Sachtler Tripod Question
We are looking into purchacing Sachtler. Can anybody give me their experience with carbon fiber legs? We want to go a light as possible, and I need to sell that to my boss. Also has anybody had experience with the speed lock legs. Is the mechanism robust enough to hold together for years, and if it goes out is the whole tripod bad? Thanks for your help.
We switched from Vintens to Sachtler Video-15-Plus, with carbon fiber legs. We are very happy with these. Apparently a majority of Chicago news shooters are as well, because they all have the same model. I LOVE the elevator column, it gets me way over the fences,heads, crowds, and other obstructions at many shoots and can look like a low-altitude crane shot.
The legs have held up for two years now, where the Vinten legs, a combination of aluminum with carbon spreaders, started to break down after maybe six months. The mid-level Vinten spreaders were always popping their glue joints. On Vinten advice, after a couple repairs that kept failing, we went to their soft rubber floor-level spreaders, as we saw other stations doing. This works okay but picks up dirt and mud like crazy, and is poor on very irregular terrain or stairs (which is why we started with mid-level spreaders). The individual leg locks on the Vinten were time consuming to deploy or tear down, and their "click-over" knob system always left me feeling unsure if the leg was really secure or not. Not a problem unless you do a lot of ENG grab-and-go, where speed is life.
The Sachtler leg locks work much faster and easier too, it's nearly a one-handed operation to deploy or break down the tripod. The carbon makes it light too. Keep the center column clean with an occasional wipe of a damp rag and the fold/central lock mechanism will not bind.
Head wise, I was happy with the Vinton heads, the Sachtler is just as good there.
I think the only thing besides price difference between carbon or aluminum left to think about is, do you have the kind of operation where you might need to field-repair the tripod legs? You can field-repair aluminum legs almost anywhere, with even crude tools, but high-performance, high-stress carbon fiber epoxy composite of this nature is not practical to repair, you have to replace the component. As the Air Force found out. We had a car back-up over an aluminum tripod, (I swear I was not even ON that shoot!) and while one leg bent a wee bit, it didn't effect useability. Carbon will crack under the same abuse. Oh, and carbon/epoxy may soften in high desert heat over 150 degrees, where aluminum won't. But I think I'd be malfunctioning before my sticks do:-)
Other brands I like include Miller and O'Connor.
I'm using O'Connor heads on Vinten carbon fiber legs.
The early Vinten legs were terrible, with broken locks. Still not crazy about the mid-leg spreader operation; it ratchets in the wrong direction for my tastes.
I strongly advise you to try the fluid heads for yourself; some, me included, prefer more drag than the Sachtler offers. Others like a lighter range. It's very much a matter of feel and you'll be living with your fluid head for a long time, so try before you buy!
By the way, I think Sachtler now owns O'Connor; thankfully, they did not change my personal favorite for dolly use, the 2575. It's a great head, but far too heavy for most tripod uses unless you have a couple of very beefy grips!
Thanks for the help!
Just an FYI...I did not see what camera you are putting on the sticks.
Just something to be aware of...I had the Sachtler DV 4II for my JVC-HD100 and it was really tippy...I had to put a foot on the ground spreader everytime I went to any kind of pan or tilt...and it is a light camera.
What I did was buy a set of Gitzo carbon fiber legs for around $750...it gives you three extension levels and is light as can be. I teamed that with a highend Amvona fluid head and have not looked back yet. It is quick release and quick move capable, but very stable and steady.
Just be aware of the tippy nature of the lighter Sachtlers...especially if you are using a really light camera.
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