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Old January 31st, 2013, 01:33 PM   #1
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Travel tripod + fluid head

Hi guys,

Im looking for a small, light tripod + head for my photo and video work. Ive been reading a lot of specs and reviews and Ive come down to these:

Tripods

Velbon Ultra REXi L Aluminum Tripod - us$185
Load Capacity 8.81 lbs (4 kg)
Maximum Height 5.01' (1.53 m)
Minimum Height 3.74" (9.5 cm)
Folded Length 14.17" (36 cm)
Weight 2.88 lbs (1.31 kg)

Benro MeFoto A1350Q1A - us$230
Load Capacity 17.6 lb (8 kg)
Maximum Height 5.13' (1.56 m)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended Not specified by manufacturer
Minimum Height Not specified by manufacturer
Folded Length 15.4" (39.11 cm)
Weight 3.6 lb (1.63 kg)


Fluid Heads
Manfrotto 128RC QR Micro Fluid Head - us$85
Load Capacity 8.8 lbs (4kg)
Diameter/Thread 3/8" female thread
Counter Balance System Not applicable
Counter Balance Range No
Center of Gravity Not specified by manufacturer
Quick Release/Wedge Plate Yes, (200PL-14)
Balance Plate Fixed, 1x 1/4"-20 screw
Tilt Drag Not applicable
Tilt Range -60/+90
Tilt Lock Yes
Spring Loaded Counter Balance Not applicable
Pan Range 360
Pan Lock Yes
Leveling Bubble/Illuminated No
Temperature Range Not specified by manufacturer
Weight 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head - us$125
Load Capacity 8.82 lbs
(4kg)
Diameter/Thread 3/8" Female Thread
Counter Balance System Fixed counter-balance spring @ 1.5kg
Counter Balance Range 58mm
Center of Gravity Not specified by manufacturer
Quick Release/Wedge Plate Yes 501PL
Balance Plate Fixed, 1/4" Screw and Locating Pin
Tilt Drag Fluid Cartridge with Fixed Drag
Tilt Range -60/+90
Tilt Lock Yes
Spring Loaded Counter Balance 1 Fixed
Pan Range 360
Pan Lock Yes
Leveling Bubble/Illuminated Yes / No
Temperature Range -10C / 60C
Height 3.7" / 9.5cm
Weight 1.8 lbs (0.83kg)

For day to day photography (90% of my time) I think any of these would work, as I use the NEX7 and my heaviest lens is the Tamron 18-200mm e-mount.
For video things get a little heavier as I might mount an H4N recorder (9.9 oz / 280g without batts) and a shotgun mic (5.74oz / 163g).
Taking a look at how much these fluid heads weight I think Ill be almost "forced" to go with the Benro as his Load Capacity is 17.6 lb (8 kg)

Any thoughts, experiences and so on with the equipment above?
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Last edited by Rafael Lopes; February 1st, 2013 at 03:12 AM.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

I haven't used any of that gear. But I have mistakenly purchased still photography equipment thinking it would work for video. It was an expensive mistake.

First, I want to point out that those heads are not fluid heads, they are pistol-grip ball heads, designed for stills photography.

Both of those heads require you to carry around a screw driver and allen wrench for what should be a tool-less operation. And the Vanguard head has a built-in level (good), but you have to remove the camera to view it (bad).

If shooting video, I think it would be cumbersome to level the camera. Also, you won't get good panning shots since these are not fluid heads and squeezing the pistol-grip will release tension on the ball, making it impossible to lock down the tilt axis while making a pan. I see the feature on the Vanguard head for making panoramic shots, but there's a detent every 5 degrees, so that would further ruin any chance of a smooth panning shot.

That gear might be okay as light-duty still photography but I don't think you'd be satisfied with it for any video work.


