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Old June 7th, 2011, 01:57 AM   #1
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Beware Manfrotto 521EX

We bought four of these almost as soon as they were available - a couple of days before an event shoot. The unit has a confusing and pretty useless red LED indicator.

It's confusing because it doesn't indicate that the camera is recording but merely that the unit is plugged into the camera and the camera is powered up and available to record.

It's useless because there seems little value in knowing the remote is plugged in when a gentle flick of the zoom control will confirm that.

As a result of the confusion one of our cameramen inadvertently missed 10 minutes of an event. With practice and familiarity (of which we had time for neither before the job) he won't do it again of course.

However, so easy is it to change the record state we've added a miniature toggle switch which isolates the record start stop function of the remote. Since we do most of our work as three cameras running for multicam editing, once the cameras are started flicking this switch means the recording can't be interrupted by fewer than two actions.

The saddest part of this tale is that a message to Manfrotto in London commenting on the confusing design was given the bum's rush. Apparently the "Customer Service" people (an oxymoron if ever there was one) are there to deflect suggestions or comments not to pass them on to the designers who, one hopes, would be interested in making a better product.

If anyone wants the details of the modification and the wiring let me know by PM.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:44 AM   #2
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Re: Beware Manfrotto 521EX

Hi Philip,

tried to send you a PM but I don't have that option.

I'm interested in your modification as I'm a 521ex user which screwed up a few times because of it.

Was even thinking about destroying the rec button on the controller....
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Old June 7th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #3
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Re: Beware Manfrotto 521EX

I hate that red light too and I just taped it over, not that it confuses me, my main confirmation of recording is on LCD, but it's bugging me and it's just stupid to have it on all the time.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #4
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Re: Beware Manfrotto 521EX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
If anyone wants the details of the modification and the wiring let me know by PM.
There is no Private Messaging system on this site.

Why don't you just post the details of the modification here on the forum?
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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Re: Beware Manfrotto 521EX

Chris

It seemed to me that posting mods to equipment that was probably covered by some sort of registered design might get me or all of us into trouble. Sorry - put it down to over-cautiousness. I'll take some pictures and post the details.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: Beware Manfrotto 521EX

I used to use a Zoe Bebob Lanc (also available for EX cams etc.) Too many combinations of buttons (single clicks, double clicks, long pushes), and an on/off button as well. I was forever pressing "off" instead of record, or getting locked in focus mode instead of zoom. Especially bad if you are out in the field somewhere getting soaked or frozen, or trying to operate it wearing gloves! Or maybe it's just my banana fingers.

Now I have a simple Libec remote, with just a zoom rocker and a rec start/stop button. There's a limit to the damage that even I can do now.
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