Davis & Sanford FM18 ATPG18

When you need to support a bit of weight for a new 4ft Jib / Crane or Camera Slider, you'll need a solid base. As an inexpensive solution i've been suggesting the FT9901SLV. I have no issues with this tripod under my short 3 foot Konova slider or the latest 4ft. Glideshot crane, but under heavier loads (like my 8ft. crane), the 75mm bowl mount can slip.

Davis Sanford FM18 Head
(Above) Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head

To carry the most amount of weight, you'll need to grab a set of sticks and a fluid head that isn't based on the bowl mount like this Davis & Sanford (Owned by Tiffen Company) ATPG18 w/ FM18 Fluid Head. Normally sold on Amazon and other spots for about $240, B&H has a decent price drop (Limited Quantity) on this beefy set of ATPG18 All Terrain legs with Geared Center Column, and heavy duty FM18 fluid head. Not a bead deal while they last...

Davis Sanford FM18 Fluid Head Tripod
find-price-button Davis & Sanford ATPG18 w/ FM18 Fluid Head

43 thoughts on “Davis & Sanford FM18 ATPG18

  1. Anyone try mounting the 4' jib to a tripod with the Proam 360 panning plate?

    This requires a 3/8" thread. But the glideshot only has 1/4".

    I thought it would have a 3/8" anyway just for extra security even when mounting to a tripod head/plate. But no...?

    The 360 plate would be my first choice because it would be sturdier, lighter, and less expensive set-up. Would anyone direct me otherwise?

    Anyone have any suggestions or thoughts?

    Thank you.

  2. pecx

    Can't decide between these two;
    Davis & Sanford ATPG18 w/ FM18 Fluid Head
    Davis & Sanford PROVISTA18 ProVista Tripod with FM18 Head

    The two is about the same price but the PROVISTA18 come with free dolly. I see PROVISTA is a better deal but people mention the PROVISTA leg is not durable but will it handle 4ft jib?

  3. JKPinPDX

    I just bought this tripod/fluid head setup and it is VERY GOOD for the price. The little knobs CAN be adjusted (simply pull on them outward to adjust) so that it does NOT hit your camera body. It's the same system of adjusting the knobs on my Manfrotto tripod, some people just don't bother to read the owners manual because it's "just a tripod". The head has ZERO play in it IF you learn how to adjust it (read the manual) ...great setup for the Money. Plus the FREE dolly roller wheels and additional QR plate is a nice bonus.

    +1 for Cheesy cam recommendations.

  4. Hey Emm:

    As you know I'm a big fan of the site and I've gotten great advice and tips from you. But this Sanford tripod is one badly designed piece of crap. I'm very well aware that I'm not buying a Manfrotto at this price, and I bought it exclusively to use it as a platform for a slider. I don't know how it will hold for that because I don't have a center-mounted slider yet, but this thing is designed by morons. It has a removable crank (!!!!) to raise the center column, which will be lost in the field after a couple of gigs. I mean couldn't they copy the foldable crank Manfrotto tripods have had for the past twenty years or so? That was too expensive? If you want to tighten the tilt the tilt knob does not clear the right handle. Boy, this thing is badly designed. I hope it's sturdy enough to do the trick (as far as being used with a slider) but otherwise it's a joke how badly designed this thing is. I used to have some Chinese strobe lights for my stills work, which would break down weekly. And I took them to this Speedotron repair guy here in LA and he'd take a look at them and say "how can they make such cheap stuff". After a while he refused to fix them. That's what this tripod reminds me.

  5. I agree, my tripod came yesterday, and I was scratching my head when it came with the free dolly. I almost thought that the people at B&H were suckers cause they just gave me a free dolly. But no. They are just cool! Thanks cheesycam for the info and thanks B&H!

  6. I picked up the Davis & Sanford tripod at the discounted price thanks to this post --

    It came yesterday, and aside from a few awkwardly placed knobs (which I can overlook given the price), it seems pretty solid and will suit me for a while. It came with a free D&S W3 Tripod Dolly too boot -- which is more than functional as a makeshift tracking dolly and I think will do just fine in helping me pull of some creative shots.

