Any opinions on the Bogen/Manfrotto 519 fluid head? at

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Old February 10th, 2007, 07:45 AM   #1
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Any opinions on the Bogen/Manfrotto 519 fluid head?

Hi all. . .

I've been considering buying one of these and wonder how you think it stacks up to the higher priced heads out there.

Thanks much.

Stephen Pruitt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007, 12:43 PM   #2
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It's a great head for his price. My cousin owns a 519 head with the 525MVB legs and padded tripod bag for his Sony DSR-250P.
The head comes with two springs. One for handheld cameras, and the other for shouldermount. The legs go very low by the ground, so that you can get nice low angle shots. And also very important; the whole system is not too heavy to carry around.

Manfrotto 519 tripod system

Hope this helps!
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Old February 11th, 2007, 09:43 AM   #3
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Hi Stephen,

I use the 525MVB/519 combo with my XL2 and I'm very happy with it.

I can't compare it with the more expensive Sachtler, Vinten or O'Connor heads as I've never used them. However, when it comes to fluid heads, you get what you pay for. As the 519 has a very competitive price tag, most certainly there are some better ones on the market. But if the 519 fits your budget I'd say go for it. It's well worth the money.
Keep rolling

Rainer Hoffmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #4
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I've been quite happy with my 519. I stick it on top of a Miller Solo VJ so I can shoot over standing people (of course you'll need an adapter - the VJ has a 100mm bowl). The telescopic arm (included with the head) is wonderful. I added a Bogen 521PRO and a second pan arm. With both arms extended, I can have my camera elevated to seven feet without having to lift my arms to an uncomfortable position. In fact, I once recorded my daughter's school play from the very back of the gym with the Miller at maximum height while sitting in a chair directly under it. With the 519 arms fully extended, and with the aid of the 521PRO, I didn't have to stand once (okay, I did have to raise my arms slightly that time). The 519 is a fine head - it balances nicely and comes with only two springs. But don't take my word for it - be sure to try it first.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #5
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One of the things that makes the bogen kits so popular is the price. For the money, bogen offers a lot of features, certainly more than any competitor. The 519 is no exception - it has a pretty complex balancing system for a head of that price, certainly better than basically any other head within $1000. If you're looking for something that you can take your hand off without locking, this is the ticket, it balances cameras quicker and with more precision than the Sachtler "speed balance" system. But...
As for the movement, it is still a Bogen head. If you've learned the niggles of bogen fluid heads, this will not be a problem. Starts and stops are a little sticky, but a lot of users claim that this "breaks in" after a while. Also, the head has a lot of flex in it. So while it can indeed balance a 19-22lb. camera, I don't think I'd ever try it simply because there is too much play to make it look right. But, if your setup is less than 12 lbs and fairly well balanced, I'm sure this is less of an issue.

Like anything its personal preference. A couple weeks ago I was so frustrated with production giving me 3 broken and horrible tripods in a row, that I went out and bought a system. It's the weirdest thing too, because while I've used most of whats out there, I've never sat down to think about what I would actually purchase with my own cash. I certainly have favorites at all price levels, but when it's my money, not production's, the decision of which price range becomes WAY harder. They usually say - here's how much, pick something. Easy!
My personal feeling was that the fluid motion of the 519 was extremely similar to the 503, but the head had a lot more features. Strictly from that observation, I decided to go with a brand whose motion I personally liked better. BUT, if you're a happy bogen user, the 519 is a great step-up in features from all of their heads (and more adjustability than just about anyone else too). And again - in kit, they make it a great bargain.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:23 AM   #6
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sorry to come so late to the party..
My new 519 arrived with some "sticktion" problems - pans would stick a little at the start of a move. Bogen repaired it and now it's very smooth. I've used almost every broadcast-level head out there, but I wanted something under a thousand dollars for small camera shooting and the 519 fit the bill.
Bogen/Manfrotto accessories are less expensive than Sachtler,Vinen, Oconnor as well. QR plates are much cheaper.
It's disconcerting to buy heads that cost as much/more than the camera on top of them.

chris li/Wash. DC
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