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.
There are so many product releases at NAB, it’s hard to keep up. Certainly the smaller products, these get dwarfed by exciting new camera releases and it can often take months for the dust to settle and the new smaller releases creep back out of the wood work.
Whilst shooting episode 5 of our On The Couch show, Vitec Videocom introduced a product that I considered fantastic, a true time saver and genius design. The Sachtler Speedlevel Clamp is design to work with 100mm bowl tripod heads; it replaces the standard screw lock found on your head.
It provides instant adjustment, simple squeeze the arms together and the clamp loosens off allowing quick levelling of the tripod head.
I can’t wait to see more of these products surface and offer support for all size tripod bowls. Currently Sachtler only offer the Speedlevel for 100mm tripods, but I have asked the question about 75mm and 50mm bowl support.
The Sachtler Speedlevel clamp is available for order now.