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Old March 30th, 2012, 07:47 AM   #1
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Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

Hi guys,

Well I've finally wittled my tripod options down to a final three, all three have a weight-range of up to 12kg/26lbs:

- Sachtler DV8-SB (75mm bowl) with Sachtler 75 ENG sticks - $2000

- Cartoni Focus HD (100mm bowl) with Miller Solo VJ CF sticks - $2000

- Miller Compass 20 (75mm bowl) with*Miller Solo DV CF sticks - $2400

From what I've read so far, all three heads are supremely smooth, so my main concerns lie with the versatility of a 75mm bowl vs. 100mm, ease of counterbalancing, and build quality/reliability.

I've heard mixed reviews on the build quality of the old Cartoni Focus (the non-'HD' version), and was wondering if it had improved with the updated version?

I've also heard less than flattering reports on the Sachtler 75 ENG sticks with their 2:1:1 arrangement, can anyone comment on whether they genuinely pose an issue?

My only real concern with the Compass 20 is forking out the extra $400 for a 75mm bowl tripod, though it may not pose a real issue, I'm also concerned about only having 4 counterbalance settings (versus the Sachtler's 12 and the Cartoni's 'infinite' option).

Any thoughts, suggestions or preferences (that might help me finally make a bloody decision and move on with my life) would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Mark
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Old March 30th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #2
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

I have a Sachtler FSB 4 and a Cartoni Focus (non "HD" model). I love them both. Principally because they are side loading and well built. Others may feel differently but I feel the continuous resistance and counterbalance are more marketing than functional. With the Sachtler, I can switch cameras and rigs (e.g. add a teleprompter) and dial in the resistance, counterbalance and align the plate for COG exactly the same each time.

I have the Sachtler DA-75/2D ENG legs with the supposed horrid 2:1:1 design. I shopped them for compactness and weight. they are among the smallest if not the smallest 75mm bowl prosumer class legs I found. For me, getting the legs through international and prop airline flights and into the bush was more important than having to hold the end of a pan a second longer. There were zero ruined shots from those legs. YMMV

The Cartoni sits on some Bogen 542art CF legs. You'll have to pry my dead cold hands off of those things.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 06:06 AM   #3
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

Thanks Les, from your feedback (and others') it sounds like I can't really go wrong with any of these options. Guess I just have to bite the bullet and pick one.

What are your thoughts on the build quality of the focus HD?
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

I don't know where the build quality comments are coming from. I've had a marvelous experience with mine spanning 3 cameras since 2005. Perhaps that's the rub....mine is the original. The important things that suffer wear and tear and that you want to be tough are not plastic. Everything has proper clearances. Nothing I've found is cheap white metal.

All that said, heads are part of the equation, you spend a lot of time setting up and striking the legs. Efficiency there is a factor that *may* be important to you. Heads are enormously complicated internally and I'm sure there's a reason Sachtler and Vintens are more expensive. I personally cannot stand rear slide mount heads and designs that require reaching blind to the opposite side simply to release the camera. YMMV.

One last note, someone always points out the Sachtler 75 ENG legs are 2:1:1. I had a chuckle the other day when I looked at my FSB-4 setup for an interview and at the proper height, the legs didn't even have the last tube extended so they were 2:1. But that is the tradeoff for the smaller size and weight which may or may not matter to you.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 07:09 AM   #5
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

I have a Cartoni Focus head and sticks. Very solid and smooth and no quality issues. I think the only negative review comment I've read was that someone didn't like the light on the level or something of that nature. The fact that they are out of favor right now might work to your advantage price-wise.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Sachtler, Miller or Cartoni?

Not sure if you've made your purchase... I've used all of the elements you're considering - except the miller head - and all in different combinations. I'm about to buy a Sachtler DV10 and Cartoni legs separately. Have you considered Cartoni legs? I like them better than Sachtler. Most of their clamps flip up as opposed to many of the Sacthlers I've used which flip sideways - a seemingly minor detail but one that you might want to demo. I find the up/down quicker and easier. While I like the portability of Miller's solo sticks, and low height you can get, I couldn't stand the twisting twistlocks, 6 times per setup.

Personally, I don't think Cartoni's continuous drag is a necessity, and I find my hand slips a lot on the drag control. There's something nice about the indexing on Sachtler drag control - when it locks in, it just feels solid - actually feels like expensive engineering haha. If you're in Australia, I'd say that's the best place in the world to buy Miller, no? They're all good choices though. Good luck
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