Satchler in a high-end professional manufacturer of video tripods and they are brand that have years of experience constantly releasing and improving their range. They are a brand most associated with quality and reliance within the broadcasting world.
With the rise of DSLR video and budget film crews Satchler has identified a hole in the market where quality and pricing isn't mutually exclusive. Previously only Manfrotto were really in this budget area. They have created this high quality affordable and sturdy tripod for filming work. It's a true fluid head tripod with pan/tilt functions and great resistance and motion is offered when seeking out those smooth transitional shots. For the price range, nothing else comes close.
It is available with either mid-level or ground-level spreader which extend into full splay with legs at a maximum hight of 169cm. It takes the weight respectfully of up to 4kgs which is perfect for mini-dv or DSLR owners after a broadcast feel. The fluid head has a simple 5 step counter balancing system which gives you a tilt range of +90 degrees to -75 degrees. This comes really handy when balancing not only your camera but a range of add-ons, heavy and accessories and still managing all that weight with ease. The lowest level it rests at is 78cm. There is no other tripod in this price range that does a better job with these features.
The head also has to brakes levers that tighten up and slack off giving you further stability. This are positioned very nicely and ergonomically for good grip and access. The Satchler Ace head plate attachment has a range of 104cm with 3/8" thread on top for camera attachment. It easily clips into place when you slide it in from the back of the head to the front. After a tightening screw on the side clamps it safely and it slips back off then slackened, after pressing a red button also on the side. At the back end of the head there are two insertion point for storing additional screw attachments for different camera threads. The tripod does actually come with an additional 3/8" & 1/4" screw stored in the plate which is useful.
There are several dials on the head which give you most the control you need for balancing and settings for tension/drag manoeuvring. The one nearest the base will control pan ease. So with this in mind you can pan quickly or slowly with more control and precision. You really need good quality panning when your film on a high-quality camera. The tripod shudders and you get micro-quakes which has happened to me in the past. I only every noticed when re-viewing the footage full screen. Bearing in mind a lot of the time it doesn't matter rather it depends on what you do.
It's great also with this tripod because you don't actually have to extend or detract the legs to get a completely horizontal level point (there is a level measure bobble on the head), its a bowel type head available for adjustment between the legs at the top base.
The weight is great. It's fairy light weight a glass fibre enforced composite material was used in it's construction making it 1.7kgs. In total with the legs it brings you to 4.4kgs.
The only other accessory (minus the panning bar) is a rather nice padded tripod bag. It's made of good quality material with comfortable strap.
The satchler Ace is extremely good value and quality for it's very reasonable price range. When you buy it you also buying peace of mind that your investing it years of experience and refinement. I'm not saying you can't get a good result from a cheaper Manfrotto or Velbon but if your on a budget but want strong, vesitile, well made equipment this is for you. You can pick a Satchler Ace up from internet for around 500 pounds.