Sabyasachi Patra

Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF Tripod

Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF Tripod

The best tripod with in the 100mm bowl category.

This tripod is for filming and weighs 4 kgs.

Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF Tripod and OConnor 1030 HDs fluid head

It is a heavy duty carbon fibre tripod. It has a dual tube design with a maximum payload capacity of 95kg (209 lb). A few have already asked me as to whether I will load this tripod with 95kgs. The answer is a frank NO. With the filming cameras increasingly becoming smaller and smaller there is not a chance that I will be having a camera rig weighing 90 odd kgs. However, this weight bearing capacity is going to lend a lot of stability. If you are filming in Full high definition or if you are planning to upgrade to the 4k resolution cameras in future, then there is no other choice but to go for such a heavy duty tripod.

This tripod is drawn out of one-piece carbon fibre material and that also increases the cost. The tube diameter is 24 mm. The tripod has a maximum height of 161 cm ie. 63.4 inches. The minimum height is 20.1 inches. And if you add the 7 inches of the OConnor 1030 HDS (review here: http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/oconnor-1030-hds-fluid-head/ ), the effective height of your camera rig increases to more than 2feet.

Sachtler has a range of tripods from 75mm bowl, 100mm bowl, 150mm bowl as well as tripods with Mitchell base. I was looking for a sturdy tripod and was thinking of buying the Sachtler tripod with 150mm bowl. I had even thought of using my OConnor 1030 HDs which has a 100mm bowl with an adapter. However I decided on this tripod with a 100mm bowl as I find the load bearing capacity of 95kgs to be sufficient for my future uses in the field. I had a look at the Manfrotto 536 tripod as well. It weighs 3.25kgs and can take a load of 25kgs. And in my book that is too low. When I mount my OConnor 1030HDS weighing 3.7kgs, the balance of 20 odd kgs would have been too tight rope a walk for me. Also, if I need a lightweight tripod, then I have my Gitzo GT3530LSV with 75mm bowl.

I had also looked at the OConnor 25L tripod. I was pretty much interested in that tripod because of the low minimum height of 14.75 inches. However, the load bearing capacity of only 27.2kgs (60lbs) was the main negative point for me. The Sachtler is a much sturdier tripod.

The Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF tripod looks big when it is folded. Its folded length is 28.4 inches. With the Oconnor 1030 HDS fluid head attached the total folded length becomes about 36 inches so one needs to make provision for a long carry bag. We will come to that when we review bags.

The tubes look strong. It is a 2:2:2 design. I think in rare occasions one would fully extend the tripod and hence the bottom leg. The bottom leg has a two point design. Beware, if you are not careful, then these points can cause a big damage to your toe or to any part of the body. Due to the two point design of each leg tip, the tripod stands on concrete floors without any problems. In the field, especially for wildlife photography these pointed legs will work well. Sachtler CF 100 ENG HD 2 CF Tripod leglocks

The midlevel spreader takes a few seconds more to setup than one expects. It is better that you keep it fitted on the tripod, so that there is no reason to struggle in the field. It definitely increases the stability and stops the tripod legs from twisting during panning.

If you are going to use this tripod indoors, then I would suggest you to buy the rubber feet. Ouch! The cost of the rubber feet hurts. It is priced at 300 + USD and one wonders why it is so costly. Well, 300 plus dollars will buy you a lot of consumer products like a refrigerator or microwave and I am sure there would be many more patents involved in those than the tripod rubber feet. However, I guess due to the low volumes of the high end tripods the cost is high. I will certainly discount that film makers or photographers can certainly pay for it and hence the company charges that price. If you think wildlife photography is costly then wildlife film making would be 10 times more costly.

The tripod has leglocks that can be lifted to open the legs. The locks look like the no nonsense type. They are big, I guess designed to be opened even when gloves are on in your hand. Sabyasachi 20110711 2497

The tripod has a handle which can be closed by moving it to the side. This is a good feature as one can use it for carrying. The tripod also has a thread to prevent the accidental opening of the legs during transit.

There is also a hook near the bottom of the tripod base so that one can add/hang loads if required.

I don’t have any measurement for twist. However, to my naked eyes with the OConnor 1030 HDs head (3.7 kgs) mounted and the Canon EF400mm f2.8 L IS USM lens (5.3 kgs) and Canon ESO 1D Mark IV (1 kg) mounted, there was no evidence of twist during panning. This tripod is certainly good for the serious professional. A casual glance and one will get the idea that you are a serious professional. Unfortunately, I would bring a lot of unwanted attention. I guess the primary role of your assistant would be to ward off the evil eyes. 😀

Finally a big thank you to Barbara Jaumann of Sachtler for not only helping me with her suggestions but also for instructing her office to get it delivered to B&H in time.

Positives:

  • Built to last
  • Stability
  • Opens fast

Negatives:

  • Heavy: 4 kgs is a lot for trekking, especially when your fluid head weighs 3.7kgs. However, there is nothing in the same league with lower weight. One has to live with it.

EDIT: It is now 2013 and this tripod has travelled with me to some of the remote corners of India to document snow clad peaks, desert ecosystems, rainforests and have come up trumps. When in flight, I have to often pay extra baggage for the Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF tripod and OConnor 1030 HDs fluid head combo along with dovetails and bags etc. Even if I am shooting with a wide angle lens, I prefer to place my Canon C300 camera on it. The footage that I get from the C300 with extremely long focal lengths at 1200mm and above is due to the stability provided by this tripod and OConnor head. Am really happy to have spent the money to buy the Sachtler CF-100 ENG HD 2 CF tripod.

 

You can buy the Sachtler CF 100 ENG HD2 CF Tripod from B&H by following this link to avail prevailing discounts and help sustain this site:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Sachtler_CF_100_ENG_HD_2_CF_Tripod/Ntt/Sachtler%2BCF-100%2BENG%2BHD%2B2%2BCF%2BTripod/N/0/kw/search/BI/19990/KBID/13252/DFF/d10-v1-t12

Sabyasachi Patra
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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
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