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Old February 22nd, 2014, 12:48 PM   #16
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

Buy a second hand decent head on ebay - there are some bargains if you look hard, and age is meaningless on well looked after ones. Vinten, Satchler and Miller kits comes up quite often, an being frank, it's crazy to put expensive kit on a head that is likely to suddenly shoot up, or down. Even worse the cheap heads wobble when you touch the pan handle, wobble when you let go, and once you move up or down more than 20 or 30 degrees with a heavy load, you have to hold the camera's weight. A second hand Vinten 3, 5 or 8 can be quite reasonable - same with the other two decent brands. A proper head improves your camera work so much that you will never be able to go back to a poor one again. I had a couple of those Manfrottos when I started and never realised they were so poor until I went better. Umpteen thousands of pounds worth of equipment on a few hundred pounds worth of support is very poor balance of money.
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Old March 8th, 2014, 10:42 PM   #17
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

Gone awfully quiet here, no feedback?


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Old March 9th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #18
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

Thanks for checking in, Chris. I didn't meant to leave you hanging.

I spoke to a rep from Sachtler on the phone and ordered a DV12 head and a set of truly monstrous sticks: the CF100 ENG-HD, "HD" signifying that these are the "heavy duty" version. The HD is not that much more expensive, percentage-wise, than the lightweight version, and since it is carbon-fiber, it's light enough.

I actually plan to post the results and some pictures of my comparative test, in case anyone is interested in the fairly obvious question: are more expensive tripods better? I just haven't finished yet.

Upon preliminary review, the answer is a qualified yes. Why "qualified," you ask?

Well, it should come as no surprise that the real secret to cinema mastery is technique, not technology. And this seems to apply not only to cameras, but also to tripods. Shooting at 300mm on a super35 sensor on this setup, as beefy as it is, isn't an automatic pass to perfectly smooth shots. I still have to balance the rig carefully if I don't want the head to "ease back" slightly when locking off a tilt, for example. And the wind can still catch my 7" monitor and cause problems.

But the good news is that the issue I was having with my HEARTBEAT ruining my shots, just by holding the pan handle, is completely resolved by the DV12. I don't know why, perhaps the more robust fluid drag dampens the vibrations... but it works.

And the sticks are fantastic. I didn't even notice until I started to use them that previously, with my Manfrotto 535, I actually had to hold onto the tripod when executing a high-drag pan to keep it from shifting around and losing its footing. The grippy feet (sold separately) and the mid-level spreader on the CF100 mean that I don't even have to think about the tripod when I'm panning anymore.

Double-extension in all three stages, really meaty locking levers, and scary-looking double stainless-steel spikes on the feet all add up to a setup that is not only very solid, but also looks like military tech from some video-game.

So, for a mere $6,000, my problems have been solved. This number could no doubt be brought lower by buying a used head/aluminum sticks, but it's really hard for me to justify that kind of expenditure on top of the unknown buyer/out of warranty risk. Heads do need to be cared for and maintained. I still have a little time to consider before my window to return it runs out, but I think the tripod is here to stay.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 02:39 PM   #19
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

Finn...welcome to the 'club'! : )

It's hard to beat good old 'mass' for stability. Ideally, we'd all like a steel beam sunken to bedrock, but that's impractical unless you an Astronomer. I have amateur Astronomer friends who have done just that. : )

I also have the Sachtler CF100 ENG-HD and the lightweight CF 75, I believe my 'tripod issues' are resolved. They're both a good combination with my Sachtler FSB 8 fluid head. Albeit, the little FSB 8 looks ridiculous on the CF 100, it's very stable.

I hope to purchase an O'Conner 1030D this year. Maybe it will be the conclusion of a journey started 4-years ago for the right 'Tripod System'.

CS - You're the 'Bomb'!

Enjoy your purchase in good health.

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Old March 9th, 2014, 05:21 PM   #20
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

Pretty close:

Quote:
the real secret to cinema mastery is technique, not technology
I think I'd prefer to say something like "match the best technology with the best technique and it all becomes effortless".

That's why nobody's air force is tooling up with Sopwith Camels, even ours (do we have one? Thought it had gone the way of the Swiss Navy and the Dutch mountaineering team).

As to your remaining foibles, that "easing back" at the end of a tilt MAY be you finding the limitations of stepped counterbalance.

It would be worth your while to try a Vinten head to see if that solves the problem, though that may possibly give rise to another problem if the short, lobed clamp knob of the Vinten won't play nice with the Sachtler tripod receiver.

The other issue you mention, with wind catching the monitor and causing "problems" (a slight, but noticeable, side to side rocking of the entire camera, perhaps?) just goes to highlight the "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" nature of the ongoing farce that is the support/ camera interface.

I refer, of course, to the fact that the $6,000 support system is connected to your $XX,000 camera rig by one poxy 10 cent 1/4" X 20 70% screw, mounted dead centre of the cameras front/ rear axis, and nothing else.

Factor in compressible rubber buffer pads on both camera base and QR plate, apply a modulated lateral force up top of the camera and away it goes, rocking around the clock.

(Interestingly enough, the very rigidity of the tripod makes this worse, a less rigid one will actually "sway" under load [not so noticeable], your CF 100 most definitely won't, hence why the rocking [very noticeable indeed]).

Roll on a decent 4 point fixing system. Ha!

Thanks for the update Finn, looking forward to the finished product.


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Old March 12th, 2014, 08:19 PM   #21
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

OK, so I'm not done with the moving test between Manfrotto and Sachtler yet. I tried (see picture), but we are in the middle of a blizzard and I thought it would make for an interesting test but instead it just coated my lens with flying ice and I couldn't even see the monitor to pull focus.

So, in the meantime, here is a cross-post to a different evaluation that I made between the performance of the Sachtler DV-12 and the Vinten Vision 8, similarly priced and rated heads that I was trying to decide between: Sachtler vs. Vinten

http://i.imgur.com/33YjzZH.jpg

Last edited by Finn Yarbrough; March 12th, 2014 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Bad Link
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Old March 21st, 2014, 06:43 PM   #22
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Re: Current Tripod is "Touchy"

OK, this one is a no-brainer for many, but I wanted to see what the real difference was. So here is a short side-by-side test that I did of a few repeated pans using the Manfrotto 516 and the Sachtler DV-12:


With the 300mm lens you can clearly see what I was talking about where my heartbeat transmits through the pan-handle and ruins the shot!

In the end, I wish that the DV-12 had just a few more steps of aggressive drag to damped my pans, especially with that super long lens. I wish that I could get that without forking over another 25% for the Video 15. But such is life.
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