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Manfrotto MHXPRO-3W 3-Way Head with Retractable Levers ,Black
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- Compact for better transportability
- Precise control
- Built in Bubble Levels
- Aluminum Body
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The X-PRO 3-Way Head is Manfrotto's most compact, precise and reliable 3-way photographic head.The compact closed size that makes the X-PRO so easy to pack and carry is down to its retractable levers that can be extended when needed. With the levers retracted and folded for transport, the space occupied by the head is only 13cm x 13.5cm x 13.5cm (5.1" x 5.3" x 5.3"). Friction controls on the X-PRO 3-Way Head's tilt and portrait axes help balance the weight of camera equipment so that fine framing adjustments can be made with the locking knobs open, only locking everything down once everything's ready. And with 3 leveling bubbles on the head, composition can be levelled precisely in-camera, reducing post production work. Sturdily built with a rugged aluminium body for reliability and durability, the X-PRO supports up to 8 kg (17.6 lbs), but weighs only 1 kg (2.2 lbs).The X-PRO 3-Way Head is made in Italy by Manfrotto.SPECIFICATIONSMETRIC IMPERIAL attachment 3/8" female thread attachment type Color black color front tilt -30 Degree / +90 Degree tilt range independent pan lock yes independent tilt lock yes lateral tilt -30 Degree / +90 Degree tilt range material aluminum panoramic rotation 360 degrees patent pat. pending plate type quick release - with 1/4-20" screw quick release yes secondary safety system yes safety payload 17.64 lbs weight 2.2 lbs working height 5.12 in
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I was initially worried before I purchased this that the knobs would interfere with the body of the tracker, but this has not been the case. Everything about this screams solidity. The quick release plate once tightened on to the lens is a very solid connection. Knob rotation and panning of the head is smooth. Most importantly, everything is secure - once you tighten the knobs, nothing moves, no matter the position or orientation. The fact that the plate is rectangular versus circular gives less opportunity for slip. That's exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I got. Objects at zenith are a bit hard to aim at, but that's something that comes with the application and not a fault of this ball head. The only "negative", and I use quotes advisedly, is that the quick release plate goes in only one way and can initially be a bit hard to mount especially in the dark. But once you get used to it, you'll find it works just fine.
If your application is more casual photography, and can afford a few flaws in your shots from time to time, you'll probably save quite a bit by going to something cheaper. If you need something that is absolutely reliable, purchasing this or something like this sooner rather than later will save you a lot of frustration.
I'm not a pro, nor anything close, but I do have serious amateur needs for video that sometimes approach (semi-)professional. When I do pans and tilts they need to be smooth and controlled. I had looked at heads such as the Manfrotto 502HD, but I'm using a Canon Vixia HF-G10 and it needed a head for a lighter camcorder. Everything seemed like overkill. I was willing to spend the money, but I wasn't using a 10 lb. video cam. And as you probably already know, finding a good match of head to the camcorder size/weight is important.
First of all, don't pair this head with too lightweight of a tripod. Other reviewers have complained that when panning this head will lift the tripod right off the floor. Well, it’s possible. The fluid motion is stiff, but that’s what makes it work so well. You can’t make accidental sudden jerky movements. You need to push from side to side (or up and down), and it needs something to push against. A lightweight tripod just won’t do the trick. I like to grip the rubber grip on the Manfrotto tripod when doing a pan or tilt to make sure that everything stays solid. Learn to do it and you won't have a problem.
The fluid motion is gorgeous, especially for its price range. The pan and tilt adjustments can be tweaked, and locked down completely, but it won’t allow you to adjust so loosely that you lose the effectiveness of the fluidity. This is NOT the head that you want if you’re going to be trying to video fast sports action, but it’s perfect for following a speaker, panning nature shots, or the kids at play.
For a camcorder the size of my G10, the two-position tilt fluidity selector knob doesn't have a lot of effect. Changing the selection does make a difference, but not dramatically so. But if you were using a DSLR with a longer, heavier lens I'm sure it would be an important adjustment. I use the "short lens" position.
