old February 4th, 2005, 02:53 AM   #14
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One more question: How much would the Vinten Vision 3 system w/ mid level (do they make spreaderless?) tripod run me? If we are getting into $3k territory, why not just go with the O'Connor?

Peter
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Old February 4th, 2005, 11:24 AM   #15
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I've never laid hands on a DV-4 so I can't remark on it. I stopped caring about video tripods and heads when I bought the Vision 3.
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