First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

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Chris Leutger

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 5:25 am

Ha, I knew that would get you. The only experience I had with a Ries was with someone that had an old one that must have weighed 20 pounds easy. With the plate and spikes it was so heavy I wouldn't even consider it. He gave me the "you young whippersnappers and your plastic bs" routine. He was hilarious. But he shot 8x10 and 11x14 so I could see his point. The few forays I made in 8x10 made me realize how much wind and such effects increase exponentially with the larger camera. No thanks, 4x5 is fine for me. Also, I do most of my photography on the road so the idea of traveling with his setup was a non-starter. A lighter version would make more sense. I do have to admit that after switching from a uber light Acratech ball head to the massive Arca Z2+ I noticed improved stability. I think the Arca head weighs as much as my Gitzo tripod so probably similar weight to your Ries set up.

I went back to AbelCine today. I lost my support rods right before I left so I went there to get some Bright Tangerine rods. I asked about conversion to a flat plate and no one had any idea. They said they would have to contact Miller to find out.

I wonder if it was the Focus 18 I was looking at. It was nearby and he was showing me the plate. It seemed bigger than the 10. I might swing by Film Tools to check out the Miller this weekend. It might be good after that to check out the Cartoni again on Monday so I can get once last look see before I fly back to Seattle.
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robedge

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 3:17 pm

Chris Leutger wrote:I went back to AbelCine today. ... I asked about [Miller] conversion to a flat plate and no one had any idea. They said they would have to contact Miller to find out.

I wonder if it was the Focus 18 I was looking at. It was nearby and he was showing me the plate. It seemed bigger than the 10. I might swing by Film Tools to check out the Miller this weekend. It might be good after that to check out the Cartoni again on Monday so I can get once last look see before I fly back to Seattle.


Thanks for asking at Abel about configuring Miller CX heads for a flat base. I’m going to call Miller in New Jersey on Monday. The question is not addressed in the CX user manual.

The Focus 12 might look beefier than the Focus 10 because the European camera plate adds 0.5kg (1.1lb) to the weight/mass of the head.

I don’t do cinematography for a living and I’m not in a hurry. While I think the European plate system is elegant, for my purposes the additional weight and cost don’t make sense.

I feel the same about video tripods. I do not believe that they are more stable than a good standard tripod and I think that spreaders are likely to be a nuisance and unused. The benefit of video tripods is faster setup and take-down, saving seconds that I don’t doubt add up in a work environment. This results in higher price and, it appears, additional weight. For my needs, my Gitzo has been working fine and the benefit of these video tripods doesn’t outweigh the cost. In any event I’m using a monopod a fair amount :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 3:43 pm

At least one European retailer says that the Cartoni Focus 10 is available to order and has dropped the Focus HD from its offerings. B&H’s site says that the Focus 10 is available for preorder and that the Focus HD is “discontinued”. I tried out a Focus HD at B&H six days ago. The “discontinued” status is new.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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robedge

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 22, 2020 8:51 pm

I have to confirm with Miller, but I think that I've figured out how the CX fluid heads are configured for use with a flat base tripod/slider, etc. The user manual says nothing, but the one-page data sheets say:

Removable ball level stud for flat base mounting (sliders) with 3/8” screw hole


I think that that is probably a reference to the M10 stud in this drawing of a CX head:

Miller-CX.jpg
Miller-CX.jpg (81.35 KiB) Viewed 2682 times


I wonder whether Miller applies low to medium strength Loctite, or similar, to this stud. If so, it may make sense to leave the stud alone and use a flat base adapter.

In 2014, Philip Bloom made a video about the Miller Air fluid head that addresses the issue of mounting on a flat base. The CX heads probably work the same way. See 04:10:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Chris Leutger

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 8:54 am

I went back to the store today and mentioned that as the Focus 8 is about the same cost as the Benro, I'd likely get the Cartoni. But I checked out the Millers CX's and those are my favorite as far as fit and finish goes (including the Sachtlers and the Benros). They feel less...plasticky. To verify, I'll go back to Manios on Monday to check on the Cartoni heads and especially, the Focus 10 vs 12 size/weight. The guy at Film Tools said that he had extensively used a Focus HD (I think) and really liked the way it moved. Very smooth. He mentioned that the other benefit of Cartoni for me would be that they're here in Burbank if I ever had an issue. As often as I'm in LA, it's practically local! Though, I am not that worried.

I think at this point I'll be committing to using a bowl adapter on my Gitzo. I'll leave the thoughts and research on legs for another day. Thankfully. This has been enough. I'll probably come back in March and rent a Cartoni via Sharegrid. Sadly, the only Millers for rent are larger ones like the Arrow.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Feb 23, 2020 10:30 pm

Chris Leutger wrote:I think at this point I'll be committing to using a bowl adapter on my Gitzo.


For Brad Hurley, if he reads this... Brad, this is the tripod that I travel with, so far to four continents, although I sometimes just take the Gitzo GM4542 monopod that I mentioned earlier. This tripod is a bit heavier than it needs to be for travel, but my wallet is too thin to justify purchasing a special travel tripod :)

Hi Chris,

The two phone snaps below show my Pocket 4K mounted on a Gitzo Systematic (Series 3) tripod, using a Gitzo levelling base seated in a Gitzo 75mm bowl. I routinely use this setup for 35mm, medium format and large format cameras instead of a ball head or geared head. I just mount the camera directly to the levelling base. Less weight, less gear, less fiddling.

I have done the same with the Pocket 4K, but for these photos I mounted it on a Manfrotto flat base video head (MVH500AH) and mounted the video head to the leveling base.

camera-front.jpg
camera-front.jpg (364.01 KiB) Viewed 2598 times



camera-side.jpg
camera-side.jpg (376.65 KiB) Viewed 2598 times



The setup uses these two Gitzo parts:

1. Gitzo leveling base for Systematic tripods (part GSLVLS): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... e_for.html

2. Gitzo Systematic 75mm bowl (part GS3321V75): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... m_Ser.html

The 100mm bowl (part GS3322V100) is actually a bit less expensive than the 75mm: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _bowl.html

There are third party copies of Gitzo’s 75mm bowl (I haven’t looked for a 100mm copy) that are cheaper and that probably work just as well.

