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  • Customer Reviews

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on September 14, 2009
I'm a professional photographer and videographer. This head is pretty good for small handycams, like my back-up Canon HV30. In fact, there are precious few well made fluid/friction heads for that class camcorder. With the small cam pan/tilts work fine as long as you're not trying too many zoomed in slow movements or diagonals. But I find it too light for prosumer models like my Sony V1u loaded down for any detailed movement. It is stable when locked down for interviews but limits the amount of tilts or panning I'd can comfortably do. I'd say this is one of the better heads available for small handycams, but one should be aware of it's limitations. Considering upgrading to the 501hdv or 503, if using a 4+lb. camera.
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on December 5, 2010
After using this for some time during the summer months and into the fall I have to say I wish I bought this long ago.

Nice smooth action once you get use to it's behavior. I say this since it can be a bit of a snug feel when panning even after you use it for awhile which is fine that it has stayed nice and snug so I know it won't "wear out" too soon. The vertical adjustments are really nice and the long adjustable handle makes this function with little effort.

UPDATE: 2/2013

I have listed below what I have used with this Tripod video head in two sections, from October 2012 which is some new gear and then prior to this update which is what I have used since I first bought the 701.

I am now using a Sony NX70U and full XLR mics (10/2012). I have also used this 701 unit over 500 hrs., closer to 600 hrs. and it still feels like new. I am not one to toss around my gear and yet it has traveled with me for 18-26 weeks straight, two (2) years in a row and no issues. It has also held up in winter conditions filming different dogs in the snow and some winter rec vehicles as well. I have not been keeping track of my personal use hours with this 701 unit.

This up coming 2013 spring/summer I am planning on testing this 701 unit while mounting a new Shape Spider shoulder rig (about 3lbs) and the Sony NX70U (about 3lbs with largest battery, mic and lens hood) and seeing how it all balances out and how the 701 holds up with about a total of 5-7lbs balanced out (including a wireless mic receiver pack). So with all things considered this unit has held strong for small to mid size cameras and it will remain with me even if I need to upgrade purely because of weight additions for my gear requirements. I wouldn't think twice to use this for a small A cam or a small B camera, anything from the Sony NX70U, Canon XF100 or any small Panny camera and XLR mic.

I have also used this with my D7000 and a 70-200 lens with no issues. Everyone who has used this when I pull it out tells me the same thing, what a great tripod head and even better once I mention how affordable it is for what it offers.

I will say that with more weight added the head moves smoother in the panning and if you are not use to panning, grab a huge thick rubber band and use that to help pan by pulling it from one side to the other as this absorbs drag or energy from moving and aids to a smoother pan for beginners. This unit still is very snug which is nice so for me the extra hours of break-in I thought would loosen the pan action up has not mattered and thus even though I do like it, I still give it a 4 stars in this area because it could be a bit looser per se.

Gear Used: (prior to October 2012) I have a Canon HF-S21, wide angle lens which adds a good amount of weight, sitting on top of this with a Rode VideoMic so by me stating "smaller" in the title you will be able to understand that the head works well with this size/weight of a camera.

Fit & Finish: Very good fit on my tripod. This head seems to be made nice and strong so I'm willing to say that it won't wear out in the near future. I've put well over 115 hours using it and it still feels and acts like new.

Cost Factor: I think this is well within the price being sold for and unless you need a head that will hold double the weight as this one can, save your money by buying the 701 and buy some extra flash cards, lights or other items needed.

Issues: Nice and snug can also be a bit much if your tripod is too light, which mine can be as this head would benefit by being mounted on a set of legs with a bit of weight on them so panning would not allow the tripod to crawl at times. Simple fix is just hold the side of the tripod until you move the head even the smallest bit, once you get going it's all good. I'm thinking that after a couple hundred hours it should move really well or some heavier legs will do the same. One can also use the old "weighted down" tripod method and save some cash while the head breaks in.

Over all I'd recommend this every time if you have a smaller camera, don't need a big budget head unit and want quality right from the start.
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on March 20, 2009
I have been using the Manfrotto 501(old style, non-HDV) fluid head with my 20X80 and 25X100mm binoculars since 2001. The 501 head works well with optics from ~3 lb to 10+ lbs.

I learned about the new 701 HDV in late 2008. I was looking for a more compact mount for field use. I liked the idea that the 701 HDV head use the same 501 PL quick release plate as the 501/503 fluid heads. All of my giant binoculars and spotting scopes have the 501 PL attached. Getting the 701 HDV head means I can swap optics on different mounts quickly. I ordered the 701 HDV from Amazon/Ace Photo Digital in early March 2009. Placed the order on a weekend. Received tracking info on Sunday. Arrived on Tuesday. (free shipping).

The 701 HDV is quite compact compared to my 501 head. I would estimate just over 1/2 the volume. Fluid motion is very smooth. Much better than the 728 digi tripod/head I purchased a few years back. Fixed counter balance spring works quite well for my 3.5 lb bino. I was not planning to use this head with my heavier optics but the 701 HDV works fine with bigger binoculars up to my 8.5 lb 25X100. ( to my surprise). The 501 Plate permits about 3 inch of fore and aft balance. Works much better than Bogen heads using the 3157 PL. This compact fluid head will be much easier to carry in the field in than the bigger 501 head (rated for 13.2 lbs). I plan to add a second pan handle to make panning even easier.

