Above: joy arrives in a B&H box and bubble wrap!

I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to tripods, I must admit. 

I worked with Sachtler legs before which was great, but sadly unobtainium in South Africa nowadays. Then there was garbage in the form of Manfrotto (sorry to hate on this popular brand, but the one I was given was crap) and then there was utter garbage in the form of a Chinese brand I cannot even recall the name of. The fluid head's plastic (!) camera plate latch broke in the middle of a two week doccie shoot in the bush. And so I learned my first equipment purchasing lesson: cheap buy equals poor quality.

So when it was time to replace the Chinese disaster I phoned up my supplier and eventually forked out the cash on a Miller DS-20 which has served me well for almost 6 years now. I made up my mind then that the next stand I would buy would be a Miller again, and recently I was able to make good on that pledge by adding a Miller Solo with a DS-20 head to my kit as a second tripod. Mine had to come in from B&H in New York. Sadly I was unable to get a quote or a reply from the SA supplier in what has recently become a worrying local trend. The current R/$ RoE seems to be just killing local vendors at the moment.

Anyhow, the Miller Solo is a departure from the traditional video tripod design in that it has no spreader but a very sturdy center locking mechanism that holds the three telescoping legs in place. Initially I was a bit skeptical but this actually works pretty well. In situations where you're filming on uneven ground like steps, sand or rocky ground this would work better than a stand with a ground spreader. The DS-20 fluid head is just out of this world smooth. The entire Solo kit folds up to a very compact size and this will most probably become my primary run 'n gun stand in the future.

Above: this happens more often than you would think... Without a ground spreader you can now easily film from uneven surfaces like steps or rocky ground.

My only gripe is a rather serious one - Miller changed the size of the camera plate from the DS-20 I bought six years ago. Yes, I kid you not - the model 489 plate on my new DS-20 is not the same size as the same model plate on the old one! For a high end brand like Miller that is extremely stupid. Fortunately I was able to overcome this issue with Libec quick release adapters on all my gear, but seriously Miller! My other gripe is that I didn't get a shoulder strap with it and will have to buy one separately. 

Other than the camera plate issue I'm happy with this purchase. The Solo is very sturdy and will even take my camera slider without stability issues. As with all Miller products the tripod comes in a sturdy padded Cordura travel bag. 

Ordered in record time from www.bhphotovideo.com