    Haven't given it any real thorough testing yet, but so far I'm happy with it. Gave me a good excuse to order some more film from B&H while I was at it too.

  7. SkunkWorks


    You're welcome, bud. That place, which is local to me here in Canada, has turntable bearings ranging from 200lb capacity 3" square to 1000lb capacity 12" round, and several sizes and capacities in between.

  8. SkunkWorks


    ... just to add to my last post... if you get what I'm saying, the most height the 4 ft. crane (its total boom length is 4 ft. including the counter-weight end past the fulcrum or pivot point) could ever add to whatever it's mounted on is 33" and that's if it could actually go straight up which it can't. The up and down angles are actually a bit limiting on it due to the design of both the main mount and the camera mount which both "bottom" out" when certain angles are reached with the boom. If you wanted more travel you'd have to mod the crane by lobbing off a bit of certain pieces of it.

    Their 6 ft. crane's lower control arm is 50" so it's going to add maybe 15" more height than the 4 ft. one (whatever that happens to be) can at it's highest point.

  9. SkunkWorks


    It's 33 inches from the fulcrum to the tip on Emm's jib. In other words, the lower control arm bar is 33 inches. But this jib can't go completely vertical. Emm would have to tell you what the maximun angle is on it. Then some quick math will tell you how much height it can add to your tripod.

    ... or Emm can just try his and tell you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Sweet choice for an even better price! Anybody know if this works with the Manfrotto 501pl QR plates for the 501 and 701? It looks ridiculously close.

  11. Barry Sanders

    I have a question about the 4ft jib. On a 60 inch/ 5ft high tripod, is the highest peak of the jib 9ft?

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Josh - I wonder if they are rating the tripod itself, and not rating the fluid head. You can buy fluid heads and tripods separately and they each have their own ratings.

  13. @skunkworks Thank you so much I was looking for these but didn't know where to look!!

    @ Everyone who replied to me; My apologies, it only tilted on its own when I set up my camera without the jib being raised causing it to be imbalanced poorly.

    I will upload a clip soon inside my house since its raining outside of what you can do with a tripod head on the jib so you can front operate it.


  14. Ted

    You can also buy just the legs if you already have nice head you can use, (when they're in stock) here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/598807-REG/Davis_Sanford_ATPG_ATPG_All_Terrain_Pod.html

    The newer version of the Davis & Sanford heads don't slip as much... they modified them somewhere along the way and they are quite a bit better now. My old provista FM18 head got a little slippy so I replaced it with a manfrotto 501 hdv and it fits nicely for video purposes but for a slider or jib arm the D+S head should work just fine. The legs look like they might take a little longer to adjust on the fly, with the twisty tightener, but if stability is what you get it's worth the extra little bit of hassle setting up or adjusting.

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Jack - The Davis & Sanford would definitely hold up on the 4ft. I haven't tested it with the 8ft. If it's not a bowl mount, it probably will. I have another tripod which works well on the crane, but the bowl mount slips. So one without a bowl mount would be much sturdier. You could also try the suggestion other people are using with bearings and a sturdy stand.

  16. Michael

    ^ Wow, I was writing an email to a friend Emm when I wrote that post. Disregard the salutation. I need sleep =)

  17. Michael


    Do you have a leg recommendation that mimicks the leg style of http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036NSY5Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=otcdl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B0036NSY5Q

    I'm looking for a new tripod that follows that leg style that can support a 4 foot konova slider and the jib without any shake or stability issues. Would also like to be able to mount my 501hdv or 701hdv but I'm not opposed to getting a new head if need be.

  18. Maybe Im just lucky but my WF717 tripod works just fine with my 8 foot crane with 25 pounds of weight, canon 7d with Tokina 11-16mm lens. Actually I really like the bowl mount when Im out on the field and have to setup the crane on uneven surfaces like the side of a hill. Its so much easier to level out than dinkin around with the legs.......oh by the way, I happened to receive the Adamantium version :-)

  19. getem


    Emm & Oliva showed them both using the crane with the tripod you said does not work. I am more than sure there is user error on your part.

