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-   -   How can FSB6 head be used on a flat base tripod? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/tripod-sticks-heads/467932-how-can-fsb6-head-used-flat-base-tripod.html)

Mark Watson November 17th, 2009 10:54 PM

How can FSB6 head be used on a flat base tripod?
I have been using the Gitzo GT3531 (Carbon 6X line) tripod with the Gitzo G2271M fluid head. They say it's a fluid head but after a little use I wondder if it's actually a "fluid like head". When shooting with the XL-H1A, I have to make about 6 pans to get one acceptable shot due to the head sticking in two spots. I want to use the Sachtler FSB6, but l would like to keep the Gitzo tripod legs. Does anybody know if there's a way to adapt this tripod for use with the bowl-type head? I think so but don't want to order the wrong parts. This GT3531 is the Mountaineer line and comes with the adjustable center pole, if that helps. Also, I can't find where extra quick release plates (camera attachment) are sold separately. Are they available for the FSB6 quick release mechanism?

Chris Soucy November 18th, 2009 12:05 PM

Hi Mark....................
1. This allows a 75 mm or 100 mm ball head to be fitted to a flat topped tripod *****IF***** the head retaining bolt is compatible with the Manfrotto spec captive nut in the adapter. I have no idea about Sachtler so cannot comment either way.

tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 325N - ADATTATORE PER SFERA

2. "XL - H1A" / "Gitzo GT3531"/ "adjustable centre pole" sounds like a recipe for terminal frustration to me. Why not put yourself out of your misery and just get the appropriate Sachtler sticks and be done with it?

3. Is this what you're after?

B&H Kit Info

If so, this is where you can get 'em.


Mark Watson November 18th, 2009 07:37 PM

Thanks Chris
I saw the 325N and was concerned that it may not be compatible. I had asked B&H about using it and they came back with a recommendation to get the GT3531LSV Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs with 75mm Bowl Adapter. I'm trying to avoid having to buy new legs.

B&H has come up with another option. They say the FSB6 can be set up as a flat base, and with the Manfrotto 438 Compact Levelling Head (B&H # MA438) I can retain the advantages of having a ball-type setup. Looks interesting.

The slide plate is just what I was looking for!

Thanks again Chris.


Chris Soucy November 21st, 2009 10:54 PM

Hi again.................
Well, sure sounds like whomever you spoke to at B&H knows their onions, the recommendations are pretty good.

Not sure why you're so wedded to those sticks tho', that centre pole cannot be doing your video any good at all.

Whatever, good to hear you have viable alternative solutions to your problems.

Keep us posted.


Mark Watson November 22nd, 2009 02:04 AM

Oder has been placed
Hi Chris,

Nobody has really explained "how" the FSB6 goes from being a 75mm ball head, to being able to mount on a flat base. On the Sachtler web site, there's a wall chart that shows this head can be used with either the tripods with the bowl or the ones with the flat base... so, it must be true.

About being "wedded" to the Gitzo sticks... well, I already own them, they are flawless, they fit in my suitcase, they're lightweight, they have the right heigth for me. The adustable center pole (I should have said "center column" before) is not any trouble for me. That big wing-nut shaped lock-down ring prevents any movement. If that's not enough reason to want to hold on to these... then let me just borrow a quote from the Gitzo site:

"Mountaineer - The most technologically advanced tripod available"

'nuff said.

So in the end, I compromised. I placed my order with B&H for the FSB-6 (SAFSB6ML2CFS), Sachtler extra Wedge Plate f/DV 1 (SAWPDV1) and the Ball Leveller (MA438). The leveller looks kind of chincy, but I'll give it a try. The compromise part is that the version of the FSB-6 that I ordered includes a set of "sticks" that are designed for use with this fluid head. Hated to do that, but I needed the back up plan, just in case. I don't have time to discover the frankenpod route is not gonna cut it and then order some compatible sticks and await delivery. Make sense?

I know you're gonna ask, so here's the answer. The Gitzo is 3-stage and collapses down so it just fits inside my suitcase. The Sachtler is a 2-stager, 6 inches taller and won't fit. Okay for when I'm going by land or sea, but I won't take them if flying to the location. They were only an additional $300, which isn't bad for carbon fiber. If plan A works, then I guess I'll have a spare.

I will let you know how it all works out.

Best Regards,

Jack Walker November 22nd, 2009 12:42 PM

I don't believe the FSB6 can be mounted on a flat base. I looked at this chart, and it does not show this:

This Sachtler link says that the FSB 6 can only be used on a bowl (native 75mm or w/adapter 100mm):
sachtler: Fluid heads

Sachtler makes heads for 150mm bowl or flat-based pedestals. However, none of the 75mm bowl or 100mm bowl fit a flat base without a third party adapter, it seems.

However, because Sachtler charges so little for the tripod when buying the head (and charges so much for the head without the tripod), it only makes sense to get the tripod/head kit. The heavier tripod can be better in some situations when you want more downward stabilility (weight and less knock-over danger).

