Quick Take New Sachtler Ace Tripod Review.
I got my dirty little hands on a demo unit of the new $650 Sachtler Ace Tripod Over at Filmtools. The Sachtler sales rep Jim Davis was nice enough to let me beat it up a bit on the showroom floor. I opened the legs and clicked through all of the settings. The feel of the fluid head is different than traditional Sachtler heads. Typically there is a slight delay before the pan or tilt “click” into position. The Ace has a different cartridge system and the click is notably more “positive”. However the demo unit I tried has a slight increase in resistance at the end of a pan as I went up the scale from the #1 position to the #3 position. Hard to describe, easy to feel. My biggest concern with this model from Sachtler was the cost for replacement parts. Sachtler parts are notoriously expensive. They solved this in part by using a top plate that is compatible with standard Manfrotto width plates. This is a bonus. Manfrotto plates are fairly inexpensive and easy to find. I would recommend checking on the cost for knobs, plates and tie downs with any tripod purchase.
While I was checking out the head, I tilted it down and joked with the salesman that it had “Manfrotto” stamped on the bottom. I was kidding. However, it felt like a Sachtler “Designed” head on a Manfrotto body. The composite looks similar and the top dovetail has a similar bolt pattern to the 504HDV head. The 75mm bowl mount tripod was very similar to the older two-stage aluminum tripods.The center spreader still requires the use of an allen wrench to dismount. The feet are not the same and are pretty much worthless. The bag is also not the typical heavy duty padded bag from Sachtler. It seemed a little flimsy. However, it does have some seriously cool 90’s graphics. Don’t get me wrong it seemed to “work” just fine. It is just not what I have come to expect from Sachtler.
I have both the Sachtler Cine-DSLR and FSB-6 tripod heads. The Ace is nothing like them. Until this bad boy can get in a few bar brawls and prove itself. I would recommend the older Sachtler FSB-4 head and tripod for around $950 from Filmtools
Philip Bloom did a full blown review of the Sachtler Ace. Check it out here.