Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 13th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #1
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Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Hi all,

I do a fair amount of flying and traveling with my gear. I currently own a big, fat, heavy-weight tripod for UK jobs but my current lightweight sticks are a little too light.

Sooo, I'm looking for sticks that will support my PMW350 2/3" camera, go reasonably high (6ft plus) and are as light as possible. They must also pack down to under 1m in length.

I was looking at the Miller Solo carbon legs with possibly an Arrow 25 or Compass 20/25 head? Any experience with those? Any better suggestions?

Light and compact is critical, performance is important but I'm not doing long lens wildlife, price is a consideration but I'll pay for quality.

Thanks all!
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Old March 13th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #2
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Sachtler FSB series is one to look at. These are side mounted heads. Beware, once you experience one, you may never want to go back to a slide mount. :-)

There's also Vinten, Libec and Cartoni. Some searches on DVinfo will provide a plethora of discussions and articles on tripod heads and legs.

Here's a convenient page of specs on the Sachtler legs that may help selecting one with the specs that match what you want:
B&H Photo - Sachtler Tripod Comparison Chart
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Old March 13th, 2012, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Thanks Les,

I've already searched but struggled to find anyone discussing the lightweight options for full size cameras.

I have some time to test in person but need to narrow my options first as I don't have time to try everything.

Thanks for the heads up on the Sachtler FSB series, has anyone compared those to the competition?
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Old March 13th, 2012, 03:03 PM   #4
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

If you are interested in single tube tripods, take a look at the Gitzo systematic tripods. The three series in combination with a Sachtler FSB series head is a popular option. Sachtler also make a single tube tripod called the Telescopic Tripod (TT)
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Old March 13th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Kilgour View Post
If you are interested in single tube tripods, take a look at the Gitzo systematic tripods. The three series in combination with a Sachtler FSB series head is a popular option. Sachtler also make a single tube tripod called the Telescopic Tripod (TT)
Thanks Owen, very helpful! Any idea how they compare with what Miller offers? Like I said, I'll try and test for myself but trying to narrow it down a little.

Ideally I'd like a 100mm ball head so I think that may exclude Gitzos..?
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Old March 13th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

I don't have experience with a mobile full size camera. The Ikegami I use is stationary on a Vinten Pedestal. That said, I'll speak to that which I know based on my own hands on experience and the conclusions I've come to. Basically, I think the name brand Sachtlers, Vintens, Libec and Millers built for the rig weight you have are going to pretty much be fine. However, because they last so darn long, it's hard to find personal experience with the particular current model you are looking at. I have Cartoni and Sachtler and love them.

I see people refer to a spreadsheet here on DVinfo that Chris Soucy made by running a bunch through some bench tests. I haven't read it but that may give you some useful information. I am surprised he hasn't weighed in on this thread yet. Anyway, I think you'll find the Vitec group of equipment makers interested in helping you out and maybe even sending you a trial rig.

Vinten, Sachtler, Libec, Miller, Manfrotto Shootout
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Old March 13th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #7
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Hi, Mike............

On a bit of a hiding to nothing with this quest, based on my experience.

Looking at your list of requirements is like looking at a "the tripod nobody's built yet" poster.

6 foot plus, lightweight, packs to less than a metre, can hold a 2/3" (HD?) camcorder without breaking a sweat and won't wobble about like a bowl of jello.

Somethings got to give here, and only you can decide what that something is going to be.

Can we start with what your light and heavy supports are currently and what, especially, is unsatisfactory about the light set up?

It at least gives me some sort of bench mark to work to.

Moving on, heads.

Given the inherant mass of that camera, and that whatever it's sat on isn't going to be the most robust support known to man, I'd suggest the Sachtler FSB series, as their minimum pan drag is really off/ zero/ nada, and their bearings are top notch slick, so will offer the least amount of torque to the sticks, seriously aiding in wind up reduction.

You can contact Barbara, Barbara.Jaumann@VitecGroup.com at Sachtler and ask her which model she would recommend for that camera, good place to start.

Tilt drag will be something else, as the stepped CB system on those heads means that in all likelyhood you'll need either drag level 1 or 2 to hold the camera if it's between CB steps, which means receiver warp is almost guaranteed on such lightweight sticks.

Not much to be done about that, I'm afraid.

As the head will most likely be a 75mm ball base, there is no reason whatsoever going for 100mm bowl sticks, on such a light build system it really isn't going to give you much but extra weight, and on single tube sticks about as much use as an ash tray on a bicycle.

As will be obvious, the lightest systems are the single tubes, with the inherant problems they throw up, you simply can't make a single tube work like a double tube, no matter how flash a "go faster stripe" you slap on it.

They do wind up, they do warp and they do wobble, quite where your pain threshold is with this you can only tell from playing.

2:1:1 are a a bit of a step up, but I have to say, not much, 2:2:1 is where they start to become really usefull, but by then the weight is starting to creep up nicely.

Given that there is going to have to be some serious compromise here, I'd give a couple of sets of single tubes a try out and see if you can live with them - Sachtler, Gitzo and Miller are all worth a try.

Do check beforehand that they satisfy your travel criteria.

Actually take your camera, shoot some footage, and check it on the big screen back home before you get too excited, that big screen test is a killer for bad camera support.

Without more info I can't offer much more help, but at least you can get the head sorted.


CS

PS: I keep forgetting, Barbara can organise a tester system with your chosen Sachtler head and sticks, definately worth doing as you can test in "real world" circumstances.

PPS: Darn, Les, you beat me by 5 minutes!

Last edited by Chris Soucy; March 13th, 2012 at 04:44 PM. Reason: +
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Old March 13th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

Hi Chris,

At the moment I have 2 Secced tripods (they appear to have basically copied Sachtler's designs which I'm not keen on). The larger of the two is similar to a Sachtler Video 20 and while it isn't built quite as well, the performance is great - i.e. it's very smooth to operate and gets the job done. I'm happy with that one and no complaints at the price I paid!

The smaller Secced (I can't remember the model and don't have it with me) is basically too light and too small. So I want to replace it and I have the budget for something better. For anything long lens I'll use the current larger Secced so I can accept a performance compromise on the new, light sticks.

Your point is probably wise about the 100mm ball, 75mm is probably a better compromise. However, I want something that can counterbalance the PMW350 and is comfortable to use for interviews etc. Fast setup is a bonus too.

Thanks guys I really appreciate the input!!
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Old March 13th, 2012, 07:01 PM   #9
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Re: Which Lightweight Tripod for 2/3" Camera?? Any experience with Miller?

As you're going to be looking at the the Sachtler FSB heads, why not pose the same question to Barbara about sticks that fit into (or as close as anything is going to get) your criteria and see what she recommends?

The one thing I do know, the better they get, the more expensive they'll be, and here is where your pain threshold needs to be ascertained.

At least she can sort you with a few test drives to put things in perspective.


CS
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