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Manfrotto MVH500AH Flat Base Pro Fluid Head (Black)
|Price:||$137.88 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Wider platform for HDSLR Bodies
- Sliding QR plate for perfect balancing
- Fluid cartridges on both pan and tilt axes
- Material-Carbon Fiber, Aluminium
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|Item Dimensions||14 x 5.8 x 5.8 inches|
|Item Weight||4.4 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||3.53 pounds|
The MVH500AH is a lightweight head with a wider platform for HDSLR bodies which has a sliding plate which travels to balance the latest interchangeable lens cameras. The entry-level 500 ensures smooth shots and fine control with up to 5kg (11lbs) of equipment. It's the most compact head in our successful Bridging Technology range and it replaces the Manfrotto 701HDV video head. Beautifully smooth shots: the 500 has professional fluid cartridges on both pan and tilt axes to ensure that every camera movement is smooth, controlled and precise. Faster, easier and safer to use: the side lock system allows the camera and sliding QR plate to click quickly into the head from above, instead of needing to be aligned and slid in from the back. No secondary safety lock is necessary. The side lock system also makes it quicker and simpler to lift the camera out of the head from above. The 500 has a pre-set counterbalance of 2.4kg (5.3 lbs.), but is able to support equipment of up to 5kg (11 lbs.). The 500 has one Easy Link 3/8" connector to allow an external monitor or other accessory equipment to be fitted. MVH500AH head with flat base tripod mount for attachment to a hybrid photo/video tripod, a traditional photo tripod, slider, a monopod or other supports. Specifications: 1/4" and 3/8" attachment type 3/8" screw attachment type 1 Bubble Spirit Level Independent Pan Lock Independent Tilt Lock Lateral Tilt -70 Degree / +90 Degree tilt range Material aluminum Maximum Working Temperature 140 Degree F Minimum Working Temperature -4 Degree F 2 Pan Bar Positions 1 Pan Bar Included Pan Drag fluid cartridge with fixed drag Panoramic Rotation 360 degrees Quick Release Plate Type 500PLONG Secondary Safety System Spring Loaded Counter Balance Tilt Drag fluid cartridge with fixed drag Weight 2.05 lbs. Working Height 3.74 in
Top customer reviews
BUILD: The cast aluminum fittings, removable panning handle, giganormous quick release plate and excellent fit and finish make for an impressive package. Plus, installation was easy: a few spins and the MVH500AH mated to the 3/8" bolt on my Manfrotto 190. It held my Canon 80D with EF-s 18-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM perfectly and delivered silky smooth pans. Drag is fixed but resistance is ideal for pans from 10mm to 200mm on APS-C and smoother than my larger and more expensive Manfrotto MVH502AH video head.
The pan handle is comfy and provides plenty of leverage, making it easy to grip and steer. One thing I appreciate is the panning handle is not only adjustable for angle, but can be mounted on the left or right side. I’m right-handed but prefer panning with my left-hand, using my right-hand to work camera controls.
QUICK RELEASE: The 500 sports a Rapid Connect (Q5) quick release and includes a single 500PLONG plate. The 500PLONG is the long (5.5") version of the 501PL plate. It's ungainly on a DSLR and obviously designed for the long and narrow form factor of pro camcorders. However, it’s designed to slide in the clamp like a rail, allowing it to be positioned for optimal balance.
Mounting the 500PLONG takes multiple steps: angle in plate from above, snap in, position for best balance and, finally, tighten the thumbscrew 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 lifting the rig out. Not quick but secure and easy to rebalance after a lens or camera change.
I use the Arca-Swiss (AS) quick release system on my other heads. So I installed an AS compatible clamp (Sunwayfoto) on the head by mounting it on the 3/8" stud of the 500PLONG, yielding an easy to use quick release. 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 faster with the AS clamp but I can still slide the 500PLONG for optimal balance.
GOTCHAS: Unlike most other Manfrotto video heads, plates for the 500 can't be slid in. Instead, they snap in from above at about a 20 degree angle. Snapping in the plate is more difficult and slower compared to sliding in, especially with larger lenses and accessories attached to the camera. However, since I use an AS compatible clamp the before mentioned is a moot point for me.
The extremes of the vertical 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 hold the panning arm or lock it down but other positions in the pan-path hold position. I’m not sure if this is a feature or defect but my Manfrotto 128LP fluid head 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 500 is a lightweight travel worthy video head and deal for shooting video with a small to medium DSLR. It's almost perfect but, if I were to grade the 500, it would earn an A-. But it nails the important things: silky smooth pans, easy to balance, is stable and has great fit and finish.
I have not had much field testing experience with it yet, but these are my opnions and findings:
- It's smaller than I thought it would be, but it still has fantastic quality. Luckily, smaller is sometimes better when it comes to portability.
- The fliud drag controls are easy to use and are effective for making small adjustments. These are not 'on/off' controls, but rather incremental adjustments for how much force you have to use for pans and tilts.
- The tripod plate attachment mechanism is new to me. I've used the slide-in method, and this is a side-slide-in method. Is it better? I'm not sure. This does seem a little more secure, since if the clamp is nottightened, your plate (and camera) still will not fall off, although they will slide around. I think it's a clever system, but I can see how it could be slightly frustrating with bigger camera bodies or rig setups. There's a chance that if your setup is too wide, you won't be able to tilt it enough to slide the plate in.
- The handle is well-made with a good rubber grip on it (not much else to say about it, it's a handle).
- The pre-weighted balance on it will help those who have a large DSLR or a medium-sized video camera, but you will be frustrated if you're slapping a GoPro/Handycam on it, or a heavy-duty studio quality camera. I use a Canon 5D Mark III, and the balance is just about perfect with the body and a mid-sized lens on it. With some balance tweaking, it can easily handle attachments (mic/light/monitor).
- Something I wasn't expecting, but I am pleasantly surprised about is the 3/8" attachment on the left-hand side of the tripod head. This means that with the right attachments, you can put a magic arm or mount on the side to hold a monitor, mic, audio capture gear, or light (heck, maybe even a cupholder!.......although I wouldn't recommend that).
- The instructions are mostly visual instructions with a small amount of written ones. If you're familiar with video fluid tripod heads, then this won't be an issue (although I highly recommend reading through the instructions and visuals anyways). If you're not familiar with the way these heads work, definitely read the instructions or look up Manfrotto's video tutorials on their website or through YouTube.
- Your tripod head is only as sturdy as your legs are. Please, please, PLEASE don't spend money on a quality head and slap it onto weak, broken, unsteady, or low-quality legs.
- Keep in mind that balancing camera gear and getting smooth, fluid pans and tilts is more of an art than a science. You will get better shots the more you practice with this, so don't be frustrated if your first few shots aren't quite where you thought they'd be. Practice, practice, practice!
I put this on top of Oben AC-2320LA 3-Section Aluminum Lateral Tripod Legs, and it seems like a very sturdy setup!
Bottom line: This head will hold most photographers/videographers gear (if you're shooting DSLR/medium sized video camera), and will allow you to get solid, smooth pans and tilts. It's hard to beat this for the money. If you're on the edge about whether you need a bigger head or not, I would recommend Googling more reviews comparing different tripod heads (or go to your local camera shop and try them out!)