Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head at DVinfo.net

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Old February 28th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #1
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Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

The reports on the small Sachtler Ace M are uniformly good for the head and bad for the aluminum sticks that it comes with. My local dealer, VideoSmith, said they bought a few of them and all the legs came apart.
Any suggestions of a good set of sticks to put this sweet little head on? It has a 75mm ball. I want to mount a Canon XF100 on it.
thanks

Last edited by Ron Kanter; February 28th, 2013 at 08:01 PM. Reason: added more specs
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Old February 28th, 2013, 10:24 PM   #2
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

How much are you prepared to spend?


CS
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Old March 1st, 2013, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

The Ace w/aluminum sticks is about $500
With carbon fiber sticks it is about $950 when the are available in mid April.
I guess the 3rd party tripod would have to be either much less than $450 or much better than the soon-to-be-released Sachtler CF tripod.

Also, check out a new thread I am starting about Sachtler's change in the manufacture of the aluminum tripod.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 07:19 PM   #4
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

OK, got two options for you that I have personally reviewed, both, however, with caveats.

The cheapest is the Libec RT 30B @ $216 B&H.

For such a light build it's actually a very good performing tripod, let down. however (unless it's been upgraded) by a totally pathetic mid level spreader.

In order to squeeze every last millimetre out of the units height, Libec made the spreader arms so short that the leg angles, even with the arms fully extended, are ridiculously high, making it quite unstable.

[ I suggested to Barbara she ditched the current Ace sticks and re - badge this Libec unit - with a new spreader - it didn't go down at all well. Oops.]

The second is the Manfrotto 546B @ $374 B&H.

This is one very good performing tripod, second in my rigidity tests only to the sticks under the Vision Blue.

However, not everything in the garden is rosy, as the "spreader curse" has struck these as well.

In a deluded attempt to get the sticks to go higher and lower than any other (which it will) Manfrotto made the spreader arms so long that getting the inner extenders back into the outer sleeves is the mission from hell.

This is, I hasten to add, not just my opinion, this spreader has earned a truly amazing notoriety across the entire blogsphere.

Great tripod as long as you never have to extend the spreader arms.

I won't recommend anything I haven't actually used, so that's it from me in your price range, I'm sure you'll get other suggestions.

Update:

Upon reflection there MAY be an issue with non Sachtler sticks and the clamp knob of the Ace head IF it is of the standard FSB "lollypop" type. Never having seen one I don't know what it actually has.

The long "lollypop" may snag on the top of the closed spread boss depending on the particular tripod configuration.

This can be solved by buying either the short Sachtler clamp knob at some considerable expense, or the much cheaper Libec knob from the RS 250 head, the part number will be on the Libec web site somewhere.

Yes, Libec and Sachtler share the same clamp bolt dimensions.

The down side of the Libec clamp knob is that it has similar dimensions to the Vinten 3 lobed knob, and an almost equally humungous clamp cup, giving seriously reduced head angle adjustment travel on many tripods, though there won't be any issues if you buy the Libec sticks to go with it.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; March 1st, 2013 at 07:36 PM. Reason: +
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Chris,
Thanks for the suggestions.
I will check them out.
Ron
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 05:47 PM   #6
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Be aware that at least in the FSB6 series, Sachtler 75mm bowls seem a bit wider than Manfrotto bowls, as in a Sachtler head "sits" a little higher in a Manfrotto leg set than I would have anticipated...

I'm unsure of how the Ace fits... as well, the paddle style leveling bar at the bottom of the FSB6 doesn't allow Manfrotto MVB series legs to close completely...

Try before you buy.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 08:52 AM   #7
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

My Ace let me down....at least the sticks...in the middle of a shoot and I had to reposition the camera,so I picked up the tripod and one of the legs come off at the top where it joins with the head or close to it...
argh..
really poor quality...the head is of course fine and smooth..
I ended up gluing it back with some industrial glue...I don't feel like spending more money on a set of manfrotto legs (would they work with the head for sure)...

the new ACE tripod coming out soon looked attractive but not anymore...
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Old March 9th, 2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Hi Ron,

Can I suggest we send you a demo unit - that way you can get your own impression of the high quality of the complete system. Just let me know whether you are more interested in Ace L or Ace M.

Barbara
Product Manager Sachtler
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Old March 9th, 2013, 02:54 PM   #9
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Barbara................

Nice to see you back here on the Forum after what seems an age, obviously keeping you busy in tripod land.

How about a bit of a challenge?

As you are probably aware, I haven't, to date, actually seen or played with an ACE in the flesh, simply read many of the numerous reviews doing the rounds, most, if not all by people who's livelihood is dependent on not annoying the crap out of manufacturers by writing damning reviews.

That, as one, they were pretty equivocal about the sticks under the ACE head spoke volumes at the time and to that rousing non chorus have been added the growing number of owners complaining about the build quality of same.

How about, I promise to take off my "Sachtler can't make cheap sticks for nuts" hat, you send me a (new) mid level spreader ACE system, and I'll tell you and the world, warts and all, what I think of the entire system?

You know I do "warts and all" pretty good.

What do you say? You up for it?

It should be most instructive to all concerned.

All those in favor, say "Aye".