However, as B&H said, if the you want the convenience of a Gitzo tripod for weight and travel, and the increased lack of torque movement, the correct ones are the systematic line that take a 75mm bowl, a 100m bowl, or a flat head by changing the small and lightweight adapter. There is even a center column made for the Series 3 Systematic tripods:
Gitzo | GS3511S Compact Rapid 6x Carbon Fiber Center | GS3511S

For video the standard Gitzo model is GT3531LSV Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs with 75mm Bowl Adapter:
Gitzo | GT3531LSV Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT3531LSV

I have the longer version of the same tripod, the GT3541XLS. This is over 6 feet tall, but still goes in a suitcase:
Gitzo | GT3541XLS Systematic 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod | GT3541XLS
However, it comes with the flat base adapter, so you have to buy the 75mm bowl interface separately:
Gitzo | GS5320V75 75mm Bowl Adapter | GS5320V75 | B&H Photo Video
Or the 100mm bowl interface:
Gitzo | GS5320V100 Bowl Interface 100mm | GS5320V100 | B&H Photo
And here is the flat base separately:
Gitzo | GS3320SP Systematic Flat Plate | GS3320SP | B&H Photo

In my opinion, it would be worth getting one of the Gitzo Series 3 tripods at some point to use with the Sactler. For stability, light weight, and size, there is noting comparable to the Gitzo legs, in my opinion.

ARe you sure you are using the G227M head? This is a pan and tilt head for still cameras:
G2271M Gitzo 2380 head is a friction "fluid" head. It works better for still cameras (tracking) than video.

Here are the current Gitzo fluid and fluid-like heads:
gtizo fluid head
You might have the Gitzo G-2380, which is a fluid head based on friction. It is best used by still cameras for tracking. The Gitzo video head is the 1380. It is excellent, comparable to the FSB 6 in function, but more work because of springs that need to be changed. I also have the 2180, a small fluid-like head, for carrying and carryon travel. It works okay, but is not great. However, the same camera plate can be used on all Gitzo heads, which make for convenience when using several cameras on the different heads.

Mark Watson November 23rd, 2009 02:59 AM

Thanks Jack, I appreciate you taking the time to research and weigh in. Perhaps I misunderstood that compatibility chart. It showed the FSB6 in the tripod category of 75mm and also Flat Base/Studio. I took it that the Pedestal CI must be a flat base. I'm afraid you're correct about there being some adapter involved.

What I wish I could do is order the base part that is on the Systematic tripod. I looked in the Gitzo site for spare parts for the the GT3531LSV but there aren't any. Would be simple to remove the screws holding on the legs and just swap out bases.

That GT3541XLS looks good. I'm 74 inches, so the extra height is a back saver.
I like my Series 3 GT3531. If I can't make it work with the FSB-6 head, I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and sell them at a loss (paid $1,000 in April this year at a Tokyo store).

I have the G2271M fluid (like) head. The source of my problem. Not really good for video. I don't think the store had the 1380 fluid head. Or maybe they did and the price shocked me. I liked the low-profile, light weight magnesium build of the G2271M. Guess I'll keep it for my still photography.

I looked in the manual on the FSB-6 and there's no illustrated parts breakdown to see the details of what you have once you remove the screws holding the semi-sphere on.

Best Regards,

Jack Walker November 23rd, 2009 12:23 PM

The only suitable flat-base fluid head for your camera and tripod that I know of is the Bogen 503HDV. However, it is not near the same quality as the Sachtler FSB6.
Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 503HDV Professional Video | 503HDV

I don't know if the Bogen adapter can be used on the FSB6. I don't know if the screw is the same. I have one of these adapters, and it works for my Cartoni head but not my Gitzo head. I don't have a Sachtler FSB to try. It probably won't fit, but I don't know. I may have a chance to try it later this week, so if I do, I'll post the results.

I don't think it is reasonable to rebuild the mountaineer tripod to be a systematic. If you could get the parts, I think they would end up costing you more than buying the right tripod and selling the other one. However, since your new head comes with legs, I would keep the whole lot. The Gitzo will never wear out, it's the best there is, and I think you will find use for it in time upcoming. Then add the tall systematic tripod to your collection. Of course, to follow this suggestion, it is helpful to be rich.

I would definitely keep your existing head for still use. Video don't have the adjustment necessary for still cameras. Most importantly, video heads can't be turned into portrait mode.

The Sachtler FSB6 is good enough to go through the trouble to get a tripod that works with it. The Bogen 503HDV flat head is asking to be dissatisfied.

Jack Walker November 23rd, 2009 08:14 PM

Good News... probably
The Sachtler thread fits this Bogen adapter:
Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 325N Video Head Adapter | 325N

B&H photo is upside down. Here is another description and photo:
tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 325N - ADATTATORE PER SFERA

The only problem may be that the bolt is not quite long enough when using the 75mm adapter ring. However, there is also a chance it is long enough.

