Review: The Sachtler ACE
Note: I am always a little careful with a review directly when a product comes out, so i waited a good 9 months or so to give my verdict on this product!
A good tripod should be the first thing every filmmaker should buy. Nearly every job requires at least a few static shots, or maybe panning and tilting moves. A tripod seems like a simple thing. 3 sticks and a head. What can i do wrong buying one? Well, literally everything. We are always told a good tripod is extremely expensive. Often, that is the case, but the Sachtler ACE is Sachtler’s first tripod which connects Sachtler’s reputable fluid head system with a price tag of a little less than £500. The Sachtler ACE is available as a mid- and ground-level spreader version and the price includes a very nice carrying bag by Petrol-Bags.
I have been shooting with the ACE for a little over 9 months now and i had the chance to get my hands on one of the early models. My review is based on the Prototype version of the ACE, but as far as i know, there haven’t been any big changes to the design or system of the ACE. What’s most exciting about this tripod is, that it is just as fluid as all the other Sachtler’s for a fraction of the price. Granted, there had to be a compromise and that is in the material, it’s built with. They use a very strong glass fiber reinforced composite material, which is cheaper to use than metal, but is still as rigid as you want it to be! There is no chance of this breaking. The ACE uses Sachtler’s new SA drag which is extremely smooth and on top of that, it has 3 step horizontal and vertical drag adjustment. The ACE is designed for cameras and rigs weighing up to 4Kg, but i have tested it with heavier setups and it holds up well, but the counter balance doesn’t function 100% as it does with cameras up to 4KG.
The ACE offers a 5 step counterbalance, which enables you to quickly counterbalance your camera on the tripod. The counterbalance is a round dial on the back of your camera which is easy and fast to adjust. The ACE also comes with a sliding plate, so you can furthermore balance your camera by sliding the Sachtler place further to the front or back and then lock it down, to achieve ultimate balance. The tripod also features very very strong locking levers and this will guarantee that your tripod doesn’t slip out of a locked down position and you will potentially lose your shot. The new fluid head of the ACE features a tilt range of +90° to -75°.
It’s absolutely amazing what Sachtler has achieved with this tripod. I am a big big fan of the ACE. I think Sachtler tripods are the best out there and i guess that everyone was a bit skeptical that they can build a sub £500 tripod, but they did it.. And they did it well!
In the end, i can only say that this is the best tripod out there for it’s price point! It’s stable, well thought out and extremely smooth!