The tripod's clamp at the crown is tightened around the Gitzo bowl, just as with the standard round top plate, and the bowl isn't going anywhere. I have no reason to believe that the bowl will work less well with a Cartoni or Miller fluid head than with the leveling base. That said, it can’t hurt to confirm a good fit before purchasing a specific head. Indeed, if I buy a fluid head from B&H or Adorama, which are local for me, I’ll confirm that the head fits a Gitzo 75mm or 100mm bowl before buying.

In the first photo, on the left of the leveling base there’s a small black knob protruding from a slot. In case you’re wondering what it is, it’s for final tightening.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Feb 24, 2020 3:31 pm

I spoke with a technician at Miller’s New Jersey office. He was very helpful. My understanding of how to configure a CX fluid head for use on a flat base tripod or slider is correct (see three posts up).

As I suspected, the factory in Australia applies Blue Loctite to the M10 stud shown in the photo in that post. To remove the stud, the technician says to lock down the pan and tilt and prevent the head from turning (he suggested a vice). Then unscrew the stud and clean off the Loctite from the stud’s threads. Going forward, the technician suggested using the head without Loctite, particularly if the head may be used from time to time on a flat base. Obviously, this means periodically making sure that the stud is fully screwed in. I’m paranoid enough that I’d probably check this just about every time that I used the head :)

The alternative is to use a flat base adapter.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Feb 24, 2020 5:58 pm

I’ve narrowed my shortlist to Cartoni’s Focus 10 and Miller’s Compass X2 or X6. Meaningful differences:

Price (Purchased in the U.S., Ex-Sales Tax)
Cartoni Focus 10: $? [U.K. price is £565 ex-VAT] + $105 (Gitzo 100mm bowl) = $?
Miller Compass X2: $1125
Miller Compass X6: $1350

Warranty and Service
Focus 10: 5 years, California (Distributor for North America)
Compass X2/X6: 3 years, New Jersey (Miller North America)

Tripod Bowl Size
Focus 10: 100mm
Compass X2/X6: 75mm

Weight
Focus 10: 2kg (4.4lbs)
Compass X2/X6: 2.3kg (5.1lbs)

Maximum Load
Compass X2: 8kg (17.6lbs)
Focus 10: 11kg (24lbs)
Compass X6: 12kg (26.4lbs)

Counterbalance
Focus 10: variable
Compass X2/X6: none plus 15 settings

Pan and Tilt Drag
Focus 10: continuous
Compass X2/X6: none plus three settings

Tilt Range
Focus 10: +90° to -90°
Compass X2/X6: +90° to -75°

Included Pan Bar
Focus 10: telescoping
Compass X2/X6: 39cm (15.4”)

Mounting on a Flat Base (Tripod, Slider)
Focus 10: adapter
Compass X2/X6: adapter unless Blue Loctite seal is broken
Last edited by robedge on Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:48 am, edited 5 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Feb 24, 2020 7:17 pm

Good summary, Rob. My preferred solution for managing from 0 to 26 lbs is the Cartoni Focus 12 100mm but I haven’t nailed down the legs as I’m not sure which kegs are the most stable, but I do want the ability to go as low height as possible while being very stable so bonus points for that so not the Stabilo
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1203175-REG

Either the new Red Lock
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1545390-REG

or the 2-stage Smart Stop SDS
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1545390-REG
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Feb 24, 2020 7:59 pm

rick.lang wrote:Good summary, Rob. My preferred solution for managing from 0 to 26 lbs is the Cartoni Focus 12 100mm but I haven’t nailed down the legs as I’m not sure which kegs are the most stable, but I do want the ability to go as low height as possible while being very stable so bonus points for that so not the Stabilo
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1203175-REG

Either the new Red Lock
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1545390-REG

or the 2-stage Smart Stop SDS
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1545390-REG


Hi Rick,

I’m not planning to purchase a tripod, but the Stabilo specs look pretty attractive, and it has a minimum height of 8.8”, which is lower than the other two. Have a look at the B&H customer review here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... stem.html/

The Focus 12 Euro/wedge quick release system is downright elegant. For my needs, I just can’t justify the cost.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 1:22 am

I think the Red Lock legs are pretty slick. I saw them today again when I went back to Manios. I looked over the Focus 12 and liked that it's 100mm, it has a 90/90 tilt range and the Touch & Go plate. What I'm not so sure about is the continuous adjustments. I've seen the heads available for rent on Sharegrid and am going to do that. I think it would be better for me to spend some rental dollars and learn what I'm doing. I also looked at the Sachtler's today and the Millers (again) and there's things I like about each one, Sachtler is more metal and feels the most solid, I like Miller's adjustments. The latter two are 75mm and they have a slightly limited tilt range compared to the Cartoni. The Sachtler's (like the Cartoni) have the T&G plate. The Miller's have a part you can buy to add the functionality. And it goes on.

I have read many threads here where those with more experience extol those of us with limited experience to rent something to learn before rushing out to buy something. I'm going to take that advice.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 2:14 am

Chris Leutger wrote:I looked over the Focus 12 and liked that it's 100mm...


Hi Chris,

What have you decided that you like about 100mm?

My plan is to take my camera over to B&H and see how it fares with Cartoni and Miller heads. In NY, nobody on Sharegrid offers Miller's Compass X heads, so testing by renting isn't an option. Besides, I'm ready to make a decision.

For me, there are two main arguments for Miller. The first is that its North American office, including service, is 30 miles (48km) away. The second is that I already have a 75mm bowl on my tripod, and going back and forth between my 75mm bowl and a 100mm bowl for the Focus 10 would complicate my life :)

I'm awaiting e-mails from Manios and Miller on availability of the Focus 10 and Compass X2 respectively. The Focus 10 is just being launched, and the X2 is not in stock, except as part of a tripod package, at the obvious U.S. retailers.

