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Old March 12th, 2017, 09:33 AM   #16
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

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Originally Posted by Sabyasachi Patra View Post
Manfrotto 504HD as well as the MV500AH are strictly for lock down interviews. When you need multiple cameras and one of them is locked down, then these heads are fine. C300 with smaller lens without rigs is fine but with a 70-200 it becomes an issue. That is why I am also looking for other tripod heads as I can't drag my OConnor everywhere.

Have a look at this: SIRUI BCH-10 Broadcast Video Head - Sirui USA

I haven't tried as it is not available in my market yet, but am happy with their other products.
This looks like an interesting candidate but I have never heard of the brand. I assume it is Chinese? A little research shows their low line VH series tripods do not look very good as far as function. I researched and cannot find a single YouTube or Internet review on the BCH-10. For only $100.00 less than the Miller Air, I wouldn't chance it. Miller is a known commodity, and has been reviewed as an excellent head for the money by multiple reviewers. Who knows? The BCH-10 might be a good value and functionally great, but no Internet user reviews after two years on the market is a red flag to me. Interesting too that B&H website shows all of the BCH line as "No longer available", which means they sold them at one time and no longer sell them. Could mean a lot of things but could be that B&H had too many returns on them, if that the distributor was a PITA to deal with, poor support, etc. Adorama still has them in stock.

Last edited by Dan Brockett; March 12th, 2017 at 07:45 PM.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 09:43 AM   #17
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Hey Dan …. thinking out of the box here. (Uh-oh!) Maybe the solution is not a lighter weight head but a pair of cargo pants. With big pockets. Take everything out of the camera bag that you can: Batteries, the arm for the head, quick-release plate, even the micro SD cards, and stuff them in the pant pockets.

Maybe once past the check-in scales the bag could be reloaded with delicate items.

Might not look executive style but, hey, if it “computes” (gets below their weight limit), what the heck?
Hi John:

My challenge is getting my one check in roller duffle to 50lbs. That is the bag with the tripod, light stands, batteries, boom pole, boom pole holder and a lot of other misc. gear in it plus I have to have two weeks worth of clothing and toiletries stuffed in there. Only bringing three changes of clothes for two weeks, going to be doing some laundry I think! Backpack contains lenses, two camera bodies, laptop, goes under the seat. Carry on bag contains lights, wireless mic, gimbals, etc. I may end up shuffling things around as you suggest, the exact list is still evolving (am I taking the Go Pros? Do I need more batteries since we are shooting long days run & gun?)

I am really trying to avoid having to check a second bag as then I need the small Rock & Roller cart to carry it all and it just went from barely manageable to bringing quite a lot of gear. For this shoot, we really need to be as mobile as possible. Have a small concert to shoot, 2 days of sit down interviews, 3-4 days of shooting on the streets with talent walk and talks, hopping on a helicopter to fly to an island, it's pretty challenging as far as what I will need to carry it all off.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 03:51 PM   #18
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

Hey Dan,

That is quite a run n gun shoot so I understand you space/weight concerns. I will be interested to see if the Miller works out for you. My worry is that it won't because you will be maxing it out at the edges of the load limit. Did you say your rig is 11.5 lbs? The Miller is rated for 11 lbs max. I have always found tripod and head load ranges to be greatly exaggerated. Just because it says you can go to 11 lbs does not mean you should. I like to run heads rated for more than I shoot with so I stay in the middle or low side of the ratings. Pans and tilts work better for me that way.

I know this is a compromise situation and you know what your doing, I hope it works out. We are all trying to save weight with the airlines being such a PIA these days.

Please let us know what you think of the Miller after the gig.

Kind Regards,

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Old March 12th, 2017, 07:49 PM   #19
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

This project has taken a new direction, going from what was going to be a lot of handheld work which was going to require a more heavy Zacuto Recoil V2 rig, into we are now contemplating shooting large amount of it on a gimbal, probably the Letus Helix Jr.

So my weight class for my A camera just went way down because I will not need the VCT Baseplate, Graticle, etc. that I was planning on taking. If I do buy the Recoil Rig in the future, my Sachtler DV6 SB can handle that easily when I am shooting at home. The rig will probably be closer to 7-8 pounds now, depending lens used. The Miller may be the hot ticket for this shoot. I just found a good deal on a slightly used one.

