Sachtler Ace M Tripod - Video Head Drag Worn Out at

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Old August 18th, 2015, 09:40 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5
Sachtler Ace M Tripod - Video Head Drag Worn Out

Greetings from Aurora, Canada.

I bought a Sachtler Ace M (MS) tripod 3 years ago from Vistek to use primarily for recording hockey games. I record about 100 a year for mostly AAA teams in the area. I've been very pleased with this tripod and it definitely improved the smoothness of my game videos. Particularly when changing directions. I need the drag.

Needless to say there is a lot of back and forth and after 3 years the drag has all but worn out. When it was new, setting 1 was all I needed. Second year I was using setting 2 but didn't think much of it. Last year I finished on setting 3 and finally clued in that the drag is wearing out.

I compared my tripod to a new one in store and can verify that on the 3rd setting my video head has about 1/2 the drag as a new Sachtler Ace M on setting 1. What to do?

I spec'd out a repair/servicing in the Toronto area. $120.00 per hour plus parts. They say the final bill will be in the $400.00 to $450.00 range. Gah ... I hate when that happens. So I guess the Sachtler Ace M head is disposable?

Now I'm in the market for a new video head and/or advice on a DIY repair. I could buy the same head again and perhaps attempt the repair myself on the worn out video head, but I can't find any info online for service manuals and parts.

The other thing that surprises me is that ... surely I'm not the only one that has gone through this. I haven't been able to Google search any other users that have had the same issue of the drag wearing out on a Sachtler Ace M.

I would appreciate any advice or links that the collective here at DVINFO can offer.

Best Regards,
Randy Smith
Aurora, Ontario

PS: Vistek had initially sent me to a company called Cine-Source that they use for out sourcing repairs. I've not yet tried to get an estimate from Applied Electronics Ltd in Mississauga yet though I do know their hourly rate is also $120.00 per hour.

PSS: I've been using a Canon HF G30 mounted on a Shape Paparzzi, sometimes with a Zoom H6. I don't think weight should be an issue.

Last edited by Randall Smith; August 18th, 2015 at 10:01 AM. Reason: improve grammar and clarity
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Old August 18th, 2015, 08:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,646
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Re: Sachtler Ace M Tripod - Video Head Drag Worn Out

Welcome, Randall................

It does seem a very short period before requiring a service, maybe they ain't making them like they used to......

Then again, to be fair, the Ace is a very cheap system in the greater scheme of things, when compared to the higher end support systems, most of which would be bought by pro users who don't bat an eye at maintenance costs, they being tax deductible and all.

I'd get a quote from Applied Electronics for a full service on the head and repair of (?) drag and see what they say.

With that you appear to have four options:

1. Service/ repair existing head and suck it up as a basic operating cost which will be ongoing. Cheaper than a new Ace M though.

2. Buy a new Ace M and save the buggering around fixing the old one. More expensive though.

3. Buy a new FSB 4 Alloy sticks system which isn't twice the Ace M price (but nearly) and hope they last better than the Ace. The bonus is a better head and better sticks and, just maybe, servicing only every 5 years, if that. Most expensive option but has some merit.

4. None of the above, which leaves plenty of room for maneuver.

Sachtler, to the best of my knowledge, do not publish maintenance manuals for their equipment, so "doing it yourself" could be a fraught affair, even if you could get the relevant parts, which may not be available.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Old April 12th, 2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 7
Re: Sachtler Ace M Tripod - Video Head Drag Worn Out

Hi Randall,

I am a new member here. I'm sorry I didn't see your post sooner. We at IJES specialize in the repair of camera support systems and have trained in the facilities of the Vitec group on Sachtler, Vinten and OConnor equipment. (As well we trained with Cartoni and Miller.) We are fully authorized to repair all brands.

Your Sachtler Ace M would take us 1 1/2 hours to replace either the pan or tilt drag clutch including a general service, set up and test with a maximum payload and a full report. Hence $180.00 for labour plus the clutch itself, either pan or tilt, is $125.96.

Total, unless something else is wrong with the head $305.96 plus tax and freight.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Last edited by Ian Johnson; April 12th, 2016 at 12:47 PM. Reason: changed signature
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