April 8, 2015 at 1:06PM

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I am done with my Manfrotto and looking for a new tripod between $750-$1,500. Any suggestions?

I have had my Manfrotto tripod for four years now and when I was shooting with a Canon 60D it did a great job. Recently I finished filming my first feature length documentary and I came to hate my tripod. I had to retighten one of the legs every time we used it, the head couldn't hold the weight of a C100 and 70-200, or I wasn't able to do any smooth panning and following with it.

Now I am looking for a tripod that can hold a heavier load, has an good fluid head, and can transport (relatively) easily. Most importantly something that is going to last a while.

My budget is between $750 and $1,500. Obviously I would love to stay on the low end but I don't mind spending upwards of $1,500 if it is going to be a quality tripod. Do you have any good suggestions?

15 Comments

Sachtler FSB-4 or FSB-6. I went through 5 different Manfrotto tripods, then a Sachtler ACE, and finally a Sachtler FSB tripod. ( I should have bought the Sachtler right from the start, but I was too cheap, so it took a while for me to learn my lesson )

April 8, 2015 at 3:31PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32509

My vote would go to the Sachtler Ace L. It good, its light, its carbon fibre and has a good head to go with it. I have the Sachtler Ace M, which is not as good, but can still hold up to 10 KG (although the actual weight limit is like...6kg)

April 12, 2015 at 4:47AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
922

I've got an Ace M, but it struggles under the weight of a fully rigged C100. I was totally sold on the Miller Solo but looking at the Ace L I might just stay with what I know. Is the 8kg limit really that much better than the Ace M's 6kg?
Though the Miller compass 20 or 25 are very tempting... anyone tried those?

April 12, 2015 at 5:21AM

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James Coote
Director of Photography
279

Wait! Let's not forget the Ace L's head has an illuminated level, these should not be underestimated!

April 12, 2015 at 5:23AM

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James Coote
Director of Photography
279

I picked up a Sachtler knock-off called the "Camgear V10." It's on the high end of your budget, but works like a charm and is about $1000 less than the Sachtler equivalent.

April 12, 2015 at 7:06AM

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Nicholas Bradford-Ewart
Director/Producer/DP
161

If you're not using your tripod for lighter camera packages like DSLRs, the Libec RS-350RM is a total bargoon with a very smooth video head. It has continuous counter-balance from 6.5 - 16.5 lbs, so nothing lighter than 6.5 lbs.

Libec RS-350RM Tripod System With Mid-Level Spreader : $1,000
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/861089-REG/Libec_RS_350RM_RS_350RM...

April 12, 2015 at 9:03AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32509

Intesting, looks a fair bit heavier and it can't go as low as those Solo or Ace L telescopic legs

April 12, 2015 at 2:36PM

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James Coote
Director of Photography
279

I'm in the same boat. I'm finally getting rid of my crappy old tripod. First up, I replaced the head. Got a Cartoni Focus HD. It is night and day to the Manfrotto. Insane. Wish I'd upgraded years earlier. I liked the Sachtler FSB6, too. A lot.
Next up, legs. I knew I wanted 100mm bowl ONLY. I'm currently testing a bunch of options, I'll let you know what I chose in the end. But that's the thing- trying them out is worth it. For me, I travel a LOT. So... carbon needed. And it's got to be able to get SMALL.

April 12, 2015 at 7:45PM

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Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.
1072

Look at the Gitzo Systematic 5. I've got the Giant, it supports 88 lbs from a few inches to 9 FEET. Very light, no spreader, and very stable. B+H often has one or two used. I've got the FSB-6 on it.

Timothy John Foster

December 24, 2015 at 11:00AM

Hi Aaron,

Not sure which Manfrotto tripod you used, but if it couldn't handle the C100, the head you used was perhaps too light. It also sounds like you used a friction head, perhaps it was one of their cheaper tripods?. I am using the Manfrotto 503HDV with the large fluid head and never had issues with it. It can easily carry my C100 with the heaviest tele-lenses. Payload is up to 8 KG. It cost me around 1200 USD and works really well. Can't compare that to a 200 USD Manfrotto though. (Apples and Oranges)

April 13, 2015 at 1:32AM

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Erwin Hartsuiker
CineVideo-NL videographer
720

I ordered a Benro H10 (C674TMH10) in Jan and spent the two months it took to arrive thinking it was likely going to be awful. Quite the opposite however! Super lovely tripod that I'm so glad to have stumbled accross. They are super rare.

Not quite as refined as my personal favorite medium duty tripod, the Miller sprinter carbon legs with either a Compass 25 or Aarow 40 head (worth upwards of $6000), but at only $1500 (when I bought it), the Benro is stunning value. particularly given its on special at B&H for $850!

April 13, 2015 at 6:17PM

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I paid about $1,000 for an old OConnor fluid head with a Sachtler tripod. It's buttery smooth and performs really well with some weight on it.

April 13, 2015 at 8:04PM

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David Barrington
Videographer
241

Benro all day! Almost like a Manfrotto clone but at a much better price point. www.benrousa.com

April 16, 2015 at 10:18AM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2489

+1 on the Sachtler FSB-6 head. It's very smooth for very light setups as well as heavier ones. I've currently got mine on a set of Gitzo Systematic 5 legs which are pricey but very nice. I've owned the head for five years and I've had it on four different sets of legs, and these are my favorite hands down. I'm into the current setup for under $1500 (head and legs were both acquired used).

December 24, 2015 at 10:54AM, Edited December 24, 10:56AM

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I'll throw in another recommendation for a sachtler head, we got the fsb8 for our fs5 and it's an enormous upgrade from the manfrotto we had previously. Not sure what the minimum weight is but I have the counter balance set to 2 for the fs5 and it's pretty light.

We're using a set of Miller cf legs, can't remember the model but they're the four section ones, sits way above my head fully extended or it can drop down to about a foot off the floor. Total price was £1500 but that's not as far away from $1500 as it was a month ago!

July 6, 2016 at 2:03PM

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Jonathan Burnside
Co-owner, Supernova Productions
146

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