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Old August 26th, 2011, 06:32 PM   #1
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Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Time to upgrade my support system and it looks like I have found two great products. I will be using the Canon XF100, XA10, 5D & 7D With various lenses, Zacuto Viewfinder, lilliput monitor, Rode mic. Can you give me your personal opinions/pro's & con's.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #2
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Hmm, GLG..............

There's a question and no mistake.

First, one or two for you - what are you using now (for camera support) and how long have you been using it?

I ask, as if you've been using either a Sachtler or Vinten (suspect not, but I'm trying not to assume anything on this one) it makes a difference.

The second one is budget. What is it?

As for the chosen options, well, you pays your money and takes your choice, this is a GREATLY simplified answer BTW.

The Sachtler:

Good Stuff:

Superb engineering, great bearings all round, side/ drop load head (nice), graduated slide plate with optional DSLR plate available and load line on head plate. Wide range of counterbalance weights/ COG's available.Tripod depends on your wallet thickness but have never seen a complaint about a Sachtler tripod yet.

Not so good stuff (depending on taste and wallet thickness):

Cost. Stepped everything - tilt and pan drag, more importantly stepped counterbalance, I find it a pain. Pan arm seems to have a mind of its own [on my demo FSB 6, may be demo damage though, to be fair!], CF 75 SpeedLocks useless for HD, but that's just them, never had a chance in that market, not indicative of Sachtler overall.

Vinten VB:

Good Stuff:

Cheap as chips for what you get. Continuously variable everything, though not entirely sure it has the load range of the Sachtler. Does "what it says on the tin" to quote a past marketing theme. Sticks are pure Vinten and as solid as a rock.

Not so good stuff:

Slot load and no (highlighted) graduated slide plate or load line on head - naughty! Bearings not up to Sachtler standard but you'd never see the difference in anything shot. Doesn't have the Sachtler "Nobody ever got fired for buying a Sachtler" thing (yet) but they're getting there.

Any help?


CS

PS: All IMHO, of course.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 03:15 AM   #3
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

The Vinten VB is my tripod of choice, but...

You may have some problems with smaller camcorders and cameras on it. The minimum counterbalance setting is really suitable for approx. 2kg (4lbs). If your camera is much lighter, then you will be fighting the spring. If your rig approaches 2kg normally, then you'll be fine.

I use a (< 2kg) Sony NX70 on mine, and have made it work well by adding a Manfrotto sliding plate to give extra weight/height for COG.

The Sachtler counterbalance will start from 0kg, which is potentially much more useful for smaller cameras. It is stepped, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc., so adjustment isn't as perfect as the Vinten, and you may have problems hitting a good counterbalance setting, in theory. In practice, all those people using Sachtler kit can't all be wrong!

I think the Vinten legs are the best in the world. My experience with Sachtlers was the CF speedlocks, which were a bit flexible at times, but not noticeable in normal use. The Vinten is a heavy beast, and may be awkward to carry for long distances.

With the VB:
- XF100 is probably OK (maybe with the Manfrotto plate or similar to add ballast). I have a friend using an XF100 on one and he's delighted with it.
- The XA10 is too tiny
- The DSLRs may be too light as well, depending on how heavy your glass is.

In all honesty, these are both serious tripods and you can't go wrong. It comes down to:
- budget
- will your camera balance OK
- personal preference

On the plus side, at least you are choosing between two decent brands, and not comparing Velbon and Hama...
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Old August 27th, 2011, 04:44 AM   #4
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

From what I read here from trusted individuals, I don't think you can go wrong with either but you are putting lightweight cameras on some gear that will handle a lot more. Congratulations for picking good stuff. Either will last you for your next camera or two.

I have an FSB4 as my "B" camera and on-the-go tripod. It's strong enough to hold a 36" slider for a DSLR as I'm sure the Vinten is as well. However, I appreciate the small collapsed length and light weight of the Sachtler legs. Because it's my mobile tripod, I actually like the stepped counterbalance and plate with markings. It makes setting up the tripod for my different loads 1-2-3 as the settings and positioning is precise. YMMV.

