I've been looking at getting a very good, versatile tripod which will last me for many years on a variety of different shoots and I'm wondering what some of the pros use.
I was looking at getting at something like the Sachtler FSB 6 or 8 because I don't want anything too heavy obviously. I've read that Roger Deakins like the "Sacthler 7" for lightweight work but it is probably a little bit out of my price range as I was looking at something below $3000 US. I've used the miller DS 10 range and manfrotto 504HD stuff but I'm thinking that they aren't as "smooth" as other tripod systems.
Does anyone have any recommendations for both a tripod and a fluid head which would hold mid weight to lower weight cameras??
You need to first decide what max capacity you need. That will determine if you need 75mm or 100mm sticks (or larger). Also if you want the ability to put a lightweight jib on the sticks 75mm would be out at that point). Miller, Vinten and Cartoni are good. Sachtler, Ronford, and OConnor are best.
I guess i'd be looking to put something up to the weight of a F55 with canon zooms. So do you think the FSB 8T is a pretty solid choice even with 75mm sticks? I may be mounting it on a lightweight jib but its not really something I'd do that often.
What are some of the best tripod options that carry the 75mm heads?
Practically speaking, for your purposes, you won't see much of a difference there. But you'll find that on larger sets a lot of pro camera support gear doesn't have 75mm options cause it's not as common a size. I'd go for 100mm at least as it's easier to resell. Or just look for a used one as Brian said.
It all depends on how forward looking you are with the purchase. I've had a 75mm sachtler DV6SB that's lasted me about 5 years. The head is still great. But I can't put a fully loaded Alexa on it. Too heavy. For my FS7 though it's a great fit. Super light and easy to get around with if I'm without a crew.
Robbie, did you mean Canon Cine Zooms or the EF zooms? The Cine Zooms are just under 5lbs each, and once you add all the accessories I never felt comfortable having that camera-lens combo on my Cartoni Focus, which is a common starter 100mm head in the 2-22lbs range. With the EF zooms it would be ok.
The original Focus had a poorly designed wedge plate system that can fail once you go beyond half the max capacity. I'm sorry to say I've had three expensive cameras pop right off the head before I bought a bigger tripod (caught the first two and no damage done to the last one thankfully). But it was very smooth to operate, had no problem tracking tight close-ups of race horses full gallop with an FS700 and EF 400mm lens.
Honestly I don't know much about 75mm setups, I kinda jumped straight from the cheapo Manfrotto to 100mm to now 150mm. But Sachtler's should be good. I just think with a decent budget like yours, you might want to invest in a slightly beefier setup that you won't outgrow as quickly. How about the Miller Arrow series or Vinten Vision series? I've tried both and was impressed.
So it looks as if the Miller Arrow 25 head looks like the best value for the price with something like Sachtler Carbon fiber legs. My main concern is whether there is a major weight difference between the 75mm and 100m tripods if it is a one man type setup.
..... whether there is a major weight difference between the 75mm and 100m tripods if it is a one man type setup. Thanks!
The weight is all about the heads rather than the legs.
To achieve precise work, it helps to have stiffness in the overall mechanical system.
On a design level, carbon fibre is introduced to give stiffness rather than to save weight. The problem is, having stiffer tubes in the legs may not be that significant. To do precise work, one needs a good mechanical stiffness overall. The stiffness of those tubes is only a part of it. Take a look at how the legs connect to the bowl. It should be the widest possible distance between the ends of that connection. Old wooden Millar legs, old O'Connor good, old standard weight 100mm Sachtler bad. I think Sachtler still use that concept.
a production company I work with a lot has a Light Red Package and a FSB 8 which is rated for up to 20lbs.
I will tell you anytime the shoot is more then running around doc style I rent a 100mm Satchler (usually a video 20 I think) and it is much better. It's just a bigger stronger head, if you are doing any kinda precise moves the FBS8 is a little of a stretch to work I think and the legs and stuff are super light and crappy (atleast what they have). That said the FSB8 setup is super small and I actually do like it for the run around doc stuff. A lot of people accustomed to a more traditional cinema setting would scoff at it for sure, but it's not bad. And the price difference is crazy to go 100mm.
if your a one man band I'd go FSB8 with a reasonable set of legs.
I would never one man band 100mm sticks, that is too much for me.
Edited by Albion Hockney, 07 July 2015 - 11:30 AM.
My first and fav tripod purchase was a used O'Connor 50D with what I think are 35A O'Connor Legs. I still use it when I can and it may be older than dirt, but it never let me down. Cost somewhere around $1100 for the whole thing from Visual Products.
Granted, I need to get the head serviced currently, but man, I've had everything from a rigger up BM Pocket to a BL4 with a Cooke zoom on the thing.
And yes, 100mm Bowl at least; it's pretty much standard so you can use your head/legs on other things (sliders, jibs, dollys etc)
Whatever you choose get carbon fiber legs, not aluminum. It saves so much weight. I personally vote for 100mm, you get used to the weight. The Miller Solo ENG sticks could be what you're looking for if you need something more run and gun. Not as quick to plop down and adjust height nor as steady as sticks with a spreader, but packs up tiny and can hold a ton of weight. Much easier to carry around than normal sticks.
I would never one man band 100mm sticks, that is too much for me.
I've been "one-man banding" an old Miller Mill-Equip 100mm with wooden sticks for almost ten years, now. Purchased it off of ebay for $400. A bit heavy to lug to a location, but definitely do-able. Very sturdy piece of equipment.
Whatever you choose get carbon fiber legs, not aluminum. It saves so much weight. ...
I was curious about this, because there is a popular myth that carbon will save weight (in general, not just tripod legs). My gut feeling is that it is normally used to add stiffness, and the aluminum tubes in legs not being that heavy in the first place, I thought that is probably the case with their design. Sometimes a material is specified or sized by a requirement for strength, or stiffness, or both, or, quite commonly, it's resistance to damage. Carbon is very brittle, and it's very hard to detect damage. Aluminum is very damage tolerant.
Anyway, because it was very quick to do I estimated the weight saving for the standard Sachtler 100mm legs sitting here. Assuming that the aluminum and carbon tubes were the same16mm diameter and 1.5mm wall thickness, then the mass saving would be about 520g (1.15lb).
Edit: The wall thickness of 1.5mm is a fuzzy memory.
Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 07 July 2015 - 07:22 PM.
Let's not overthink this one. Just try one of each and carry them around for a few hours. You'll want to put the aluminum ones down first, I promise you. You do make a good point about needing to carbon fiber from cracks, just keep them in a padded bag during travel or keep a furny pad in the back of the car for protection.
What looks like overthinking by designers, engineers... Compare that to the poop storm of ideas that marketing and advertising people go through. I think of them because often the main reason for carbon fibre to be used is that it looks sexy, and we all believe the product will be lighter or stronger.
As participants in this little myth, we are underthinking it. So a little thought is not out of order.
Personally I never trust carbon fiber anything in film-kit. That may just be me; but I'd rather a dented tripod that still marginally works the rest of the day than a cracked one which leaves you up ____ creek.