Sachtler just released the FSB 10 tripod head, their most recent addition to the long-standing FSB tripod line. What’s special about this is the fact that it has a 100mm bowl as opposed to the 75mm bowl of its other FSB series siblings. This makes it considerably more useful for larger camera setups which require a higher payload than most 75mm tripods can support. One of the biggest problems in recent years when making a purchase decision for a tripod was the fact that while even bigger cameras like the Sony FS7 got cheaper and cheaper, the required tripods didn’t change much in price at all. Balancing an FS7 on a 75mm tripod can be a challenge, especially when it’s rigged up and uses the V-Lock extension. I think it’s a smart move by Sachtler to introduce an entry-level 100mm tripod that ties into their existing FSB line, with higher payloads of up to 12kg and the bigger bowl. Like most Sachtler tripods, it comes in two options, in a Sideload version (my preference because of the long sliding plate that gives you most versatility when balancing) and the Touch & Go version with the smaller plate and the moveable mounting base. Sachtler’s higher-end 100mm tripods like the Video 18 are really bedrocks of broadcast life around the world and you come across them consistently as a camera operator when working with any hire gear. At least in Europe, they are the de-facto standard. My first personal purchase of a “proper” tripod was an FSB 8 system over 10 years ago, which I ended up using heavily with my Sony EX3 at the time. It’s still really an everyday tripod for me and I use the FSB 8 head on my CineSlider constantly for example, mounted directly onto it. This tripod has been across the world with me several times on various assignments and it still holds up well. Can’t wait to try out the FSB 10 though, it looks like it can be a lighter travel buddy for smaller shoots when I don’t want to or can’t take my much heavier Sachtler Cine 7+7 tripod with me. We will add a B&H buy link once it is listed on their websites.Read more
Samyang / Rokinon has announced another lens to its affordable manual focus lens line. The 100mm Macro will become available immanently in both Standard and Cine form, the latter sporting a de-clicked aperture, lens gears and T stop value. These family of lenses are known as the many-brands, Bower, Vivitar, Rokinon, Walimex and first and foremost Samyang to name a few are companies to share the same spec of lenses, only the name changes. Rokinon and Samyang seem to share new lens releases, with the rest following suit shortly after. In typical many-brand fashion, the lens spec replicates that of Canons L Series line; 100mm Macro f/2.8 (or T3.1 on the Cine version). The 100mm Macro is built up of 15 glass elements in 12 groups, it has a 9 round-bladed aperture diaphragm and viewing angle of 24.8° on full-frame. Yes, this lens is compatible on both full frame and APS-C cameras. As expected for a dedicated macro lens, the Maximum Reproduction Ratio is 1:1. Speaking on the Cine version, as per all Rokinon/Samyang cine lenses, the 100mm Macro has a de-clicked aperture ring, permanent lens gear for follow focus/aperture units and a T stop rating. Unlike other true cine lenses, Rokinon/Samyang retain the same physical shape and size of their respective stills versions. The 100mm Macro T3.1 is therefore the same as the 100mm Macro f/2.8 at 1.58 lbs (720 g) and Approx. 2.85 x 4.85″ (72.5 x 123.1 mm) in dimension. This means that Rokinons Cine lenses are a small and compact as they can be (great for shooters using small cameras setups), but do change in length therefore not optimised for seamless mattebox setups. Unbeknown to some however, both lens gears are designed to match up throughout the line, providing consistency when switching out focal lengths but keeping your follow focus unit unchanged. As with any Rokinon/Samyang Lens, the Rokinon 100mm Macro offers a huge price saving over the Canon L series counterpart. The big differentiator (as per usual) being the lack of auto focus. The difference is perhaps at it’s most critical in this comparison. At a 1:1 ratio pinpoint focus for photography is often very reliant on autofocus; you have no option for it here if you’re a dabbler of both video and photo, or are a fan of the recent influx of video-able auto focus systems now available in video cameras. The 100mm Macro is a very effective focal length. As an owner of the Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 IS L I can vouch for its broad use outside of dedicated macro work. Due to 1:1 magnification ratio, and close minimum focus distance, it can operate as a compact close range tele focal length lens; achieving angles a 70-200mm would very much struggle with due to it’s longer minimum focal length and/or larger physical size. Available in Canon EF, Sony E, Nikon F, Fuji, MFT, Pentax, Sony A, and Samsung mount, the Rokinon 100mm Macro T3.1 and standard F/2.8 version can be pre-ordered now, full release expected mid April.Read more
Back in April I expressed my enthusiasm for the Sachtler Speedlevel, a fantastic time saving product designed for 100mm tripod heads. It’s one of those products that makes you wonder why it hasn’t been designed before; gone are the days of countlessly screwing around with your tripod leveller. If you haven’t seen one in action yet, check out this video by Matt Allard of News Shooter comparing it against a conventional tripod leveller. The one caveat perhaps for many of our readers is Sachtlers choice to select the 100mm bowl as the first Speedlevel size. It’s completely understandable; this size is where their core line and user base lies. But for many filmmakers coming from a DSLR background, a 100mm tripod head maybe completely foreign territory. Well good news, as I’ve been testing the current 100mm Speedlevel on a 75mm tripod the last week, and can confirm that it does indeed work. 75mm tripod heads are perhaps more familiar to our readers, the likes of the Sachtler FSB range, Miller Solo, Vinten Vision Blue and Manfrotto 502/504s all adopt this size. I’ve been testing out the Speedlevel on a (now discontinued) Sachtler Cine DSLR head, and popular Miller Solo carbon fibre legs. As you can see from this picture, the Speedlevel is considerably larger in diameter than my traditional head clamp. For reference, the Speedlevel has a diameter of 61mm, and my standard Sachtler Cine DSLR clamp is smaller at 52mm. You do lose angle of adjustment when using the Speedlevel on a 75mm setup, the amount you lose is down to the clearance that your legs offer. I can confirm that this will work comfortably with Miller Solo legs, and the level of adjustment you lose is not detrimental enough to cap the performance of your tripod setup. In the rare case where I was maxing out the adjustment of the Speedlevel with 75mm Miller Solos, I simply adjusted the height of the legs to counter. Sachtler has stated that they are considering a 75mm Speedlevel, so it may seem irrelevant information to some more patient shooters. However to users who want the Speedlevel now and/or are looking to future proof their gear, the 100mm Speedlevel maybe the one for you.Read more
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