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Old February 1st, 2013, 03:09 AM   #3
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

Mark, that was very very informative. Ive checked out some not so expensive fluid heads on BHphotovideo that might do the trick. Ive updated the main thread with new fluid heads. Let me know what do you think.,
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Old February 1st, 2013, 06:22 AM   #4
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

Haven't used either of those fluid heads, but if I had to choose between the two, I guess I'd go with the 501 as it has more features, including a level. Since these are flat-base mounted heads as opposed to something like a 75mm ball head, you'll be adjusting the tripod legs to get the head leveled.

I think either tripod will suffice as far as weight goes. Your camera with mic, H4n, zoom lens, and batteries will come to about 4 pounds, add the weight of the head and you're at about 6 pounds.

If quick setup for your video is important, you might want to check out the ball heads. There are decent ball head tripods that should work for your camera weight. One is the Sachtler Ace. This tripod and head weighs nearly 10 pounds and costs about $500.

BTW - You will get more responses posting this question over in the tripod forum.

Good luck with your decision.

Mark
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Old February 1st, 2013, 06:37 AM   #5
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

MODS, can you please close this thread? Ive opened the same one on the correct sub forum: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/tripod-s...luid-head.html
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Old February 1st, 2013, 08:00 AM   #6
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

I use Benro, but the Aluminium variety. If weight is a concern, you'll appreciate carbon fiber. Buy the cheaper tripods, and get a decent head from Manfrotto (The one you listed is fine).

Don't get tripod heads from Benro. They're not machined well.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 08:26 AM   #7
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
MODS, can you please close this thread? Ive opened the same one on the correct sub forum
Duplicate threads merged.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 09:32 AM   #8
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
I use Benro, but the Aluminium variety. If weight is a concern, you'll appreciate carbon fiber. Buy the cheaper tripods, and get a decent head from Manfrotto (The one you listed is fine).

Don't get tripod heads from Benro. They're not machined well.
Thanks, Sareesh. I really like the fact that the benro is small when folded, its light weight, it can become a monopod and it can get really close to the ground. And despite all of this it can handle 17.6 lb (8 kg), which is really more than what I need.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

This is one of those things... the tripod purist in me runs away screaming, but the key here is travel - it needs to be light and compact!

The 701HDV head is probably OK for small cameras. I got one along with my Manfrotto monopod, and I'm afraid I discarded it as too lightweight for my Sony NX70. It was fine under my Canon 600d (T3i) but I wouldn't walk away and leave it unattended, it's pretty flimsy.

Don't expect high class performance. It's OK locked off (as long as you're careful), and passable for basic pans and tilts at wide angle. Just don't expect anything fantastic if you're doing lots of long lens work.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

Thanks everybody for your inputs.
Ive just got a good deal a Benro MeFoto A1350Q1A and I will probably get the 701HDV. Like I said, I do photography 90% of the time and when I shoot video I dont use a very heavy gear. I read that a bunch of people hang some weight on the tripods hook so its more stable. Anyway, Ill post my first impressions once I receive the tripod.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 09:02 PM   #11
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Re: Travel tripod + fluid head

A water bottle (or bag) makes an excellent tripod weight - for outdoor use anyway. Empty, it is light. Full, it is heavy. And at the end of the shoot, you can drink it. :)
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Old November 30th, 2016, 09:52 AM   #12
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Re:Mefoto Roadtrip with Manfrotto Befree live head?

I know this is an old thread but I didn't want to start a new one...I hope to get some first hand opinions...
I bought a Mefoto RoadTrip and while the ballhead is good for photography, I would like to replace the ballhead with a video head-I have bigger tripods but this one would be for travel only. I have a spare Manfrotto 701HDV head but I find this too big. I want something more compact but still good for video...will the Manfrotto befree Live head be a better match? is it a lot more compact than the 701HDV head? is it only a matter of removing the ball head on the Mefoto and then screwing on a new one? do I need something like a Benro LBA2 leveling base in order for this to work?
I would use the tripod with a Sony RX100 IV and maybe a 70D with a small lens.
I know that Manfrotto has a travel kit-the Befree Live that includes the legs and the fluid head which means is ready to go but since I already have the Mefoto i want to explore some options...
thanks
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