Cartoni Focus vs. Sachtler DV-6 SB vs. Vinten Vision 3 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 26th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #1
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Cartoni Focus vs. Sachtler DV-6 SB vs. Vinten Vision 3

I am shopping for a new tripod and I am having a hard time making a decision. I just sold my Bogen 503/351MVBII combination which did not work for me. It had many problems counterbalancing my Canon XL-H1 and stopping a tilt or pan always result in stiction (if you stop at a wall, it moves left or right slightly).

So I now want to buy an A brand head with good legs. I have done some research and looked for reviews/forum topics regarding these heads. I think they are all comparable and competing in the same league. The Cartoni Focus is the cheapest of the bunch and the Sachtler the most expensive.

I hope there are people who tried all of these so they can really compare their performance. I live in The Netherlands and I don't know a place where I can try them out -- which is a pitty. So I hope everyone can share their thoughts. Even if you have one of these 3 systems, let me know how it works for you!

I also have a few questions relating tripods:

1. Carbon Fibre vs. Aluminium. Besides weight? (weight differences are minimal)
2. 75mm bowl vs. 100mm bowl.... pros/cons
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Old February 27th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #2
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I've used the Focus and the Vision 3, but not the DV-6 (only the DV-4). They were both pretty nice heads, although I liked the feel on the Focus better than the Vinten. The Cartoni head was very smooth with a good heft to it, so nice starts and stops were easy to pull off. It was really a joy to operate. The Vinten was pretty good, just not as quite as nice as the Cartoni.

For the legs, however, my preference was the other way around. Part of the problem on the Cartoni was that they were not tall enough for what I was trying to do. These were only one-stage legs, though, so that was part of the problem. The other annoyance was that the feet screwed on over the spikes. Nothing locked them in place, though, so they tended to come unscrewed and fall off at odd times.

I don't know that I could make an unqualified recommendation. It would be really helpful if you could try them yourself somewhere.

The 100mm bowl is a much more common size professionally, so it is easier to find mating adapters on high-hats, dollys, cranes, etc. The 75mm heads tend to be lighter.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 12:38 AM   #3
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Thanks Ralph. Unfortunately, no BH Photo Video type of store in my country. So to try them all.... I need to visit 3 stores (if they have them anyway). So I will be buying on the advice of people on forums. That's why I prefer to buy Vinten or Sachtler as those brands are the safest choice (and of high quality).
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Old March 1st, 2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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I have done even more research and I am pretty much convinced that I need either the Miller Solo DV (2-stage/75mm) or the Miller Solo DV (3-stage/100mm) carbon fibre tripod legs. I plan to do a lot of nature work and I think the Miller's are by far the best option (they also go really low).

I am still having problems deciding which head to buy. I have decided that I am definitely not buying the Cartoni Focus. Read too many mixed things about it (especially build quality). I am also hearing mixed things about the Sachtler's (the DV models) but most of them are regarding the legs (I would buy head only). From what I hear, it seems that the Vinten Vision is regarded as being of the highest quality followed by the Sachtler's. The Vinten Vision 3 is really good but I am not sure about the interchangeable springs. The Vinten Vision 6 is better in that regard but also costs 600 EURO/DOLLAR more then the 3. But the Vision 6 has a perfect balance system which I think is the best solution.

The Sachtler's have a 10-way counterbalance system which is similair to the 10 springs for the Vinten Vision 3 only I would not have to change springs (which I think is necessary when you shoot camera only or camera with a external monitor attached). I would not even know which spring to buy in the first place. Vinten says a #2 for the XL-H1 while other forum users say a #3, a #4 or even a #5.... you see why I don't like this system.

What I would like to learn is when you have a counter balancing system of 10 steps.... whether it will be with springs or the Sachtler way... in steps of 1kg.... when your setup is 4,5 kilograms.... what will be the effect? Do I have to slide the plate forward or backward, or do I adjust drag? What are the disadvantages of adjusting drag to balance the camera?

With regards to 100mm.... the extra price you pay for getting 100mm is as much as buying a separate 100mm (good quality like Libec) tripod which I would do when I ever need a crane (doubt it). I prefer a lighter setup as I intend to shoot a lot of nature work which is also the reason why I am leaning towards the Miller Solo carbon fiber legs.

