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Best lightweight video head.. ?


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As far as I dug out there seems to be a very few fluid video head in this category:

- Manfrotto Befree MAMVH400AH head = 370 gram, 100$

- Sirui VA-5 = 530 gram, 150$

- FEISOL VH-40 = 600 gram, 135$

- Benro S2 = 400 gram, 80$

Didnt find anything else :(

At first Manfrotto seems like a good bet, but I use arca swiss base plate on my camera so its not very comfortable for me. On Benro I have seen many negative reviews and its not arca swiss either, though cheep and light. So which one to get? Weight is of importance cos I am frequently traveling. Sirui seems like the one to go, but I cannot try it in my country shop, I need to order. 

Any suggestions guys?

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2 hours ago, scotchtape said:

Just put arca quick release on the plates that's what I do.

Yeah that I what I do on my Manfrotto 502.  I don't know what camera you use but the 502 works great with my Sony A7s, Sony FE 16-35mm f4 and my Sony FE 28-70mm. Balances well. I would get a bigger tripod head than a smaller one. You are not balancing anything big on a small one, but you can probably work it the other way more than not.

This is the one I use.   https://www.ebay.com/i/252498632685?chn=ps

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Do you absolutely need a fluid head ? The friction devices in cheap, small heads are vastly inferior to the ones in proper video heads  to such an extent that getting a convincingly smooth pan or tilt motion is very difficult. I just use my Gitzo for quick framing and if I need a smooth pan or tilt I will have to use my much more expensive and heavier Satchler FSB4. 

 

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7 hours ago, Shirozina said:

Do you absolutely need a fluid head ? The friction devices in cheap, small heads are vastly inferior to the ones in proper video heads  to such an extent that getting a convincingly smooth pan or tilt motion is very difficult. I just use my Gitzo for quick framing and if I need a smooth pan or tilt I will have to use my much more expensive and heavier Satchler FSB4. 

 

I'm wondering the same thing. Those feather-weight video heads lack a proper counterbalance, and are usually pretty awful when it comes to smooth pans or any combination of tilt/pan movements - diagonal moves always show the flaws. Even the slightly larger with the cheap fluid cartridges are really bad because they still lack the ability to pan smoothly. Most of the heads listed have no adjustable counterbalance or pan drag adjustment. I'd get a better head, or a gimbal, or just shoot handheld with an IBIS cam.

Chris

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1 hour ago, Trek of Joy said:

I'm wondering the same thing. Those feather-weight video heads lack a proper counterbalance, and are usually pretty awful when it comes to smooth pans or any combination of tilt/pan movements - diagonal moves always show the flaws. Even the slightly larger with the cheap fluid cartridges are really bad because they still lack the ability to pan smoothly. Most of the heads listed have no adjustable counterbalance or pan drag adjustment. I'd get a better head, or a gimbal, or just shoot handheld with an IBIS cam.

Chris

I don't think there is such a thing as a True Fluid Head under nearly 500 Dollars new. But my 502 does have counterbalance and seems to be the best bang for the buck I have found in my opinion. They can be had for 150 Bucks even new.

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10 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

I don't think there is such a thing as a True Fluid Head under nearly 500 Dollars new. But my 502 does have counterbalance and seems to be the best bang for the buck I have found in my opinion. They can be had for 150 Bucks even new.

I've never looked at the 502, if memory serves its a fixed counterbalance and the lock knob is on the right side - which make no sense whatsoever. Not sure what they were thinking on that one, since most heads (by most I mean every head they have on display at B&H in NYC, which is about 50) have the lock on the left side. Plus the rest of the adjustments are optimally positioned with the pan bar right side on the head, same for most cameras since flip out LCD's always go to the left or are positioned on the left side of the camera, lens/iris/ND controls are on the left side and so on - they're meant to be used with the right hand on the pan bar. Except for the 502. The poor ergonomics are a design fail IMO, unless you're left handed and zoom/focus from the right side of the camera, or have a camera with all the controls on the right side - then I guess it would work.

Cheers

Chris

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I too thought of the lightweight ones, however I still use my Manfrotto 504 with my GH5 rig, anamorphic, or non.

Somehow, I have managed to carry it pretty much everywhere.

Certainly is a drag though, especially being a one man band...

I am pondering the new N8 Manfrotto head, and use the 504 as second cam setup.

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22 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I've never looked at the 502, if memory serves its a fixed counterbalance and the lock knob is on the right side - which make no sense whatsoever. Not sure what they were thinking on that one, since most heads (by most I mean every head they have on display at B&H in NYC, which is about 50) have the lock on the left side. Plus the rest of the adjustments are optimally positioned with the pan bar right side on the head, same for most cameras since flip out LCD's always go to the left or are positioned on the left side of the camera, lens/iris/ND controls are on the left side and so on - they're meant to be used with the right hand on the pan bar. Except for the 502. The poor ergonomics are a design fail IMO, unless you're left handed and zoom/focus from the right side of the camera, or have a camera with all the controls on the right side - then I guess it would work.

