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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars80
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on December 29, 2008
I have the same head with the older model designation of 3130 (which uses the older non-notched quick-release plates as well as the newer notched 'N' plate).

This head is heavier than similar-sized heads in the model lineup but holds a 9 lb. camera well and the heft dampens vibration from below better than the lighter models (a plus for working with on-camera mic in certain environments). The fluid action is smooth and improves substantially with use. The overall quality of fit and finish is high.

When used with a Manfotto tripod the base attaches firmly with the use of the tripod's base set-screws (which secure via an inner ring of recessed beveled surfaces on the underside of this head). With that proviso, there is no problem with the head loosening as mentioned in the previous review. The size of the 3/8 inch mounting with beveled surface ring is a match for Manfrotto tripods and this unit is best used with that brand of tripod.

Considering the overall quality and modest price it is a good bet for medium-sized cameras (up to 10 lbs. or so). For smaller cameras, I switch to the Manfrotto 700RC2 which is well suiting to the new generation of "pop-can"-sized cameras (like Canon's Vixia/Ivis series). Both heads are low-cost, simple units.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 30, 2013
I needed a pan head for DSLR video and choose Manfrotto since their heads are known to offer great bang for the buck. Although the 128RC is one of Manfrotto's more modest designs, it's still made in Italy and demonstrates beefy build and excellent fit and finish. This head is rock solid and ultra smooth during pans. I mated the 128RC to my ancient Gitzo G201 Reporter and my 70D video pans have never been smoother. This head--although one of their smallest models--is larger than it looks in the pictures and has a long panning handle, affording fine control and good leverage.

The quick release (QR) system on this head is the Q2 system, a tweaked version of RC2, and a couple notches better than my prior RC2 heads: the 200PL-14 plate is held tightly on all four sides and has no side to side play. This play is one of the main complaints about Manfrotto's quick lock system so it's good to see it getting better with each redesign. If you don't want a QR system, the 128LP is the same head as the 128RC but sans RC2. The 128LP has an advantage insomuch as the camera can be shifted within the 2-inch mounting slot for better balance on the vertical axis.

As good as the Q2 quick release system is, my other tripod heads and cameras use Arca-Swiss QR and I needed the 128RC to work with the same. The Q2 clamp is integral to the 128RC head and can't be removed. Nevertheless it's easy to convert to Arca: screw a Manfrotto 200PL-14 plate into the underside of an Arca clamp, press into the Manfrotto RC2 clamp and lock the safety lever. That's it! I used the Desmond Arca / Bogen 3157N Compatible 60mm QR Clamp 3/8" w 1/4" Adapter DBA-01 for Tripod Head, but any 50 to 70mm Arca clamp will work as long as it has a long enough screw handle to clear the edge of the head. It looks OEM since the finish and size of the DBA-01 match the top of the head. And at $30 for the clamp, the price was right.

The 128RC is ideal for a small to medium DSLR and can go from smooth pans to stationary without drifting, vibrating or needing to retorque the tension screws. The 128RC nails the basics of durable build, stability and smooth movement.
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on July 14, 2010
I bought this head to replace a Manfrotto 3055 ball head which was getting worn out and not moving smoothly. I use the head with a spotting scope, with a camcorder and with a camera. This head is much smoother and easier to use then my 3055 ever was and is about the same weight. Even when using 45x magnification on my spotting scope the movement is very fluid and smooth. The only drawback to a pan and tilt head is that it does not work so well if you need to take a photo in portrait mode, but that is not too much of an issue for me since I use the head mostly for video and for supporting a spotting scope.
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on August 22, 2013
I bought this video head for my Tele-Vue spotting scope mounted to a Manfrotto 055X tripod. Once installed and set with the tension I liked, I found that there was a good amount of wobble or vibration on the horizontal axis (panning), but the vertical axis (tilt) seems good. Therefore, I have to tighten up the panning more than I prefer just to minimize the vibration. When fully tightened down it is very stable, but who really uses that way? Unfortunately, I don't have $400 to spend on a high-end head. I'll play with this for a while and see if I will return it. Overall, I'd say it's only average.
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on November 30, 2011
I am very pleased with this addition to my Bogen / Manfrotto lineup. It mounted right to my 25+ year old Bogen 3020 tripod and 681 monopod w base, another reviewer said he needed an adaptor. I primarily got this head to use with my spotting scope but I will also be using it with my Nikon D80 and 7000. It is very well made, the exception is my other RC2's are all metal, this release lever is plastic, similar to the release tabs on my tri and monopod. It does however have the locking spur to keep from accidentally releasing the RC2 which is missing on some other heads. I would rather see Manfrotto not scrimp and make this out of metal also. It pans and tilts as smoothe as butter, another reviewer said it was too tight but loosened up with time, mine is great. Another reviewer said it tipped on him and he thought his camera was top heavy. My D80 with a 70-210 / 18-108 / 18-200; and the heavy Tokina 12-24 showed no signs of drift or tipping. I also like the ease that the pan arm can be rapidly removed. This will make it much easier to get in my Manfrotto bag for storage and transportation. For $75.00 and change; with free shipping and a $10.00 rebate; if you ever wanted a fluid head now is the time to get one. Another winner from Manfrotto...........
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on November 6, 2013
Good quality product - certainly lighter weight (cheaper) materials than the Manfrotto products of 20+ years ago that I still use often. However, it was a great value / performance point for my HD video camera - which is consumer size / weight.

Not sure how it would handle on the upper end of the weight limits claimed by Manfrotto -- but certainly anything in the < 3 pound camera should work great.

Perhaps this is common - but it did take a little work to secure the head to the main tripod base (mostly because it seemed to keep coming lose if the tension on the pan was too tight). Then I realized my base had some set screws I could tighten down against the head to hold securely. I know not all tripods will come with these -- nor have the same issues on install.
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on November 2, 2013
I create videos for work and I use this head for all of my projects. I have it paired with the Manfrotto 190XPROL tripod to make a great combination. I'm typically shooting with a DSLR kit, so this has been a solid thus far.
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on December 30, 2009
a very fluid moving head for your tripod. Movement is consistant when used in all tempratures from sub zero to over 100 degrees. Primary use is spotting scope on backpacking trips and no flaws noted. Extremely stable.
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on April 2, 2015
If you need a fluid head tripod for DSLR with a quick release plate... this is THE head to have for those trying not to spend a fortune. I'm a fulltime wedding videographer and I absolutely love this tripod head for my DSLR cameras. If you want the REAL VALUE rig... go check out the $70-$90 Ravelli tripods and replace the Ravelli head with the 128RC. Solid setup.
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on October 2, 2010
This is a great fluid head; works just like it should.
with the handle inserted and using a compact Canon hf-100, it's a little tail heavy and will, if the thumbscrew isn't tightened, wind up pointed at the sky.
Maybe a bigger camera would avoid this issue (I suppose I could counter-weight it if I wanted to carry more weight...??)
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