I hope someone can help me out with this as I feel I am getting closer and closer to a wise, well-considered buying decision.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:11 PM   #5
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Vision 3 head

I am in the same boat as Floris. I never thought the "Head" would be holding up my purhase of my gear. I too am looking at the Vision 3. I have put up a number of post re the Vision 3 with no responses. I would love to hear from someone that has bought the Vision 3 head and can tell me honestly if the "Spring" deal is a pain to deal with. I am just wondering how difficult can it be to change springs. If you are using the same set up, than u should not have to change springs??

Let's hope we get some responses. I need to purchase in a few days.

Also, buying the Miller 75mm sticks. Those are fantasic without a doubt.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 02:35 PM   #6
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Jimmy, I checked with Nigel Cooper from DVuser.co.uk and he says it takes around 30 seconds to change the spring which is not bad. He recommends a #2 spring for the Canon XL-H1 with a #3 spring as back-up.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:14 PM   #7
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There is a recent article (I think) in DV mag comparing models.
This is what I remember from my faulty memory . . .
the Sachtler won as well it should at about $7500. The Vinten
came in second (~$2K) with the Focus ($1.5K) in third.
Carbon fiber legs are way more money and save only 1 pound.

I have a Vision 3. It is not perfect, but I get good results.
Changing springs is easy, but the way the plate attaches
is a real weakness (a small - easily lost screw and plastic fitting).
Carbon fiber legs are way more money and save only 1 pound.

The Focus I tried at NAB. It seemed very nice and is
$500 less than the Vinten, but I have also heard that its durability
is questionable, though I loved the way it balances and sets the
tension.

A colleague has the Miller and I think it is way too cheapy made.
His broke early on and IMO it is too flimsy and I much prefer the
Vinten for being able to get it low and high (get the two stage legs).

WMMV.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:21 PM   #8
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Which legs did you choose, the aluminium? I can buy the Vinten Vision 3 AP-2 kit (two stage aluminum) for 1520 EURO and the CP-2 for 1955 EURO. The bad thing is that a mid-level spreader will cost me an additional 600 EURO.

The Sachtler DV-6SB 2D (two stage aluminum) is 1420 EURO and the CF speed-lock version with mid-level spreader is 1675 EURO. I am a bit confused as I have read that the Sachtler legs have wind-up issues.

Another option would be to buy head only and get Miller Solo DV carbon fibre stick with it but I am not sure if they will work in all situations.

As I plan to do nature work, a mid-level spreader is essential for me. But I am not sure if I want to pay another 600 EURO for a mid-level spreader as it will bring the price of the Vinten Vision 3 kit to 2500 EURO.

Buying a good tripod is much harder then I expected.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:38 PM   #9
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>>Which legs did you choose, the aluminium?

Yes. The two stage. The carbon fiber saved only a pound 7 vs. 6.

>>I can buy the Vinten Vision 3 AP-2 kit (two stage aluminum) for 1520 >>EURO and the CP-2 for 1955 EURO.

I paid about $2,000 over six years ago.

>>The Sachtler DV-6SB 2D (two stage aluminum) is 1420 EURO

The Sachtler tripods I could afford (about $2000) I didn't like as well
as the Vinten when I tried them. Other's might disagree.
The Sachtler that won that DV mag comparison was over 3 times the cost.


>>I am a bit confused as I have read that the Sachtler legs
>>have wind-up issues.

IMO, they are too thin on the models I tried that cost around $2K.

>>Another option would be to buy head only and get Miller Solo DV
>>carbon fibre stick with it but I am not sure if they will work in
>>all situations.

I would not do that.

>>As I plan to do nature work, a mid-level spreader is essential for me.

That is what I do and have the bottom spreader. Once in a while
it is a problem, but I won an Emmy for videography so it didn't
limit us that much ;-)

>>Buying a good tripod is much harder then I expected.

Harder than expected, but absolutely VITAL for nature shooting
with an XL and EOS adapter (long lens work).
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:40 PM   #10
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Hi,

I've just changed the spring on my Vinten Vision 3 and it took my 60 seconds, after I had found the sheet which told me how (it's the first time since I got the rig 9 months ago). If you do it fairly regularly, 30 seconds sounds right. The bolt holding on the spring is threaded long enough that the spring is not under tension at all at the end of its travel, so there is no problem with it trying to be tossed into left field.

