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Old June 4th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Manfrotto 504HD

Has anyone used this head yet?

At $400 it is pretty affordable, it looks interesting, but I'd like to see if anyone has picked one up yet & started shooting with it.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:53 AM   #2
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Looks pretty good but those of us with existing systems like HDV701, 503, 501 may have problems since the new mount is wider it seems. If they still are compatible it would be great otherwise all tripods need to be upgraded which would be costly.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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It's not out yet, but the plate should be interchangeable with the other heads. I think the plate for the 504 is just longer.

Andy
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Old July 7th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #4
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The 504 packages arrived this week and yes, the plate is longer but fits the 501 and 503HDV heads....

Jim Martin
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Old July 8th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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woah that is good news. Thks Jim.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 10:04 AM   #6
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Jim, do the 501/503 plates work on the 504?

What are your thoughts on the head? I have a well used 503 & I've been wanting to upgrade, thinking Sachtler but can't justify the cost since my 503 is still serving me well. But the 504 seems like it could be an affordable step up.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #7
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504HD Impressions

Howdy...

I just received my 504HD. I was thinking of getting the new Compass from Miller, but I have a lot of plates already for the Manfrotto system, so the expense would have been great. I was actually considering buying a Manfrotto receiver and attaching it to the Compass quick release just so I could still use all my 501/503 quick release plates.

Anyways, I can report that the 501/504 QR plates do indeed work with the 504, although it'd clearly designed for the longer plate. I can't understand why the 501 QR plates are $20, and the longer version is $70! Seems like a rip off to me. Can anyone explain this?

I haven't used the 504 yet, but my first impression is that it feels very solid, and light. Much lighter than the Compass. More compact too. I like the new dials and controls. I'll be shooting with it next week, so I'll have a better impression then...


Best,

Ben
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Old July 20th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #8
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First week with 504HD

Howdy...

I just spend my first week shooting with the Manfrotto 504HD and 535 Carbon Fibre Legs... Thought I'd post my impressions...

First... weight. The system is about 3 or 4 lbs lighter than my previous setup, and traveling across the country, I really notice it. Not sure if it would matter that much if I was just using it around town, but if you travel, even the small savings of switching to CF is very noticable...

Ergonomics: Wonderful! Coming from the 503hdv head, everything is familiar, but seems refined. I wouldn't call it revolutionary difference, but definitely a step up from the 503. The nicest thing is the drag adjustment, which is a lot more precise than the 503. I really liked mike 503 head, so I'm hoping for a similar relationship with this head...

The 535 sticks are nice, but I miss my Road Runner's instant up and down with no leg locks... WHY did Manfrotto nix the Road Runner series? For a run-and-gun shooter like me, there was NOTHING faster! Still, these are fairly quick to setup, and the only thing I would like to see would be marks on the legs to make setting up to equal length easier. I plan to add this via sharpie myself. :-)

The head feels solid, and works well. One gripe is about the Quick Release plate. The 504hd comes with, and is obviously designed for the 501LONG plate, which is just like the 501 plate, but a little bit longer. It's nice to have this extra travel, but the standard 501 plates will work just fine. This would have been a deal breaker for me, because EVERY camera I have, plus a few other items of gear already has its own 501 plate. It would have been expensive to replace them all, so I'm happy for the backwards compatibility...

What I don't understand is why the 501 plates are $19.95, but the 501LONG is, like $70!!!! It's the same think, but an inch longer. Maybe it should be $25, or even $30, but $70? Wow!

So, I won't be buying any long plates any time soon, but am happily using the one it came with on my main EX-1...

That's about it for now. Very happy with my purchase, and happy to have a nice, if incremental, upgrade...

BTW: My other option was going with a Miller Compass, but after seeing it in action a few weeks ago, I didn't think the extra money/weight/unfamiliarity/expensive QR plates justified the purchase. Hopefully I'll be happy with this choice in the long run...

Best to all...

-Ben
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Old July 21st, 2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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Thanks Ben! Really helpful review.

Is it possible to put the new head on your Road Runner legs? Sounds like it might make something easier.

I was just looking at the 535 legs last week & thought they looked pretty sturdy for being so light weight, and really glad with how high they go.

I'm amazed at how many tripod legs don't go up past 60" (5'), even with a head on the sticks, the camera isn't at my eye level. So anyone that I try to interview that is taller than me, I'm looking up their nose. Since the 535 goes up to 67" I feel it has the reach that a professional tripod needs.


Any thoughts on the whole "Bridge" thing. Seem odd at all? Or do you not notice it?
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Old July 21st, 2010, 10:17 PM   #10
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Yep, They work fine on the road runner legs. Still wish I knew why MF discontinued them...

The whole bridge thing is just marketing fluff. Still, i had my 2nd shoot today with the 504hd, and i still really like it..

Ben
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Old August 25th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #11
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Actually, 535K is rather steep. The Amazon bundles this with the 504HD head for $990.

Does anybody know if the head will work with 055XPROB legs? This is on the cheaper range and able to hold a reasonable amount of weight - 15.4 lbs.

For reference, using it mainly for events, weddings and possibly corporate videos using Canon 7D.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 12:09 PM   #12
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The 535 & 536 carbon legs are really great....light, strong, and very sturdy, especially when extended all the way. Also, when collapsed, and the legs spread to their max, it doubles as a Hi Hat. Spend the money, it's worth it.....and the 504 doesn't belong on the 55x legs.

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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #13
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Thanks for the tips, Jim.

I might have to make a trip one day to a local photo store to personally check out 535 legs, if available.

By the way, care to elaborate on why 055XPROB isn't suitable for 504HD head? Is it because of actual compatibility issue or merely your opinion?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 08:40 AM   #14
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Ditto.

Is the 504 a bad head, bad combo, or ... ?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:31 AM   #15
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The 055x is really a tripod for stills.....it was listed in the older Manfrotto Video brochure combined with the 701 head as a package but in the current catalog it is not. The general rule here in town is spend money on lights and spend money on tripods.....they're going to be with you for a while. As I said in the previous post, you need to plan for the potential of your camera set up. You might not completely load up your camera but, with an H1, planning for over 10lbs is the minimum. As for the 504 head, Manfrotto groups it with the 546BK, 546GBK, 535K, and the 536K in packages with a bag.

Jim Martin
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