Vinten FibreTec vs. Miller Solo VJ ? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:37 PM   #1
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Vinten FibreTec vs. Miller Solo VJ ?

OK, that's the basic question, but first a bit of background............

I've currently got a set of Manfrotto 520's from waaay back, ok for SD 4:3 but occasionally showed a bit of "wind up" and "backlash" and yeah, weren't the most latterly rigid I could imagine but they did the job.

I then upped my game to HDV. Oh boy, the 520's went from "average" to "oh bloody hell" overnight. Very shortly after, I invested in a set of Manfrotto 528XB's, primarilly to support my massive jib and gizmos (the 520's immediately being deduced as useless for the job).

The 528's were a revelation - built like a brick outhouse and capable of doing double duty as truck axel stands when not on a shoot. With my new Vinten V3 on top they were almost scarilly stable - no backlash, no wobble, nothing.

They also, at 7.4 kilos (16.28 lbs) were complete gut busters for "run and gun" shooting, and their lowest height setting was damn near level with my sternum!

A new set of sticks had to be found! So, I started my hunt for a set of light (under 4 kilo [8.8 lbs]), versatile (very low, very high), AND VERY STABLE sticks.

Now, here's where I veer off on a sort of personal mission (for want of a better word) about what I consider the minimalist information to be found on camera support manufacturers web sites. This is a general type peeve as I find them all, without exception, badly designed, lacking in any detailed info on their products - and, in one specific area, an insult to our collective intelligence!

Just to put this in context, once you've got past the "form" and "fit" stages of any product, you come, naturally, to the "function" section - how well does it actually do what it's supposed to do?

With a tripod this comes down to rigidity - rotational, lateral and every which way but loose. So, where the bl**dy he** is this data?

Manfrotto/ Bogen?
Cartoni?
Miller?
Vinten?


Whoa, whoa - there is one, mind you, ONLY one place I can find a chink in this armour of ignorance:-

http://www.vinten.com/uploads/documents/CamSuppUK.pdf

Try the bottom of page 7.

OK, so this is, as far as I am aware, the ONLY time one of the manufacturers has broken ranks and actually published hard data that should be available for every tripod ever made.

I refer, of course, to probably the most important piece of information you can have about any tripod with regard to "function".

Now, I know, and you know that this stuff gets measured - you can't design anything to perform a specific function without measureing how well it does it. You can't improve it till you know what you have to improve on. You can't keep ahead of the opposition (if you have any) without measureing their products as well - as that little snippet above shows only too well.

So, my first BIG Q before going into the details of the two 'pods mentioned at the beginning - why, oh why, oh why aren't the manufacturers publishing all this info?

Considering that in the absence of this info you are, to all intents and purposes, flying blind when considering a tripod system, the answer from the manufacturers as to why they are keeping this info secret really should be a hoot, and probably even more of an insult to our collective intelligences than the thundering silence that presently prevails.

I do hope I've given some of you pause for thought - I'll be interested to see what feedback I get.


Now, as to the two tripods mentiond (Vinten & Miller) does anybody have any info on relative lateral and rotational rigidity that is specific to either?

I can't very well go on the Vinten snippet above as it kindly fails to inform just what "competitors" it was comparing against.


Now you see the problem!


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; July 10th, 2007 at 12:19 AM.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 04:12 AM   #2
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Right, well, glad to see that stirred a hornets nest.....

So, moving swiftly on, my first post in this thread nothwithstanding, I still need some serious input to my problem getting another set of sticks......

OK, the line up so far is: -

1. Vinten 3498 - 3 FibreTech

2. Miller Solo VJ

3. Vinten 3772 - 3 ENG

4. Vinten 3776 - 3

My problem?

1. The Vinten 3498, with a mid level spreader, dolly and bag is rapidly heading towards $4K, landed in NZ (that's pretty heart stopping in itself!).

2. The Miller Solo's have a major advantage in that - they're heaps cheaper, go higher, go lower, don't need a middle spreader (can't even fit one) and are even lighter. They have the major disadvantage of not allowing a mid - level spreader with their one post per leg design. Quite where that leaves it's rigidity is a total mystery (see previous post).

The other two are also rans but probably capable of doing the job BUT I just do not know!

Bottom line - if you know squat about ANY of these 'pods, I'd like to hear it - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Thanks in advance,


CS
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Old July 11th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #3
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At least one or two of the big video magazines did a comparison review. I think Studio Monthly did, and maybe DV mag. You might search their websites for the article (s). I don't remember a clear winner, but I know that Vinten (which got a rave somewhere else that convinced me to buy it) was not #1.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #4
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As a vinten Fibertec owner I have to say that I just love the legs. The location of the latches means you never have to stoop down to release them. The mid level spreader makes for easy adjustment of the leg spread, again without having to bend or stoop. You can also use the tripod safely on stairs or uneven ground... try that with a floor spreader! They are light weight yet incredibly rigid. In terms of rigidity they are in my opinion better than the sachtler CF HD legs I was using at the weekend which are far more bulky.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #5
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I like it, too. The mid-level spreader is an extra cost item, or was when I bought the tripod.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #6
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Thanks guys............

Just the sort of input I was looking for.

You're right, those top mounted latches certainly appeal (with my bad back and all) and not having to stoop to sort out the bottom legs or spreader would be a great bonus.

It bothered me a bit with the arrangement on the Miller's, as all the leg adjustments were at the bottom of each section - looked painfull to me.

And yes, that mid level spreader on the Vinten is a $600 + extra (but hey, you get 3 free rubber feet as well, so ..........cheap huh!).

Alister - Yup, I've got a floor level spreader for my 520's, it hardly gets out of the bag anymore unless I'm on someones nicely polished wood floor.

Philip - Thanks for the mag info, I'll check 'em out.

Just a bit more background:

I'm sort of planning that this set of sticks is IT, for good. Never going to need replacing, no matter what I'm shooting with. I figured that in 10 - 15 years time the good pro/ pro - sumer cameras will still be about the weight of my XH A1 (can't get away from those optics no matter how clever the electronics) but probably with 3 times the resolution, thus creating even more problems for support systems.

I guess that if I go with the absolute best (I can afford!) now I can't lose. With the extra load ability of the FibreTec I could even shoot sommat a heap bigger, if I haven't spent myself into bankruptcy first.


Thanks again,


CS
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Old July 11th, 2007, 07:08 PM   #7
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Can't get at those reviews.........

dammit, both sites acknowledge their existance but I guess you have to subscribe to get 'em. Trawled everywhere I can think of but none other to be found.

CS
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Old July 12th, 2007, 06:30 AM   #8
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http://www.studiodaily.com/studiomon...list/5997.html

Models may differ, but I think many comments about design and build quality apply.

BTW, the floor-level spreader on the Vinten isn't a solid piece...it folds up in the middle. That allows it to have some "give" on uneven surfaces when in use.

Also, the usual cautions about the fragility of fiber apply...transport and handle it like it's literally made of glass, and you won't have problems.
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