September 26, 2011

Sachtler Ace tripod and head

Sachtler has developed a completely new fluid head for its new Ace tripod system, which is designed for use with compact camcorders and DSLRs weighing up to 4kg.

For Ace, the compact, durable and lightweight head has a completely new, patented, drag: Synchronised Actuated Drag, which is claimed to guarantee the accuracy and repeatability of its larger systems "at an astonishing price/performance ratio" offering "a genuine broadcast feel for every videographer."

As it seems it will sell for about £450 ($550/€500), it's hardly cheap, but it is about 20-40% less than a Vinten Vision Blue or other main rivals (although specifications are not exactly comparable), and the head action feels good.

The SA-drag offers three vertical and three horizontal grades of drag (+ 0), to enable fine adjustment for precise panning and tilting. It also has a five-step counterbalance that makes fast counterbalancing of the camera set-up very simple, from 0 to 4 kg, and has a tilt range of +90° to -75°. With the mid-level spreader its height range is 78-169cm, with floor-level spreader it is 57-173cm, and it collapses to 85cm for storage.

It uses a glass fibre-reinforced composite material, which makes the new 75mm fluid head lighter (1.7kg - with legs and mid- or floor-level spreader the total package weighs 4.4 or 4.6kg), with a comfortable and non-slip surface. Sachtler says it paid special attention to ergonomics, so that users can work intuitively (which you can). It also has regular Sachtler features such as a practical parking position for spare camera screws and the long 104mm sliding range of the camera plate. 

By David Fox

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