  20. The WF717 WONT sustain the weight of a Glideshot 4ft Jib. I've tried it yesterday and was VERY difficult setting up on weight side or camera side as the head doesn't lock after certain weight. I had 12 lbs in the back while I had my DSLR + FF + 5" Marshall Monitor + rails and the head was just tilting all over the place. and I'm planning to include a tripod head to have front control.

    The WF717 legs are bowl mounted so the Glideshot crane won't work with it unless you get a half bowl to flat base mount adapter.

    I personally recommend an old Manfrotto heavy duty tripod legs with a 3/8 male threaded top. You might need to put on an old fluid head also because the old ones usually can hold up a lot with no problems..

    If you have the legs and no head, get 3 screws, 3/4 , 1/2, 1" of 3/8 threaded flat head screw and get 2x 3/8 washers to act as bearings so you can pan the jib.

    There are crane stands and tripods from bargain camera if you like, but they cost more than the 4ft jib itself.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @aaron - The heads are very different and one is a bowl mount which can't be used on simple sliders. The FT9901SLV has fluid drag, but it's also a big tripod setup. Not something I'd enjoy taking out for these small cameras.

  22. @emm do you use both the FT9901SLV and the Fancier w/ WF717head? any major differences? they seem pretty similar although the heads are slightly different.
    I have a WF717 now and it's pretty good (other than a plastic knob cracking of) but on steep angles it tends to want to level it's self a lot.

  23. Media

    So would this work to use for a slider (using this head + legs)? Or would you recommend a different one (considering this one is one sale, would you recommend getting this one?)

  24. I have that head and the other style legs
    (as seen here http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/623781-REG/Davis_Sanford_PROVISTA18_PROVISTA18_ProVista_Tripod_with.html) and i found a lot of play in the pan motion. When trying to tighten it down i found that the set screws didnt really do anything to help and then the screw that holds the head to the legs (only a 1/4 20 not a 3/8th) broke. When contacting the MFG they said i would have to replace the entire set of legs. They were going to but the receipt eluded me.

    Overall i like the head but it could use a larger bolt to attach to the legs considering the rest of the thing is built for some good weight. Now i just use the head on other set-ups like my slider.

  25. Barry Sanders

    Davis and Sanford are owned by Tiffen if anyone cares. I own the D&S Provista 7518 with the FM18 head. It's a great tripod. The only negative is that the quick release plate has a button on one side and a knob on the other. When putting the quick release plate back on, you have to turn and lock the knob. It can become a problem turning the knob because your camera body will block it from turning.

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @Rob - Its not the design of the legs for that provista one, its because they chose to use platic clamps to lock the legs. Those clamps would have been better off with metal.

  27. Rob

    @Kaotate Thanks for the tip. I was looking at those earlier. So is that multistage design that the 717 sticks have and the one Kaotate mentions, which is different than the one's that Emm recommends, supposed to be more stable? I've noticed that really heavy equipment tripods have single collapsible tubes. But surveying tools and ENG crews use that multistage design.

  28. rafael

    Thanks Emm. Once again, your website and the fast reply as usual made me choose as the homepage of my browse!!!
    Perhaps I will go for the WF717, like you said. However I like I lot the legs base of the FC370. Seems that the huge base feet could be more steady for the shots. Maybe Im wrong, but I like the way the whole tripod looks.
    Hard decision.

  29. Paul

    I use a Bosch bt160 contractors tripod... 60 bucks, ridiculously sturdy, you could attach a fluid head if you want with some ingenuity, but we use our crane for vertical movement only.

  30. Emm

    Post author

    @rafael - This tripod is on sale right now, but if it weren't it would be more than twice the price of the one i'm using to hold up the Konova. The WF717 (fluid head) is still great for adding it to the top of a dolly or slider for a cheap price.

  31. rafael

    What about the Fancier FC370 and the WF717? Seems that now we have plenty of options for good tripods at reasonable prices. In your opinion, what you suggest from all of them? I also use a Konova slider, the small one. I had problems using the slider in a manfrotto 190xb with the 701HDV fluid head. the footage shows the tilts when sliding to the edges.

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