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Tripods: Cartoni vs Sachtler

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So I am in the process of purchasing a tripod for my Panasonic DVX100. I was wondering what kind of tripod to buy a Cartoni F101-3 series or Sachtler DV4 or 6?


Any suggestions?

Thanks

Terry Caddell


I've got a Sachtler 4 II for my DVX100a and it serves me well for the price and weight. I'd love to have something pricier and even sometimes heavier, but I've flown with the tripod several times in  just the soft case and it is still nice and stable and smooth. Can't speak for the Cartoni's though I hear they're very nice. I'm pleased with the value I got for the Sachtler. I got mine at B&H.

Steve Hullfish
Verascope Pictures (www.veralith.com)
Chicago


Steve Hullfish wrote:

>> I've got a Sachtler 4 II for my DVX100a and it serves me well ... Can't speak for the Cartoni's though I hear >>they're very nice.

The Cartoni was reviewed at the DVXUSER website ... www.dvxuser.com Check under "articles".

Earon Kavanagh
Independent Film maker and Publisher
Vancouver, BC
www.5thprovince.ca


There's a cover story on Tripods in this month's DV Magazine. It doesn't talk about the tripod models you're looking at, but it might be helpful. I'm in the midst of looking for a tripod for my DVX100 also. I need something
light for doc work.

Garret Savage
Director/DP, "Pressure Cooker"
Brooklyn, NY


I was wondering what kind of tripod to buy a Cartoni F101-3 series or Sachtler DV4 or 6?

Terry ... I have a Cartoni Focus that I use for a DVX100A and it is perfect for it. Cartoni also makes a lighter weight one that they claim will work with that weight camera, but I found it to be too "consumer" in design for
the DVX100 --- specifically, the head doesn't offer much control over the pan and tilt tensions. You can match Cartoni heads to different style and composite legs, but that is probably true for the other manufacturers as
well.

Sachtler makes nice heads, too (I own a Video 25). In the end, it is a bit subjective. I suggest you go to a store or rental house and play with different models and run with the one you like best.

Frank Loose
Director/Cameraman
FilmShows
Atlanta, GA
770.923.9993


I have found that the Cartoni is extremely smooth, and if it is the one that I used the leveling light is great.

Still I have used numerous Sachler sticks and heads and well gee, price is a consideration.

Bernie Kriegel
Tikun Olam Video [TOV]
Productions
SF/Daly City, CA


I've been on a few shoots where they insisted on using a tiny Canon XL-1 or 2...I mounted it on my O'Connor 2575C head.
It worked fine.
I had to seriously adjust the drag tensions way down for a tiny camera of that little weight, but it was smooth as butter.
Pretty bad when the head itself costs more than twice what the camera that is mounted to it cost!

Kind puts thing into a weird perspective!

Cheers,
Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.
US based DP
www.barklage.com


A couple NABs ago, my primary purpose was to find a tripod for a DVX100-sized camera. For years, I had used expensive Vinten Vision systems for Betacam cameras, and loved them. The same unit for a lighter camera costs quite a bit. I wanted to see what else was out there.

I tried everything everyone had to offer. At the end of comprehensive testing (and to my great surprise), I found Manfrotto to be the answer. I went with the 525 tripod and 503 head. It is not a Vinten Vision 11, but it's about as close as you can get without spending three times the money. Dollar for performance, it's been a terrific buy. We check it on planes constantly, and it still performs great. The price is remarkable.

One thing I found in looking for tripods for smaller cameras is that tension control is frequently omitted (seem atrocious but it's true). So many of the lower capacity tripods only have vertical and horizontal locks until you really start to increase in price. The Manfrotto is a reasonable price and includes tension control. It also has quick and easy levers for the legs. I've also used comparably equipped Sachtlers that perform quite well. You may find
them to be pricier for similar performance.

Hope that gives you some options. Best of luck.

Chris Elley
Producer/Director
"Barbecue: A Texas Love Story"
Electro-Fish Media LLC


I have a Sachtler SB6 with carbon legs and it's great! Very light, easy to travel with, came with a hard shell and a soft case that fits inside the hard shell, so when you get to a hotel you can leave the hard tube there and use only the soft bag. I use it with my JVC HD100, Chrosziel matte box and an IDX battery system and it's a good match. I feel that it would still allow me to add a couple of wireless systems, rods and follow focus and it would still perform quite well, as far as weight distribution goes.

