New Tripod: Sachtler Flowtech 75 & Manfrotto Nitrotech N12

Tripods aren't sexy. They're never as exciting as a new lens, camera, or even bag. However, I do believe they are one of the few pieces of kit where if you invest enough in a decent one, it will be years until you need to buy a new one.

The tripod I had before was the Manfrotto 755CX3 w/ MVH500AH fluid head. It's a great tripod; lightweight and has a built in ball head to quick level your shots. However the max payload it can take is less than the weight of my new Ursa Mini I knew I needed to shop for a new set of legs!

It almost felt like the tripod manufacturers knew I was coming, because Sachtler had just released their new Flowtech 75 tripod and Manfrotto had just announced their Nitrotech series.

Sachtler Flowtech 75

The Sachtler Flowtech legs were appealing because they have a unique feature where instead of having two-to-three latches per leg to extend the height, they just one latch at the top of each leg. This means that for a single operator like myself, you don't have to be constantly bending up and down undoing up to nine latches when you want to adjust the height of your tripod. Super quick!

A couple of other cool features are the magnets on the inside of each leg; which means the legs stay closed when being transported around. The feet are also easily removable when filming on uneven terrain and easy to put back on.

Manfrotto Nitrotech N12

All video tripod heads have a counterbalance system to help support the weight of the camera. Most however tend to have a counter payload that is less than the head's maximum payload; for example, a 7kg payload head may have a 5kg counterbalance weight.

What's exciting about the Manfrotto Nitrotech heads is that they have the same counterbalance weight as the maximum payload. In the case for the Nitrotech N12, it has a max payload of 12kg and a counterbalance of 12kg. What this means is that without locking the head off, you can position the camera any way that you want and it will stay, the head won't try to bring it back to a horizontal position. This means that pans and tilts are a lot easier, as the tripod will be taking all of the weight. This is also great because it means that if you ever (God forbid) forget to lock your tripod off before leaving it somewhere, it shouldn't tip over because the head is constantly counterbalancing the camera weight.

There is also a Nitrotech N8, which the max payload is 8kg.

Tech Specs:
- Sachtler legs can take a max payload of 20kg
- Nitrotech N12 can take a max payload of 12kg

Two Tips:

  1. If you're thinking of buying the same combination, you will need to buy a 75mm Half Ball adapter, as the Sachtler legs have a 75mm bowl head fitting and the Nitrotech is a flat (75mm) base head. I bought the Manfrotto 520 75mm Half Ball and it works perfectly.

  2. You will need to buy a 100cm tripod bag to store and transport this setup. I bought the padded 100cm Manfrotto bag, which also has a handy internal pocket to store extra plates, pan bars etc.

So, with this combination, I feel that I have a very sturdy and future-proof tripod, that can handle more weight than I should ever need to put on it. Tripods aren't sexy, but this one is!


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