Vinten, Sachtler, Libec, Miller, Manfrotto Shootout at DVinfo.net

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Old October 19th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #1
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Vinten, Sachtler, Libec, Miller, Manfrotto Shootout

The possibility of the above is currently under discussion with interested parties.

At the moment I forsee it being aimed at support systems designed for the HD DSLR and lightweight HD camcorder sector.

From Vinten most probably the Vision Blue. Sachtler maybe the Cine DSLR, Libec most probably the new RS250, Miller - don't know, Manfrotto maybe the new 504HD.

The Shootout will be just that - a frank appraisal of the relative merits of each system, up sides and down sides, ease of use, value for money etc etc.

Each item on the check list (which is not finalised - any requests?) will be given a score out of 10, at the end each system (head, sticks, spreader and case) will be rated on it's final total score.

Each system (with the exception of the Vinten Vision Blue, which is already in the Articles section of DVinfo) will then get it's own full review, which will be a complete, warts and all, down to the last bolt deconstruction.

The questions for you all are these:

1. Any other choices for test subjects?

2. Any specifc criteria for rating or should I just make it up as I go?

3. Any other relevant comments.

As the discussions are at an early stage I cannot promise this will come off, as there is a considerable amount of string pulling (and possibly arm twisting) required, but we'll do our best.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Thanks,


CS
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Old October 19th, 2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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Vinton Vision Blue and Sachtler Cine DSLR for sure. The Manfrotto 504 should probably be included, as folks like me, who owned previous 500-series heads, are skeptical of any sub-thousand dollar Manfrotto head being suitable for HD work. Once you get over $1 thousand for a head, then you might as well spend a wee-bit more and get a Sachtler or some other true fluid head with a great reputation. Don't know about Miller choices.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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A tripod shootout sounds great Chris!

I am in the market for a new tripod as my old Libec LS22 is slowly and surely biting the dust (it was never meant to hold up an XL2, but did okay. And now I'm praying it'll still hold up my new XF300).

Looking forward to your reviews!
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Old October 19th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #4
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As one interested in natural history where the use of long lenses is common I would like to see a measure of slow panning ability. The measure would need to take into account of sensor size as well as focal length. There would also need to be some agreement on what constitutes a slow pan e.g. an agreed number of seconds to pan the camera's field of view.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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Gentlemen.................

Thanks for your comments.

The Manfrotto 504 has me intrigued, as it genuinly appears to be a break from their rather checkered past.

I decided to include it, not because I think it will match the Vinten and Sachter offerings (although I'm not pre judging anything here) but to offer a more budget unit that passes the "value for money" criteria.

Alastair

I spent a serious chunk of time investigating how to develope test equipment that could measure pan/ tilt smoothness and drag linearity but eventually canned it as at the time there wasn't anything to test.

I'll see if I can borrow one from one of the participants, they all have them. Don't fancy my chances tho' somehow.

Might just have to rely on my right arm and an eagle eye on my 46" HD screen!

I agree that it is an exceedingly important part of any test.

Keep those cards and letters coming in folks, every post is sending a message to the prospective participants.


CS

PS: Anyone want to nominate a Miller system for this?

Last edited by Chris Soucy; October 19th, 2010 at 07:35 PM. Reason: ++Update
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Old October 20th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #6
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The 504HD has had a lot of good reviews. CVP's "The Iris" magazine was complimentary, as was Nigel Cooper in his DVuser.co.uk review. It does seem interesting, but there I have a certain amount of disbelief given their past performance.

I am beyond all that... I am seeking the ultimate "tinycam" tripod. Tinycam* folks who still want a really good tripod are not catered for at all really (with the exception of the Sachtler FSB-2). But that's a whole different shootout, I guess.



*Tinycam being JVC HM100, Panasonic HMC4x, and the new Canon XF-105 or whatever it's called.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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Mike..................

Rather than go seriously "off piste" in this thread, I've sent you a mail on the subject of dinky cam support.

The answer is out there, just have to buy it second hand is all.

Come on boys and girls, this thread is getting hit more often than the bumpers on my missus' car, lets have your comments and suggestions.


CS
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Old October 20th, 2010, 03:49 PM   #8
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Chris,

(Sorry for detracting!)

Defintely I'd like to see the Millers in your tests. They make a lot of noise about their single-section legs for portability and going real low, but I haven't seen any serious comparisons.

For test subjects, I liked Nigel Cooper's idea of using a brick wall to show the bounce back/drift back of a head. The brick pattern makes it really easy to see and even measure the effect.

And of course, a handy comaprison table listing all the features the rivals have, but that goes without saying. Or maybe even a "Soucy Says" mini-comment or star rating for each performance area.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 05:47 PM   #9
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Ooooh...........................

Think I might give the "Soucy Says" thing a swerve, a bit too much like taking a very public on - line Rorschach test. No telling what horrors it might unearth.

I have the bounce back/ drift thing well in hand. Shan't go into details as it might scare the horses.

I can't understand why we haven't had any suggestions for which Miller rig. Someone out there must have one they rave about or want for their DSLR or light camcorder rig.

