Sachtler’s new aktiv fluid video tripod head series is built for speed and easy setup

Oct 14, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sachtler’s new aktiv fluid video tripod head series is built for speed and easy setup

Oct 14, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Sachtler has announced its new “aktiv” series of fluid video heads. Designed to replace their popular FSB model heads, the aktiv line is focused on speed and easy operation. There are four models in the new lineup, which are the aktiv6, aktiv8, aktiv8T and the aktiv10. They all share the same design principles but vary in load capacity, weight and size.

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The differences between the models are basically down to size and load capacity and in the case of the aktiv8T the type of camera fitting used. Which to go for will largely depend on what type of camera you’re using and what legs you might already have (or be considering purchasing) to sit it all on top of.

aktiv6aktiv8aktiv8Taktiv10
Bowl size75mm75mm75mm100mm
Payload0-8kg0-12kg0-12kg0-12kg
Counterbalance steps15+015+015+015+0
Drag setting3+07+07+07+0
Camera fittingSideload SSideload STouch & Go plate SSideload S
2.6kg2.7kg2.8kg2.9kg

These are fluid video heads, designed to sit in a bowl for us on video tripod legs. But they offer some unique new features over existing fluid video heads. For a start, there’s new “SpeedLock” technology which allows you to easily level the bead with just the flick of a lever instead of messing around with a knob in between the legs.

The lever also lets you quickly and easily completely detach the tripod head, with the camera still on top, in order to shift it over from one tripod to another, or to a slider, or any other type of camera support you wish. And the lack of a centre column means you can get this head extremely low to the ground while still having all the benefits of a bowl head to be able to easily level it.

It’s a very neat design idea and takes some pointers from Sachtler’s own Flowtech series of tripods, which we’ve reviewed here. These heads aren’t inexpensive, by any stretch of the imagination, but when you consider they’re built to hold camera rigs on that can potentially value in the tens of thousands, it’s a relatively small financial sacrifice.

The Sachtler aktiv6, aktiv8, aktiv8T and aktiv10 are available to pre-order now for $1,448.75, $1,866.75, $1,866.75 and $2,422.50 respectively. The aktiv6, aktiv8 and aktiv8T heads are also available in various combo pack with legs, ranging in price from $2,517.50 up to $3,097.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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