Specs are sometimes hard to find. Here's a useful chart on the Sachtler legs at B&H:
B&H Photo - Sachtler Tripod Comparison Chart
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Old August 27th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
From what I read here from trusted individuals, I don't think you can go wrong with either but you are putting lightweight cameras on some gear that will handle a lot more. Congratulations for picking good stuff. Either will last you for your next camera or two.
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Do you think it's overkill? If so, what would you recommend?
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

The FSB-4 specs say a max load of 8lbs. The Vinten Blue shows an operating range of 4.6-11 lbs. If your rig is within those then you're good. I like the Sachtler's side loading. YMMV.

Remember, tripods like these will outlast your current rig.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Lee Gordon View Post
Do you think it's overkill?

Absolutely not.

I can pretty well guarantee that anything less than a VB or a decent Sachtler rig will very quickly drive you to distraction as you get more finicky about your HD quality.

You then get onto the camera support merry go round where you upgrade/ upgrade/ upgrade and end up spending 3 times what you would have spent to get a decent system in the first place.

The thing you MUST do is to ensure that the rig weight, max height, min height, transport height, stick rigidity, operating speed and cost are all lined up like ducks to suit your requirements.

There's no point buying a 15 pound support if you spend your time mountain climbing!

Similarly, going for an extremely light weight set of sticks could leave you seriously wanting in the rigidity stakes if most of your shooting is set piece/ tracking/ in windy conditions.

The VB is the cheapest, best all rounder sold as a package, excellent head, ditto sticks..

The FSB 4 is an excellent head but very much dependent on the sticks under it, stick a set of 75 CF SpeedLocks under it and you will ask yourself why you did so for an A cam, in very short order. Sticking a really decent set of Sachtlers there may well take the cost above your budget.

Neither system is, in any way shape or form, overkill.

Do the homework, count your pennies and go for it.


CS

PS: All IMHO, of course.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; August 29th, 2011 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Whoops!
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #8
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

When looking at various tripods and heads, read through all of Chris Soucy's reviews before you start looking. Chris' reviews provide an excellent source of information about the various features offered, what works, what doesn't and why. Armed with this knowledge, you will be in a better position to determine more specifically what your needs are and what products will meet those needs.

Chris' reviews and online conversations we had helped me decide to purchase a VB last Fall. I have been using it under various conditions and am extremely pleased with my decision and purchase.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 07:49 AM   #9
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Re. "overkill".

There's so much more to a decent tripod than just the payload. Until one has worked with a high spec tripod like a Vinten or Sachtler, this difference is not apparent.

I use a tiny Sony NX70 (and before it, an almost-as-tiny Panasonic HMC41) on my Vinten Vision Blue. Spec-wise, they are both at the very lowest end of the VB's payload range, but I need the Vinten "feel"... the smoothness of the pans and tilts, the zero drift-back at the end of camera moves, the perfect balance, the total lack of that initial force needed to move a lesser tripod head, and just the sheer build quality of the device.

I used a Sachtler previously, and it was a great tripod. I think that, at this end of the market, the Vinten VB is a much better performer, and is a bargain for the money. Get into the ENG end of things and the differences are probably less obvious.

I sold my Sachtler, thinking that I didn't need it for a tiny camera, and bought a Manfrotto 501HDV. What a mistake.. I think of all the shots that I ruined with that Manfrotto, and all the beautiful shots I have got with the Vinten. At full telephoto, I can easily track (say) a moving train in a pan shot lasting over a minute, with no problems. The Sachtler was almost as good. I just find it impossible with the Manfrotto, and I shouldn't have to resort to carrying elastic bands with me to try to get a decent pan!
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Old August 30th, 2011, 08:23 AM   #10
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
I shouldn't have to resort to carrying elastic bands with me to try to get a decent pan!
...so very true!
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:17 PM   #11
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, especially CS - I think the Vision Blue head is one that would fit my growing needs. I just have one question that I'd like some input on if anyone would care to share:

Right now I'm using (three) Manfrotto 501HDV and 055XDB aluminum legs. My camera kit consists of an accessorized 7D and HMC150s, with (God-willing) a RED Scarlet sometime in the future. It goes without saying it's time for a tripod upgrade.