Regards,


CS
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:05 PM   #10
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Hi, Barbara! I'm glad you're back in-spite of Chis' being in the "Dog House". Just teasing Chris. Heh, heh!

BTW, this has been a very interesting thread and I'm interested in any alternate recommendations for my current configuration, i.e., 'Sachtler FSB-8 and 4588 Speed Lock 75 CF Tripod'. I have on occasion used my venerable Gitzo G-1325, Mk. II Carbon Fiber tripod with a 75 mm bowl attachment. It works well and isn't quite as 'twisty' as the '75 CF' can be. Though, in truth, the presumed short-comings of the '75 CF' isn't as much of a problem as some would make of it, once you are aware of the 'issue'. You can work-around most anything as long as you understand the design pro's and con's. No matter how hard you try, you can't fool 'Mom Physics', if something is built light-weight, you're going to 'pay' for that convenience somewhere else. Can't have it both ways.

Regards to all,

J.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 02:23 PM   #11
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Barbara,

Nice to see you back on the forum. I like many were somewhat disillusioned with the the 75mm CF Speed Lock sticks. Great for it's ease and light weight but couldn't hold up to the riggers of HD cameras and especially long lenses. I've got the DV6SB head now on a set of Vinten 75mm sticks. I love this setup but looking back I should have gone with my gut an bitten the bullet to get the 100mm DV8SB 100 system you use to have. I love the feel of the Sachtler heads. Much more organic feeling to me. I also have had the opportunity to use the 100mm HD sticks and those are great.

I am currently running a fully loaded Sony EX3 (matte box, FF, nanoFlash, Extra Large batter, monitor, zoom controller, wireless mic, and sometime sunshade on monitor). Total weight is somewhere in the 12lb range. Can you tell me if Sachtler has anything like the old DV8SB 100 setup that fit that payload that came with a 100mm head and sticks? The price was very reasonable for a setup of that quality. Now for me to get something similar it seems like I would have to purchase each part separately (head, sticks, mid spreader) and the cost is much higher. I've look for a used DV8SB 100 setup and it appears no one is willing to part with one.

Thanks for any advice and help.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 02:27 PM   #12
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

James, you're absolutely right. Can't have it both ways when you're fighting physics. Even if you use super rigid lightweight materials, you still are fighting forces and momentum. Nothing can substitute for mass. I'm willing to give up lightweight for extra stability. especially in those outdoor shoots on winding days. There's a reason you see professionals using 150mm sticks even for lightweight cameras.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 03:02 PM   #13
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Garrett, et al...during my 'stills' days, I was rocking a Rollie 6008AF, 2-1/4 outfit with a full compliment of their 'prime' lenses, including their fast 300 mm telephoto. It was the reason I purchased the Gitzo G-1325, Mk II. The Gitzo was renowned for it's rock solid base.

Best regards,

J
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Old March 10th, 2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

I'll just get this in quick before Barbara takes a powder thinking I was serious yesterday.

I can assure everyone the offer was 100% rhetorical and perhaps a tad north of about 140% "tongue in cheek".

How so?

Let's look at the problems that have been raised:

The first, sticks simply falling apart, would appear to be a straight design/ engineering/ manufacture quality control issue. I should imagine the relevant departments are working like beavers to get this sorted before the sales team throttles someone.

Is any of this going to be sped up/ done better or anything else because of something in a review? It's already out there, they know, coming from me (hmm, what if it didn't fall apart?) isn't going to change anything.

The second, wobbly legs, would appear to be down to the basic design price point for the system in question, and was pretty well as surprising as the sun coming up in the morning.

It was there in all the reviews, yep, even if it was in "reviewer - ese" and thus sorta not mentioned, but if you haven't learnt to read "reviwer - ese" by now, your education is sadly lacking.

Then, look at the price point. A set of sticks and a head, with "Sachtler" stamped all over, for $500 plus change?

Even a half wit would have to know that, as the opposition isn't in the habit of studding their kit with diamonds or finishing them in gold foil, anyone buying an ACE is buying into a shed load of design and operational compromises, just on the basis of price.

So, why not say all this in (yet another) review?

a. It's been said already

b. Anyone who has, or is contemplating, the purchase of an ACE has either done their homework already, and has decided to go for it warts and all OR hasn't done their homework, so why write yet another review which those people either won't read or take note of, even if they do.

The converted have already been converted, those who are ignorant of Caveat emptor don't give a sh*t, so not much to be gained by restating the bleeding obvious.

[The proof of the pudding, we've had people who, despite having read one of my reviews which has specifically highlighted a huge problem with a system, have bought it anyway and turned up here on the Forum saying "this is aweful, what can I do about it?". ]

I keep a pretty down to earth sense of what any reviewer can actually expect to achieve with a certain subset of readers.

So, Barbara, you can come back, it's quite safe, I was just pulling your leg.


CS
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Old March 11th, 2013, 03:39 AM   #15
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Re: Alternative sticks for Sachtler Ace Head

Hi Garrett,

The DV 8/100 is still round, we gave it a new name when we discontinued the DV 8/75. It is now called DV 10 SB.

We will launch a new 75 mm tripod later this year, which will be perfect for people who look for more stability and who are ready to carry a little bit more weight.

Barbara
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