Highly recommended!
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on February 11, 2012
LOVE this!!! Not sure how I got along without this.. The motion is silky smooth. I love how you can adjust the tension to be able to pivot with as much (or as little) tension that you want.

For those saying that this doesnt work with DSLR's because the release switch hits the camera body, just unscrew the hex head bolt holding the switch in place, then adjust the tension to where you want it and then screw the plastic knob into a position that works for you. I basically just reversed it so that the switch is angled down, away from the body. It works great! My fingers are sort of large and I am able to release the plate with my fingers.
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on January 9, 2010
bought this to use with the Panasonic HMC150.
the bogen 701hdv is rated for 3lbs and the hmc150 weighs around 4lbs so the internal spring in the tripod head isn't strong enough to return the camera to level after tilting down/up,
would need to get the 501 for that,
but the head is nice and compact which is great for travel or carrying around a lot.
and it is truly super smooth fluid action!

i was using the velbon dv7000 which just couldn't handle the hmc150's weight at all.
the 701 is like a dream!
if you haven't been willing to spend more than $100 on a tripod, i can speak from experience when i say that it is the single best small investment you can make if you are serious about getting smooth professional shots with pans and tilts.

and i know this head will be perfect for the Panasonic GH1 or Canon 7D when i'm ready to add dslrs to my camera collection.
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on June 7, 2011
I have the 501HDV and needed another tripod head. The 701HDV is just as smooth as the 501HDV but almost half the size and weight. I am very happy with this purchase. If you are considering getting one, then go right ahead - you won't regret it!
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on October 8, 2009
This is the first fluid head I've ever used, and I have no real complaints. Motion is very smooth and it is just the right size for my Sony XR500V Handycam, except for one small detail - when the quick release plate is positioned far enough back to engage the anti-rotation pin, it covers the battery release button. It's a minor inconvenience to have to remove the quick release plate to change the battery, but not enough to give this item less than five stars.
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on November 2, 2012
I bought this head for my Nikon D800. It is not much bigger than the head I use for still photos. A 'normal' head for still photos cannot do the job for video. This head make the camera pans and tilts very smooth. This type of head is essential for video work. I am very happy with the purchase and plan to buy another for working two camera video recordings of music performers in small clubs and coffee houses. I have no hesitation recommending this video head.
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on July 18, 2011
I purchased the Manfrotto 701 HDV head from JR Music in Manhattan July 16, 2011. I mated it with a Vanguard heavy duty carbon fiber tripod and use it to mount my JVC Everio GZ-MG330HUS HDD/micro SD Hybrid camera with Konica Minolta Lens. (Although I mention my entire tripod system in this review, I am rating only the Manfrotto Head)

I've already logged one State Park Field and boating trip to test out all of it's features. My tripod came with a case large enough to accommodate the tripod and head without the hassle of having to remove the head everytime I needed to case it up. The only item I need to break down is the pan lever handle which screws off in a couple of seconds.

Upon reaching my field location, all I did was extend the tripod legs, tweak the leg heights until leveled and center bubbled, then screw on the pan lever handle. One to two minutes max. The camera mount plate that attaches to the camera may be screwed in by hand or with a Quarter for extra tightness. It just barely covers my battery slide out mechanism, but I'm still able to remove my camera battery without removing the mounting plate with just a little finesse.

The head is spring loaded which is designed to keep heavier cameras balanced but actually causes my lighter camera to spring up when tilt is performed near the 180 degree maximum range. So I just lightly tighten the tilt lock just until the camera remains stationary in all tilt ranges. At that point, tilts and pans are smooth and seamless and it stops on a dime for a stationary frame.

Once I went from field to boat for shots on the lake, I easily removed camera from the head with the quick release feature, cased up the tripod, and was able to take handheld shots with the camcorder from the boat.

Upon downloading my video once back home, I noticed all my moving shots taken with the Manfrotto 701 HDV were smooth at the start and stop and all the way through the movement with very little effort lending the professional look to my videos. This is perfect for my application of Video Hobbyist and the cost was very affordable. I highly recommend this head for those with similar applications.
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on October 20, 2010
I consider myself a prosumer. I have high end cameras (still and video), but not the very top of the lines. I want high quality, but I am not willing to drag a cart around to lug the real pro equipment. This 701HDV head combined with the 055XPROB tripod legs hits the sweet spot for me.
Most of my video is sports. I found that to keep the tripod stable during quick pans, I need to hang my camera bag from the tripod. The pan tension is not adjustable and seemed a little tight at first, but I've gotten used to it and it seems about right now. Just don't try quick pans without some mass to hold the tripod steady.
The price hits the sweet spot too. For the price of this head, you can buy entire tripods, but they just didn't have the features or quality. On the other end, you can buy heads that cost several times this one, but the improvement is minimal. I would have like variable pan drag, but the heads with this feature were not only too expensive, but they were also getting too heavy.
All the adjustments and locks work well and can be adjusted with the camera mounted. I saw a review complaining about the handle being in the way of one of the locks, but that reviewer apparently didn't look at the picture to get the handle on the right way. If the handle is on right, there is no interference.
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