Anybody see the newest (cheap) Manfrotto head? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 29th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #1
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Anybody see the newest (cheap) Manfrotto head?

I can't believe what they're giving you for a paltry $89!

Check this thing out:

Click HERE for 701rc2 head.

According to the Manfrotto site it even includes a counter-balance spring!

Sure you can see that it's still a total entry-level head... but I've been looking at getting a backup pod for the times when I just don't want to lug my big boy around.

With this head you get a 1.8 lbs weight, a quick-release plate, bubble level, what appears to be a sliding adjustment for camera balance, plus a counterbalance spring to prevent the "clunk" drop forward or back. All in all it really looks like a steal for such a low price.

Combo this with a 3021pro (black of course) tripod and you've got yourself a sub-8 lbs pod for $236!

Click HERE to see the complete tripod I'm referring to.

Tell me that's not a GREAT deal for anybody wanting a cheap (or backup) tripod!

My normal pod weighs nearly 11 lbs and it cost over a grand... but I gotta' tell you... this is going to be the next addition to my location bag.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 02:19 PM   #2
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Well I don't have any personal experience with that, but I used to have one of the very cheap Manfrotto heads that looked sort of similar. Honestly, it was pretty worthless. You couldn't pan smoothly, there was always a jerk when you started and there was a lot of play in it. You really might want to try before you buy. I ended up giving mine away to a friend.

I have a 3321 with the 501 head which I got about 3 years ago and used quite a bit before upgrading to a Miller. Now I use the legs with a "3D" head for my still camera. But that wasn't a bad entry level setup and I'll bet the 501 head would beat the 701rc2. For $60 more you could get that kit, including a nice carrying case http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=344330&is=REG
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Old August 29th, 2004, 06:43 PM   #3
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It's the minimum weight and portability I'm after for this pod. The combo I like is rated for twice the weight of the cheapest Manfrotto tripods.

After looking a little more I think the best bet would be this one:

Click HERE for the $319 combo.

Since there's no pictures at that link click the following link to see the legs seperately:

Click HERE for the 756b legs at $193.

These legs include a leveler and bubble level. Plus they collapse down to 23.2" and they only weigh 4.85 lbs.

This makes the total weight of the legs and head 6.7 lbs. That is SUPER light! That's even lighter then the carbon fiber combos costing 3 times the price. Now I KNOW that those CF pods are a LOT better... but this is about having a backup pod for a really cheap price... it's something to use for NON-critical work.

This is my normal pod (click here).

I actually bought the components seperately and upgraded the legs to the 1345 and got a Portabrace tripod "clamshell" bag instead of the Gitzo bag... so cash isn't the issue on this one.

I just think that the new Manfrotto head, when combined with the leveling legs... is a GREAT deal! I don't think you're going to find anybody on this forum to claim that this is a "professional" pod... but at a pound LIGHTER then even the CF models... it's a great little "beater" pod for quick and dirty shooting.

This coming weekend I've got some shooting to do from Saturday through Monday. It's a job where we want to blend into the crowd. I'll probably walk several miles with my gear every day. My good pod is 11 lbs... this pod is more then 4 lbs lighter... if I had it guess which one I'd bring?

I'm gonna' get one.
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Old September 9th, 2004, 06:32 PM   #4
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UPDATE... well after my raving excitement about the new head, sight unseen, a friend of mine bought the pod combo that I said I was going to buy.

The new head (701rc2) is very minimalist in construction... but that's fine... we're talking about a cheap, lightweight head.

Here are my impressions.

It's got DRAMATICALLY smoother motion then the previous version of this head.

There is a fixed tension counter-balance spring built-in... it's not of sufficient rating to support my DVX... but you can let go of the DVX with NO tilting resistance dialed in and it WON'T drop the camera... it slowly lets it fall forward, or back.

*IF* you dial in a fair amount of tilt resistance it actually WILL support even the DVX.

There is a bubble level built into the head... right at the base... VERY nice.

The top portion of the head slides forward and back... about 1" in either direction or 2" total slide... so you could balance anything up to an XL1s pretty easily.

