It’s tempting to think that there’s not much new that can be brought to the worlds of established camera kit like tripods. Tempting but wrong, as the new Sachtler/Vinten Flowtech 75 ably illustrates.
Not all progress is digital or the result of the continual grinding of the gears of Moore’s Law. Sometimes something as old-fashioned as engineering plays a role as well, and that is precisely what seems to have happened with the introduction of Flowtech 75 from the Vitec brands Sachtler and Vinten.
The two companies have taken the tripod and, basically, improved it. It’s still recognisably a tripod but now it’s a tripod composed of two-stage carbon-fibre legs with an easily removable mid-level spreader, rubber feet, and a useful payload capacity of 20kg. What’s more, it features some new quick release brakes located at its top which will be busy being reverse engineered by pretty much everybody else in the field by the end of IBC.
These enable all three legs to not only be deployed at the same time but also adjust automatically to the underlying terrain, meaning an end to constant fiddling with multiple brakes on each leg to get a level surface.
Height is a decent range from 26cm to 153cm (10 inches to 5 feet) with the spreader removed, 63cm to 157cm with it in place, a new hinge-lock mechanism allowing for the low-level usage. The developers also claim it has what they bill as ‘exceptional’ torsional stiffness to prevent twisting during panning.
It’s lightweight at 3.5kg (7.7lb) when fully kitted out with feet and spreader, and has a compact transport length of only 68cm (26.7 inches).
While ideally suited for fluid heads from the Sachtler or Vinten product families, it is compatible with all major 75-mm fluid heads, with the two companies also saying that they “understand the opportunity” for a 100mm version but have yet to embark on development.
Pricing is variously $1,050 (in practice it can already be found in the US for under $1000), £810, and €960.