Anyone in the industry knows that you should invest as much research into your support gear as your camera. And this includes fluid heads, which together with a stable tripod allow for smooth and steady shots. No matter what equipment you’re shooting with, from HDSLR to top-end digital cinematography cameras, you want your shots to be as smooth as possible. Fluid heads make use of actual fluid chambers or channels built into the design to diminish any sudden movements or vibrations so that you can capture the most pristine shots. The scope of options for fluid heads can range anywhere from $800 to well over $10,000, so the head you choose really depends on your budget. If you’re looking for high-quality fluid heads for cameras up to 26 lbs at an affordable price with a 5-year warranty, look no further than the Cartoni Focus 12 and the Focus HD.
Sophisticated Fluid Head Technology Built to Last
Cartoni has established an impressive reputation as a pioneer with over 80 years’ experience developing first-class, upscale camera support systems. In the last decade, Cartoni has branched out a bit to support a wider range of cameras with entry- and mid-level fluid heads. Among these are the Focus Series of fluid heads.
The Focus 12 and Focus HD are two options within the Focus Series that offer an impressive combination of quality, craftsmanship, and flexibility at an affordable price. Each features a 100mm bowl diameter and provide the latest in Cartoni patented technology. Both fluid heads carry a maximum payload of 26 lbs, which means they can support a broad variety of cameras from lightweight 4K camcorders to medium-range cinema cameras. If you’re looking for space to grow with the option to adopt heavier equipment, or you already have several diverse cameras in your arsenal, these heads are the way to go.
With the Focus HD coming in at only 4.4 lb, and the Focus 12 at 5.5 lb, both heads are robust, durable, and lightweight. Hand-crafted and assembled at the Cartoni factory in Italy, their build consists of a new composite material that serves as a sturdier, lighter alternative to aluminum. Both options feature continuous fluid drag and counterbalance adjustment for more precision in tilt shots, as well as +/-90 degrees of tilt and 360 degrees of pan range. The mobility offered in both fluid heads allows you to perfect your shot with virtually effortless adjustment of any setting. In fact, the fluid damping system can be easily modified to change panning speed and find the perfect balance for your desired shot. On top of that, the Focus HD and Focus 12 are equipped with an illuminated spirit level and orientable pan bar to help you achieve steady, error-free panoramic shots with ease. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Each option offers a strong build with a five-year warranty (not that you’ll need it), but what really makes these models stand out is the range of versatility for the price tag. With the ability to support anything from 0 to 26 lbs, the Focus HD and Focus 12 fluid heads are ideal for any filmmaker working with or planning to work with a wide range of cameras, including camcorders, DSLR, 4K, and lightweight digital cinema. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but how do you know which of the two heads to choose? What is the differentiating factor between the Focus 12 and Focus HD?
The Euro-Style Quick Release Plate
The main differentiator is that the Focus 12 offers a Euro-style quick release plate system while the Focus HD does not. The Focus HD offers a Cartoni signature side load quick release system, but for those working in a studio with the need to quickly move cameras from head to head, the Euro-style quick release plate is ideal. It’s compatible with the European style plates and can be easily removed and placed onto the head of another tripod in seconds. Even if you don’t work in a studio setting, the Euro-style release plate is a more professional style and a standard of the industry. If you plan on ever working in a professional setting where speed and efficiency are paramount, you may want to consider the Focus 12 over the Focus HD. The Focus 12 also offers a 100mm range for counterbalance, a feature that is not available on the Focus HD.