The tripod has been a cornerstone tool since the advent of motion picture imaging. For good reason as a high quality tripod is one of the most important pieces of gear for a shooter to own. It’s a tool that you will use on almost every job so it’s smart to invest in a high quality fluid head tripod that should last you for years.
When I starting looking to make that investment, the Sachtler Ace tripod system caught my attention based on the feature set, price, and Sachtler’s stellar reputation of high quality build and engineering.
The Ace is a lightweight tripod weighing less than 10 pounds and is comprised of a true fluid head that connects to the included sticks via a 75mm bowl head. This tripod is suited for smaller cameras and HDSLRs under 8.8 lbs. The Ace head features Sachtler’s patented SA, or Synchronized Actuated, drag technology for accuracy and repeat ability when operating. The fluid head features three adjustable drag settings as well as a setting for zero drag. The Sachtler Ace also features an adjustable counterbalance so you can tilt without the camera falling forwards or backwards.
The true fluid head is the star of the Sachtler Ace system but the legs are also very well built. The legs are made out of aluminum and extend from 30.7” to a maximum height of 66.5” using the two extendable leg stages. They could definitely improve the leg locking system to something that feels more solid like the lever locking feature on Sachtler’s more robust tripod systems. I opted for the mid-level spreader but there is also a floor spreader option.
I’ve used the Sachtler Ace with various cameras including the Panasonic GH2, Canon 5DmkIII, and Canon C100 and it performs beautifully. The fluid head is smooth and the drag settings are easily adjustable. It is quick and simple to balance the bowl head using the included bubble level. The base plate can be moved forward or backwards on the head to allow the camera to be perfectly balanced for optimal performance when operating.
Overall the Sachtler Ace is an extremely well built tripod that performs reliably in the studio or on location. The quality of the head alone is worth the price of purchase. I would highly recommend it for shooters looking for a lightweight quality tripod with professional performance.