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Flowtech Tripod Time Tested Durability?

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I have some old, used Miller Sprinter sticks which are supposed to operate in a similar fashion to the Flowtech 100. You can flip the leg latches from a single position on the sticks and the legs will extended to the ground via gravity. But after a bit of abuse my Miller Sprinter sticks do not work like they're supposed to anymore. I had them serviced by an authorized Miller rep here in Los Angeles and they couldn't get them to function like they were originally designed to do. So now I have to manually pull down each leg, and each stage, after I release them, which is rather frustrating and time consuming. I have been eyeing the Flowtech 100 sticks for a long time, as they seem to be a better design.  But I wanted to wait and see if they actually stand the test of time. Has anyone out there been using the Flowtech sticks for bit, either the 75 or 100? Do they still work as they're supposed to?
 

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I've been using the flowtech 75 sticks since they came out, didn't go to extreme colds or heat, but still got loads of use, travelling, documentary/corporate stuff. Still works fine.

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Cool. I think I'm gonna take the leap. I've been talking to some folks across the internet and they all seem to like them a lot. It sounds like you just need to maintain them and clean periodically to keep them functioning at 100%. 

I also have a pair of 3 stage Miller Solo sticks which I have taken with me all over the world. I've been beating those things up for almost a decade now and they still work the exact same way as when I bought them. And admittedly, I've never serviced them or cleaned them once! They always seem to work perfectly. They've been in -30 degree weather up in Alaska and Minnesota and out in 120 degrees in the Mojave desert. They've been in water, sand, mud, dust, etc. Those sticks are proving themselves to be the most reliable piece of video gear I've ever purchased.

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I've had the Flowtech 100's since a few weeks to maybe a month after their initial release(my sales rep managed to get me a pair of legs away from a head/leg combo early on before the legs themselves were supposed to be available- Vitec wanted to sell packages first[$$$]). I've used Sachtler Speedlocks since late 2007(2x regular 100 Speedlocks and a 100 HD pair) and these are my GO-TO legs. I use them paired with a Vinten 100, as my 'A' set-up and have used them with a Vinten 250, too.  They are pretty much superior in every way to Speedlocks and every other ENG type legs that I've ever had or used in ~23 years of shooting.

Buy them and don't look back or have a second thought. And they're less expensive than the excellent Speedlocks, too.

 

Edited by Run&Gun
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On 5/1/2020 at 12:10 PM, DcD said:

I have some old, used Miller Sprinter sticks which are supposed to operate in a similar fashion to the Flowtech 100. You can flip the leg latches from a single position on the sticks and the legs will extended to the ground via gravity. But after a bit of abuse my Miller Sprinter sticks do not work like they're supposed to anymore. I had them serviced by an authorized Miller rep here in Los Angeles and they couldn't get them to function like they were originally designed to do. So now I have to manually pull down each leg, and each stage, after I release them, which is rather frustrating and time consuming. I have been eyeing the Flowtech 100 sticks for a long time, as they seem to be a better design.  But I wanted to wait and see if they actually stand the test of time. Has anyone out there been using the Flowtech sticks for bit, either the 75 or 100? Do they still work as they're supposed to?
 

I've been using the Flowtech 100 for quite a few years. I was beta testing before that. It has been absolutely rock solid and reliable. 

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I have read two reviews of the Flowtech that claim the legs will slip under pressure.  I have been looking for a new set of legs, but I'm a bit wary of this system.

I have two pairs of Sachtler Speed Lock CF legs, and both of them have slipping legs. There is a tiny screw that can add some tension to the legs, but they still slip. My camera has fallen once, trashing my teleprompter glass, and I can't afford to have this happen again.

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Well isn't this serendipitous!  First page of the Forums and exactly the post I was chasing.

