Miller DS-10 vs Sachtler System DV 6
I am trying to decide on a tripod for use with my XL1s.
I prefer to invest in a good tripod that will last me for many years and have the flexibily for future options.
I really like the Sachtler System DV-6 which comes with two stage legs, and case for $1,799. This will support up to 13.2 pounds. But it comes with a ground-level spreader, which may be less than desirable under some field work, recording Drag Boat races.
On the other hand, there is a 3 month old Miller DS-10 (831) with two stage legs, and above ground spreader, no case, which I might obtain for under $1000.
A problem with the Miller is that it has a 10 pound weight limit with fixed (pre-set) counterbalance.
I hope to use the tripod with other accessories, possibly including a night-scope lens. This may take me over the 10 poulnd limit.
The Sachtler has an adjustable counterbalance, but no above ground spreader. This Sachtler has 5 levels of drag plus a zero drag setting.
I would appreciate any advice as this is a very tough decision for me.
That's a fine price for the Miller. It should handle 10 to 13 pounds. It's for mainly indoor or outdoor shooting? - I mean on a solid floor/concrete or a sand/mud type ground. I don't know anything about that Sachtler.
Thank you for your input.
I will be shooting on grass, sand, gravel, and indoors.
I presume you know about the different spreaders? Diggers? Perhaps someone can give you some Sachtler feedback.
(One guy I know from another forum went all out for his PD150. He bought a huge O'Connor from e-bay. Now that's a tripod!)
I have used Sacthler, Miller, Vinten, ITE, and o"conner sticks.....over all, I like the vintens the best....they have the smoothest fluid action, infinitely variable counter balance instead of pre-sets, and are very well made. They are not cheap, but I am sure you can find a DV system for less than 2K.....the other brands are all good too, this is just my personal fave....keep in mind that its just as bad to get too large a head as too small......get the right head, or just slightly larger, for the load it will support....dont get a head that suports 30 lbs for a camera thats weighs in at less than 5, the counterbalance springs will be too heavey and it wont balance easily. Thats especialy true with Satchler...you will end up either fighting the spring or having no counterbalance at all...you want the load to FLOAT at virtually any position.
Steve, thanks for the good advice. Sorry for the delay in posting, I was out of town.
I think your advice about too large a head is very appropriate.
I purchased a Sachtler DV-8, which is a little too large for the XL1s, unless you have extra weight due to a larger lens or other accessories. I also purchased the Sachtler Speed Lock CF HD legs, which are great, with a mid-level spreader. I used it last weekend, and I am very pleased.
Jeff, thank you for initial advice on getting a mid-level spreader for my intended use.
If I may ask, where did you purchase your DV-8 and Speed-Lock HD leg combination? I cannot find the legs. The only ones I find have a 100mm bowl which does not match the DV-8's 75mm bowl.
There are two models of the DV 8 head:
DV 8-75 with a 75 mm bowl
DV 8-100 with a 100 mm bowl
I have the Speed Lock CF HD legs, which I highly recommend, and the DV 8-100 head to match.
The link to the DV 8-100 head at Sachtler site is:
I am very pleased with the Sachtler setup. The DV 8 head may be a little too much for a basic Canon XL1s in that the lowest counterbalance setting should be used. If I point the camera down at an extreme angle, with a basic XL1s (no extra weight), the counterbalance will attempt to move the camera slowly back to a level position. This has not been a problem for me in any way.
I am extemely happy with the Speed Lock CF HD legs. The single level locking mechanism at the top of each leg works great. You do not have to bend over to set up this tripod, nor do you have to set multiple locking mechanisms on each leg.
The legs are light, 4.4 kg / 9.7 lb and will support 95 kg / 209 lb. I also have a Petrol bag, which I recommend.
I was considering the DV 6, but stepped up to the DV 8 in order to get multiple levels of drag. I am happy that I did. To be fair, I do find myself using the "3" setting most, which is the same drag level that the DV 6 provides.