Last edited by Dan Brockett; March 13th, 2017 at 07:56 AM.
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Old March 17th, 2017, 05:56 PM   #20
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

Just received the Miller Air Alloy. New these sell for about $1,000.00, I scored this one lightly used from Adorama for $699.00, other than a little wear on the camera plate, it looks unused. It feels great, not quite as good as my Sachtler but leagues better than any of the Manfrotto/Benro stuff. Two stage counterbalance for 4.4lbs and 11lbs. The pan handle is large and beefy, all of the controls are very smooth. The controls function with actual clutches internally, not screw pressure like the cheap heads use. The legs are functionally identical to my Solo DV Carbon legs I have used all over the world for about a decade.

Best of all, NO spreader! I hate spreaders, always have and always will. Sure they add a little torsional rigidity but the trade off is futzing with, messing with and cussing at the spreaders, wasting time unfolding and folding them back up. The only spreaders I have ever used that I kind of tolerated were the ones on our Sachtler Video 18 CF legs but even those were a PITA much of the time for my shooting style. In documentary and BTS shooting, anything that holds you up can make you miss pivotal shots for your project. The actual bowl and upper leg design on these legs is pretty beefy and other than at full extension, in heavy wind, with an overloaded head, I have not experienced any excessive twisting or flexing with these legs. This alloy version is about a pound heavier than my carbon version and are rated at 44lbs capacity.

If you are in the market for an inexpensive tripod head and legs that is actually capable of professional level moves, I highly recommend the Miller Air Carbon or Alloy. I really recommend to every pro that they spend $7k to $20k and just buy an O'Connor and be done with buying tripods for their entire career and not buy cheap tripods ;-) Hindsight is 20/20 but if I could do it all over again, I would have bought an O'Connor 20 years ago and would still be using it. I say this to people who make their living and pay their bills shooting video, not the casual hobbyists. But if you can't buy the best, and didn't allocate the proper budget in your entire video gear budget for support or if you are paranoid the airlines will lose your tripod (they have lost two of my cheap ones over the past five years) this Miller is good enough to make professional images but cheap enough that it's not going to sting too tbadly if the airlines lose it.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 07:34 PM   #21
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

Wonder what this is all about:

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Old April 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM   #22
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

Came out today, looks interesting but it's still a cheap Manfrotto.
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Old April 19th, 2017, 10:45 PM   #23
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

It's obviously made with cameras like the FS7 in mind. I also find it interesting that they're introducing the continuous counterbalance a la Vinten. I suppose since it's all Vitec group owned brands, the differentiators between brands and models is beginning to shrink.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 06:47 AM   #24
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

A good cameraman can get the shot regardless.
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Old April 21st, 2017, 02:48 PM   #25
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

Just have watched this:


As I see, there are kickbacks in pans.
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Old April 21st, 2017, 08:04 PM   #26
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

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A good cameraman can get the shot regardless.
This +111111111111

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Old April 22nd, 2017, 02:04 PM   #27
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

To be fair, a good cameraman always gets the shot but if you are trying to capture a smooth diagonal pan on a 100-400 lens at 382mm on a cheapo Manfrotto head, that shot is going to be crappy. I got the shot. But it was crappy because of the mechanical limitations of the tripod head.
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Old April 22nd, 2017, 02:06 PM   #28
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

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Originally Posted by Anton Tokman View Post
Just have watched this:

Praxis-Test: Manfrotto Nitrotech 8 - der ultimative Video-Fluid-Neigekopf? - YouTube

As I see, there are kickbacks in pans.
Wow, that pan at 4:39 is terrible. Not surprised.
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Old April 23rd, 2017, 01:15 PM   #29
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Re: Who owns a Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Head?

I would try one of those new Nitro heads in a heartbeat. In that video it is hard to say if the rough pan is the head or the operator. Especially when the guy is doing a review video on it and he does not have enough sense to turn off image stabilization. I believe that is where the back and forth movement is coming from at the end of the pans and other places, not the head. Of course I don't know what he is saying so maybe he explains something I don't understand.

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