I was re-reading through old posts of Matt's regarding the Flowtech system and to see if I was able to find any later developments or comments about the system on some of the related posts.  Most importantly my concern is with how it's worked out over time, especially if there's occasion immersion in water (creek or sea) where particles or corrosives may need to be cleared out, and cleared out well in order to keep it in top working order.  On this Matt does mention the Flowtech recommendation of immersing in a bucket of water, then extending the legs to help flush it through from the top down, and then repeat as much as needed (or as Matt also mentioned taking tripods in the past into the shower or a bath if required).

I've been using Miller's for years and love them, but that ease of adjusting leg heights from just below the head of the tripod at all heights is SO VERY APPEALING!  The spreading / angle locking mechanism is something I'm already kind of used to with some smaller 75 bowl Millers so that also is fortunately going to be less of a muscle memory learning curve.

In the main one of Matt's original reviews when the 100 had just been released, he did mention that the 100 had had quite a few improvements made in relation to the original 75, with some obviously for the higher payload / capacity of course, but it also sounded like the internal mechanisms may have also been improved....  With this in mind, my query relating to this is can anyone provide any feedback to how the 75's internal leg mechanism has performed / lasted over time in comparison to the 100's?  OR if not, then are there any more opinions / further updates in general as to how these legs have lasted now approx 2 - 3 years in?

 

Matt, Bojan, Run&Gun and Dave I'd love to get your updated call on this system and how it's performing / holding up / lasting over time.  And of course DcD, did you invest in the system also?

 

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On 9/5/2020 at 11:10 AM, [email protected] said:

I have read two reviews of the Flowtech that claim the legs will slip under pressure.  I have been looking for a new set of legs, but I'm a bit wary of this system.

I have two pairs of Sachtler Speed Lock CF legs, and both of them have slipping legs. There is a tiny screw that can add some tension to the legs, but they still slip. My camera has fallen once, trashing my teleprompter glass, and I can't afford to have this happen again.

I believe the official specs are the legs have a ~66lb payload and that each leg itself is actually capable of the same vertical payload.  There is an adjustment for each leg individually if one needs an adjustment, because of slipping(or too tight).  There’s a detailed video from Sachtler walking you through the steps to do it.

I’ve had my 100’s since their initial release and I haven’t had any problems with the legs slipping under load and I generally have what some would consider a kinda hefty payload on them, with ~25lb-35lbs cameras and Vinten 100(7lbs) or 250(13.5lbs) heads.

This was probably at least a 45lbs-50lbs payload and I was running the legs in skinny configuration. I had to keep the footprint small, because of where I was in the venue and I needed all of the height I could get.

 

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Caine, after you use these, you don’t really want to use anything else.  About a month ago I was shooting for a client with their gear and they use Gitzo legs and Sachtler heads.  Neither of which I’m a fan of.  After the first day I said screw it and I threw their stix back in the shipping container and grabbed a normal set of my Speedlocks out of my truck(one of my guys had my Flowtech’s and my HD Speedlocks on another shoot) to use the rest of the weekend.  And as easy as the Speedlocks are to use, especially compared to slow-as-molasses Gitzo’s, it made me miss my Flowtech’s even more.

And after shooting sports car racing all weekend, last week, all of my gear was absolutely filthy.  After I got home, I took the head off of my Flowtech’s, opened them up completely in the driveway and just sprayed them down with a hose.  Wiped them off with a towel and the sprayed them again and opened/closed them several times and wiped them dry, then put them up.

There are a few little quirks that I wish could be fixed, like that the magnets that hold the legs together for carrying are just TOO damn strong.   But even with a couple of little quirks, I think they are still the best overall legs for ENG style shooting.

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B&H had a sale on the 75mm bowl version Flowtech legs, so I bought them. I got to use them a day after they arrived, and I'm really impressed. They have a klunky feel to them during set up, but once set up they feel quite stable. I like the design, ergonomics and the additional height over my former Speedlock legs. Its too early to tell, but it seems like they will hold up better than my Speedlock legs.

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