I also needed a mid-level spreader, which was not available on the DV 6. The feet complete the outfit.
Dan and I talked at length about tripods. The only other tripod that compares is the Vinten. I think Dan said they were a little more money. The advantage to Vintens are they have a continuous drag, not click stops. This continuous drag feature gives you the ultimate in pan and tilt control. They also have mid-level spreaders for all their tripods, while Sachtler forces you to get the DV-8 for that feature.
This is Dan's first pro tripod, and a great one at that. In your case, Ken, I think the move from Miller to Sachtler is more of a lateral move. You will gain a convenience or two, but performance will not improve.
I agree with Jeff. I seriously considered the Vinten Vision 3.
A mid-level spreader was one of my requirements, due to my need to shoot outdoors at dragboat racing events.
I found that the mid-level speaders cost a lot from the professional tripod vendors. Initially, I was shocked by the high cost of a spreader, in the neighborhood of $600.
I am a novice, as the Sachtler system is only my fourth tripod, all the rest being non-pro gear.
I believe there are advantages to the continuous drag heads, such as the Vinten and Miller, and to the clip-stop settings on the Sachtler. The continuous drag settings can give you precise control.
On the other hand, there is something to be said about being able to precisely select the same drag in both the horizontal and vertical directions. My guess is that the drag settings are also very repeatable, as a 3 should always be the same drag, but I do not know if extreme temperatues will affect the level of drag.
Before I purchased the tripod system, I could not find anything but praise for both Vinten and Sachtler. I was worried about exceeding the recommeded weight on the Miller DS-10. I also do search and rescue work and may need to add a heavy nightscope to the camera, so this eliminated the DS-10.
The Vinten gives you more control over the counterbalance, by changing springs ($29 each from B&H).
I was able to find exactly what I wanted at half-price via Ebay, so I chose the Sachtler and I am more than pleased.
Jeff, thank you again for all of your help.
Thanks So Much Dan and Jeff
Here's my situation. I really love my Miller DS-10 and thought that my days looking at tripods and heads were over when I bought it.
But when my XL1s is "fully" loaded with
- the b&w head (heavy metal),
- the 16x manual lens (which is the heaviest XL lens),
- a Panasonic 7" lcd + BP-930 battery, and
- the CH-910 with 2 BP-945 batteries,
the DS-10 has trouble maintaining balance at angles.
So I was back in the tripod/head business again!
To cut to the chase, after several more bleary-eyed days of online searching and shopping I ended up getting a Sachtler. I will report back when I actually receive it and have a chance to try it out.
Thanks very much, again!
Just a brief note to say that I did, indeed, get the Sachtler DV-6 and have had a chance to use it. It became very quickly obvious to me how Sachtler earned its reputation. This is a very nice rig. As a bonus (for me) it even fits into my Bogen/Manfrotto 3254 dolly. Woohoo!
I'm preparing a comparative article for the Watchdog site on the Miller DS-10 and the Sachtler DV-6 rigs. Expect to see it in early March.
Bottom line: anyone considering either of these rigs should go forth with confidence. If your normal camera load is the XL1 or XL1s with standard viewfinder, a single battery, no front-end accessories and no mounted monitor the Miller (or probably the Sachtler DV-4) will be just fine for the load. If you load-up your camera the Sachtler DV-6 may be a better fit for you.
Ken, where did you get the Sachtler, and was it the DV6, or the DV6 2D?
Mine is the DV-6 with the DA-75/2D 2-stage legs. I got mine at B&H Photo mainly because I had a credit due for some returned merchandise. ZGC also sells Sachtler gear and they would have been my preferred vendor if all things had been equal.
Is ther eany way I can persuade you to crank out that comparrison review faster? :D :D I'm having trouble deciding, not only between the two, but the money involved. But a tripod will far outlast any other gear I have, including the camera. Still a lot of cash.
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