on January 31, 2011
After starting a professional Video Production department at our radio station, and picking up the latest and greatest HD video equipment and software, the tripod was not so easy a task. I purchased one locally at a store... and more on line. None of the heads were smooth enough to avoid jerkyness when shooting footage. The Fancier Pro Bowl Mount Video Camera Tripod with Fluid Drag Head by Weifeng FT9901 was an obvious "winner" from the time I opened the box. The weight and construction was immediately superior to anything I'd had before. Its sturdy construction and materials merrit confidence with both light and heavier cameras. The appearance is very pro, and its dual control arms coupled with a very smooth action in the head for both pans and tilts, makes this a perfect tripod for amatuers and professionals that want a great look at around $150.00. I'll get this same tripod again as we add cameras to the operation.
on January 23, 2012
I just received this tripod today, and overall, I'm impressed. While it isn't on the level of professional Manfrotto tripods I've used shooting news footage in the past, it comes quite close and is a bargain price-wise in comparison.
The construction of the tripod is quite solid. This is no discount store set of sticks. Practically everything is metal on this thing, with only the vertical tension handle and the grips on the control handles being plastic.
The whole thing feels solid, though it is a bit easy to tip if you don't hold it down. The camera plate locks in safely and tightens down easily. There is a safety latch that keeps the plate from sliding out of the slot if the tension knob isn't tight.
The dual control arms might be a bit excessive for most usage, but I've actually found a good one for having the second arm: I flip it around to the front, down below view of the lens. This lets me control the tilt when using a lighter SLR while simultaneously holding the tripod firmly on the ground. When tilting down, I can now push down on the front facing lever, instead of pulling up on the rear one.
With the "bowl-style" head attachment and bubble level, it's easy to level things even on ground that isn't level.
When loosening the legs to expand them, the knobs require only a single turn, unlike some rotary knob tripods that require you to crank away several times before the legs will budge.
Now, low price unfortunately does come with some compromises. For me, there's only one of note:
It's held on by rivets and not detachable, unlike most professional tripods. Most of the time, that wouldn't matter since the top of the shoe is only 27" off the ground at the lowest setting. However, being able to remove the spreader allows the legs to move further apart, allowing the head to get over lower. At some point, I might replace the rivets with quick release pins.
One other nit is the tilt head. When under a certain amount of tension, there is a little catch at the level setting that creates tiny "bump" in the tilt. Until I do a bit of shooting, I'm not sure how noticeable it will be if I pass over the level spot. I can feel it, but I don't know if the camera will see it. If the head is loose enough, it goes away, but for fine movements, I'd like it a bit tighter. In theory, I can work around it.
About the only other complaint is how much the various adjustment and lock knobs on the head seem to get in the way of each other. At times, I have to loosen one and turn it to get it out of the way of another. For the most part, those are adjustments you make and leave set for the entire time you're on a shoot, but it's still a bit more fussing than I'd like.
So, in summary, the tripod gets 4 stars for the value and quality for the price, but I had to knock off one star for the non-removable spreader and the knobs fighting each other for space.
on October 13, 2010
This tripod is large don't expect it to be ultra portable, that said it is packaged very well in a padded nylon carry case. The tripod comes with 2 very strong camera mounts that allow quick change by loosening a lock nut and pressing a backup safety button that prevents the camera from accidently sliding off the mount in the event one forgets to lock down the mount nut. Nice feature. Very smooth tracking and any angle is possible with the controls.
If I could come up with a complaint it would be the feet should be larger or have a bigger footprint for stability.
on August 3, 2011
I am a cinematographer, and I had been on set numerous time seeing cam op with this tripod on set. I had personally used the Fancierstudio tripod personally from cam op in two different shoot. I found that their performance is readily reliable on the budget. Therefore I finally decided to order one for my own.
However, as soon as this unit came in the mail, I realize the finishes on the tripod is off. Pan and tilt is also rather high in friction, but that can simply because of the unit is brand new and needs to break in. But what troubles me most is the performance of the fluid head, it is not pleasant comparing to what it used to feel like when I was using the same tripod on my previous filming experience.
I started to back track on the website and comparing my tripod to the product page online. I noticed that there is no logo, or any brand marking to indicate that this is indeed a Fancierstudio product. I am suspecting this is a knock off?
Yes, it is still great for its value, but for I had used the same unit that was at the same price and perform better. I will do a field test this Saturday on a schedule, this will really makes me decide if this is a make or break for this "suspicious knock off" tripod...
I had this tripod for over two months now and use it very often. I filmed almost every week, and some time for the whole week solid, this is certainly something I bring on set, and had been used, in every single production.
It is not tall enough, like those good old Bogen (which I also own) and Manfrotto sticks, but it is a fraction of the price, therefore it is still a bargin. It is frustration when you wish it is about another feet taller... but that's why god invented apple boxes, right?
It also doesn't take vibration nicely. Many times when I filmed on hardwood floor, or dance floor, you will see visible screen shake. I am using this without any sandbags, so for those baggie user, that might be different.
Pan is smooth as butter, but tilt take some effort to start. But once you get the right momentum on the tilting action, it is just as good as the pan.