I expect to make a decision between the Cartoni Focus 10, Miller Compass X2 and Miller Compass X6 this week.

EDIT: added distance in km for people who live in normal parts of the world :)
Last edited by robedge on Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 2:51 am

I didn't make a "pro 100mm" decision, just felt like if it was already there, that the stability would be a good thing and since I'll be using a bowl adapter, it doesn't matter to me. I don't think it's that important in today's lightweight camera era since if you look, the Sachtler FSB 4, 6 and 8 are 75mm and the CX 2, 6 and 8 are 75mm. I can't imagine that there would be that many models based around that size bowl if it was unstable. It is interesting that Cartoni jumps to 100mm so quickly (the Focus 8 is 75mm) since the Focus 10 is a 100mm bowl.

Yeah, there are no Miller CX's for rent anywhere. I see Cartoni Focus 12's in LA and Focus HD's in Seattle. There's a Sachtler FSB 8 in Seattle. So I can rent those two and see what's what. I feel like I've played with the Miller enough that if I rent a Sachtler, I would be able to understand the gear system though the layout and deployment are different between the two. I might make a rental this coming weekend.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 4:27 am

robedge wrote:Hi Rick,

I’m not planning to purchase a tripod, but the Stabilo specs look pretty attractive, and it has a minimum height of 8.8”, which is lower than the other two. Have a look at the B&H customer review here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... stem.html/
...


That review is very positive but I’ve always had a mid-level spreader so I do think that’s become a bit of a crutch for me. More to think about.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 2:46 pm

robedge wrote:I'm awaiting e-mails from Manios and Miller on availability of the Focus 10 and Compass X2 respectively.

Miller New Jersey says that the Compass X2 is sold out in the U.S. and that it expects to receive more from Australia during the week of March 16. Nice e-mail, suggesting that I order now to “get on the list” because demand is outstripping supply from Australia.

Both Adorama and B&H have the Compass X6 in stock now.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Feb 25, 2020 9:46 pm

robedge wrote:I'm awaiting e-mails from Manios and Miller on availability of the Focus 10 and Compass X2 respectively.


Cartoni’s U.S. distributor is expecting reseller stock of the Focus 10 to arrive in the U.S. at the end of the week. I don’t know what this means in terms of when resellers will have it in hand, but it’s progress. Both B&H and a major European vendor are accepting orders, but neither is providing a delivery date.

For Miller’s response, see the post just above.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Feb 26, 2020 12:15 am

Chris Leutger and I have talked about using one of these fluid heads with a Gitzo Systematic tripod and a Gitzo 75mm or 100mm bowl. This review on B&H’s site of Miller’s Compass X10 head, posted December 17, 2019, is directly on point:

I ordered this [CX10] head to use on my Gitzo series 5 tripod along with the gitzo 100mm half bowl. Quality is fantastic, motion is smooth and fluid and is extremely durable. Only issue, the stud that mounts to the ball clamp is too short and needed to be longer to use on the Gitzo tripod. Called Miller US and had them send me a longer one, without issue.


Here’s the B&H URL: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ml/reviews

Now we have confirmation that it works. Assuming that the CX2 and CX6 75mm heads present the same stud issue, this review is recent enough that Miller probably knows what length stud is needed. Indeed, it sounds like Miller may stock it, and forum threads that I’ve seen suggest that this kind of issue, when using a head with a different manufacturer's tripod, is not uncommon. After yesterday’s discussion with Miller about the M10 stud and Blue Loctite (see 10 posts up), I even know who to speak with.

It seems fairly clear that the person who wrote the review is talking about the M10 stud. Curious now about whether he decided to apply Loctite to the new one.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Feb 26, 2020 8:21 am

Thanks Rob, that's good to know. I missed that review before. Probably because I hadn't looked that far up the chain to the CX 10. The other issue for me with Miller is adding $260 to the price for the Euro assembly and plate. Of course, that just makes it the same price as the Sachtler FSB 8 T. Making the Cartoni Focus 12 the cheapest in that race. Also, the Focus 12 is the only head that does +/-90° tilt range, the Sachtler at -70 and Miller at -75. The B&H review on the Focus 12 mentions using it with the Blackmagic Pocket:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1210447-REG/cartoni_hf1200_focus_12_fluid_head.html/reviews

I'm hoping to rent one this weekend....
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Feb 26, 2020 10:07 pm

The issue identified two posts up about the length of the M10 stud on Miller heads, when used with a Gitzo 100mm bowl, may not exist when using a Gitzo 75mm bowl.

The person who wrote the review on B&H was using a Gitzo 5 series tripod with a 5 series 100mm bowl. According to B&H specs, that bowl is quite deep. My 75mm Gitzo bowl is fairly shallow.

It also turns out that that is not the only review on B&H about bowl depth and stud length. This is a 2018 review of the 5 series 100mm bowl adapter itself:

I'm very happy with this adapter. It's solid and works with a variety of heads. Just make sure the threaded bolt on your thread is long enough to tighten down on the knob underneath. I tested one tripod head that had a short center bolt and I could not thread the knob on to secure it.


B&H URL for the above quote: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... omerReview
Last edited by robedge on Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Feb 27, 2020 4:44 pm

This is the only video I’ve come across that shows Miller’s accessory mounting block in use. It’s a 2011 video on an addition to the original Compass series, which was launched in 2009. The block sells for US$173 and supports up to 3kg (6.6lbs): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... mpass.html

Leaving aside the absurd price, it looks to be useful.

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 12:09 am

More on the issue (see two posts above) of using Cartoni, Miller or indeed Sachtler fluid heads with tripods made by other manufacturers, in particular Gitzo.

