Manfrotto 522C Controller at

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Old June 26th, 2003, 10:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,483
Manfrotto 522C Controller

Some thoughts on the Manfrotto 522C LANC controller

The 522C is a beautiful piece of gear, well made, and well designed. It is esthetically and ergonomically functional. I am left handed and it works equally well for lefties or righties, unlike some clamp on accessories. It replaces the standard pan arm on the tripod head - it is so clean you hardly notice it is there.

The buttons are all sealed under a plastic face plate so they are protected and easy to clean.

The focus buttons work but the button to switch between manual and auto-focus does not work with the XL1 (function not LANC controllable).

All other functions work well, on/off, display, record search, and record.

Zoom, the zoom control is a well placed wheel with an indent for your thumb on the top of it. Because it is a wheel that goes all of the way around the handle you can grip it any way that feels good to you for more finesse than just using your thumb. As far as rocker type controls go this is a pretty good one. For you guys with great manual dexterity (I am not one of them) you will like it. This control is pressure sensitive, I believe it sends out 10 zoom speeds but I think the XL1 can only read 5 of them? How well you maintain your zoom speed depends on your own skill. It is much easier to use than the on camera rocker and holds focus better.

Most VariZoom rockers are not pressure sensitive. To do a variable speed zoom you have to use the rocker and the speed control dial at the same time.

I have used VariZoom controllers on just a few occasions. I have not used the Stealth or the Rock. With that said I would have to say the 522C is a much better product than the VariZoom controllers I have used. To me, the design superiority of the Manfrotto is obvious once you have used it.

Our choice of gear is often dependent upon our specific priorities. Let me explain why the 522C was the controller I had to choose. I still shoot with Canon XL1 Cameras; I do not own a XL1S. Much of my work involves 2 or 3 cameras with live image magnification and a master record tape laid down by the technician on the live switch. For this reason the data display control button was my greatest priority. Having 3 camera operators trying to clear the data display with IR remotes every time they need to is an invitation for disaster. The consequences of a mistake can be laying down data on the master tape and or displaying it on big screens in front of a live audience, bad, bad, form. There is already enough to be said on the headsets without having to tell an operator his data signal is not clear. Having a data switch also allows the director/switch technician to tell an operator to turn it on when the camera is not live so he can check the info himself on that cameras remote monitor. Some of this does not apply to the XL1S.

Before making my purchase (in December) I called I called VariZoom and confirmed that they had discontinued their only model with data display control. They also told me they did not know if it was going to be included on future models. I see now that it is.

I am very happy with my 522C. Manfrotto did a great job on this product.

Steven Digges
Still learning twenty years later.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 10:18 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
I'm trying to figure out a way to mount the 522 for use off of the tripod.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 12:59 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 936
You guys are killing me with these zoom controller reviews! Don't get me wrong... I LOVE this. I BEGGED for this. When I started looking at the zoom controllers I found things I liked in ALL of them and that prompted a bunch of questions so I could finally pick one...

The only problem is... that with each "review" comes more questions. As of now I want to go with EITHER the Rock or the 522. Has anybody used BOTH and can you comment on that?

I'm a big fan of Manfrotto, but there are times when I don't feel it's necessary to get out the tripod and I'd like to plop that there zoomy thing on my mono/steady/stick... As of now it looks like the Rock will get the nod. (I know it's not like we're talking big bucks here, but I would like to get the one which will best suit my needs...) I wish Varizoom would finally sell out all those silver ones and gimme' a black one if I go with the Rock...


If I don't make a new decision by tomorrow. 06/27/03. I will either just get the Rock or put the zoomy off for another week and get the fresnels I've been wanting.

Beaser, if you have a 522 please comment on that for me... even though I like a little banter between friends I really do respect your opinion on things.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 01:29 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,483
Mounting it?

I just checked the bolt that holds it onto the head. It is exactly the same diamator as standard tri-pod bolts but a finer thread. Get a bolt with the proper thread and pop it in. You could then mount it to anything with a standard tri-pod hole in it (like the one on the bottom of the camera).
Steven Digges
Still learning twenty years later.
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