Top critical review
42 people found this helpful
Plastic gears will not last. Unstable. Not user-servicable.
on November 17, 2012
I was very excited when I got this because it seemed like it was built to last, with metal rails and a metal worm screw axle. I used it very gently a couple times a year for a few years, then one day the focusing axis suddenly seized up. After trying very hard to open the gearbox so that I could inspect the seized drive train, I eventually gave up, realizing that the gearbox was intentionally assembled to be inaccessible to the user once it had been snapped together in the factory.
Curious, I finally cut open the press-fit plastic lid to the gearbox, only to discover that a few of the teeth had broken off each of the two gears that drive the worm axle. And no wonder -- the gears are made of CHEAP, FLIMSY PLASTIC, even though they engage a metal worm screw. In less than 12 hours of total use, they had chipped their teeth. Efforts to resurface and lubricate the gears did not pay off. It was irreparable. I had to throw this piece of junk in the trash, because of course the warranty had expired.
Plastic gears for a metal drive? No wonder they didn't make it easy to open that gearbox. Velbon should be embarrassed of cutting corners like this.
Additionally, I discovered that this flimsy plastic assembly was insufficiently stable for high-magnification macro photography. It's okay for high light, low-magnification macro photography, but for high-mag photos, or for low light, you must have a very stable platform. For that I recommend using machinists' heavy-duty steel, 2- and 3-axis, XY and roto tables, like the kind you would use on a CNC mill or lathe. Those are very stable, user-servicable, and highly configurable.
Do not buy this junk.