I purchased a Miller Compass X6 today and had no issues mounting it on a Gitzo Systematic (Series 3) tripod with a Gitzo 75mm bowl. I'll post photos tomorrow, but it is the tripod in the photos 15 posts up. The CX6's M10 stud is fairly short and I can see that a longer one may be needed in some cases, but it worked fine for me.

While at the store, I was able to confirm, by trying it, that Cartoni's Focus HD fits a Gitzo 100mm bowl for a Series 2, 3 or 4 tripod. This means that there shouldn't be a problem with the Focus 10, which is the successor to the Focus HD, or with the Focus 12. Chris at Manios (the U.S. Cartoni distributor) told me that there are broadcasters that use Cartoni heads with Gitzo tripods and that they have not reported any issues.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 3:58 am

Photos for tomorrow:

1. Pocket 4K and Fujinon lens mounted directly on the Miller Compass X6 head. I don’t need Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate, rods and a lens support unless I’m using follow focus. For filters, I’m using 82mm B+W and Lee100, neither of which require support.

2. Pocket 4K/Fujinon on the Miller head with the whole rigmarole: Sachtler Base Plate, Bright Tangerine rods, Zacuto Scissor lens support and Arri follow focus.

I am thinking about breaking the Loctite seal on the Miller head so that I can unscrew the M10 stud when desired and mount the head directly to my monopod, using a fluid head on a monopod being something that John Brawley mentioned earlier in this thread.

I am also thinking about ordering Miller’s outrageously expensive, but useful, mounting block to support stuff like an audio recorder, mikes or a monitor. See video two posts up.

If anyone wants to see specific photos, let me know.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 5:51 pm

I'm impressed.

Here are three phone snaps of my Pocket 4K and Fujinon lens on the Miller Compass X6 head seated in a Gitzo 75mm bowl.

Setup: Pocket 4K and Fujinon MK 18-55mm lens, weighing 1.7kg (3.7lbs). In case anyone is wondering, the black object between the camera plate and the lens is a Zacuto Scissor lens support in retracted position. The red and black disk on the camera is just a Peak Design anchor for use with its camera straps. Looks like my tripod could use a cleaning.

I mounted the camera/lens on the standard Miller camera plate, which has 61mm (2.4') of travel, at the furthest point to the left. I was able to balance the camera/lens on the head with counterbalance and tilt at zero. I think that I am within a few millimetres of the camera/lens horizontal centre of gravity. Miller makes a long plate, but at the moment I don't think that I need it.

In the photos, the counterbalance is at setting number 2 on a scale of 0 to 15. Tilt drag is at zero. The camera stayed put regardless of the angle I positioned it at.

Over the next couple of days, I'll repeat this test using additional gear (see post just above this) and using one of my Leica primes instead of the Fujinon. Sachtler's Ace Base Plate will move the centre of gravity closer to the camera body.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the pan handle into the pan handle clamp that screws into the rosette :)

P.S. Our courtyard garden looks nicer in the summer, also after a good snowfall :)

miller-neutral.jpg
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Last edited by robedge on Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 6:55 pm

Further to the above photos, a few comments.

I purchased a Miller Compass X6, but may have gone with a CX2 or Cartoni Focus 10 had either been available. The CX2 is out of stock in the U.S. until a shipment arrives from Australia during the week of March 16. The Focus 10 is a new product that is not yet available at retailers.

Miller New Jersey told me that there is no difference in performance, for the loads that I expect, between a CX2 and a CX6. The two heads weigh exactly the same. I believe that they are identical, just configured differently internally.

Initial tests tell me that the three pan and tilt drag settings on the CX2/CX6 are fine for my needs, and that I don't really need the additional two drag settings on the CX8 and above. I tried a CX8 at the store yesterday, and drag setting 5 is positively glacial. I might note that when a drag setting is selected, one feels the setting engage mechanically.

I have pretty much decided to break the Blue Loctite seal on the head's stud so that I can mount the head on my monopod and other flat surfaces. This means checking regularly to make sure that the stud is fully screwed in.

Also, I will probably purchase the accessory mount (see the video four posts up).

This page from the Compass X user guide is worth looking at, particularly on how camera height (more properly, the vertical centre of gravity) affects load capacity. The orange lines at a height of 100mm are the basis for Miller's statements about load in sales literature. One hundred millimetres is 3.9".


miller-user-guide.jpg
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Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 8:59 pm

Thanks for the photos. Looks like everything is going to be fine!
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Feb 28, 2020 11:34 pm

rick.lang wrote:Thanks for the photos. Looks like everything is going to be fine!


Hi Rick,

I was surprised at how easy counterbalancing was with the Compass X6 and this camera setup. Once I had the camera balanced from the perspective of centre of gravity, which was a matter of playing with the position of the camera plate in relation to the camera and the head, it took less than two minutes to settle on a counterbalance setting. There are a lot of suggestions on the internet that people have difficulty with counterbalancing. I don’t know whether this is due to not knowing the procedure, which is simple, or fluid head quality, or both. One video (if I recall by ProAV) says that some people wind up using tilt drag to achieve counterbalance, which defeats the whole purpose of counterbalancing. Tilt drag may stop the camera from moving, but counterbalanced it isn’t.

I’ll now go through each of my camera setups and write down the camera plate position and counterbalance setting for each. Miller’s Euro/wedge plate with centimeter and half centimeter markings would come in handy, but I can do the same thing with a tape measure. That said, I may yet succumb to the attractions of a Euro/wedge plate.

I accept that continuous counterbalancing systems (Cartoni, O’Connor) can be more precise than stepped systems, but so far, so good.

This is in a totally different league from my Manfrotto MVH500AH :)

EDIT: Added the second sentence.
Last edited by robedge on Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 12:34 am

Yes, it’s great you’re making these improvements. Hopefully I’ll have a counterbalanced solution one day too!

