Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 Fluid Video Monopod with Head
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- Fluid action for silky smooth movements.
- Built in quick release
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The 561BHDV is a compact but incredibly high 4-section aluminum fluid monopod. It is equipped with a fluid head including a long sliding plate. The ergonomic pan-bar allows smooth panning and tilting movements. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION: 1/4'' and 3/8'' screw attachment: 1 Bubble Spirit Level; Closed Length 30.12 in; Color black; Front Tilt -60° / +90°; Independent Tilt Lock; 4 Leg Sections; Load Capacity 4 kg 8.82 lbs; Material aluminum; Maximum Height 78.74 in Minimum Height 30.12 in; Plate Type 501PL 501PL; Tilt drag fluid cartridge with fixed drag; Weight 4.21 lbs.
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- Great for shooting nightclub performances
- Small footprint
- Pans and tilts
- More compact than a tripod
- Self standing
- Adds stability for video
- The fluid head fits on other Manfrotto tripods. But it doesn't pan because that function is built into the base of the monopod.
- Little heavier than your typical monopod
We all either carry way too much equipment and hate taking it out. Or we leave vital equipment and lose out on having the optimal setup. This Monopod bridges that gap very effectively.
It provides the most solid stabilization you can get without carrying a huge set of sticks and head around. It doesn't look like it from the pics, but its VERY thick, and will extend over your head.
I shot a commercial for a local barbershop two days after receiving my monopod, and it turned out great. I had other supports, stands, tripods,etc. But never took them out. Every since then I carry this strapped to whatever bag I carry that day and I'm shooting much more footage, because it's so fast and convenient.
It allows me to shoot from places that I never even considered before and can be done very quickly. Without any significant space being needed either. It doesn't scare people like my huge tripod was doing, so I have been able to get a lot of great stock footage. I think this should be essential standard equipment for anybody doing weddings or special events. Ok Ok, so does it pan smoothly?.... YES! I can do most pan moves and dolly shots I need, and can do other stuff that I wouldn't be able to do with three legs. And as stated by the Manufacturer (visually confirmed by me) ... The Fluid head is a Manfrotto 701 that has been modified to screw atop this monopod. If you are researching this monopod, I'm pretty sure you know the praise that head receives.
This easily goes into my hall of fame recommendations category. What else do you want to hear? I'm done, just buy it.
The best thing about this monopod is the flexibility it gives you when shooting video in a tripod-unfriendly environment. You can be set up and shooting in a matter of seconds, in a tight corridor, on the edge of a cliff, on the subway if you want, whatever really. Tripods are great but this fills in the gaps.
Just don't expect to get tripod results from this monopod. If you don't mind a little 'floating' in your shots you should be content. I find it requires some skill to achieve usable pan/tilt shots and even static shots require a practiced touch.
The build quality is typical Manfrotto, very solid and sturdy but not needlessly heavy. As other reviews have stated, there is an issue with the pivot ball-joint at the base where it will stick occasionally. Mine was very bad and basically made the monopod unusable for me. I took it apart and filled the socket with white lithium grease... it's insanely smooth now but I've sacrificed the 'sticking point' in the center. I'm fine with this but it's something to consider.
Another thing to consider, this thing is fairly long even when packed up, if you have tripod attachments on your backpack they will likely be insufficient to hold this monopod. Manfrotto doesn't make a carry strap for this either which is disappointing. I managed to rig a carry strap using a Manfrotto tripod strap and with some modification it works ok.
Overall I found this monopod to be just what I was looking for in a flexible support system for HDSLR video. I took off one star for the sticking issue and the lack of a carry strap attachment point.
This thing is entirely clever. From online pictures, it looks like a gimmick, like somebody at Manfrotto quickly slapped together a couple of existing products - an entry level fluid head and a monopod - then added some cheesy fold out feet. This is not the case. This thing is a completely original design, and all the parts are custom made for this specific purpose. This is obvious within a minute after you take it out of the box. Yes, it has a fluid head, but the fluid head atop this monopod does not contain any pan or pan drag controls. The only adjustment on the fluid head is tilt. This is because the entire head and monopod assembly is rigid. If you look carefully at the picture, you will see a red cartridge at the foot of the monopod. This is the fluid pan mechanism. From pictures online, I thought it was something to do with the feet, but that's not the main function.
Because the pan damping system is at the base of the monopod, the entire assembly rotates to pan as a single unit. This makes for great moves - no loosening your grip on the shaft of the monopod and no torque or backlash that would occur if a conventional pan head were located atop a regular monopod. The fold down feet can be used to step on to further stabilize the monopod, and to give a firm foundation to pans. Another bonus - the extended height is tall enough to get over the head of crowds, perfect for video, especially if your camera has a tilt out screen.
This is a great device, and I am tickled with this purchase. Monopods are important to what I do, and this one is going to improve my shots far beyond the still monopod I have been using for video. This is perfect for DSLRs and HDSLR video. This is the perfect tool for quick camera setups and fast moves, especially where crowds of people are present. The only negative is I wish it had some kind of padded case or hard case. I've damaged a Manfrotto tripod recently due to having to pile gear into the car. Planning for transportation is the finishing touch in any professional level cinema production product.
All in all, highly recommended.