<<but the way the plate attaches is a real weakness (a small - easily lost screw and plastic fitting)>> - not sure since my plate is plastic, but with a hook cast in, so it slides in and is locked - no screw).

The sheet that comes with the head recommends a #2 for the XL1 and a #1 for the VX2000. My VX2000 needs the #2 and the only thing I have on it which could affect the spring required is the NP-F960 large capacity battery. So I would guess that any spring recommended by Vinten is the minimum strength you would want and the next heavier would be useful to have.

I have this head on the Miller DV2 carbon tripod with the 75mm bowl. Since it is my first tripod I cannot offer any opinions on how it compares with other choices, but if you have specific questions of this pairing, let me know.

I don't usually monitor this board daily, but I will keep an eye open every couple of hours over the next few days just in case.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:50 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. Jacques, I did not know you have one an Emmy. Congratulations (although late)! As you do exactly the work I want to become very good in (my dream is to shoot documentaries for National Geographic/Animal Planet) I am really grateful for your feedback. You obviously have tested the Vinten Vision 3 in the field. Which spring would you recommend? I have a Canon XL-H1 with a Rode NTG-2 microphone and NP-970 battery attached as well as the Canon TA-100 tripod plate.

With regards to the material used. Do you shoot in wet environments or in rain? Besides weight (which differs far too less to pay more for), what are the advantages/disadvantages of aluminum vs carbon fiber?

I really appreciate that you are helping me out. This tripod sticks & head forums is not the most populate on these boards.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:50 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Ian Firth;634896]Hi,


<<but the way the plate attaches is a real weakness (a small - easily lost screw and plastic fitting)>> - not sure since my plate is plastic, but with a hook cast in, so it slides in and is locked - no screw).>>

Wow, they changed it. Probably after being bombarded
with everyone from Adam Wilt to me hamming on that a weakness.

<<The sheet that comes with the head recommends a #2 for the XL1 and a #1 for the VX2000. My VX2000 needs the #2 and the only thing I have on it which could affect the spring required is the NP-F960 large capacity battery. So I would guess that any spring recommended by Vinten is the minimum strength you would want and the next heavier would be useful to have.>>

Personally, I like the heavier springs than recommended. The #2 is
too small IMO for the heavier XL-H1, EOS, Long lens and Rails required.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:03 PM   #13
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Hi Jacques,

<<Personally, I like the heavier springs than recommended. The #2 is
too small IMO for the heavier XL-H1, EOS, Long lens and Rails required.>>

I'm sure you are right. My only point was that the Vinten sheet, and therefore any recommendation from them is probably on the light side.

Cheers, Ian
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Thanks everyone for your feedback. Jacques, I did not know you have one an Emmy. Congratulations (although late)! As you do exactly the work I want to become very good in (my dream is to shoot documentaries for National Geographic/Animal Planet) I am really grateful for your feedback. You obviously have tested the Vinten Vision 3 in the field. Which spring would you recommend? I have a Canon XL-H1 with a Rode NTG-2 microphone and NP-970 battery attached as well as the Canon TA-100 tripod plate.

With regards to the material used. Do you shoot in wet environments or in rain? Besides weight (which differs far too less to pay more for), what are the advantages/disadvantages of aluminum vs carbon fiber?

I really appreciate that you are helping me out. This tripod sticks & head forums is not the most populate on these boards.
I would buy a #3 and a #5 spring. Heck, if you have the money,
buy the whole spring set since you might not buy the carbon fiber legs.

IF I could afford an even more expensive tripod I would buy
the $7500 Sachtler (or other super sweet tripod)
I could (barely) afford the Vinten.

I shoot in wet, dry, grassy, muddy, cold, hot and windy
environments. The Vinten has done well.

Aluminum legs can dent and carbon fiber can be crushed. I always
try to take GOOD (VERY VERY GOOD) care of my expensive gear.
Tripods always are packed on top of the load or in the
back seat with cameras in bags.
Road cases are even better.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:07 PM   #15
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So I am safe with a #3 and #4 spring? Does the COG (center of gravity) also play a role? When I convert the lbs to kg....

#2 = 2kg
#3 = 3kg
#4 = 4kg
#5 = 5kg

My Canon XL-H1 without any attachments already weighs 3.75kgs. I gues my setup weighs around 5kgs. For me, it is important to get this right. So you have the #1 and #2 spring for your VX-2000?
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