I can balance my BMPCC4K releasing the tilt drag when my camera is reasonably level, but with the added height of the centre of gravity caused by the BMVA12G7, it won’t stay put if I’m tilting up or down. I haven’t tried the BMVA12G7 on the heavy rig of the URSA Mini 4.6K because I don’t own an SDI cable yet! That rig is carrying out for the Cartoni Focus 12.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 12:49 am

rick.lang wrote:I can balance my BMPCC4K releasing the tilt drag when my camera is reasonably level, but with the added height of the centre of gravity caused by the BMVA12G7, it won’t stay put if I’m tilting up or down.


That chart four posts up really underscores the significance of vertical centre of gravity. In the Miller system, the solution is the (outrageously expensive, but useful) accessory mounting block. Cartoni makes something called a Candy Bar. It isn’t stocked in North America, but Chris at Manios told me that he can get one. Of course, if you need the monitor to be on the camera, neither would help.
Last edited by robedge on Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 12:57 am

I do have a mic stand that can hold the BMVA12G7 as an option. I hadn’t heard of the candy bar?
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 1:03 am

rick.lang wrote:I do have a mic stand that can hold the BMVA12G7 as an option. I hadn’t heard of the candy bar?


Cartoni Candy Bar: https://www.cartoni.com/products/access ... s-focushd/

At least one European reseller has it on its site at a price, if I recall, of €125, which is a bit less than the price for Miller’s accessory block.

I don’t know how the Candy Bar attaches to Focus 10/Focus 12 heads, but even if it attaches to one of the rosettes it should lower vertical centre of gravity. In the video 10 posts up, the Miller rep says that their mounting block will lower centre of gravity. With the issue that you have raised, and with the Miller load capacity chart in mind, now I realise what he was driving at.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 2:43 am

Thanks, those manufacturers’ declared loads are deceiving in that it depends on the height of the centre of gravity. You often see 5” monitors well above the camera but those are less weight than the 7” monitor/recorder with two heavy batteries.

My gut feeling is I’m likely closer to a 115-130mm height by eyeballing the BMPCC4K rig, but I really don’t know. The URSA Mini 4.6K rig might be 120-150mm depending upon how it’s placed.

I really didn’t think about centre of gravity before, but when you mount it high, you’re very aware of the physics.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 8:19 pm

The photos nine posts up show just the camera and Fujinon lens mounted on the Miller Compass X6 head. Here, I've added a base plate (Sachtler Ace), rods (Bright Tangerine), lens support (Zacuto Scissor) and follow focus (Arri). The total weight is about 2.4kg (5.3lbs). The tripod is a Gitzo Systematic (Series 3) with Gitzo 75mm bowl.

It's clear at this point that getting counterbalance right is all about mounting the camera so that its centre of gravity is centred on the fluid head. This is presumably what ensures that the counterbalance acts the same both when the camera is tilted up and when it is tilted down. For a given setup, this means that it is essential, for easy repeatability, to write down the position of the fluid head plate and, if using a base plate, as I am here, the camera plate.

For the setup nine posts up, locating the centre of gravity and setting the counterbalance took just a few minutes. This time, it took much longer before I was satisfied with how both the counterbalance and tilt drag were acting. I finally got to where I was happy by making small adjustments to the position of the fluid head plate. Finally, I turned counterbalance to zero just to see how the camera would react. Just a slight touch would send the camera falling to either side. I was clearly very close to the centre of gravity.

[EDIT: These photos were made without the pan handle on the fluid head. Adding it changes the balance enough that the Miller plate is only a bit to the right. I definitely don’t need the long plate.] Note that my standard Miller fluid head plate (61mm/2.4" of travel) wound up being positioned fairly far to the right. I think that it's secure enough with this setup (more than half the plate is in the jaws), but I'm thinking of getting their long plate (122mm/4.8" of travel). I plan to look into their Euro/wedge plates as well, just not sure about their travel.

I wound up with a counterbalance setting of 5 in the allowable range of 0 to 15. In the photos, tilt drag is set to zero. The camera stayed put regardless of angle.

I’ll try to make some photos showing how the CX6 head handles a much lighter setup, just the Pocket 4K and a Leica prime lens.


miller-level.jpg
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miller-down.jpg
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Last edited by robedge on Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Feb 29, 2020 9:44 pm

Finally, here's what the setup looks like from behind the camera.

It isn’t relevant to this discussion, but a few days ago I changed out the flat marking disk on my follow focus for a beveled disk. If one is operating alone, the latter is decidedly more convenient to read from an angle. I might also mention that the smartphone photos in the post just above make the follow focus knob look larger than it is :)

If you’re wondering, the two small red and black disks on the camera are attachment points for my camera strap.

miller-rear.jpg
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Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Mar 02, 2020 3:03 am

I usually just screw a camera directly to a leveling base, no tripod head. Using the Miller (see photos above) is quite a bit more finicky. I decided to write out a procedure on my smartphone. Maybe others will find it useful. If not, have a good laugh at my fluid head inexperience.

The weight of the Pocket 4K as set up in the photos above, with the Miller head, is about 4.7kg (10.4lbs). The tripod weighs about 2kg (4.4lbs). The current version of the tripod is Gitzo GT3533LSUS: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... 3_3s.html/

Tools
1. Wrench, 10mm, to tighten the Gitzo tripod nuts
2. Slotted screwdriver, stubby size 7, to tighten the screws on the Sachtler and Miller plates
3. Hex driver, 3mm, to tighten the four screws on the head
4. Compact tape measure to set the positions of the Sachtler and Miller plates
5. Soft brush and lint free cloth to clean the Miller

Steps
1. Set up the Gitzo (all three legs at the same angle, locked down)
2. Confirm that the Gitzo’s crown and leg nuts are tight
3. Confirm that the Miller‘s pan and tilt are locked and that pan drag, tilt drag and counterbalance are at zero
4. Mount the Miller on the Gitzo
5. Level the Miller (do before step 8 to avoid parallax error) and check the tightness of its spare screws
6. Connect the pan handle (do before step 11) and check the panhandle, tilt, pan & plate knob screws for tightness
7. Check the tightness of the screws on the Sachtler and Miller plates, and of the Sachtler spare screws
8. Mount the Pocket 4K on the Miller
9. Adjust the position of the Sachtler and Miller plates (check existing setup info on plate position)
10. Unlock the Miller’s tilt
11. Counterbalance the Pocket 4K (check existing setup info on counterbalance setting)
12. Lock the Miller’s tilt
13. At the end of filming, lock the pan and tilt and return the pan drag, tilt drag and counterbalance to zero
14. Clean the Miller

