Is this normal? -503 head at DVinfo.net

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Old January 5th, 2005, 05:46 AM   #1
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Is this normal? -503 head

Hi all,

After some research I bought the manfrotto 503 with 525 legs and I am overall very happy with it.
Now because the 503 it is not a $1500 head I know it's not perfect, so it has some 'backslash' at the end of a pan, especially if you're in tele. But the thing that concerns me is that a lot of times, especially when the pan-drag is set loosely, it will have a 'foward-slash;, that is, after I release it, it will drift a bit in the direction it went initially. This is not a contionous drift but it will 'jitter' a bit. It's hard to explain if you can't see, but it looks like it stops correctly, but then half a second later it shifts a bit more. Sometimes even three times, so my framing is walking away. It looks like it's trying to get to a fixed, balanced location, but it shouldn't because it has nothing to do with gravity since it is a horizontal pan.
Also, I can hear the fluid inside the head make noise when panning, it sounds like stirring with a spoon through buttered macaroni (very subtle of course).
Is this cause for concern or should I stop worrying (or buy a more expensive head ;) and just try to avoid the negative effects?

Appreciate your input,

Steven
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Old January 5th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #2
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I have found your comments extremely worrying, as I also was considering the 503 as my first choice. The head should not move at all when you stopped pushing it.

We are lucky to have Marc Schotland helping on this forum, so maybe he has something to comment about this problem.

That is certainly one thing I will carefully look when I try the different heads. At what tele position did that happen?


Carlos
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Old January 5th, 2005, 08:26 AM   #3
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I was zoomed in at 10x, an 35mm-equivalent of 440mm. This doesn't of course only happen at tele, but it is just more apparent.
As I said, it is not disastrous, but I just need to know whether this is a malfunction or a 'normal' problem with relatively cheaper heads. If it is the latter I can accept that and live with it, it's just that you just always want to make sure you're not having a broken model.
Carlos, I didn't want to make you too worried, it's just only bothering when panning in tele, always test it yourself at your local shop to see how bad it is.
Just remember we are talking about a $350 head here and not a $1500 one. Quality always comes at a price, and I still think manfrotto has a very good price/quality ratio!

Steven
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Old January 5th, 2005, 10:54 AM   #4
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Steven,
You may just have a bad head...it does happen.
I have the same setup as you do, and have not seen that problem at all. There may be a tiny bit of backlash, but nothing like you describe.
Might want to return the head to your dealer.
Hope this helps.
Ken
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Old January 5th, 2005, 12:02 PM   #5
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I've seen the 503 (I have the 501) and it didn't do the "forward-slah" like you describe it...

I'm 99.99% this is not the case but: do you have OIS activated on camera? (just to make sure)
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Old January 7th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #6
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I picked up a 503 a month or so ago and ran into the same problem that you described (backlash). It was disturbing to me to say the least after having spent so much time researching the head on this forum and others.

I considered returning it to B&H, but decided to play with the friction settings to see if I could fix it. After tightening and loosening them several times while panning the head the problem was noticably better but didn't disappear entirely. Now, the backlash appears to have completely corrected itself over time with use.

The 503 is an excellent head for the money and I really enjoy mine. One of these days when I make it big, I'll make the move to a Satchler or Vinten. Till then the 503 will do nicely!

John
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