New Tripod: Cartoni Focus at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 7th, 2005, 08:45 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 605
New Tripod: Cartoni Focus

Hey guys--Just talked to Pro Video and Tape up in Portland and they had a show last week where this new tripod from Cartoni was debuted, supposedly for the first time, anywhere:

www.mediatrade.fi/PDFs/Cartoni_Focus.pdf

As you can see it has true fluid drag for pan and tilt, cont. variable counterbalance, illuminated bubble level etc. They quoted me a price of $1313, including aluminum legs and mid-level spreader. This seems like a pretty sweet deal, but I don't exactly associate Cartoni with high-end tripods. Does anyone own a Cartoni (DV Action Pro or others) or does anyone have some experience with them who might be able to offer some feedback. THanks!

Peter

PS Pro Vid and tape said they will be getting these in stock mid this month. I am going to try one out and soon as they come in stock and will write back with comments.
Peter Richardson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 350
I came across this head on the Cartoni website and decided to check it out at a local distributor. The head appears to have the same fluid drag and counterbalance adjustments as the more expensive Laser head. I don't know for sure, but it probably incorporates the latest Cartoni patents for fluid drag adjustment and an adjustable spring-cable-pulley counterbalance system. This would make it a true fluid head where the drag adjustment is done by moving stator discs in or away from the rotor discs (similar to the O'Connor method).

The interesting thing about this head is that it can counterbalance all the way from 2.2 lbs to 22 lbs (but what CG they don't specify). Also, the head only weighs 4.4 lbs, which is a good 1 lb less than a comparable Sachtler and almost 2 lbs less than an O'Connor.

Things I noticed were: the head was smooth, but the maximum drag is not as high as the more expensive Laser head. I would guess the max setting on the Focus is about half or three-quarters of that of the Laser. However, it's still fairly high as it is. You'd have to test it yourself to see if it's high enough for your taste. Also, the tilt drag knob was not very ergonomic in my opinion (but I was told this might change on production units). The head comes with a fixed length panbar instead of a telescopic one but it does have a nice illuminated bubble level.

Overall, a very nice head for the price (head alone should cost about $900) with an incredible balance range. But keep in mind, if you change drag settings a lot, it's harder and slower to make big changes because you're physically working against the fluid as you turn the drag adjustment. The adjustment knob or ring feels tighter the more you turn it. O'Connors are the same way. Sachtlers are different because they have discrete fluid modules which you engage or disengage by moving pins. So the adjustment force is light and the same for all settings. But so far Sachtler doesn't have a counterbalance that has a range like the Focus. It would be cool if Sactheler used O'Connor's counterbalance system in the future since they are now owned by the same parent company.
Tim Le is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2005, 06:09 AM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
This thread is just a surperb explanation of how the Cartoni is built that I'm adding my two cents here.

EVS now has the Cartoni Focus in stock and is nicely priced. I wasted 2 weeks getting the run-around from a New York place (begins with A, ends with dorama) trying to get a Sachtler DV 4II. All I got were lies (stock room is closed, it'll be in stock in a few days, I'll call the buyer, let me get back to you). All that just to say there's something to be said about the DVINFO sponsors.

See initial evaluation in later posting.

Last edited by Les Wilson; May 27th, 2005 at 04:11 PM.
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2005, 03:56 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Posts: 624
IO haven't used this head yet, but i shoot with the DV Action Pro and the Delta head on bigger sticks regularly. (infact using both on a shoot tommorrow..)

I'm not a big fan of the Action Pro, i find it to be *too* simplifide ot give the elements of control i like - and i find the legs a little aquard, probably beacuse i'm used ot spreaders. - But it very light and fast to use - and it's not really that bad.

The Delta is a very nice head that we have under a Large DVCAM camera (Hitachi V-21W) and it works very well. the counterballance adjustment is good, and the drag adjustments have a wonderfull range from stiff enough to let go in any position, to compleatly frictionless - just incase you are shooting a nature documentay on hares in march!

I'v also shot on some of the bigger Cartoni heads and they have all worked very well. I had one under a Thompson LDK300 Triax camera which i normally used on a Sachtler and it actually prefered it for operation. :-)

Incidently allt he Cartoni heads i'v used have been from mediatrade! (the PDF link...)


- Mikko
Mikko Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Just received my Cartoni Focus today. I don't have the experience or pedigree to compare it with other heads in it's class. I can only provide my personal opinion as a serious hobbyist. This is my first head in this class so anything is a head above (pun intended) what I've previously had although I have on occasion used a Vinten 10 but that's out of this class and this world. Enough caveats.

The first thing I noticed is that it comes with an adjustable pan bar. This tidbit never showed up in any posting or review I've seen. While the pan and tilt are continuously variable, the pan has 27 discrete stops in it's range. Granted, it doesn't have a dial as a higher end model might but if you are willing to go to the end of the range and count, you can dial in consistent settings.

The adjustable counter balance is my favorite feature as it sets this unit apart in its class. The Miller DS10 and Sachtler DV4II (according to my research) are strictly ON/OFF for counterbalance, pan drag and tilt drag.

The Cartoni website specs say the focus counterbalance goes from 2.2 - 22 lbs. I was easily able to balance my XL1s without the spring drifting the tilt. It maintained the balance when the tilt drag was at minimum.

The illuminated level is a nicely implemented feature. Hit the button and it lights up for 10 seconds and then slowly dims for another 5. This feature is huge for me and I've always wondered why the other heads in this class don't have one.