Miller Night Light
Battery: 11A (6V). Recommended: GP11A, Duracell MN11, Vinnic L1016
Battery Removal/Installation: Phillips #1 and small slotted screwdriver
Note: This battery does not appear to be common.
Last edited by robedge on Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostMon Mar 02, 2020 5:43 pm

Cartoni Focus 12 with Red Lock legs released:

NewsShooter review:

https://www.newsshooter.com/2020/03/02/ ... em-review/

I’m not sure about the legs’ stability when you approach the maximum load although I might be wrong to be concerned. However the minimum height 26” (66cm) may be a concern as I like to get low but still have support which forces me to go handheld currently.


The Cartoni Stabilo is an option that goes much lower and higher, but I really like a mid-level spreader and the Red Lock does that very well.

This Benro 100mm Hi-Hat would be better to pair with the Cartoni Focus 10/12 when the Red Lock legs are too high for low shots:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1236882-REG
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Mar 02, 2020 9:21 pm

rick.lang wrote:Cartoni Focus 12 with Red Lock legs released:

NewsShooter review:

https://www.newsshooter.com/2020/03/02/ ... em-review/


Matthew Allard’s review says:

The only slight complaint I have is about the bubble level. It is set back in a position that makes it hard to see from certain angles, especially when the camera is up high.


As the photos four posts up show, my Pocket 4K extends past my Miller CX6 head. Two posts up, I listed my personal steps for setting up the head. The fact that the Pocket 4K is back of the head is why Step 5 says to level the head before mounting the camera. If done after, it is not possible to look straight down at the bubble level, which means that leveling will be inaccurate. In other words, I think that Allard’s point applies equally to common Miller CX setups. Worth noting that the Pocket 4K offers a horizon, and iOS phones, and I imagine Android phones, now include a level, although I haven’t tested my iPhone’s level (it’s in Apple’s Measurement app) for accuracy.

The Benro hi-hat that you link looks very handy for low shots. B&H’s video department apparently has one on display and I think that I’ll check it out myself.

If I break the Loctite seal on the Miller, which I am considering anyway, another option for me is to use the Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod shown in two photos earlier in this thread. The legs, when the ballhead is removed, have a load capacity of 25kg (55lbs): viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105319#p586025

I think that a long lens like the Fujinon could be used with both the Benro and the Gitzo Mini Traveler if I had the counterbalance setting for the Miller, and the plate positions for the camera, set up before mounting the head and the camera on the hi-hat or mini tripod. Worth a try anyway :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 12:47 am

My Miller Compass X6 head can support accessories with a piece of hardware (Miller calls it a mounting block) that I ordered from B&H today. B&H has to get it from Miller, but this shouldn’t take long because Miller’s warehouse is only 30 miles (50km) away. Miller may even drop ship it to me directly, and I live in New York. So I’m hoping for fast. [EDIT: Miller is shipping me the block today and estimated delivery is tomorrow].

The mounting block supports 3kg (6.6lbs) and is attached to either side of the head with two hex screws. Here is the B&H description; I have nothing positive to say about the price, so will say nothing :) https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... mpass.html

Obviously, if an accessory is mounted to the camera, it will both pan and tilt with the camera. With the mounting block, it will pan, but not tilt, with the camera. This can be seen in the video below. For me, this distinction is interesting if the accessory is a monitor or a microphone.

The other interesting thing is that mounting an accessory to the camera raises the vertical centre of gravity, which affects the head’s maximum load, but mounting an accessory to the mounting block does not raise the vertical centre of gravity.

According to Miller, mounting an accessory also has no effect on panning and tilting.

I plan to try mounting the following, and I’ll upload photos showing how well, or not, each works:

1. monitor/recorder (Sound Devices PIX E5H)
2. audio recorder (Sound Devices MixPre-3)
3. a microphone or two (Schoeps condenser)

I’d also like to try mounting a Sound Devices 702T field recorder, but I haven’t figured out yet how to do it. The MixPre has an obvious attachment point, the 702T doesn’t.

This 2011 video appears to be the only one on the internet showing the mounting block in use:

Last edited by robedge on Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:44 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 12:54 am

Looking forward to your findings on the Benro 100mm Hi-Hat. I agree about the level needing to be set before the camera is added. I follow that method currently so I can look down on the bubble.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 6:09 pm

rick.lang wrote:Looking forward to your findings on the Benro 100mm Hi-Hat.


Hi Rick,

I hope to drop by B&H later in the week. It’s an interesting question whether what is basically a short tripod (e.g. Benro, Manfrotto), a traditional hi-hat with octagon board (e.g. O’Connor, Matthews, Miller) or a riser (e.g. Ikan) is best. They all have pros and cons. There are also significant price differences. B&H has the Benro “hi-hat” tripod and the Miller hi-hat on display, so I’ll check out both. There are YouTube videos on products from each of these categories (worth noting that Benro and Induro “hi-hat” tripods are allegedly made by the same company).

For me, it’s mostly a question of whether the product is going to stay put if one wants to use pan and tilt, including how easy it is to use sand bags. Unless screwed to a board, I think that the angle of the legs on a “hi-hat” tripod would have to be quite shallow to use sand bags. I’m also interested in how practical it is, or isn’t, if I want to use the product to support a slider or use it on top of a slider.

There’s a company called Proaim across the strait from you in Surrey that makes a traditional hi-hat that it sells with an octagon board included. Price for the 100mm, after a web site 10% discount, is CA$228 (US$171): https://www.proaim.ca/collections/cinem ... 8868518997 I don’t know if that price includes PST/GST.