The included bubble level is a must, although it’s a little difficult to see. Pack a penlight for low-light situations, or be prepared to use your cell phone's light. When mated with the tripod, the tripod’s level and the head's level were pretty close in agreement, but not exactly. This indicated to me that there may have been some minor machining tolerance matchup problems between the tripod plate and head. However, it was certainly nothing to cause a problem. When setting up, I use the tripod level for gross adjustment (it's easier to see) and then tweak the tripod for final adjustment with the level on the head. There is no level adjustment on the head itself.
Don’t pay any attention to the reviewers who say that this head is made of cheap plastic. Manfrotto doesn’t make cheap. The material in question is a polymer. Look it up - it’s much tougher than plastic. No, it’s not a $1000 head, but it’s good quality and with a little common sense will hold up just fine. And the parts that need to be are made of aluminum. You'll appreciate the weight difference.
One small complaint is that to adjust the handle position the handle adjustment knob has to be backed off until the meshed teeth disengage completely, and then tightened back down. The teeth lock the handle in place once adjusted, and that’s good. But I leave the head attached to the tripod, so when I go to put it away in the bag I have to loosen and swivel the handle down each time. A quick-release system for the handle would have been nice but I can live with it, and it’s not enough of an issue to deduct points.
There’s a quick release plate for the camcorder/camera which I love! I attached the plate to my camcorder and it stays attached. It’s not large at all, in fact it's small. With a couple of minutes of practice you can then learn to hold the camcorder with one or both hands and it just pops into place on the head and locks with a spring action. So smooth! Just be sure to have the latch set in the released position before you go to insert the camcorder/plate. To unlock, press down the spring-loaded safety with the thumb and move the locking release lever with the index finger. Lift out with the other hand, or use two hands. It’s a two-second process. Great job on this one, Manfrotto!
Note that most Manfrotto tripods have a set screw under the mounting plate that you can tighten after mounting the head to help assure that the head doesn’t come loose. If you’re going to be leaving the head attached be sure to tighten the set screw to avoid headaches later, since the head just screws onto the ⅜ inch mount. It could come loose during use. While it wouldn’t be likely to just fall off, it would cause serious wobble that might ruin a shot.
To sum up, you can put less into a cheap head, but you get what you pay for. You can certainly pay a lot more for semi-pro or pro heads, but if you have a small camcorder and don’t have pro needs, this may be the head for you. It would also work well for video taken with DSLRs.
Top international reviews
The Manfrotto XPro is a huge improvement. With a 10kg Payload has double the capacity of my old head and is such a better design.
It easily carry's my DSLR with battery pack and a 70-200L f2.8 lens which only weights half of the total capacity of this head.
The adjustments are smooth and very controllable due to the friction device and having the ability to independently pan the head is a big bonus, and one missing from some much more expensive heads.
I prefer the 200PL locking plate rather than the Arca Swiss type, as it's faster to fit the camera, but it's also £50 cheaper to by the head with the 200PL plate.
The only thing I don't like about this ball head are the plastics used for the locking levers, but considering the price this really is a minor point.
Comes complete with 2 spirit levels pan angle gauge and a 10 year warranty if you register the product with Manfrotto.
Worth every penny.
It's built like a tank too so I don't doubt it's longevity but just in case I registered at Manfrotto's website which extends it's warranty to 10 yrs.
The dials feel solidly built & result in your camera staying pretty much where you set it at not tending to droop forward with gravity on some lesser well made heads. All in all I'm very glad I opted for this model versus the cheaper medium sized Manfrotto ball head unit & I think it was well worth the extra cost. So all in all I have only praise for this particular head unit & can thoroughly recommend it especially pairing it with a good carbon tripod :)
My last ball head was simply not up to the job and would often allow the camera to slowly creep down even with the tensioner knob and the lock knob tightly screwed in.
I have tried this head for more than 6 months, its been very good tool to make better framing for pictures.
To put camera in an out is super easy and super fast
adjustments are made with no hassle
It is quite small in physical size but its quality and rigidity is super
i can see it will last me for long time which makes it a good investment
A very good product and well worth the money
I am pleased
Some Pros go for much more expensive stuff than Manfrotto
But their stuff looks lovely (you know designed in Italy) and this Ball head works great... even for a Manfrotto