If it comes down to the wire I'll see what Milller themselves suggest.

Yeh, I'll be doing the tables thing, or rather, my missus will, she loves doing spreadsheets even more than dinging her car.

Have everything in there but the kitchen sink and I might just toss that in too for a bit of gratuitous sex and violence.


CS
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:05 PM   #10
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I would also like to see some mentioning of build quality. I know it`s impossible to test durability over a long time span I this test, but apart from sometimes a smoother operation durability is what sets Sachtler/Vinten(and maybe miller, no experience with them) apart from libec and manfrotto. Also I look forward to how the newer budget alternatives perform, the older ones I`ve used usually ends up broken.....or maybe that`s just me finding it fun to see how gear copes with -40 Celsius....

Also, just an idea, what about bringing in some larger systems as reference? The new Sachtler Video 18 S1 can cope with low weights, and any other alternatives from say oconnor.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:07 PM   #11
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For the Miller you would probably want to go with the SOLO DV20 kit. Their standard head for under 20 lb cameras and the carbon fiber legs.

However, you might want to decide what kind of legs you want to go with, either ENG style or tube DOC/field style.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:08 PM   #12
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Hi, Christian..................

Couple of problems with your suggestion re larger systems.

The first minor one is that the Sachtler would mean they get two bites of the cherry, tho' the main problem is that the 18 S1 may be rated for 2 kg, but that's at a COG of 150 mm, whilst most rig in use here on DVinfo have a COG no higher than a gnats kneecap.

I know the Sachtler site says they tested it with a HD DSLR rig, but it doesn't say exactly just how pimped the rig was to do it, but I think it must have been extensive.

As for Oconnor, well, as you probably know, the smallest head they do has a minimum counterbalnce weight of 15 lbs at a staggering 14 inches COG. With the light, low COG rigs standard here it could be used as a more succesful space launch vehicle than a Saturn 5 rocket.

As for durability, well, I will, of course be reporting any "It just came away in my hand, Guv." moments, not that I'm expecting many.

Part of the problem is that durability is what it is till you break it, and I feel sure the respective companies concerned would take a pretty dim view of any destruction testing.

I would also be very wary about reporting perceived durability as it can't be backed up with facts and is thus open to the accusation of bias, which I'm really hoping I can keep out of the entire project.

Thanks for your suggestions tho'.


CS
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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Chris,

I am so glad you are doing this, I'm ready to purchase my first serious tripod and want to get it right. Not sure if you're looking for input on what to test or ways of testing. My major concern is smoothness of slow pan and slow tilt and the lack of spring back when pressure is relieved. Knowing you have infinite talent, time, and budget, it would be great to test each tilt direction separately and in concert with each pan direction both during movement (releasing weights to fall) and after releasing tension (burning string to sever).
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 02:17 AM   #14
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Hi, Roger.................

All and any input is appreciated, the more the merrier.

Not sure about the "infinite talent, time, and budget", big mouth is all, or at least, most.

As I said in an earlier post, the equipment to test this stuff is available to all the manufacturers (that I'm hoping to review) that I'm aware of, and I ditched attempts to make my own as it was early days before I'd managed to get onto any of the manufacturers radar.

Things are different now, but untill I am in a postion where I know there will be a steady supply of new gear to test (which I sincerely hope will happen, especially if I can pull this off) I simply can't and won't invest time and (lots of) money re - inventing the wheel.

So, as it stands, unless one of the manufacturers concerned care to ship me one of their test units (exceedingly unlikely) you're stuck with my take on the units handling (subjective tho' that may be, much to my discomfort.)

HOWEVER, as I am probably the most anal retentive shooter in the known Universe when it comes to camera support handling, if there's a flaw, it will be noted.

Can't really say fairer than that.

Because of the lack of indepent scientific verification, I must rely on sheer skill on my part to sort the wheat from the chaff here, DVinfo'ers either take that on trust or not.

I am very aware that hundreds of people brouse this site daily and take the information contained herein seriously indeed.

As such, my responsibility for every post or review is huge, and I take it extremely seriously indeed when doing any of them.

I don't think I'm going to let anyone down here, if I say so myself, I'm bloody good at what I do.

Heck, let's see how it pans out, I still haven't got all the pigeons in a row yet, they're a particularly hard bunch to coral, even for me.

(And it would appear that my UK "fixer" has gone AWOL for reasons unknown, I'll find out eventually)

Thanks for your input, Roger.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 05:33 AM   #15
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Chris,

By the way, I really enjoyed your article on the Vision Blue. There is no substitute for your hands-on appraisal; wouldn't want to forfeit that for the best test gear. I'm a bit upside down from you, I research, develop, and test equipment as a profession and pursue videography as a hobby.

I spent a little time this morning trying to rig a poor man's pan and tilt tester with a graduated target across the yard to measure spring-back. It totally bombed. I think your instinct was right that without sophisticated gear it is totally up to a set of talented hands and eyes. No pressure but we're all counting on you!

Last edited by Roger Shealy; October 23rd, 2010 at 11:31 AM.
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