I've had 2 Bartech's since they came out, sold them during times where I was on a very long job with no chance of steady, and then bought others when steady type work started up again. I've never had a problem with them. Service is top notch. ( just checkouts and preventive check ups) I have the Standard model with the Focus handset and the version with the Slider handset which I use for Iris control. I thought about getting a digital receiver and adding the slider module to the side of the handunit, but more often than not, I end up handing the slider unit to a DP to control the Iris when needed, so I have never spent the money to do that upgrade to the handheld focus unit.Every operator works on different types of shows. Not everyone needs all the toys, for instance I've never owned a Preston...Just under 16 years since I bought my 1st full size rig... I would get the BFD digital receiver for the auto calibration, but a lot of my work is live TV where I pull my own focus, and as far as I know, there isn't a digital system with a hardwire servo so I can control the focus on the gimbal, This is the reason I've never switched to Preston.
I've used the Stanton system for some shows and it is fantastic I must say, I believe I will probably purchase a system one day just to have it.
I plan to purchase one of their motors exclusively for jobs with broadcast Canon and Fujinon lenses. In preparation for that I did have Jim modify one of my receivers with a High /Low switch on the board, so I can use a Bartech receiver and power/control a Stanton focus motor on Fuji/Canon lenses. This way I save the weight of the rod, and the Focus motor on the live shows and still use the small hard-wire box from Jim under my Zoe zoom control. The M-one motors I have have been great, I purchased them used, one had a problem and I sent it in to get calibrated, got it back within 3 weeks, I may have been lucky, but I've never had an issue since..
My opinion and advice is Get what will do the job now, planning too much for work you don't yet have with gear purchases just doesn't make business sense. That's how I ended up with every specialty low mode bracket there was, extra cables for panavision, moviecam ( 2 versions), Aaton, even the Kinor russian camera power cable, seperate cables for every video tap made, etc.. 90% of that stuff was sold at a huge loss after years of those cameras never being introduced on any of my jobs. There are successful ops running 30 year old 3A rigs, with no fancy donkey box, adjustable battery boxes, or sliding monitor mounts, standard definition monitors, and the old giant turd batteries, the only upgrade they've done to their gear in 30 years is buy a Decimator 2 and keep on truckin, and bringing in the checks.
I've been to Terry Wests' house several times and seen rigs that look like they should be in a Steadicam Museum and he's just adding an SDI/HD
run from top to bottom, of the non telescoping post, or adding an extra power connector, and off it goes for another 10 years of service..
Get what you can.. If you want a particular unit or system, and save up the money to buy it new, keep in contact with the manufacturer or seller to see what they have in stock, Buy it only when you have a job coming up that will use it. until that moment, it's best to leave the cash in the bank making money instead of gear in your closet depreciating value.
How many of us have purchased gear, had it Fed Ex'ed and have used it once or not even once. Sure the fed Ex is deductable as part of doing business, but the interest on your money you didn't make is an $ opportunity lost.
Enough rambling.....Fly well