Overview of Miller Compass series of tripods

17
Jul
2012
Screen Shot 2012-07-17 at 18.37.46
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ETHICS STATEMENT: This was a paid overview of the compass line of tripods by Miller. This is not a review but a video to show the differences between the different models. I am a huge advocate of Miller tripods and have been a customer of theirs for 5 years since I bought my Solo DS20. You can read more about my ethics here.

A good tripod should be right up at the top of your list when you buy kit, along with some basic lighting and basic sound gear. Before a camera, before lenses. Why? Because these are not camera specific. They will also last you through multiple cameras. A good tripod will last a hell of a long time, that is if you spend money. I had been asked to recommend a good tripod recently for $100. I couldn’t. A good tripod, a good video tripod with a fluid head can cost you. You can spend a fortune on a tripod, but in my opinion it’s good to get one that will work with your current camera and any rentals you may use it with, thinking about future cameras too. Different payloads make a difference. The huge expensive tripods won’t balance with a DSLR for example. All the Miller ones I feature  in the video below work with DSLRs when loaded up with essentials and heavier cameras too.

I am lucky enough to own far too many tripods :) …Sachtlers, Vintens, Gitzos, Cartoni, Manfrotto and 3 Miller tripods. I choose the right tripod for the job, whether it is flying away somewhere or a drive from home. I have been using Vinten Vision and Sachtler tripods all my professional life  (which are fantastic!) and still use them a fair bit, but the ones I have are not good for light cameras, they are the equivalent of the Miller Arrow series, which I don’t have any of – they are for big beast cameras and they need a decent flight case. That is when I bought my DS20 Solo which comes apart to go in my suitcase wrapped in clothes…excess baggage costs a lot and as I travel a lot, over 9 months of the year, these are the tripods I use most of the time now. I still use my DS20, but my Compass 20 is a much nicer head….anyway enough blathering…watch the video and feel free to post any tripod questions below! Here to help! :)

If you want to buy any Miller tripods, please support my site and use the CVP link below for Europe or the B&H for the US. I get a small percentage, and it costs you nothing. It helps me to take time off from shooting to work on my site and create lots of content! I appreciate it!


Overview of Miller Compass series of tripods from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

 

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Comments

  1. Zach_Ashcraft says:

    Thanks for this, concise and helpful!

    You mention the importance of having a basic lighting kit in your arsenal as well – if you ever have time I would love to hear your recommendations on where to start with lighting. I feel so overwhelmed with the number of options out there

    -Zach

  2. Thanks for the informative review, Mr. Bloom! As a beginner filmmaker, I never understood why people would want to invest a lot of money in a tripod, but I am starting to understand that there is more to tripods than just three legs and a camera mount. :-)

  3. Fluoro says:

    I’ve been waiting for this review as I’ve been agonising over which Compass head to get for weeks. I couldn’t wait any longer so yesterday I bit the bullet and bought the Compass20. Of course the review comes out today!

    I went with the Compass20 and the 2 stage CF legs. I went with the 2 stage purely to save as much weight as possible.

    I’ve used the Compass20 before and it is a beast. I love the mini euro mounting plate it uses as well. The 12 and 15 use the larger sliding plate.

  4. Patrick Miao says:

    I was in B&H checking out the Miller Tripods, really like the compass 20 with the carbon fiber sticks. Going to thing about it some more and make a decision soon. Currently using a manfrotto head and needing to upgrade.
    Thanks so much Philip for doing this review, you set me on the right path.
    Patrick

  5. ramycandance says:

    Hey Philip, looks like you live round the corner from my house in West London :) I was at that bridge today!

    So if you need a tripod carrier next time just shout!

    Thanks for the great advice as ever.

    Ramy

  6. gy says:

    These are actually great tripods. Especially the legs. Compass head is a bit expensive I’ve heard.

  7. Minor Wilson says:

    Is the follow focus mounted on the tripod head threaded accessory mount and if so who makes it.
    Which follow focus do you like at this point?
    Thanks for all you do.
    Cheers

  8. Minor Wilson says:

    I see the follow focus is mounted on a riser. Whose product is that and which follow focus do you prefer at this point?
    Thanks.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I use the Arri Follow focus

      1. Minor Wilson says:

        Thanks Philip, Sarah and all.
        Now I see it IS on rods.
        Really nice coverage as usual.
        cheers

  9. Really well, filmed as well for a review. Good job Sarah. Looks like no need to look further than a Miller tripod compass 20. Thanks

  10. ramycandance says:

    Hey Philip,

    I have the Sachtler ACE (based on your recommendation :) But as you know the legs are pretty average. So do you think buying the Miller 1501 Solo DV 2-Stage 75mm Carbon Fibre Legs and using my head work as a good solution?

    Cheers
    Ramy

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yep they would work great!

  11. pkralla says:

    Can someone explain the difference to me

    let’s compare it to the Manfrotto 504 head –

    does it take longer with the 504 or is it impossible to do get the same looking shot?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i dont understand the question…does what take longer?