The problem is, I don't really care for the legs that come with the Vision Blue kit. My shooting style often calls for a variety of shots on not-always-even terrain, and I really like getting low angle footage. I read in another post that the Miller Solo legs were a good choice, they come in Aluminum and CF. For $500/$700 respectively. So out of the choices below, what would you all say?

1. Buy Vision Blue Kit with Mid-level spreader and deal with it (I hear they are amazing legs for the price)

2. Vision Blue head with Aluminum or CF Miller Legs (does carbon fiber do anything more than subtract 1lb?)

3. Vision Blue with other legs (Sachtler? Gitzo? Laugh at my innocence if you must...Manfrotto CF?)

With any luck I can get some cash from the Manfrottos and invest in something that will last. Thanks for the input!
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Old September 11th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #12
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Hi, Nate................

Given the range of cameras you use and that you currently have 3 support systems, I would recommend you give yourself some flexibilty.

Go for the full VB rig, for those occasions when you need rock solid but not rock bottom height, and maybe a set of Solo's for those ground hugging takes.

My only concern with recommending a non - Vinten set of sticks is that massive Vinten clamp knob, though hopefully someone can chip in with the (it will, it won't, work info).

Quite what head to put on the Millers if you're using the VB elsewhere is open, I'd say a second VB, but that might be a bit of a stretch for the budget.

You will notice when switching from the VB to the Solos their relative lack of rigidity, but you don't get that light and low without sacrificing something.

Instead of the Solo's you could look at using a Hi Hat or Baby Tripod, though the latter is more expensive than you'd think.

Your basic problem is having to upgrade three complete support systems - that's an expensive ask no matter which way you slice it.

You could go incremental and get one VB system complete and use it alongside two of your existing setups, the Vinten converts to using the Manfrotto 501PL plate simply by attaching a Manfrotto 577 adapter to the slide plate, so no compatability problems.

Upgrade the other two systems as and when the finance becomes available.

If you do specify any non Vinten sticks, do ensure that the Vinten clamp knob isn't going to be an issue, it doesn't play nice with quite a few other makes of sticks.

Hope that has helped some.


CS
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Old September 12th, 2011, 12:37 AM   #13
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Much thanks, Chris. I think I see where you're coming from, and it makes a lot of sense. If the legs that come with the kit are as solid as you say they are, it seems very worthwhile to keep them around, especially at the price.

At this time cost is definitely factor, so perhaps I can wait for a second pair of legs and use a sandbag for the time being on those low angle shots...baby tripods ARE expensive, and I prefer to travel a bit lighter than that for many shoots.

Not really sure how I came to have 3 Manfrotto kits (with ANOTHER I have access to)...most setups are just one or two cams, so at least two kits can certainly go after getting the Vinten. Any buyers? :)

Thanks again for your input. I'd still like to hear anyone else's thoughts on compatible sticks without a spreader for use with the Vinten Vision Blue 75mm head.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 12:17 AM   #14
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

So, the first stage of my "Tripod Upgrade Plan" is now complete, and I have the uneasy feeling that you're all going to be a bit disappointed in me...

...MANFROTTO AGAIN! - I like 'dem red accents!

Ok, I know what you're thinking, how did this guy go down that road again after so much pain? Well, I was looking for a nice set of used 'frotto 535 CF sticks to go with that Vinten Blue head I've been eyeing for a while, and all of a sudden, up came a 504HD/535K kit on eBay - with a bag! For just $500 she could be all mine; half the price of a new one. It was some sort of an "open box" item, but it arrived today and looks just like new!

This sucker is pretty nice - best thing I've ever owned (and that bag is SO snazzy!). Put the AF100 on it and tried it out. Nice and solid, but I saw right away the value of a continuous counterbalance as settings 1 and 2 were just a bit more and less than absolutely perfect. Time to break out the accessories and start fine-tuning I guess.

So, in the end I ended up getting the CF sticks with a free head that I never really wanted. Oh well, it it will do a fine job until the equipment budget creeps back up to get the Vinten!
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Old April 14th, 2017, 12:40 AM   #15
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Re: Sachtler FSB4 VRS Vinten Blue

Checking in after all this time and I finally bought the Vinten Blue 3. Only took 5 short years!
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