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2013 New rigs - Real World Improvements?


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#1 John E Fry

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 06:16 PM

Hi all,

Well, we have four new Steadicams to add to the already rather over-adequate line-up from Tiffen now, the Curve, the Solo, the Zephyr V, and the Archer SP-V.

So, what real world advantages do the new new big rigs offer? (let's ignore the Curve & Solo for now!)
None of us are averse to progress, new innovations or ideas, but I would love to feel a bit more secure that my rigs will last & that I will not be made to feel like lesser of an operator by not keeping up with the latest offerings, which used to be the case. Indeed, as PRO owners already know, one good, solid, modular & upgradable rig really can last you your career, but Tiffen seem keen to act just as any other big corporation now, bringing out new models regularly & trying to force obsolescence in order to sell the new toys.

Could anyone at NAB give us any more details & their first impressions please? And let us know if the improvements to the Zephyr & Archer 2 could perhaps have been done via user upgradable new parts, for example? Could they still... rather than having to buy a whole new sled? Perhaps ask a question on our behalf - how long will it be before a modular system might be introduced from Tiffen Steadicam?

I'm still flying my old EFP, which does everything I need it to (especially with my own upgrades), and probably will for many years to come...

John E Fry
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#2 Alex Kolb

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:25 PM

My limited understanding of the Zephyr Vis that its the same sled apart from a handful of broadcast-friendly features (return monitor, integral tally, etc). Nothing that couldn't be added on easy by an existing Zephyr op, but useful if you're buying a Zephyr for the first time and you know a lot of your work is in video.
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:02 AM

20 rigs, yes TWENTY different rigs and not a single one is upgradable. You buy a tiffen product and you are locked into that sled. Want to upgrade you have to sell it.

Why is that? it's the Tiffen business plan, build a closed system, teach your features, advertise on your website that ONLY your gear is the real thing and that everything else is a "Counterfit" product (Steadicam homepage right side of the screen, look for yourself), sit back and Profit!

Not only is a non modular closed system next to impossible to upgrade but it's also almost impossible to field repair. Tiffen suggests sending your G-Series arm back to the factory for service one a year. Why? My 14 year old Pro arm has been servied exactly ONCE and that was more of a "Wow this arm is old I've never had it looked at" type of thing. What happens if you are on a distant location and you crash? You are FEDEX away from being whole again with a modular system, with the Tiffen you are at the mercy of the factory and you better hope that they are not taking inventory... Better yet if you are in a city with another guy that owns a PRO sled (Gen 2+) you are in business because you can swap on his parts to make you work again.

Here's an interesting thought two friends could form a equipment partnership and buy 1 solid center post and 1 telescopic, one Gen 4 base and one Gen 3m one DB 2 and one DB 3 split the cost down the middle and then swap out gear as need for jobs.

With a modular type of system you tailor the rig to the job, with a Tiffen system you buy 20 sleds........
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#4 JobScholtze

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:50 AM

When our g50 needed repairs becose it fell apart, it took them almost 7 weeks to return it to me.
In the old days my exploded sk2 arm needed repairs, it took them 3 month. Are the making progress? :-) Since the last so called upgrade to the x series i stopped. I didnt agree with the costs, but more important, i was affraid for the time it would take them. Bought 2 pro's since them. But if you have to come up with 20 different rigs, i now understand the dont have time for repairs :-)
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:47 AM

From the looks of the Zephyr V, it is a packaging of accessories and factory options that are mostly already available. The tally kit can be factory-installed in existing sleds (requires adding connectors) or ordered with a new sled currently. The "new" return monitor is mounted on an extra monitor mount that you can order, and add your own return monitor (that's what I've done). The only really "new" piece appears to be the return monitor itself.


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#6 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

... Perhaps ask a question on our behalf - how long will it be before a modular system might be introduced from Tiffen Steadicam?...

 

How would that help all the current owners of Tiffen rigs?  Once again every existing owner of Tiffen rigs would have to buy a whole new system if they wanted to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of modularity.  You might as well switch brands.

