This review is for the tripod + head set that I acquired before my trip to Australia in 2012. Ever since then, Manfrotto has barely updated this video tripod+head series, which is somewhat reassuring me about there is no need for me to update my equipment. Looking back for almost 5 years now, this video tripod+head set was a good decision to get one since it’s built like a tank and never have issue. Some other reviewers mentioned about the tripod legs have a bit of issue. Perhaps it really depends on how we use this thing and whether we maintain a good care or not. Honestly I never made any special treatment or maintenance on the tripod other than always putting it back to its bag that came with the set.
I am not trying to repeat the technical data for this awesome equipment here since you can always go to the official Manfrotto website for the set (see below for the links). This review is limited to only based on my impressions of this stellar and rock-solid video tripod system based on my personal experience of using it. Back in 2012, I wasn’t looking for getting a video tripod system since I already have few tripod+head sets. I did not have any intentions of going into videography at that time. However, I managed to acquire this system as a set and had no ideas if I ever fully utilize this. Fast forward to 2017, I am actually grateful to ever have the system.
Despite of its bulky size (which is kind of normal for most video tripod system), it is considered quite lightweight. I really like the build quality and so far, this is the most rigid set that I ever have (the next one in my arsenals is a Gitzo tripod system). Compared to my carbon fiber tripod set, this Manfrotto set is in the heavy side. The tripod itself is not carbon fiber, instead made from a rigid aluminium. The tripod can supports up to 44lbs of load (19.95kg).
The two stages tripod legs can collapse down to 11.81 inches and extend to maximum of 60.63 inches (27.17 inches when closed). The crown is made of die-cast aluminum 75mm bowl. To my need, I was more attracted to the additional option of cine/video dolly with spiked feet and brakes, which would transform this tripod into a very good home studio tripod/dolly combo. With the tripod leg’s weight is only 130 oz and the head’s weight is about 127 oz, we are looking at total weight at around 7kg (almost 16 lbs). The additional padded bag may add a little bit of weight too. With the dimension and weight, this is not something that you want to lug around with you during casual travel. However, for home/studio use or special video project that requires heavy duty and rigid video tripod system, this set is still considered portable for you to use.
The head can be quite intimidating to use with few knobs and levels. For new owners, you may need to learn how to control the axes. It has 4 step counterbalance and can support up to 11 kg (26 lbs). I was curious for the pan bar that’s included since the smoothness of pan movement is what most video head is all about. Turns out it is indeed very smooth. The fluid drag system can be controlled by using variable friction control. Extra feature such as illuminated bubble level seems to add a nice touch although I prefer to have another pair of bubble level to give greater details.
In overall, this thing is built to last for long time. Perhaps the only time that I need to upgrade is if I ever need a bigger video tripod system for bigger and heavier camera such as Sony CineAlta, Sony NEX-FS700 series, BlackMagic, or those new shiny 8k cameras. For now, this thing is sufficient for my DSLR rig and 4K prosumer cameras.
Manfrotto’s official page for the 504HD Video tripod head:
Manfrotto’s official page for the 546B Aluminium Pro Video Tripod with mid-level spreader:
Manfrotto’s official page for the 504HD Video tripod head + 546B video tripod set:
Amazon has a good deal on the set:
Or if you prefer to acquire just the video tripod head itself:
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