I tried the the bold and the threads are the same. However, I am still looking for an FSB head in Los Angeles to try. I have the adapter.

(I went to Vitec who owns Sachtler, and there appears there is no one in Southern California with an FSB6 or FSB anything in stock. I also checked three rental companies in Burbank (two of them dvinfo.net sponsors) and none of them carry Sachtler DV or FSB heads. But I am still looking.)

Mark Watson November 23rd, 2009 11:03 PM

That's very encouraging.
I'm leaving tomorrow for a short vacation in Thailand and am going to look for that adapter. I checked my Bangkok yellow pages and didn't see any references to Sachtler. I'll recheck under the Vitec name. Camera gear there is either cheaper or about the same as amazon prices, without the sales tax or shipping costs. (Last Thanksgiving I got a 580EX II flash unit for $330 there). Pantip Plaza in Bangkok carries nearly everything Canon sells, except I've never seen a pro model camcorder. I'll check on tripods/accessories and see if I can find any Gitzo/Bogen/Sachtler gear. If I come across the 325N adapter, I'll just get it as long as there's a possibility of it working with the FSB-6. Thanks a lot Jack, you've gone above and beyond.

Best Regards,

Jack Walker November 24th, 2009 11:24 AM

The 325N adapter definitely will work, one way orthe other.

Probably the 75mm plate that comes with it will be fine. and make sure you get this, and it's not listed separately.

However, if the bolt on the head is not quite long enough, there is another third party 75mm plate that will work with the adapter. It's essentially a large steel washer that drops into the bowl and has a bevelled 75mm opening.

One way the other the 325N will work. (And if I run into an FSB6 head, I'll try it.)

And it's no problem. I have had to deal with these issues a number of times. I have a slider and a jib that need a flatbase head, which I don't own, so I have to adapt it. I have a 100mm hi-hat that needs a special adapter to use a 75mm half bowl head. I needed a short locking nut for a Gitzo head, and Gitzo no longer makes it, but I found out one of the Vinten short locking nuts fit the odd thread on the Gitzo... etc. etc. etc.

All of these issues are taken care of in the 150mm range for the big cameras, though sometimes with proprietary mounting systems... but at least there is a system. In the world of small cameras, there is mostly a jumble of miscellaneous solutions that have little or no integration.

Mark Watson December 10th, 2009 04:39 AM

It Lives!
I picked up a Manfrotto 325N, ball-to-flat base adapter in Bangkok and the FSB-6 with CF legs arrived yesterday. The 325N has more heft then I had imagined and attaches easily to the flat base of the Gitzo tripod. With the 75mm ring plate (included with the 325N) installed, the bolt extending from the bottom of the FSB-6 cannot engage the threaded insert in the 325N. It needs to be about 3/8 inch longer I think. I removed the 75mm ring and just set the FSB-6 into the 325N and it tightened down good. I don't see where any damage is being done to any of the parts. It all looks like an acceptable solution. I thought there might be some marring of the lower curved surfaces of the FSB-6 head but there isn't. Having said that, I'd just prefer to go ahead and look for a big flat washer like Jack was talking about, for peace of mind.

I like the Sachtler sticks. They collapse down shorter than I expected. The specs I had read indicated the CF ones were about 33 inches. Turns out they are 26.75 inches long and will fit in my suitcase afterall. The Gitzo is 25.5 inches fully collapsed. For an extra $300, they are a steal. A nice carrying bag was included also. Can't wait to try all this stuff out!

Richard D. George December 25th, 2009 12:58 PM

You will love the Sachtler FSB head. The Sachtler CF sticks are OK, and so are the Gitzo CF sticks with 75mm bowl.

Mark Watson December 30th, 2009 07:37 AM

Agreed. I took a two week vacation and got to use the FSB6. I decided to try out the Sachtler sticks as well and see how I liked them. For the short time I used it, the FSB6 worked great. The ability to balance out the camera's weight, the resistance adjustments in the pan and tilt axes, and the super smooth action made a huge difference in the quality of my panning shots, even at max zoom. Compared to the lightweight head I was using before, the FSB6 is much heavier.

The sticks are okay. They take longer to set up than the Gitzo CF tripod and although I'm sure it's well-built, the Sachtler CF tripod is held together with lots of little individual parts, which means more potential failure points.

On a side note, I recently noticed that as my gear becomes more professional looking, the more I am being restricted from using it in some public places; parks, zoos, inner city.

I think there's a Gitzo Systematic 75mm tripod in my future. Hmmm... need to check the weight differences between it and the Sachtler and my other setup, Gitzo flat base with adapters. I'm not greedy, just want the best possible solution for any situation I might encounter and also be light-weight enough that I can lug it around for several hours, in high heat and humidity. Oh yeah, and fit in a suitcase.

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