 

The multitude of rigs concept is sales and marketing driven because most operators getting started can come up with X amount of limited dollars and they have a place for you within a few thousand to get you into the brand. That is smart marketing which may not be the same as smart buying or smart design; not saying their designs are not smart but I grew out of their systems fairly early in my career.

 

Anyone serious about buying a rig should take a look at the new PRO Cine Live at $19,042, complete as a package including vest, Atlas arm for about $32,000.  Other than the tilt stage thing and the motors options I think that rig can pretty much stand side by side with the Ultra 2 because the multi-stage extendable post of the Ultra 2 is not very useful when you can switch an armpost in the other rigs and be within inches in five seconds without having to rebuild and balance.  Is there something else the Ultra 2 does?

 

Robert


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#7 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:55 AM

I bought a Steadicam Zephyr used this year as a first rig When buying it I knew

- That I was getting a rig that would not upgrade

- That I needed a cheaper rig to train and get a first year feel for it.

- That I would (and already have) feel the limitations of a smaller rig.

- That I will have to switch to another brand later, probably within one to two years and keep the Zephyr as a small/backup rig. 

- That I would pay back my rig with about 20 days of work (got a great deal on my rig that made it worth it)


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#8 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:33 AM

Regarding Tiffen's "counterfeit stabilizer" statement on the Steadicam homepage, if you click through on that image, you will read  a statement that appears to be narrowly targeted toward trademark infringement from clone stablizers (like those Ebay stabilizers from China and India that were using "Steadicam" branding). I see nothing attacking PRO, XCS or other legit competitors.

 

In fact, in my five years or so on the forum, I don't recall even one instance of Garrett, Jerry, Peter, Dan, Robin, Frank, or anyone else associated with Tiffen making any claims of illegitimacy against these competitors. To the contrary, I have read these gentlemen's statements time and time again praising these competitors for offering high-quality equipment that brings options to the community. In the Tiffen workshop I took, naturally the focus was on Tiffen products, but again I never heard a negative word about the competition.


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#9 Janice Arthur

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:31 PM

Hi all;

I'm tired to death of this relentless hate

After about 400 times hearing it I've got it!!!

Speak up, take back the forum it's the only way we'll do it

Sachtler isn't modular neither is Glidecam but they don't get ripped
They both make fine stuff. For a while mk-v got ripped but that died down


I'm grown up enough to make my own decisions

You don't have to protect me, and trust me I and everyone else who's taken a workshop knows

Peace !!

Janice
(I'm tired of the hate.)
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#10 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:49 PM

" Sachtler isn't modular"

wrong, Please check your facts, sorry.

Sachtler Artemis rigs are fully modular.

"ACT2: Upgrading modules instead of buying a new system Because of its modular construction you are always on the safe side when you acquire artemis systems and components even in the future."
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#11 Janice Arthur

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

Jens

Great it's modular. I thought friends rig wasn't

Hate is still bad and tiring!!

Janice
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#12 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

I share that point.

I just can't understand why nobody at Tiffen seems to be interested in starting a dialog with this Forum and listens to suggestion and complaints and tries to improve their image and customer service.
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:06 PM

Not only is the Sachtler Rig modular it's FULLY PRO compatible
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#14 Alan Rencher

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:46 PM

I wish I had known that sooner!
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#15 JobScholtze

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:13 AM

Hate? Sorry Janice, but whats up with you. We can speak about products can we? And we are not bashing here, but talking facts arn't we? I didnt hear anybody about people at tiffen personal. Its there choice to keep making steadicams and trying to sell any of those 20 rigs to a student. We are trying to tell the world that there is more then one brand. ( And modulair sets ) We are not saying that tiffen sleds are crap, just that you cant upgrade or mix them. I wish i had know then what i know now, i would have saved myself a lot of cash.) At the time i didnt listen to most people ON the forum but believed more in the salespitch around it ) Now i now better. I know who to ask advice and then make my choices. At least then i am capable of making such choices. Tiffen or any other manufactor can read this and make there benefit of it. And as last, i am totally sure we have great modurators on this forum to keep everything n line. Personall attacks will be removed. Its about gear and manufactors that act good or wrong. Period

 

I hope..............


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