Manfrotto 503 head not level. at DVinfo.net

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Old May 23rd, 2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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Location: New Zealand Greymouth
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Manfrotto 503 head not level.

Hi all,

I have a Manfrotto 351MVB Tripod with a 75mm bowl and a 503 Head attached.
My problem is when I set the camera or head level with the little bubble level on the 503 head it goes out of level when I pan around with the camera.

I have not been able to fix this problem, has anyone encountered this and been able to fix it?

Nothing seems to be damaged on the head, looks like new, just goes out of level when you pan.

This is not the 503HDV head.

Regards
Barry Uddstrom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2010, 07:49 PM   #2
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Hi Barry................

The first thing to do is to establish if the leveling bubble is out.

You'll need another small, disc type spirit level, the type that indicates both yaw and pitch at the same time (either Mitre 10 or a dedicated camera store) just as the one on the head does.

The safest and most accurate way to get this right is to completely back off the three locking screws holding the 500 ball base to the base of the head, and unscrew the head from the base. Do make sure none of the tips of those locking screws are projecting above the flat of the ball base, as they will snag the head base and tip it over slightly.

If you have a floor level spreader, find the flatest bit of floor you can and weigh the spreader and tripod down with anything heavy that comes to hand, the heavier the better. If no floor level spreader, hang something heavy onto the tripod somehow, just so it can't move.

Fit the 500 ball base into the 75 mm bowl, and with your new spirit level, set it perfectly level. Move the SL around the perimeter of the flat top of the base to ensure it indicates flat everywhere.

Remove the SL and screw the head back onto the base, get it as tight as possible without moving the tripod. The base of the head is now level 'cos the top of the base was (if you get my drift).

If the head level says otherwise, it isn't calibrated properly (you may want to do the entire procedure over to make sure something didn't move the first time).

Quite how you fix it is something else again.

Trying to straighten and hold fixed the existing level may be a mission no sane person would wish to embark on (I certainly wouldn't) easier perhaps, given the scarcity of available real estate on the head base itself, to look at sandwiching some sort of alloy plate between the ball base and the head base with a projecting tab to which you could glue the disc level purchased for the test.

That ticks all the boxes but could be a bit of a mission as well, given those 3 locking screws, tho' eminently do - able.

If it agrees it's level, but fails to, having started a pan, there's something weird going on, but we'll cross that bridge when......................


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

I have pretty much tried what you say many times but still seem to have a problem.

As I have had this head for a while from new I don't remember have any problem earlier.

Not sure if anybody services these in NZ, I do know on the more expensive heads you can have them serviced here in NZ.
Just may have to get a better head.

Thanks
Barry Uddstrom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 24th, 2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
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Well............

You may just want to ignore it, as I do on mine - well, would ignore it IF I ever used it, which I don't and haven't since going Vinten a couple of years ago.

Can't say I'm hanging on to it for sentimental reasons, just that it's pretty inocuous out there on the end of the jib arm and certainly can't get into any trouble.

If you've had it for a while an upgrade probably wouldn't be such a dumb move, they ain't the greatest.

Good luck.


CS
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