Proaim video showing its 75mm hi-hat in use (from 00:46) with a Miller Compass 20 fluid head. What I find attractive about a traditional hi-hat is that there are no joints, meaning no flex, and it’s easy to make it stay put:

Last edited by robedge on Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 6:42 pm

Rick;
Have you thought of a DIY high hat? Back in the day of army surplus I bought a couple of surplus wooden tripods and easily cut one down to make a high hat. Cheap and easy. (Why did I sell it?) I have been willed a couple of wooden tripods and have thought of doing the same but they are too cool to cut. However, I have an aluminum surveyor's tripod with a bowl mount, which is way cheaper than my Millar sticks ($100-$300) and I just might cut it down. However, I am old enough that the real issue not support a a low angle for the camera but me getting back up.
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rick.lang

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 8:01 pm

robedge wrote:
rick.lang wrote:Looking forward to your findings on the Benro 100mm Hi-Hat.


Hi Rick,

I hope to drop by B&H later in the week. It’s an interesting question whether what is basically a short tripod (e.g. Benro, Manfrotto), a traditional hi-hat with octagon board (e.g. O’Connor, Matthews, Miller) or a riser (e.g. Ikan) is best. They all have pros and cons. There are also significant price differences. B&H has the Benro “hi-hat” tripod and the Miller hi-hat on display, so I’ll check out both. There are YouTube videos on products from each of these categories (worth noting that Benro and Induro “hi-hat” tripods are allegedly made by the same company).

For me, it’s mostly a question of whether the product is going to stay put if one wants to use pan and tilt, including how easy it is to use sand bags. Unless screwed to a board, I think that the angle of the legs on a “hi-hat” tripod would have to be quite shallow to use sand bags. I’m also interested in how practical it is, or isn’t, if I want to use the product to support a slider or use it on top of a slider.

There’s a company called Proaim across the strait from you in Surrey that makes a traditional hi-hat that it sells with an octagon board included. Price for the 100mm, after a web site 10% discount, is CA$228 (US$171): https://www.proaim.ca/collections/cinem ... 8868518997


Thanks very much, I’ve sent Proaim a note. Good to buy Canadian if it’s suitable. I liked the Benro that had variable height and suitable for uneven surfaces. And the Benro can be screwed to any board but not quite like the Proaim’s.


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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 8:04 pm

Overlander wrote:... However, I am old enough that the real issue not support a a low angle for the camera but me getting back up.


I know exactly what you mean after that handheld bedroom scene in the movie pilot. Felt the strain the next day when there wasn’t any Adrenalin.


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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 8:06 pm

rick.lang wrote:Thanks very much, I’ve sent Proaim a note. Good to buy Canadian if it’s suitable. I liked the Benro that had variable height and suitable for uneven surfaces. And the Benro can be screwed to any board but not quite like the Proaim’s.


Yes, the Benro/Induro and Manfrotto “hi-hat” tripods can also be screwed to a board. When I go to B&H, I want to look at how strong the joints are on the Benro.

B&H’s price for the 100mm Proaim is US$190: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... i_hat.html

Since you’re using the fluid head to level the camera, uneven surfaces are somewhat, although not entirely, addressed. I’ve amended my post (four up) to include a video that shows the Proaim being used on uneven ground.

But this Benro video shows its product being used on a big, uneven rock:



Here’s a Cinecom video on the Benro (note that Benro paid Cinecom for this):

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Mar 03, 2020 10:17 pm

Miller has shipped the mounting block that I ordered yesterday from B&H (see seven posts up), and FedEx says that it will be delivered tomorrow. Just connecting the pan handle noticeably affects counterbalance, so I’m curious to know what the impact is of adding such things as a monitor, audio recorder or microphone(s). Photos to come.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Mar 04, 2020 5:53 pm

I’m extremely happy with the Miller Compass X6 and would like to try a Cartoni (or O’Connor, as unlikely as it is that I’ll get to try one) to learn how a continuous head compares.

Balancing the head is a science with a bit of art/experience thrown in. The head is very sensitive to weight distribution. It’s essential to start by getting close to the camera’s centre of gravity, achieved by balancing the camera with both counterbalance and tilt at zero. Then it’s a matter of finding the right amount of counterbalance.

The final step is to apply some tilt drag. With one camera setup, I discovered that tilt was smoother if I dialed back counterbalance by one step, despite the fact that the reduction made balance very slightly lighter from a strictly counterbalance perspective. By “smoother”, I mean ensuring that the camera remains quite still if I take my hand off the pan handle at the end of a tilt.

In other words, I’m finding that this is not a completely mechanical process where inputting 2+2 equals 4. The consequence is that I’m learning a lot about how the head behaves through practice, and that varying the camera load and load distribution helps understanding.

I’ve also figured out that it’s going to take practice and experience to control pans and tilts. This is especially true when following a moving object, whether a car, person or animal. I suspect that getting good at following diagonal movement (a surfer, a downhill skier, an airplane taking off, a car going up a hill) will take more than an hour or two :)

The one thing that I’m certain of is that if I’m having trouble with a pan, tilt or combination of the two, the Miller head isn’t going to be the reason. That’s the problem with good tools. You can’t blame them.

There’s a new video on YouTube that I think is quite good on balancing a fluid head. The discussion about the head (a Vinten), as distinct from the tripod legs, starts at 04:05. Note in particular what the presenter says at 09:25 about the objective, and that there is no apparent kickback in his tilts, even when he removes his hand from the pan handle. A shot may not require this kind of precision, but it can’t hurt to know what precise looks like:


Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 05, 2020 12:20 am

The Miller mounting block for accessories (see two posts up) arrived this afternoon. I’m not about to defend the price, but it is very well machined. Attaching the block to the head requires two hex drivers or keys, one 2mm and one 3mm. These tools are not supplied. The block has 3/8" and 1/4" female threads, and can be mounted on either side of the head. Maximum load is 3kg (6.6lbs).

