When we spoke to Manfrotto at IBC they had just announced their new “FAST” tripod system. The name fast comes from their super quick usability. You can open a latch and pop open the full length of the tripod with just one click.
Manfrotto’s 504HD fluid video head has been extremely popular since it was released about a decade ago. It’s a solid but smooth head that supports an impressive 16.5lb load. Now it’s seen an update as Manfrotto launches the new 504X fluid video head with a very Nitrotech-inspired design with some significant improvements.
The load capacity has been increased to 26.5lbs, and as well as an overall change in aesthetic design, it’s changed a little in function, too. Instead of having a built-in 75mm ball base like the 504HD, it now features a flat base with a 3/8-16″ threaded socket offering a much wider range of compatibility with different tripods. but it keeps some of the things users loved about the 504HD, too.
To understand my view on the Sachtler Flowtech 75 (B&H | Amazon) I need to share a story. I remember one time I walked into my rental house, and I came to pick up my Sony FS7. It was outfitted with all the bells and whistles that one would need for a production. I called the rental house owner and asked him the last minute if it’s ok to add a tripod. He told me, “sure, no problem! Take the Sachtler 20”. I asked the worker to get me one and asked him how much extra it was going to be and he said: “Nothing”. Later we chatted and I asked him how could it be that you give a $6,000 camera with a tripod that costs more than $11,000? That’s double what the camera costs! His answer stuck with me for years to come.
“A good tripod keeps everything on top of it safe, it’s cheaper for me to rent the tripod for free and have no broken cameras returned than to save some pennies on the tripod and fix a camera every few rentals.”
OConnor is a name that’s been held in high regard in Hollywood for years for their fluid video tripod heads. In fact, their inventor, Chadwell O’Connor won Academy Awards for them in 1975 and 1992. Now part of the Vitec group, OConnor has been able to combine their heads with Flowtech legs into a single package. The OConnor 1040 Flowtech. It costs $10,260, and we had to see it for ourselves. So, while we were at IBC 2019, we did. And oh boy, is it a nice tripod.
During my recent visit to the USA, I decided to forego the lightweight travel tripods and go with something a little more substantial. Something that could stand up to all day use at NAB 2019 as well as trekking around the Arizona landscape.
I also needed something that would work for video. So, my tripod for this particular adventure was the Manfrotto 190X Video tripod & 500 fluid head. The ideal setup for shooting video at NAB, but some might think it a little unusual for landscape photography. For me, though, and I mentioned this briefly in a vlog I made during the trip, video tripods make the best landscape tripods. I want to tell you why.
Manfrotto has today announced two new sets of Carbon Fibre Twin Leg video tripod legs. Designed to lighten the load while still being very rugged and rigid, the new tripods weigh a mere 3kg (6.6lbs) and can hold a load of up to 20kg (44lbs). They’re available legs-only, or with Manfrotto Nitrotech N12, N8 and 504 video heads.
I’m going to save you all a lot of time and tell you from the start that I really like the Manfrotto Befree Live Twist (BLT – Yes, I’m calling it the BLT) video tripod. If you’ve been on the fence about buying one and wondering whether or not it’s decent… Well, for the most part, I think it is.
In many ways, the BLT a lot like its predecessor, the regular flip lock version of Befree Live. But it has received a couple of significant changes. The flip locks have gone in favour of twist locks (hence the new name), and the adjusters at the top of each leg have had a much-needed redesign. But let’s take a look at how it handles overall.
What is interesting about those heads is their counterbalance mechanism. Unlike lower-end heads, these heads have a nitrogen gas piston for counterbalance. We looked at the Nitrotech N8 and it supports quite a load (up to 8kg). The head provides continuous counterbalance power. This means that when you let go of the handle, the head keeps its position as if it was locked in place.
There are two models in the Nitrotech family:
Update, this giveaway has ended, please hit the jump to see if you won. Thanks MeVideo for providing the prize!
You know whats better than a tripod? a travel tripod, and what’s better than a travel tripod? A travel video tripod! Well, to be honest, its horses for course kinda thing. Yet travel video tripods are a great tool to have if you are on location a lot and don’t have
an intern a crew to carry gear.
The MeVIDEO is such a travel tripod (hit the jump for more info), and its a gorgeous one at that.
MeVIDEO is giving away one Aluminum/Black tripod to one winner from USA or Canada. You can still own one if you are overseas, you’d just have to back the project for it.
We will pick one random winner on Nov, 17th, so don’t linger…
I switched over to mostly using fluid head video tripods for stills photography about 8 years ago. I still have a couple of Manfrottos with ball heads. I also use ball heads with sliders. But, my go-to is a Libec video tripod with a fluid bowl head. They just make life so much easier, especially on location.
It seems I’m not the only one who prefers to work with video tripods for photography, either. In this video, photographer Hudson Henry talks about why he likes to use fluid heads for photography. The advantages he lists are some of the reasons why I also like to use them. If you’re shooting a lot of video anyway, it definitely makes a lot of sense to make the switch, even for stills.