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Manfrotto 502 Video Head MVH502AH
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- Pan fluid drag system
- Easy Link connectors for easy attachment of accessories
- Wider and longer top plate for extra stability
- built in counterbalance system
- Ball-bearing drag for precise, smooth movements
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|Item Dimensions||8.5 x 8.5 x 15.7 inches|
|Shipping Weight||5.4 pounds|
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This item Manfrotto 502 Video Head MVH502AH
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Lassys||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||M Z Photo||COMAN|
|Item Dimensions||8.5 x 15.7 x 8.5 in||5.8 x 5.8 x 14 in||4.57 x 13.58 x 5.16 in||10.63 x 10.24 x 0.4 in||6.5 x 31.1 x 6.6 in||7 x 7 x 35.4 in|
This head is the perfect synthesis between and innovative "Bridge Architecture" and manfrotto's Cutting edge engineering. A pan fluid drag system gives more ergonomic operation while a wider top plate and longer sliding plate offer extra stability and balance. This head offlbs @mmers an even more rigid structure for maximum precision and improved responsiveness. The built in easy link connectors offer extreme flexibility for accessory attachments. The counterbalance system and ball bearing drag sysem both offer precision and smoothness of operation. This head has been carefully constructed from lightweight modern materials for optimal balance of strength and size. Technical Specifications: Max Payload 13.2lbs; CSB 8.8lbs@55mm; FDS pan variable cartridge; FDS tilt variable cartridge; Tilt range +90° / -85°; Camera fixing quick release; Top plate 140mm 5.5 inches; Height 5.1in.; weight 3.5lbs.
Top customer reviews
That said it's about 10 times better than the 701HDV head. I never could get a really smooth pan out of the 701. The 502 on the other hand is a smooth as silk and even has variable speed pans and tilts. I know the 701 kinda does that, but not very well. The 502 makes takes locks and separates them from the adjustments.
It works really well with small cranes (jibs) too. It's size and smoothness hold up to the weight of a crane very well.
Couple the 502 head with some Induro legs and you have an awesome setup for around $300-$350.
Things to note: the shorter Manfrotto plates slide in and lockdown just fine in the 502.
PANNING HANDLE: It’s long (plenty of leverage), comfy, thick and easy to grip and steer. One thing I appreciate about the 502 is the panning handle can be mounted on the left or right side. I’m right-handed but prefer to pan with my left-hand, leaving the right-hand free to work camera controls and pan lock. My last head forced me to pan, lock and operate the camera with the right-hand only.
QUICK RELEASE: The 502 uses the Rapid Connect (Q5) quick release system and includes a single 500PLONG plate. The 500PLONG is the extra long (140mm/5.5") version of the 501PL plate. It's designed to slide in the clamp and position for best balance. If you own the older 501PL plate, it still fits in the 502 albeit two inches shorter. And the 500PLONG fits in the smaller 577 clamp used on the 501 and 701 heads.
Rapid Connect is a misnomer since mounting the 500PLONG takes multiple steps: slide in plate from rear, position for best balance and, finally, tighten the side lever to lock. Tabs prevent the plate from sliding out of the clamp if you forget to lock it. To release, unscrew the lock lever and press the release tab while sliding the rig out. Not quick but secure and easy to rebalance after a lens or camera change. I marked the balance points for my favorite lenses with a Sharpie.
I use the Arca-Swiss (AS) quick release system on my other heads. So I installed an AS clamp on the 502 by mounting it on the 3/8" stud of the 500PLONG. The clamp knob was too short to clear the edge of the plate, making it difficult to turn. A 5mm riser plate provides clearance for the knob, but I decided to use a Hejnar 500PLONG clone (M577-550F63B) with integral riser plate. I mounted my clamp on the Hejnar and it works like a dream: slides smoothly in the 502 clamp slot for balancing and locks tight. Best of all, I can leave an AS plate on my camera and mount it on any of my heads without swapping plates. And, yes, mounting/removing the camera is much faster with the AS clamp.
GOTCHA: The vertical pan is limited to +90° / -85°, so not a good choice if you need to shoot shoot critters at ground level. Worse, the extremes of the tilt befuddle me: if I release my grip on the panning arm at the lowest or highest point of the vertical pan, the head is deflected in the opposite direction as if spring loaded. Of course I can simply hold the panning arm or lock it down but all other positions in the pan path hold position (assuming the rig is balanced). I’m not sure if this is a feature or defect but my other Manfrotto fluid head (128LP) simply sits there instead of recoiling and doesn't need to be locked or held. If this is a feature, maybe it’s supposed to keep a heavy rig from suddenly crashing to the extreme of the vertical pan?
FINAL BLURB: The 502 is a a beefy piece of kit and ideal for a medium to large DSLR with telephoto. Plus, it's easy to convert to Arca-Swiss if desired. The smooth movements, excellent fit and finish and thoughtful features make it a joy to use, just wish the tilt wasn't so bouncy at the extremes of the pan range.
1. Top plate is very sticky. Way too much force is needed to slide in and out and is prone to binding on the way in. It's so rough that the light grey paint rubbed off onto the plate's black paint with just 2-3 insertions. Plate gets stuck even with tightening knob totally loose.
2. Plate tightening knob is too close to the top and is clumsy to tighten with a camera mounted.
3. Not enough clearance to mount a Nikon D600 and 24-70mm f/2.8 with the lens hood attached. Must remove lens hood before mounting.
4. While panning is fluid at all drag levels, tilting is not at the light to medium levels. You can hear what sounds like bubbles popping while tilting with heavy drag.
5. There is at least 1/8 turn of loose play while turning pan and tilt drag wheels in either direction, making small adjustments difficult.
6. Counterbalance cannot be disabled, limiting this heads use for lighter cameras - a minimum weight should have been specified.
7. Panning drag wheel has gotten stuck! I turned it to the 'plus' side and cannot move it back to 'minus' anymore!
I was excited to get this with a rebate, but it's inconsistent and has unreliable operation.
UPDATE: I unstuck the red pan wheel with a rubber strap wrench and could hear the sound of grease pulling apart while turning it. I might get around the sticky top plate by permanently adding a separate quick release adapter on top of it. I'm undecided if this is worth 150 after rebate.