Using the block, I've come up with an audio recording setup that works for me, and I may also try mounting a Sound Devices PIX E5H monitor/recorder. The video nine posts up shows the block supporting a monitor. Photos tomorrow.

I'm using the block with a Wooden Camera Ultra Arm that I purchased (on sale) a couple of years ago:

ultra-arm.jpeg
ultra-arm.jpeg (31.29 KiB) Viewed 1688 times
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 05, 2020 12:43 am

It boggles my old brain why the most expensive of accessories, and BMD for that matter, do not include a 10c Allen key but the less expensive like SmallRig always include keys, even with a half dozen screws I just received. I asked BMD why not and they said they are easily obtainable, But for a $8k camera (CDN) or the shoulder mount, it makes no marketing sense. Yeah SmallRig!
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 05, 2020 2:45 am

Overlander wrote:It boggles my old brain why the most expensive of accessories, and BMD for that matter, do not include a 10c Allen key but the less expensive like SmallRig always include keys, even with a half dozen screws I just received. I asked BMD why not and they said they are easily obtainable, But for a $8k camera (CDN) or the shoulder mount, it makes no marketing sense. Yeah SmallRig!


Hi Richard,

I don’t quite get this either. I paid US$1356 for a Compass X6. A 3mm hex driver or key is needed to periodically check the tightness of the levers for pan lock, tilt lock, plate lock and, if one has the mounting block, the screws that attach it to the head. Adding the mounting block, which costs an additional US$175, also requires a hex 2mm to remove two tiny screws that stop up the holes to which one attaches the block.

Neither the Compass X6 nor the mounting block come with a 3mm or 2mm hex driver or key. I have both, but my 2mm is on the other side of the city and I had to go to a hardware store this afternoon to purchase a set of keys, which is how they are sold. It cost all of $8, but it was annoying after having just paid $175. I suspect that a lot of people don’t have a 2mm key, or for that matter a 3mm key, in the first place.

As a practical matter, the main issue is where I’m going to store these two tiny 2mm screws. Definitely not Miller’s problem, but I need to know where they are if I remove the mounting block. It would be helpful if Miller published the length of these screws in case I need to replace them, but it doesn’t.

All that said, I’m very happy with the product, and also very happy with the help that I have received from Miller New Jersey when I’ve contacted them with a couple of questions. Miller Canada (Vancouver) was also very helpful on a pre-purchase question.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostThu Mar 05, 2020 4:10 am

I remember when I received my first camera, I really only needed a bit and a key but ended up buying complete sets of Allen keys and bits of various types after looking at several stores to find what I needed. Because hardware stores don’t sell single anything. Always fun when you need a single nail or screw, boxes have a minimum of a hundred.

Quite a few dollars for about four sets. However so far they’ve handled everything with all subsequent purchases.

Shout out to Shape that included keys.
Rick Lang
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Mar 05, 2020 11:21 pm

Here are three phone snaps of a setup using Miller’s mounting block with:

1. a Sound Devices MixPre-3 audio recorder mounted on the camera; and
2. a Schoeps mike mounted on a Grace Design space bar > a Wooden Camera Ultra Arm (see photo four posts up) > the Miller mounting block.

The mike is mounted on the side opposite the follow focus to avoid an accessory traffic jam.


miller-block-front.jpg
miller-block-front.jpg (261.39 KiB) Viewed 1618 times


miller-block-tilt.jpg
miller-block-tilt.jpg (267.91 KiB) Viewed 1618 times


miller-block-rear.jpg
miller-block-rear.jpg (302.69 KiB) Viewed 1618 times



I had no problem balancing this setup. As you can see in the third photo, the counterbalance is at setting 6 on a range of 0-15. Pan and tilt drag are at zero. The setup has no apparent effect on pans, and it can’t affect tilts because the mounting block is not connected to the part of the head that tilts.

This setup is for outdoor use. It makes it possible to park both the recorder and one or two mikes in a way that should work well for both wild sound recording (camera off) and sync sound recording. It would be easy to set up an ORTF stereo configuration on the Grace bar or on a lighter, smaller bar such as a Vark bar. There is discussion about Grace and Vark stereo bars, with photos, earlier in this thread. I could also have mounted the mike directly to the Ultra Arm.

It’s winter where I am, and I don’t do long takes, but I am not having a problem with fan noise.

I like the fact that the mike does not tilt with the camera (see photo #2). It does pan with the camera, but in most situations I’ll be fine with that, indeed may positively want it.

The XLR cable is 3’ (1m). I may get a couple of shorter cables, and in any event I’ll use a bit of gaffer tape to avoid cable noise.

The object between the bottom of the MixPre and the top of the camera was borrowed from a Sony RX0 and will be replaced with something more suitable. The idea is to have a bit of space to promote airflow.

In the photos, the recorder is powered by four AA batteries. Having checked, this setup also works fine with a Sony L series battery or a USB-C power bank, in my case a 10,050mAh Mophie Powerstation PD XL.

I think that the camera’s 1/4”-20 is strong enough to support the MixPre-3. Now trying to decide whether to order a MixPre-3 v. 2, which can send timecode to the camera, before Monday’s price hike. I might note that I was not comfortable with the 1/4”-20 when I tried a Sound Devices 702T field recorder, which is larger and, with battery, weighs about 1.1kg (2.5lbs). I just felt like I was pushing it. I'd appreciate knowing if anyone has supported that kind of weight on the 1/4"-20 and is comfortable doing so.

I may look around for an articulating arm that does the same as the Ultra Arm, but with fewer joints. I’m not a fan of the Rube Goldberg approach to grip :)

As in previous posts, the two disks on the left and right sides of the Pocket 4K in photo #3 are attachment points for my camera neck strap.

I haven’t tried mounting my monitor/recorder (Sound Devices PIX E5H), but it’s obvious at this point that it will work. That said, for me audio is a higher priority, and so far I don’t feel the need to use a monitor with my Pocket 4K.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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