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Old April 20th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #1
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Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Hi,

My current Tripod has Manfrotto 251 Legs (75mm Half Bowl) and a manfrotto 136 head. I am not at all happy with the head although the legs are fine. From what I can gather Manfrotto do not really do any decent heads. I belie Vinten do (the ones that are not re-badged Manfrotto). What head would people recommend for these legs. Ideally something I can pick up for a couple of hundred quid (or maybe 300) used.

The main camera I use is a Sony Z1.

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Ben
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

This, Manfrotto dont make decent heads tale has cropped up many times over the last few months, Manfrotto DO make some very good video heads. I have used the 503 head for 4 years, currently with an EX1. It really depends on what your intended use is. Sure you can spend a lot of money on a tripod, but do you really need to? I have used my Manfrotto for everything from corporate, web video to broadcast sports, it has always proved more than up to the job, and didnt cost a fortune.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:15 PM   #3
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

I've been using a 501 head since like 1999. No problems.

Another friend has two Bogen tripods, both with 501 heads, and he's had them a number of years as well. No issues.

Bogen/Manfrottro makes good stuff I believe.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

It all depends on what your needs are an your budget. Others here will citicize Manfrotto and call it junk. Fine, but for MY needs Manfrotto has served me well for a great many years. Legs and heads. I've had and used the 501s, 503, 516s and have used the 504. Compared to a Cartoni that is man many times more cost wise, I admit Manfrotto doesn't compare but I don't need to haul a 5 or 6 thousand dollar tripod around to do a wedding. The Cartonis I used shooting NASCAR races for TV cost more than most people spend on a decent used car. Different needs. Do the Manfrotto heads have quirks? You bet but it's like any other peice of gear. You have to know the limitations, what you can and can't do with it and once you know that then you can work with the gear to accomplish what you need to accomplish. If you can't do that, then you need to change the gear and get something that you can afford and would do the job better than what you have.

There's an old saying that says "it's only to expensive if it doesn't do the job" so price really has little to do with much other than your budget.

Manfrotto may not be the best but if it serves your purposes and that's what you can afford then it's the best for you at that time.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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OK - so manfrotto are OK;)

OK, fair shout. I think the problem may be that my Manfrotto head is an old model, I guess thisgs have moved on.

So to bring this thread back to what I was trying to find out, what's a good video head for Z1 1for under 500 (new).

So I guess the other question is what's the best Manfrotto head for Z1?

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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #6
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Manfrotto 504 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manfrotto-504HD-PRO-VIDEO-HEAD/dp/B003VQUEXI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303341903&sr=8-1
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Quote:
My current Tripod has Manfrotto 251 Legs

According to B&H, a Manfrotto 251 is actually a set of wheels, so it seems unlikely that's your tripod.



Quote:
the ones that are not re-badged Manfrotto

Ahem, Vinten took an original Manfrotto product, stripped it into it's component parts, threw the vast majority of them in the bin and re - engineered the remains from the ground up.

The ProTouch series are not re - badged anythings, they're Vinten.


Anyway, cutting to the chase, having some idea what sticks would have been packaged with a Manfrotto 136 head, I'd have to say that upgrading the head whilst leaving the sticks extant will, most likely, be the support equivalent of putting go faster stripes on a Morris Oxford.

The best head on the planet will behave like a complete dog on a sub standard set of sticks, and it is entirely probable that some of the issues you're having with your current head do, indeed, stem from the sticks themselves.

Much as I don't agree with the "Manfrotto do make some good video heads" statement, you may find that upgrading your entire system to a Manfrotto 501 or 3 head with 525 (or similar) sticks is a game changer for your particular style of shooting.

I'm not up with current UK pricing, especially for second hand, but there's so many of that combination around it should be somewhere close to your stated budget.


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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

On the other hand..................

As the budget has undergone a serious weight gain in the last couple of hours, you could, with a bit of judicious shopping around and some scrimping and saving, go for the ultimate in it's class for a Z1.

Yep, drum roll, everyone knows what's coming.........a Vinten Vision Blue.

Now, THAT'S a camera support!