      1. pkralla says:

        Sorry i will try to be more clear

        “does what take longer?”
        meaning it takes more than one try to get it right
        or is it whatever you try you can not get the same sort of smoothness – with the 504?

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          the 504 is not a bad head. not as good but it’s not bad.

  12. Mike says:

    Hey Philip,

    Couple questions. I’m trying to figure out which Miller head and stick combo will be best for my Red Scarlet with Red Rock shoulder rig setup.

    I’m debating between the Compass 25 and the Arrow 25. Is the build quality that much better with the Arrow?

    For sticks, I’m debating between the Solo sticks (2 or 3 stage) or the Sprinter ii. Are the solo sticks substantial enough to carry the load of the Scarlet with RR shoulder rig? If I’m the only one manning the camera, I’m a little concerned about having to bend over to raise the solo legs with a Scarlet on top.

    Another consideration is that I fly a lot for work. Which head/stick combo is best suited for easy travel?

    Thanks in advance!
    Mike

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the arrow is for much heavier duty cameras..very happy with my compass!

  13. visualmed says:

    Hi Phil I got a miller compass 20 … but without a hand grip could you put a like where I can find it in America or Europe please… I do a research but I always find the arrow and DS I need it for compass 20 !

  14. Bruce B says:

    Hi Phillip,

    I’m a big fan and follower and thanks for all you do! :)

    To the point… I have Cartoni Focus Tripods & Fluid Heads, which are great, but I also have your PB Dolly, the Kessler Quick Release and large Utility Plate setup and a Canon C-300 too. I’m looking for a good tripod for portability that will also accommodate the PB Dolly with the C-300. I’m interested in quick changes from low shots to high shots, so I wanted your advice about which tripod to get…? I know you’re a fan of Miller Compass tripods, but will they work with the Dolly and the Kessler plate setup? Is that the setup you use with your Dolly on a tripod? Which Head do you use? I also have the Low Profile Ball Head, but I’m just not sure how, or if, this will all work with the Miller tripods.

    Thank you! :)
    Bruce

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      well the compass heads will take a traveller dolly…just…best is to get a flat mount adaptor for ball head tripod and screw straight onto that. Manfrotto make a chepa one..

      1. Bruce B says:

        Thank you!!

        Bruce

      2. Bruce B says:

        Wow! So simple and cheap! Excellent! Thank you so much! :)

  15. 3rdEyeDigital says:

    Hey Philip,

    I’ve been a Miller fan for many years. I’m now getting into DSLR (5D MkIII) and would like to connect my DSLR to my Miller carbon fibre Solo with DS20 head. How can I adapt a Gitzo or Manfretto quick-relese plate to my fluid head that seems only pre-tapped for Miller hardware?

    Thanks in advance – best always,

    Ron (ThirdEye)

  16. Salman Sajun says:

    Hey Philip,

    Hope you had an amazing Christmas! All your work has really been a great source of inspiration and I hope to stay tuned during the new year as well.

    I had a quick question about the Miller Compass 25 Head. I am currently shooting on a 5D Mark 3 and it weighs around 2 and a half kilograms give or take depending on the glass. I know the Compass 25 has a min of 4 KG payload. I am looking to make a longer term investment and dont want to find myself needing a 100mm Bowl a year or two down the line. So my question is:

    Am I good going for the 25 and using a camera that is under the weight capacity? or is this overkill?
    Given my senario which would you recommend Compass 25 or Compass 20 instead?

    Your help would be most appreciated. Thanks Philip!

  17. Hey Philip.

    Very appreciative of this video. After watching this and using both the Alloy and Carbon fibre Solo legs at RMIT Uni here in Australia, I’m finally going to get a decent set of sticks.. Millers are superb tripods from what I’ve experienced and even though every time I see the Solo legs I doubt their rigidity.. Whenever I use them the doubts disappear.

    Do you have a partnering store in Australia? Or only CVP and B&H? I ask because the shipping to Australia is outrageous.

    Cheers!
    Michael D.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Can’t you buy in Australia? They are an Australian brand!! :)

      1. I can buy in Australia. Just not through your partnering stores in the states and the UK. Was just curious if you had any partnering stores here in Australia.

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          ah thanks! nothing am afraid!

  18. Simon McLean says:

    Hi Philip,
    Thanks for this great review. Super helpful.
    You mention you use the DS20 when traveling. Is it correct that you find the added features of
    the Compass 12(extra 0.55 kg), or Compass 15(extra 0.75 kg) not worth the extra weight?
    cheers.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      The compass 15 is great. The 12 doesn’t have enough fiction adjustments or me…still love the weight if the ds20…but it’s not as good a head as he compass line.

      1. Simon McLean says:

        Great – thanks Philip.

  19. robbyahh says:

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for your great vids and inspiration.

    I am looking to mount a 5D Mk2 to a Miller DS10 which I have had for years.
    What is a simple way to do this?

    I also mount the 5D to a manfrotto 322RC2 which uses a 3157N Quick Release Plate

    Warm and sunny Regards