The head uses the same quick-release plate technology as the other Manfrotto heads... It holds the cam very solidly, but it doens't actually LOCK like some of the other heads do... but I'd have NO worries tilting my cam or carrying it around by the pod legs.

The pan arm can be placed at any angle to the head... it can be loosened and rotated just like on a real head.

The actual quick-release plate and the lever which releases it are raw metal... considering the super-nice finish on all Manfrotto stuff I'd have liked to see this in that nice gray that most of their stuff is (little parts and levers)... at this price? That's picky.

All in all I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice this little head is... but keep in mind that it's just that... LITTLE.

My original intent with this thread was to share my enthusiasm for Manfrotto's dramatic upgrade of a total entry-level head. After extensive time with one I'm even MORE impressed... by weighting one leg of the equally cheap Bogen legs I could muster some pretty smooth pans and tilts. I sincerely think this head will be passable for a lot of videographers on a super-tight budget... or else those who want a SUPER-lightweight spare pod. I wouldn't pop my DVX on this baby for a paid gig that involved a lot of zoomed shots panning and tilting... but I WOULD use it for a paid gig that involved medium to wide shots with panning and tilting... and I'd definitely use it for my own personal crap... when I don't want to be bothered with a heavy pod.

I tend to follow the money on things... some people buy something and when enough time passes that they can't return it they want to convince EVERYBODY that's the right choice. Still others make all sorts of recommendations that they themselves will never follow... "This is what I use at work", etc. To me the best testamonial endorsement of a product... and I even apply this in the magazine reviews... is when an unbiased party gets to really play around with a product... and THEN buys it.

I know I already said this earlier... but I really am going to get the pod I suggested above. This cheapy little head has counter-balance springs and they CLAIM it even has REAL fluid cartridges in it? True fluid? Doubtful... but for a cheap-as-dirt head I was surprised at how smooth I could be with it.*

*For those who don't know me my normal pod is over a grand and OBVIOUSLY an entry-level head and legs like this is no real comparison... when you initiate or end a pan/tilt it was hard to not have that "nudge" into motion or out of motion... I'm sure you all know what I mean. So take my comments with a grain of salt... this isn't a pod to compete with your high-end stuff... it's just something you may not mind having on your backpack for 10 miles... I also use monopods and a tripod easily does a lot of things a monopod can't easily do... or do at all.
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Old October 2nd, 2004, 02:59 AM   #5
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Hi Matt. Your very well done review of the 701rc2 head interested me.
I am using a 700rc2. When you state:
"It's got DRAMATICALLY smoother motion then the previous version of this head."
I am assuming you are referring to the 700rc2 as the previous model. Is that correct?
I'm using a Sony TRV38 cam with it. Weighs just under 2 lbs. Would the spring be a problem for a camcorder this light?

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.

Allen
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Old October 2nd, 2004, 03:13 PM   #6
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Would that be sufficient for a GL2 or is there something a tiny bit more expensive that is really smooth.

Give me your best links on this one. I'm really looking to get a smooth tripod for once. I'm finally getting calls for my business and I need something good.

So whatever tripods similar to the 701rc2 combo kits but maybe a tiny bit better. The GL2 isn't all that heavy, but I guess the better built tripod/base the more steady and smooth.

I think anything over 7 pounds might be overkill though, but I'm new to looking into good tripods.
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Old October 17th, 2004, 05:20 PM   #7
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Sorry for the delay in response guys. I always thought viruses, worms, and trojan horses were a joke... now I can't even use Internet Explorer anymore or my computer instantly shuts down. I tried to respond to this about 4 times now. I'll get that sorted sooner or later... back to the topic.

As for the head it's a great starter head to grow with... I'd consider it "fine" for either a second pod or for a small cam. If you're using a GL2 I'd still plan on getting something a little more beefy eventually.

The counterbalance spring is a big plus... no matter how light your cam is... better to have your cam pull up to level then slam forward!

