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Old March 16th, 2017, 12:16 PM   #1
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Recc for variable counterbalance head?

I find myself wanting to trade rig parts on and off a C100. My old Gitzo head has been great till now, but, requires a 5-minute spring replacement procedure to counterbalance. Don't drop a screw! I wouldn't want to change a spring on location. And, somehow, the rig pieces that I most want to use fall right between the available springs!

I'm thinking about a new head with continuously variable counterbalance, in a light-to-medium size.

Minimum counterbalance about 3.75 lbs, rarely would I go over 10 lbs. Haven't weighed the prompter, but the Gitzo can be used for it if needed with the prompter. A 3 to 12 lb range would be about perfect.

Ideally, with manfrotto-compatible qr plates (lots of bits and pieces...).

75mm bowl seems more than adequate at these weights, and matches other pieces.

Am I dreaming? Is a fully featured head an impossible dream at these light weights?
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Old March 16th, 2017, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Anybody have experience of the Cartoni Focus 8 system? It appears to ring all the bells, other than only available with tripod...
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Old March 16th, 2017, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Used Manfrotto 519 (Blue spring)?
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Old March 16th, 2017, 03:45 PM   #4
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Cartonis are fine when they are working but they often leak fluid and require repair, the studio I used to work at had three and the joke was that they were like Jaguar cars, you need to buy two, one to drive while the other is in the shop.There are all of the Chinese ones you have never heard of and few seem to use in this country, Seceed, Sirui, E-Image and then there is Benro, whose heads are almost universally reviled. Same with Manfrotto, many of us have owned several of them over the years and the panning and tilting performance never fails to disappoint.

I just picked up the Miller Air Alloy System. For around $1k for a head and legs, I couldn't find anything as good as the Miller, although it is rated from 4.4-11lbs counterbalance, not your precise 3-12lbs but I find counterbalance ratings are always under rated. I have a Manfrotto that is supposedly 8.8lbs of counterbalance yet is almost tips over with 6lbs. The Miller Air system costs under $1k (I bought a lightly used one for $699.00) or a little over $1k with carbon fiber legs, saves a pound. The head has two counterbalance settings, it made of aluminum and alloy, Miller quality and smoothness and supports up to 11lbs. I think Miller is the best head on the market next to Sachtler and O'Connor and I have a Sachtler, but it's too heavy to fly with so I bought the Miller Air. The cheap Sachtlers are not good (ACE) if you have used a real Sachtler, there is no comparison, the ACE line is simply built to a DSLR/Mirrorless price point. I've used the Miller Solo DV Carbon legs for over a decade. No spreader design yet plenty rigid makes them a great choice as I hate spreaders, all they do is make my life difficult. I liked the Miller Solo DV carbon so much that I bought the Alloy version in the package so I could have a set for my Sachtler head and a set for this new Miller head. B&H can order you the Miller head alone for $643.00 but it takes a few weeks for them to get it from Miller. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...luid_head.html

Miller Tripod - Gear Dads
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Old March 17th, 2017, 02:00 AM   #5
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I'm thinking about a new head with continuously variable counterbalance, in a light-to-medium size.
I've been using Vinten 100 and 150mm tripods for years that come with their patented "Perfect Balance" system. Put your camera at any angle and then let go and it stays at the angle you it at, even extreme angles without any tilt drag dialed in.

Over the years I've owned Miller, Schatler, Cartoni, Manfrotto, Libec and some others but my favorite is without a doubt the Vinten because none of the others have this perfect balance system. It's hardly any wonder that Vinten studio pedestals are virtually the de facto standard in studios world wide. Largely due to their amazing balance systems.

I don't know how much you want to spend but they have a pretty comprehensive range to suit most budgets.

Have a look at this video to give you a brief idea of how it works.


Something like this maybe?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...rt_System.html

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old March 17th, 2017, 03:35 PM   #6
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

The VB suggestion is a good one. Here's a review of the system I did back in 2010, shame the rats have been at the photo's:


Review: Vinten Vision Blue

A bit of sleuthing using that Google search bar at the bottom of every page should turn up reviews of my FibreTec/ V3 rig, Vision 3AS, VB3, VB5 and reviews of Manfrotto and Libec to boot.

Regards,

CS
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Old March 18th, 2017, 02:06 PM   #7
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

I really appreciate all the recommendations so far!

I'm glad to find out that there are light-to-medium weight heads with pro features/performance and continuously variable counterbalance.

Compatibility with the common Manfrotto QR plates? Chris, Christopher, Dan?
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Old March 18th, 2017, 04:15 PM   #8
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I really appreciate all the recommendations so far!

I'm glad to find out that there are light-to-medium weight heads with pro features/performance and continuously variable counterbalance.

Compatibility with the common Manfrotto QR plates? Chris, Christopher, Dan?
I am attaching the Manfrotto 394 QR plates to the Miller Plate so I can go from tripod to gimbal to slider easily. They are adequate for a small, light weight camera like my C100. I would use something heavier duty for a bigger camera like a C300 MKII, or larger.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ile_Quick.html
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Old March 18th, 2017, 05:18 PM   #9
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

The only two manufacturers that have compatible QR plates are Manfrotto and Sachtler, whose slot load plates (Manfrotto 501PL &501PLong; Sachtler - can't remember) are near identical AFAIK.

A Manfrotto 357 or 577 adapter fitted to any manufacturers QR plate allows you to disconnect the camera and Manfrotto QR plate for easy transfer to any Manfotto head that uses the 501PL or 501PLong plate.

In case that isn't self explanatory, the 357 or 577 adapter stays permanently bolted to the QR plate of whatever system you are using, the 501PL etc plate on the camera stays ditto.

It does add to the weight and bulk but may just get you where you want to go.


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Old March 19th, 2017, 12:15 AM   #10
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Re: Recc for variable counterbalance head?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Compatibility with the common Manfrotto QR plates? Chris, Christopher, Dan?
No problems. Depending on camera I often use the commonly available Manfrotto tripod adapter plate set. The Manfrotto lower segment just bolts to the Vinten slide plate and then the Manfrotto slide plate screws up onto the camera in the normal manner.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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