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Old February 25th, 2020, 02:39 PM   #1
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Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

I've been looking at mini fluid video heads to use on a monopod and came across this one:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1326804-REG/studio_assets_sa1510_mini_fluid_video_head.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

From the image looks like a knock off of the Manfrotto Manfrotto 128RC Micro Fluid Head but it has this adjustable pan/tilt handle. I like the idea of handle that can be shortened when working in close.

Can't find any reviews, save this one on Amazon which doesn't say anything about the performance and build quality:




Anyone have experience with it ? The specs on the Studio Assets website say it has independent pan and tilt drag but how fluid is it ?

https://studio-assets.com/tripods/mini-video-fluid-head

A common complaint about the Manfrotto Micro (128RC) and Manfrotto Mini (700RC2) heads is that the pan has too much resistance when fully loosened - is this one any better ? And how well does it hold when the 'tension' knobs are fully tightened, since there are no independent pan/tilt locks as such ?

Also, is the quick release fully compatible with genuine Manfrotto 200PL-14 plates ? The specs don't specify.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; February 25th, 2020 at 08:14 PM.
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Old February 27th, 2020, 10:38 PM   #2
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

At that price I can't imagine its going to be all that good. Thats said I'm going to suggest you take a look at this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1399700-REG/mevideo_gtvablk_globetrotter_aluminum_tripod_black.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

I've got one and for its price point, its really pretty good. Head can be detached and there's also a built in monopod. The handle won't shorten but its also not that long. If I recall correctly I found out about it from a Doug Jensen tutorial, someone who knows his stuff.
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Old February 29th, 2020, 12:28 PM   #3
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

Thanks Jase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase Tanner View Post
At that price I can't imagine its going to be all that good.
I dunno. Price is about same as the Manfrotto 128RC Micro head. Adorama list it also, but like B&H it's a 'special order' item. Can't find any Canadian sellers so I'm not in a position to try it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase Tanner View Post
Thats said I'm going to suggest you take a look at this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1399700-REG/mevideo_gtvablk_globetrotter_aluminum_tripod_black.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

I've got one and for its price point, its really pretty good. Head can be detached and there's also a built in monopod. The handle won't shorten but its also not that long. If I recall correctly I found out about it from a Doug Jensen tutorial, someone who knows his stuff.
Thanks, yes, I'm sure it's a good 2-in-1 tripod/monopod solution for travel. Like the leveling feature in the head.

In this instance though I'm looking for a suitable head to use on Sirui P204S video monopod; at sport events primarily, when a tripod is not a viable option and there is need to move quickly - 'run-and-gun' sports videography so to speak.

I have an older Manfrotto 701HDV head but the fluid pan has too much resistance to be usable atop the extended monopod. Using the 'pan collar' on the monopod and a Manfrotto 361 shoulder brace (between the monopod and head) for added stability, the fluid tilt on the 701HDV is just about usable; in that case I have the head pan/tilt handle dropped down near vertically and hold it further up the stem. But the torque makes it difficult to keep the monopod steady and there's too much resistance to manipulate the head without the handle.

Tried a MVH500AH head also and it's much the same thing. The 502AH has adjustable pan/tilt drag but weighs more than twice the 701HDV. Might be fine for a Sirui P324S but too top heavy for the P204S. I really need a lighter, compact head just with more fluidity in the tilt. Maybe a 700RC2 which is a bit lighter than the 701HDV. An old model I know, but if it does the job, it's worth considering. There's the MVH400AHUS BeFree Live also, but the reviews are not inspiring. And the Sirui VA-5 'Ultra Compact' head, but it's not compatible with Manfrotto 200PL or 501PL plates, which I would prefer.

I have a Manfrotto 234RC tilt head that I use for locked-down shots. Holding the head with the lock loosened it can be used as a tilt pivot but it's difficult to make smooth controlled movements. I read where someone had used Delrin washers with grease between them to achieve control over the 'tension'. I wonder how well it would hold when locked down though.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; March 1st, 2020 at 11:21 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2020, 11:12 PM   #4
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

Checked out the above Manfrotto and Sirui heads on the P204S with my HF-G40 in several Montreal camera stores today.

Wanted to like the Sirui VA-5 because it seemed so compact, but found the tilt counterbalance to be too reactive ('springy') for working in close.

The Manfrotto 700RC2 proved more suitable in that regard. Wish the handle were shorter, or articulating, but it's fluid enough to manipulate the head directly (if needs be) when the tension is loosened and will hold position without having to lock down tight. The pan drag is a bit too stiff to use on the extended monopod, but quite satisfactory when mounted on the detachable base - using it like a 'table top' tripod. It actually weighs (520g) a bit less than the Sirui VA-5 (600g).

The 502AH is very nice, but way too large.

The Manfrotto BeeFree Live fluid head - I wouldn't say it's garbage, but close. The pan and tilt are certainly fluid but there's negligible counterbalance - it's rated for 8.8 lb/4kg load, yet couldn't hold the HF-G40 (0.9 kg) on a forward tilt with the tension knob tightened. It was even difficult to screw the head on tight because the pan lock slipped. The articulating handle is a nice touch, but the construction is mostly plastic - feels cheap.

Didn't test a Manfrotto 128RC head. Came across one in a store that deals in used, vintage gear, which says a lot. Just handling it on the counter I could tell it would be not that different to the 701HDV. Also the position of the pan handle is fixed. So I don't expect the Studio Assets 'Mini' Fluid head would be any better, despite the adjustable handle.

So, probably the 700RC2 would be the best fluid head option for my needs. Looking for best price.

Also checked out some (photo) ball heads at the last store I stopped by - Lozeau. They no longer hold Sirui products since Henry's took ownership, but I was impressed with the '3-Legged Thing Air Head Neo Ball Head'. The ball joint and pan base are very smooth with superb independent friction control and are rock solid when locked down.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; March 6th, 2020 at 08:03 PM.
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Old March 11th, 2020, 09:55 PM   #5
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

Took the opportunity to test the 700RC2 more thoroughly before making a decision. Discovered that when the tilt tension is loosened just enough to allow the head to be manipulated directly (cupping with both holds) it actually tips off to the side a few degrees as you tilt - and likewise when locking the knob down. Tried increasing the tension and using just the handle, but the 'side-tilt' was still there. That's no good.
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Old March 13th, 2020, 08:27 AM   #6
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

I have one of these for $75 brand new if you are interested:


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Old March 13th, 2020, 10:56 PM   #7
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Re: Studio Assets Mini Fluid Video Head

Thanks for the offer Ian. I did check out 3-way photo heads, including that Manfrotto model. Panning is quite smooth but tilting is not. Plus, on a monopod you don't want the camera mount set back from the tripod mount.
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