And there ain't nothing in the Manfrotto arsenal that comes even close, heck, there's nothing in anybody's arsenal that comes close in that price bracket.

That'll probably be the last camera support you'll be buying for the next decade or even longer.

Worth a try if the bidding is up to 500 smackers already.


CS

PS: I meant for the entire system BTW - head, sticks, mid level spreader, boots and case can all be had for less than 750 quidlets with just a quick flick through some of the UK vendors. If you're thinking of dropping 500 already, go the whole hog, you most certainly won't regret it.

PPS: My review of same, in case anyone missed it: http://www.dvinfo.net/article/produc...sion-blue.html

PPS: Anyone who is tempted to venture towards a Manfrotto 504HD head, forget it. Their other offerings may not be stellar, but the 504 has taken total head b*s to an entirely different level, I jest not. Review of same coming soon, and it ain't pretty. The Libec, Sachtler and Vision Blue heads up against it, well, basically, creamed it into total sludge. Don't go there.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; April 21st, 2011 at 01:43 AM. Reason: ++Update
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Old April 21st, 2011, 04:52 AM   #9
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Yes, I just came across Vinten Vision Blue, sounds great.

Thing is I was saying 500 new as I was hoping to get something for 300 used. 500 would be already stretching the budget somewhat. I was hoping just to spend money on the head and keep the legs. Is it possible to get just the Vision Blue head and put it on my existing legs (75mm half bowl).

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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:33 AM   #10
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Well, you could, Ben..............

but you come back to what I said about good heads on crap legs, they still end up giving you crap video.

The best head on the planet cannot save you from a totally crap pair of sticks, and I'd venture to guess yours aren't exactly stellar, let's be blunt.

Suggestions if the VB is totally out of reach?

My original.

Go for a Manfrotto 525 / equivalent/ 501 - 3 system as an interim upgrade,

Libec RS 250 if affordable.

They've got a few foibles, but a newbie won't even notice them, certainly you won't, for a few months. Then they'll start to drive you nuts, and you'll start wondering "why did I buy this crap?".

At which point you'll look back at this post and think "I wish I had..........................", game over.

Can't say much more than that.

This sort of post has become so depressingly familiar I think I'm going to need councelling fairly shortly (Hey, Chris, can I swing that on MediCare?)


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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:05 AM   #11
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

OK, thing is I like the legs. I don't think they are crappy atall. They are sturdy aluminium legs with a spreader, I cant folt them.

To cheer yourself up from the depressing threads check out 2001 FORD FOCUS GHIA 1.8 Zetec Very Clean Interior | eBay UK, it has had over 22,000 views simply on amusement value alone.

Ben
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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:38 AM   #12
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

I've used 503 head for years its ok. I upgraded to Manfrotto 504HD its really fantastic they added many improvements. I get smoother pans and tilts and use it for dance recitals. A good head is essential for this type of work because when you're zoomed in any problems with the head are magnified. The other more expensive pro heads are only worth the price if you do a lot of motion but I still think 504HD is a great value.

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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:38 AM   #13
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Ben,

Do you have a link to anywhere that shows the legs? I can't find a 251 anywhere.

There really is little point putting a head like the Vision Blue on lower quality legs. But without knowing what lets those are, it's kind of hard to tell.

I also wondered if the 503HDV was discontinued, a lot of dealers seem to have replaced it with the 504HDV.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:00 AM   #14
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

Ben,

Here's a used 503HDV/525 kit for 300+VAT:

Used Manfrotto MN-503HDV525 (MN-503, 503HDV) video tripod kit c/w fluid head + 2 stage alloy legs + ground spreader + case

Not a bad starter kit for your cam. CVP are very reputable, give them a shout.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 01:41 AM   #15
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Re: Advide on upgrading tripod head - something better than manfrotto

BTW, Ben, I checked out that link you posted about the e bay ad, depression gone, rolling on floor in stiches, even the missus is amused (she's a bit like Queen Victoria in this regard, so a major hit!).

Good luck with the camera support, hope it woks out and your wallet is suitably happy.


CS
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