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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 47 reviews
VINE VOICEon March 31, 2011
Have y'all noticed the mixed reviews? Some think this head is superb, others hate it. I think for the long-time video pro this head is too entry-level, it defintely won't be fluid enough when starting or stopping a pan (the rubber-band trick does help). But for us photographers that had the video world slammed down upon us (with much joy I might add) in 2008 when the 5D Mark II changed the game forever, we admittedly have been thrown into this video world full force, and to be honest, we had no idea what we were getting into. The video quality we can now produce is insane, but hand-holding a DSLR for video is a total waste of time (newcomers to DSLR video, read that last sentence again... without a tripod, monopod or a rig made for hand-holding, your video will look as amateur as it gets). THEREFORE, if you are in the new world now and want to get a good working video head without maxing out your credit card, this 501HDV shines and in a big way. It's a great fit with the 055XPROB tripod (the video world calls tripod legs "sticks", FYI), and this combo will give you a great setup and smooth panning. The video pro may not be enamored with the smoothness, but believe me, us still photographers who are now bit by the video bug will go bananas for the way this head feels with a DSLR attached. After using it you'll understand why a ball head is totally useless for video. One thing to note: the pictures are misleading, this head is way bigger than it looks. I went WHOA when I unpacked it.

Last thought: I made the mistake of selling my ball head and thought I could use this 501HDV for both photo and video. WRONG. If you shoot 100% landscape orientation then you can, but if you shoot vertical stills on a tripod (and of course you will), you CANNOT lock down this head well enough to do that. Keep your stills tripod, and go for this head and a set of Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro "sticks". This tripod is beefy enough to handle the huge 501HDV. I ended up buying another set-up for stills (055CXPRO3 with a 498RC2 ball head). You really do need two tripods, one for video, one for stills. You can start out with one tripod and switch heads, but that'll get old in a hurry, believe me.
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on January 7, 2009
I've been doing micro-budget indie video productions for about a year now, and recently upgraded my tripod (a Bogen knock-off) with the 501HDV. There are a couple of things to note.

First, if you've never seen one in person, this head is larger than any of the cheap heads that you've seen on $69-150 tripods. It's also really solid. As a result, people who see this sitting on top of my ultra-cheap tripod legs ignore the legs, see the head, and assume that I know what I'm doing. (I don't, but I'm not going to disavow them of that assumption.) The only downside to this is that it could overwhelm less-serious legs due to it's size/weight. The legs I'm using are a knock-off of these: Manfrotto 190XDB 3 Section Aluminum Tripod Note: I do NOT recommend this as an ideal combination, but it IS workable/usable, presuming that you keep the legs set at the wider angle.

Second, the spring counterbalance works pretty well, but is designed for cameras that are at least as heavy as the DVX-100a. If your camera is lighter than 3.7 lbs, you may find that the spring balance (which is NOT adjustable, as far as I can tell) is too strong, and will always force the head back to horizontal. As it is, I can tilt down or up a good 30 degrees, with the lightest tilt resistance setting, and the camera is perfectly still and stable. (If you want more flexibility in this regard, the 503HDV offers a range of counterbalance adjustments, for another $160.)

The mounting plate (which adjusts fore/aft to balance the camera) works well, and the safety release keeps the camera from sliding out the front. Given the cost of the DVX, it's somewhat comforting to know that it's not going to slip out the front of the mount, and will require me to hold down the safety release to remove it from the rear.

As long as you don't expect this head to be more than it is, you'll have a hard time finding something equivalent for less money. This is a really good video head for someone using an entry-level prosumer camera, who wants to move up from the low-end gear without breaking the bank.
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on March 24, 2017
I use this with a 5D MkIII and a Canon 11-24. I wanted a head that would easily handle the weight of these two items, be secure and easy to use. This head works very well. I use it without the arm and it is still easy to position my gear. The only thing I have found that I do not like about it is the locking screw underneath the head. It is hard to keep tight and subsequently, the head moves slightly. I may try using a bit of "LocTite" to hold the screw. then it would be 100%.
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on August 8, 2017
Nice fluid head. One of the most affordable, Only downside is the plate takes a little getting used to.
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on August 25, 2011
I already had a set of Manfrotto legs and one of the earlier Manfrotto "pseudo-fluid" heads. This one was double (or more) the price of the other one, but I have to say its superiority is more than four times better.

The self-righting feature and greater control of tension and locking, plus a shiftable mount to allow camera balance, allows the user to adjust this head nicely to most camera's weight balance.

The "real" handle, which easily moves between sides, is a big advantage over units that don't have that feature. I works well with a variety of different cameras and control layouts.
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on November 28, 2015
I am using this head with 4 pound astronomical binoculars. It works perfectly for this purpose. I saw a YouTube review comparing to the 502 model and decided that the 500 was much better. The 502 has awkward controls and does not have the snap in plate. The Calumet plate is almost identical to the Manfrotto and works fine.
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on February 26, 2017
Amazing product definitely the best tripod head I've ever used your scene. I even prefer this over there more expensive "nicer" ones.

I do wish that they had the quick release plate lock/screw on the left-hand side to make it easier to unmount the camera since most cameras have their hand grip on the right-hand side .
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on February 20, 2016
Great package - A very nice fluid head plus the extra sliding plate made this a no-brainer purchase for me. The head works well with my DSLR and with small spotting and astronomical telescopes. One of these days I might try my hand at video recording.

I like to tinker, so I am making an adapter to allow the Manfrotto head to be mounted on a rugged surveyor tripod that I picked up at a garage sale.
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on December 21, 2011
I have an old (20 years) Bogen tripod with a flat head.
A good, robust, smooooooooooooooooooooooooooth video head is hard to find for such a tripod.
I guess this was my only choice.

PROS:
- Left or right hand operation
- Secure locking of camcorder
- Can bear a lot of weight
- SMOOOOOOTH
- Quick release is a good touch

CONS:
- Price!!
- Shipping time
- Heavy
- Packaging and instructions (ugh! why do all Italian products have such bad instructions??)

Overall, I am going to recommend it, because once you are in the field chasing wild animals, you will need this to create a smooth shot.

Happy filming!
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on March 23, 2011
Just got it. Needed it for my Bushnell Legend ED 80mm Spotting Scope. Works great. Screwed right on to my Manfrotto 3021B Pro tripod. Easy to use. Does everything I need it for. Pan and tilt are adjustable and can be fine tuned also. Supports my scope perfectly. It has a spring loaded counter balance system which keeps scope from slipping and maintains angle where it is left. Has quick release sliding plate that allows you to better center the weight of your equipment to prevent possible tipping over of tripod. Just could not ask for a better built moderately heavy mount than this one. Reasonable price - I paid $176 plus tax. For NY residence Amazon collects tax but still a good deal. Recommended for scopes and video equipment over 5 pounds but under 13 pounds.
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