Initial Sticky Pan on Bogen model 501 Head - Page 3 at

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Old May 26th, 2011, 03:56 AM   #31
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Re: Initial Sticky Pan on Bogen model 501 Head

There are more people having problems with tilts on these and the 503's. I could have dug up other threads (about the tilt on the 503) as well, but I thought I would stick to this one because I have a 501.

Improved my 503 HDV head for pennies.

Inside a Bogen 501

John Peterson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #32
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Re: Initial Sticky Pan on Bogen model 501 Head

I know this thread is old, but it was revived, and it asks the same questions that are bothering me. At my last day job I was using classic Manfrotto legs (predecessor to the 190?) with a 128LP head. It had almost daily use for fifteen years (classical music, distances from 10 feet to 150 feet) with cameras in the 1 - 2 kg range, and ended up butter smooth. After retirement I decided to buy myself something for my hobby (trains and wildlife) and the 190CX/700RC2 seemed to be the modern equivalent. No way. Even after I removed half the grease from the pan discs (because I would be using it frequently in low temperatures) it still had stiction and jerky pan. I don't have 15 years to daily use it, nor one of those accelerated life test machines to "run it in". My current camera weighs 350 grams with battery, and zooms to 890mm equivalent focal length. I toyed briefly with the notion of adding a 1kg iron plate under the camera...

The next step up seems to be the 501, 2, 3, 4 series. I have seen reviews that recommend putting up the extra money for a 504 over the 501. Now it gets interesting. Some dealers are listing the 501 as "out of stock, not likely to be restocked", ie. obsolete. But Manfrotto now have a 501HDV listed in the current models on their website. Also I observe the 501 is the only one of the four that does not claim pan drag is adjustable to zero. The 502 might be a logical progressive improvement over the 501, but I haven't found any reviews comparing the two. I've examined the expanded parts diagrams for these heads and I don't see how the pan drag can be adjusted to zero for the 502, 3, 4. I would expect the adjustment to transfer the head/camera weight from the friction plates to a center ball or needle, but it's not obvious from looking at the pictures.

Another "improvement" is the counter-balance spring, and it seems Manfrotto have now realised that cameras are getting lighter. The 50x-HDV models appear to offer adjustable counterbalance.

Questions: has anyone here hands on experience or comparisons of both the 501 and 502?
How can they (or, do they really) reduce pan drag to zero?

Pro - Heads - Video | Manfrotto
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Old July 20th, 2012, 12:53 AM   #33
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Re: Initial Sticky Pan on Bogen model 501 Head


I regret not seeing this post till now, apollogies all 'round.

Pan drag at zero is is not a "must have", I can assure you.

What you need is pan drag that is perfectly consistant, from start to finish, no matter how hard it is (base) or has been set.

You will never get these requirements from a Manfrotto head, period.

You can get zero pan drag from Sachtler heads, but it comes at the cost of requiring the human arm to work like an machine, which, suprisingly enough, it was never engineered to do.

If you want consistant pan drag, you need to go for either a Sachtler set to something other than Zero drag, or a Vinten, where Zero doesn't mean Zero at any time.

Both are flawless in their consistency and will make you wonder why you ever played with Manfrotto.

As for Manfrottos "counterbalance" system, about as much use as an ash tray on a bicycle, so I wouldn't get too excited.

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