Cheers

Chris

I AM Left Handed thank you LoL. I use a Manfrotto Monopod a lot also, the one with the trigger handle where you can raise it up or down quickly. They work good enough more times than you think, especially if using Auto Focus..

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Not a total recommendation as such but Andoer do a compact 5kg load head which you can get on Amazon for £30.

Its far better than it has a right to be for that price really (and the elastic band trick smooths it out a lot as it does with all of them) but what I'd really recommend it for is to be able to get the extendable pan bar which closes really small and is perfect for travelling 

560518751_61-mlCTIL._SL1000_.thumb.jpg.7dcabe5bcb8d1c6e9c2d848eb66de50b.jpg

As far as I know, they don't sell the pan bar separately so you can use it on other tripods but they definitely should do !

 

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On 6/14/2018 at 12:36 PM, BTM_Pix said:

Not a total recommendation as such but Andoer do a compact 5kg load head which you can get on Amazon for £30.

Its far better than it has a right to be for that price really (and the elastic band trick smooths it out a lot as it does with all of them) but what I'd really recommend it for is to be able to get the extendable pan bar which closes really small and is perfect for travelling 

560518751_61-mlCTIL._SL1000_.thumb.jpg.7dcabe5bcb8d1c6e9c2d848eb66de50b.jpg

As far as I know, they don't sell the pan bar separately so you can use it on other tripods but they definitely should do !

 

Thats seem like a good option. Could you give me a link to that specific head? They make so many similar clones.. 

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7 minutes ago, Amazeballs said:

Thats seem like a good option. Could you give me a link to that specific head? They make so many similar clones.. 

As I say, it's way better than it should be for the price and the pan bar is smart but obviously manage your expectations at that price. 

But the same could be said for heads at a few times the price of it as well in my experience.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MYPV01O/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_0VHjBbW506PVC

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3 hours ago, Castorp said:

The most recent Manfrottos often have options for Arca Swiss. Check out the just announced Befree GT live. 

This item makes a lot of the Manfrotto 500 series Arca-Swiss usable. Well made also. No need to have a long foot on a smaller camera anymore with it.

And the big bonus with it is you get away from that Dumb Ass pull out knob on the side, that you can NEVER get to, that you have to tighten or loosen to put the damn foot on or off!!

Why they don't make the shaft on that knob a inch longer is beyond belief. ☹️

https://www.adorama.com/pm501.html

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  • 2 years later...

I”m posting becouse this thread pops up on Google. 
 

2 years have gone since you opened this thread but we are still limited to these options:

  • Manfrotto Befree MVH400AH  = 370 gram, <90$
  • Sirui VA-5 = 530 gram, 150$
  • FEISOL VH-40 = 600 gram, 135$
  • Benro S2 = 400 gram, 80$
  • iFootage Komodo K5 = 700gr, 159$

To be honest none of them provide superb smooth fluid pan and tilt.  If you want superb smooth pan and tilt for affordable price I would recommend Komodo K7, which is till hard to get.

if you want something very lightweight and which makes pan and tilt easier, I recommend Manfrotto BeFree. It’s not superbly smooth bat smooth enough for average fast mobile video production. I have used it with tripods and monopods as well and even if it isn’t the most perfect you will get get better video with your very lightweight equipment. 

if you need superb smooth pan and tilt you shal use a lot heavier equipment or alternatively to use some motorised video head, which might be even better solution than any video head mentioned above. 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hi,

There aren't that many topics about fluid and lightweight video heads. Like PhilCutting, I use a Lumix micro43 (GH5), but with a Panny 100-400 to film wildlife, and since I'm filming in the mountains in hard-to-reach places, I carry all my gear on my back, so every pounds of my equipment must be worth carrying.

I am currently using the Sirui VA-5 video head, and I can confirm, although it is a very good fluid head for its price, that at 400mm (so we are close to 900m FF considering the crop factor with the teleconverter mode activated), it is almost impossible to do any pan/tilt.

So I've been looking for a while for the perfect fluid head, ultra-light (the ideal weight would be about 1 pound, no more than 2 pounds), which would allow me to do pan/tilt smoothly with my 4 pound equipment.

It would seem to be physically impossible, as I haven't found the perfect product. Most wildlife spinning professionals use Sachtler heads, but the lightest head weighs 3.4 pounds (Ace XL). I'm looking for something as smooth but lighter, considering only the weight and softness of move, not the price.

Maybe someone here knows the Grail I'm looking for.

So, in addition to the ones mentioned in this thread, here are the products I found (but not tested) :

- 3 legged thing airhed cine fuild head: about 1 book, they claim it can hold up to 22 books but I've read bad reviews saying it's better to buy a Sachtler

- aractech video ball head: about 1 pound, seems to support 25 pounds, but I don't know if it can be used as a real fluid head with a long telephoto lens

If anyone here has tested these heads or has better ideas, I'd really like to know.

 

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