If you already have the earlier head then it's a toss up for the cash outlay vs. value of the upgrade... as a secondary pod it's a no-brainer... and for budget shooters who don't use a lot of full-zoom it's a solid, economical choice.
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Old November 19th, 2004, 07:52 PM   #8
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Matt, go download AVG Anti Virus suite and Lavasoft Ad Aware. They're both free and work great for cleaining up a PC.


And now for relevant discussion ;)

My Bogen Rep brought the 701RC2 and an medeve w/ ball level combo by not long ago. Very very nice. Definately feels much better than previous cheap "fluid" heads from bogen. Amn interesting note, he says unlike the Mini fluid and the 700, this one is a TRUE fluid head, not greased drag. I ordered a 701rc2 with 755 sticks and level from him today. Also got a KATA rain cover for my forthcoming dvc30. I'll post some video as soon as it gets here. They are on backorder from Bogen (701rc2's) atm, so it will be a few weeks.
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Old November 25th, 2004, 03:07 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin James:
An interesting note, he says unlike the Mini fluid and the 700, this one [701RC2] is a TRUE fluid head, not greased drag. -->>>

Interesting... although I find it doubtful that the 701RC2 is a TRUE fluid head. As I recall, even the 501/503 heads aren't 'true' fluid designs.

<<<-- I ordered a 701rc2 with 755 sticks and level from him today. -->>>

I recently purchased the 756B legs and upgraded my 700 to the 701RC2. This has been a great combo for my small cam (Sony TRV38). Couldn't be happier!

BTW, you said you ordered a 'level' also? The MDeVe's have a built in level (50mm half ball).

And Ken... Still eagerly awaiting your tripod review!

Regards, Allen
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Old November 26th, 2004, 08:30 AM   #10
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Yes, mine are the mdeve's with the built in 50mm.

I said the same thing about the 501/503's to him when I raised an objection and he said that as far as he knew, unlike the 700/501/503 this thing is a true fluid........they are trying to be the only ones with a product like this in that segment of the market. I wonder if the 501/503 may be facing replacement if bogen really has developed a cheap way to produce true fluid heads.

I'm still trying to determine for sure if this little guy is true fluid.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:22 PM   #11
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The first two I have used have been *ok*. Both had a sticky spot on vertical pans and werent very impressive. We got in some more recently that had the new Manfrotto badging (as opposed to Bogen) and a different model label (smaller text). These two were great! They also seemed to have stronger counter balance springs in them. Very smooth starts and stops in all directions. I'll have some video up early next week.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 05:35 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin James : The first two I have used have been *ok*. Both had a sticky spot on vertical pans and werent very impressive. We got in some more recently that had the new Manfrotto badging (as opposed to Bogen) and a different model label (smaller text). These two were great! They also seemed to have stronger counter balance springs in them. Very smooth starts and stops in all directions. I'll have some video up early next week. -->>>

Sorry, which are the "first two" that you got replacements for with Manfrotto badging and that were great?


Carlos
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Old December 16th, 2004, 09:20 AM   #13
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The first two 701RC2's I tried had the old style Bogen badging. The two that performed well had the newer style manfrotto badging.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 12:37 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin James : The first two 701RC2's I tried had the old style Bogen badging. The two that performed well had the newer style man froto badging. -->>>

So which is the 503 version that performs well?

On the heads I tried, the #503 was a lot better than the small one, which I think was the 701RC2 because I did that recently at an equipment show in Buenos Aires.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 03:26 AM   #15
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Some significant differences between the 701RC2 and the 503 (other than the physical size) are the following:

The 701RC2 is designed to support max loads up to 4kg (9 lbs), whereas the 503 can support 8kg (17.6 lbs).

Both heads have a fixed counter-balance spring. The 701RC2 spring is optimized at 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs); the 503 spring is set for an ideal load at 2.5kg (5.5 lbs). To assist in leveling your camera, both heads have a sliding QR plate.

The 503 is outfitted with a manual drag adjustment to fine tune the tilt and pan control, ensuring the best and smoothest controlled movements.

Both the 701RC2 and the 503 are true fluid heads.

Marc Schotland
Manfrotto
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