Jiri Bakala
DP, Kelowna, Canada

www.ascentfilms.com


Take a look at the Manfrotto line. Just because something's a lot  cheaper doesn't mean it may not be more durable and easier to maintain. ( I think we're all familiar with this from the car world). We have several Cartoni DV and Alfa II heads, and we've grown weary of constantly having to adjust the plate locking tension, and repairing the lever lock mechanism. They're warrantied, and the dealer happily repairs them.

Steven Bradford
Collins College
Phoenix Arizona


Sorry to disagree here. Cartoni and Sachtler are true fluid heads, whereas most Manfrotto are friction heads. I have had both and there is a difference. You do get what you are paying for in this case.

Jiri Bakala
DP, Kelowna, Canada


>> Sorry to disagree here. Cartoni and Sachtler are true fluid heads, whereas most Manfrotto are friction heads. >>I have had both and there is a difference. You do get what you are paying for in this case.

I am with you on this one, Jiri, I've never seen a Manfrotto that I could put up with. Mind you, I haven't used the smaller Sachtlers or Cartonis either.... But the Manfrottos I've used have led me to place them at the very bottom of my list. (I believe Manfrotto does make some fluid heads as well, but all of the ones I've seen in action are friction heads - do people change brands when they're ready for a fluid head?)


George Hupka
Director/DP,Downstream Pictures
Listmum, Cinematography Mailing List
Saskatoon, Canada


>> Mind you, I haven't used the smaller Sachtlers or Cartonis either....

Well, I was only posting info about models we've actually used, and we have many of both small Cartonis and small and medium manfrottos.

So I guess I was out of line for posting from experience, but I'll never buy another small Cartoni. I have too many sitting unusable on the shelf waiting for repeat repairs I've grown tired of making.

That same goes for the sticks.

Steven Bradford
Collins College
Tempe Arizona


>> Well, I was only posting info about models we've actually used, and we have many of both small Cartonis and >>small and medium manfrottos.

I'm curious about which Manfrotto heads you are using - I know a few folks who own Manfrottos, and they unanimously wish they could afford something better (one rents an older Sachtler Video 14 II from me regularly - I wouldn't call the 14II Sachtler's greatest achievement, but they feel it's a substantial upgrade). I've used some of their Manfrottos, and that's what I base my opinion of Manfrotto on.

It's possible that recently Manfrotto has greatly improved their product line, which would be useful to know - it might be worth taking a second look.

Regarding Cartoni maintenance, that's exactly the kind of input that's very useful for someone who's shopping for gear - the kind of thing that isn't evident from a "test drive" but becomes a big issue for an owner.


George Hupka
Director/DP,Downstream Pictures
Listmum, Cinematography Mailing List
Saskatoon, Canada


>> It's possible that recently Manfrotto has greatly improved their product line, which would be useful to know - >>it might be worth taking a second look.

I've seen the Manfrotto 503 head perform OK on small cameras. Not my first choice, though.

A wild guess, but perhaps an climatic difference explains your different experiences. Steven is in Arizona; George is in Saskatoon. Perhaps the colder weather means George sees a lot more sticktion than Steven.

Jim Feeley
Producer, journalist, mixer
Near San Francisco USA


>> I'm curious about which Manfrotto heads you are using - I know a few folks who own Manfrottos, and they >>unanimously wish they could afford something better (one rents an older Sachtler Video 14 II from me
>> regularly - I wouldn't call the 14II Sachtler's greatest achievement, but they feel it's a substantial upgrade).

I'm speaking mainly of sturdiness and maintenance, but they have a few new heads in this mid weight range, specifically the 519 that are worth trying out.

 http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/manfrotto/cache/offonce/pid/2482? livid=80|86&idx=89

We've used the 503 and the 516 for our small cameras, and they're okay. The 516 is about the same as the more expensive cartoni DV. However, Sachtler also has two heads in the sub US$1k range, and I think I'd look at those first before the cartoni. (And I haven't used those yet.)

I did notice that cartoni seems to have changed the plate latching mechanism on the head model that was previously posted from what they had before on their small DV and Alfa II heads. This was the component that's always coming loose for us.

Steve Bradford
Tempe Arizona


I have liked some of the Manfrotto tripods themselves, but they never made a decent head ever. I have grafted Sachtler heads onto Manfrotto tripods and been very happy with the results. Horrifing though it is to contemplate one of my favorite field tripods is a cheap Velbon with a Sachtler head on top. It does a nice job with a light camera on it and hardly weighs down a backpack at all.

Scott Dorsey
Kludge Audio
Williamsburg, VA.