This tripod actually works better than I imagine, however, on warning. I was on set recently and someone, again, had the same exact tripod, but the bowl on his head was lose, so it cannot stand in place, which also makes panning and tilting impossible. But for me, it is smooth sailing so far.
on October 9, 2010
I am very pleased with the Fancier AVTP Pro tripod. This upgrade came as a result of taking Film Directing courses. The tripod is extremely professional looking, sturdy and produces smooth panning & tilting with the dual fluid head. I use it with my Nikon DSLR as an indie film maker.
The dual handles ensures smooth handling; however only one can be used when tightening and/or loosening the tilt lever.
I am pleased with overall performance of the professional tripod. It commands respect while shooting as an indie film producer; displaying a bold, sturdy & professional look.
on August 18, 2011
The tripod legs and fluid head along with sleak looking design were the selling point for me but after opening it up and working with it I find it fall short in big ways. The most dissapointing was that the fluid head is not very fluid at all. It basically jerks around. Once you untighten the latches the head becomes too loose so you try to tighten them to make them less loose. But then this simply makes the head jerky and not fluid at all. Another thing that annoyed me was the tightening clamp for the camera base plate. I use DSLRs for a lot of my photo and video work and because the camera's wider it got in the way of the tightening screw. So basically I can't even put my DSLRs on this tripod at all without purchasing some kinda of rising base. Pretty annoying. Great legs though.
on April 18, 2013
This will be an ongoing review, which I found is the most accurate way to write a review.
The product arrived from Amazon one day ahead of schedule – well done.
For under $200 out the door, the design, build quality, and feel of this product are top notch. I did a small video shoot for video – only pickups of a previous shoot with a 7D in a cage attached to a follow focus and monitor. I'm not exactly sure how much weight that was, but it was as substantial as a dedicated video camera and the fluid head tilted and panned beautifully. Great stability and smooth operation considering it has a very small portable footprint.
My only reservation is that upon first examining the tripod, a sticker fell off one of the locking knobs on the legs. It was a directional arrow sticker for locking – unlocking the leg. I immediately wondered if this was a foreshadowing of shoddy build quality. That still may be true, but so far this tripod has performed and met my expectations.
I'm leaving one star off, just to see which direction this tri-pod will go over the course of time. But so far I would recommend this tripod for its price without reservation.
on November 6, 2015
I personally do not avoid some purchases that are "Made in China". I have a rig that was made in India a Camera made in Tokyo, Japan and now a heavy duty tripod and fluid head in China. So this tripod is solid, and has an even more solid head. I am impressed considering the price tag, I did not expect this level of quality. The whole thing is a bit heavy for those who plan to pick up and move around quickly but it is solid I must say again. I opened the box and in 5 min had the entire thing ready to be mounted. I did notice a slight wobble after securing my entire rig. My rig however consists of a a shoulder FilmCity rig w/ matte box with an lcd video monitor attached on top so I assume my rig is at the weight limit of this tripod.
Arrived super fast
Supports heavy camera/ camera rigs**
**My rig may a tad to heavy. There is a slight wobble that appears to be coming from the tripod plate that is screwed to my rig. In another words two screws on the plate would be better then one. To fix this I just removed some of the rig parts i.e. shoulder support which has that heavy weight at the end.
on April 2, 2011
I was on the lookout for reasonably priced tripods to use as "slider" stands...Wanted something heavy enough to be stable yet not so heavy that I left them at the studio or hesitated to move them around...
These are good looking all black tripods that are perfect for how I'll use them. Light enough yet steady under load...short end is perfect for most of my slider work at about 30"...very stable up to 48"...haven't tried higher yet... The bowl/ball provides additional adjustments when using my sliders in uneven areas or tilting to get different rising/falling angles on my shots...The inclusion of extra plates made it easy to rig 2 of my sliders (a Cinevate Pegasus Carbon and a home made 10' with steel 1" tubes) so they are ready to go at any time...additional plates are available pretty reasonably for around $12.00 directly from OEC so I'll get my 3rd slider (Cinevate Atlas 10) set-up and easily be able to switch between as needed...
though a little light for serious work on sticks...I tested the pan and drag before mounting my sliders and while a little stiff they should be fine for a low cost starter video/HDslr fluid head tripod...as very adjustable stands for sliders they'll be great.
carrying bags included are simple and functional... a thoughtful and unexpected treat at this price point that will be nice for location work...
as usual OEC is great to deal with...good products at fair prices with fast, friendly and very responsive customer service.
on October 20, 2011
I don't often review products because they're usually as expected, but this really surprised me.
I just received the tripod tonight. I assembled it and at first thought that it was unacceptable due to shakiness on the drag, but then I realized I had been messing with the wrong levers and, once corrected, found that was perfect for me. The drag is a bit stiff, but not sticky as some reviews have stated. Even though it's stiff, it's still a smooth pan no matter which direction you slide it. If you do a lot of fast panning, I might recommend clamping the feet down with something or possibly removing the screw (I haven't tried this yet), but aside from that, it's absolutely fantastic. The only thing that seems cheap about it is the Lock/Loose stickers to show which direction to spin the screws on the legs come off but I think most people can figure out that if it doesn't turn, try spinning it the other way.
My first live shoot with it is this weekend and I'll update the review if, after the shoot, my opinion changes.