I can't detect any stiction or bounce in pan or tilt. The mechanism feels consistent with Tim's description of its inner workings. The head is comprised of the inner base and a 3 piece outer part (left, right and top). The inner and top pieces have a matte finish a bit rougher as if die-cast while the left and right pieces have a smoother finish and appear as if they might be a different (denser) metal. However, I'm not a metalurgist and I offer these as just impressions from observation.

So far, I'm thrilled to have a head of this caliber at under $800 and am sure I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts. As a 100mm head, I thought it would be a great match for my Bogen 540ART legs while still clocking in at the lighter end of weight the scale at 4.4 lbs so it doesn't consume the advantages of investing in lighter CF legs.

THIS HEAD IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE BOGEN ART LEGS. The bowl handle is too large to fit inside the legs when collapsed.

My only concern thus far is the sliding plate lever being plastic. If the unit ever falls over, that thing is a gonner.

[UPDATE: May 29 - I was wrong, the quick release plate lever is not plastic. It is some kind of lightweight metal. This is good as it might actually sustain a few knocks. All told, I recall many listings for used tripods that mention certain knobs being broken and I happen to experience a loss of a knob on my Libec just last week so I was sensitive to this issue.

There is no question about the incompatibility of the bowl handle being too large for the Bogen 540 ART legs. Fortunately my last hobby was woodworking and an hours worth of a rasp and some files created a pile of dust reflecting each of the 4 knurls of the handle losing a good 1/8" off their length. Each shortened knurl had to be rounded as well. It is less than ideal and it makes an already tricky operation of closing the ART legs even trickier. It looks like Bogen has some other handle designs but Cartoni does not. I have a shoot tomorrow so I can use this unit for real.]

Last edited by Les Wilson; May 28th, 2005 at 03:55 PM.
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2005, 05:21 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 350
Thanks for the report Ernest. I'm very glad to hear they're now including an adjustable pan bar. Here's a picture of a pre-production unit back in February. Can you tell us if anything has changed, like if the adjustment knobs have changed?

http://img90.echo.cx/img90/299/focus0ga.jpg
Tim Le is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27th, 2005, 06:38 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
The tilt and counterballance knobs are the same as in the prototype. The quick release plate lever is different. The pan drag control in the production unit is different (might be a little higher so there's more to grab. Also, there's not a ring with markings.

Unfortunately, I've hit a big snag. The bowl handle of the Focus is too large for the Bogen 540ART opening when the legs are collapsed. This is a problem.
[UPDATE: Removing 1/8" off of each handle knurl circumvents this but makes closing the legs even trickier.]

Last edited by Les Wilson; May 28th, 2005 at 03:57 PM.
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2005, 10:35 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 350
For those curious, here's a photo of the production version:

http://img183.echo.cx/img183/1884/focusnew7rt.jpg

Photo courtesy of Ernest House.
Tim Le is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2005, 06:05 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 540
I got one of these last week after waiting for it for about 6 weeks. It is an excellent tripod & head combo. I got the carbon fiber sticks and I tell you, it's VERY lightweight for it's size. I will say I was surprised that the head seems to be made of hard plastic or something...not metal. I guess that helps the weight.

Anyways, I love it. ZGC sells them...go there and get one. For under $1800, these are great products.

KW
Kevin Wild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2005, 07:55 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Just a followup after using the head in the field. The head is a pleasure to use. I needed slow movements and I felt the only thing that prevented me from getting what I wanted was my skill.

[update June 1 2005]
The head appears to be built from metal castings. Where did you see information otherwise? If it was my earlier posting, then I was mis-understood. To recap:

The tilt and counterbalance knobs are rubber.
The bowl lockup, pan tension, pan lock, pan bar locks and tilt lock knobs are ABS.
Everything else appears to be metal of various kinds.

Last edited by Les Wilson; June 1st, 2005 at 06:50 AM.
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 18th, 2005, 08:18 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 143
Anything new to add guys? I'm about to order mine...
Brian Wells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2005, 09:47 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: London UK
Posts: 83
Quote:
Unfortunately, I've hit a big snag. The bowl handle of the Focus is too large for the Bogen 540ART opening when the legs are collapsed. This is a problem.
[UPDATE: Removing 1/8" off of each handle knurl circumvents this but makes closing the legs even trickier.]
I had to smile at that. I have a Laser head and have exactly the same problem with my 540 art legs. It can be a real pain and defeats the purpose of the 540 in essence. Nevertheles the Laser head has been superb, very professionally featured for the price, stepless drag and C/B up to 10kg (actually a bit more if pushed).
Jonathan Lee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 143
As of today, all the major dealers are out of this head: B&H, Adorama, ZGC, Abel CineTech, and I think I got the last one from EVS. The US distributor for Cartoni (STE-Man) doesn't have any on hand, either.

Reportedly, Cartoni is still struggling to fulfill the NAB orders! Making matters even more interesting is how Europe pretty much shuts down during the entire month of August for vacations. So, the earliest additional stock would be available is in September! What a mess!

... But, I got mine : )

*yippee*
Brian Wells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2005, 10:18 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 143
... that sounds like it is a great tripod, to be selling way more than production can handle.


cool, I'm casually shopping around for 1, and was thinking of a bogen (to avoid change base plates for my magiqcam rig) or a vinten vision 3 (which I know will be costly) but this interesting head+tripod came along.

I'm pretty sold on the idea that the spirit level has a light. Nice touch. shoulda seen this way WAY back, tripod designers !
__________________
Do more, learn more
Wesley Wong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2005, 06:33 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Am becoming dissatisfied with this head on Bogen Art legs because of the problem with the tie down cup handle. FYI, the Bogen part below does not solve the problem as the threads on the Cartoni Focus head don't match. Sigh.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
Les Wilson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:07 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network