Manfrotto 502HD Pro Video Head, is it really worth the cost?

Is the new Manfrotto 502HD Pro Pro Video Head really worth the cost? In short absolutely! Manfrotto has a reputation in the industry of being nothing but the best, and it shows. Manfrotto has released the new 502HD Pro Video Head with all the bells and whistles one would probably need with a fluid head.

First things first. The head is completely metal, only thing that is not metal is the plastic dial for adjusting fluidity on the left hand side of the head. It comes equipped with several eye catching features. One of them being the traditional red anodizing that manfrotto is known for on the handle grip, and around the two knobs / wheels, that adjust fluidity for the head. These two adjustments allow complete control over how much resistance you receive from the fluid inside the head. This helps maintain a nice smooth pan, and tilt, according to the speed of the footage you are trying to capture. All things aside the fluid motion of this particular head is nothing but extraordinary. To be honest you will probably not find a smoother motion.

The 502 also comes equipped with balance tension to aid in keeping you camera stable when the user decides hes going to let go of the handle. This tension however can not be adjusted but is suitable for most cameras up to about 8.8lbs. However with my experiences you could probably get a camera to mount just fine that is heavier than 8.8lbs however the balance on the head will not be that great. The 502 does also come with a quick release plate that can be moved forward, or aft, to help aid with balancing the particular camera that are you are using.

 

On the right hand side of the head the 502 comes equipped with a locking knob. One for locking pan, and one for locking tilt. Both of these knobs are very sensitive so you do not need much pressure to get them to engage. Personally this helps me greatly when in the field as I can lock them very easily to be able to sling the tripod over my shoulder for when I am on the move. The pan knob is actually located in the center of the head underneath the quick plate. This one tends to be a little more difficult to get to when the camera is mounted, but nothing a little finger stretch cant fix.

The handle that comes with the 502 is perfect in length. And has a locking mechanism on the side of it that will allow the handle to be mounted in either the up position, or down position. When mounted in the up position the head can easily achieve 90 degree angles for those tough to get straight up shots. The handle can also be mounted on either side of the head depending if you are left handed or right handed.

Depending on where you decide to purchase the Manfrotto 502HD Pro Video Head the price can vary. I have seen it range from about $180.00 all the way up to $250.00.

So the head is really worth the price you might ask? Every penny!

The 90 Second Challenge

I was recently reading one of Philip Bloom’s challenges. His challenge entailed recording a 90 second short film of a single object. Well a friend of mine had and awesome little light box that I thought my be perfect for this. It is called the Hypnocube. You can view more about the hypnocube here. www.hypnocube.com.

The Challenge:

Cinema5D.com Forums

Looking for some decent forums? Looking to talk to individuals who share the same ideas as you? Then the forums over at Cinema5d.com are for you. This is a very active community of fellow cinematographers, from the guy who just got his first camera, to skilled professionals shooting with today’s newest technology. Over at Cinema5d.com there is always something to see or get involved with.  It is free to sign up and there organization with topics is clear and easy to understand for almost anyone.

 

Light Craft Workshop Variable ND Filter Mark II

Doesn’t get much better than this. Light Craft Workshop has a product that not only saves you money, but gives you some of the best tools available to cinema. Variable Neutral Density filters. Instead of having to carry multiple ND filters around now you can have the power of 2-8 stops in one filter. Carrying a very affordable price point around $120.00, every new Photographer / Cinematographer should carry one of these tools in their bags. You can purchase using this link. Light Craft Workshop Variable ND Filter Mark II

Features
The Light Craft Workshop Variable Fader ND Mark II  filter is a variable neutral density filter. By rotating the filter, it offers 2 to 8 stops of added density. Which is the perfect tool to produce slow shutter effects or large aperture with a result of beautiful bokeh under strong light.

The Light Craft Workshop Variable Fader ND filter is suggested to use with wide and standard lenses to obtain the best performance. Ultra wide and super telephoto focal length lenses (up to 200mm) are also applicable.

Pearstone VT-2100 Tripod Review

I recently decided to purchase this tripod for a quick event that I needed to attend, as it had some great reviews on B &H Photo, and was very inexpensive. The tripod comes equipped with a fluid video head that is non-removable. However the price persuaded me to make the purchase. The tripod itself came packaged very well, with very little room to bounce around in the box for damage to occur. Once removed from the box I immediately felt as if i was holding something that felt fairly sturdy for it’s price range. The VT-2100 has a carry capacity rating of 15lbs, and only weighs 4.5lbs.

With the tripod opened up you will notice the actual working height of the tripod itself, it’s perfect. I am personally 5’10 and the working height was right where it needed to be without evening having to lift the center column. Which in turn gave a significant boost to stability, even considering the amount of plastic. Once the center column is fully extended it will reach a maximum height of 64.3′ which was much taller than i would ever be using it, however sacrificed stability greatly. The center column is gear driven with a friction knob on the opposing side that could be tightened in order to hold the center column in place when raised.

The 2-way fluid video head is where i started to have troubles with this unit. The head itself is 99% Plastic which might or might not be an issue for you. And the head was also smooth as butter. Very, very smooth head for the cost. But after a few uses i began to hear what sounded like an air bubble inside of the fluid. Each time i would pan, and tilt in just the right direction you would here a slight pop. No big deal i again thought it was nothing and continued to use the tripod. About 3-4 days later i realized that the main seal on the head apparently had failed. As I had a clear,  very sticky fluid starting to emerge from the right hand side of the tripod. Unfortunately this was kind of my undoing as it had already failed me in the field which could have been much worse. The last thing any Cinematographer wants is for his gear to fail in the field. If i exchanged the tripod could I have received one that did not leak? Possibly. But i no longer wanted to mess around with something that could potentially fail 3 months down the road as apposed to 3 days.

The VT-2100 Tripod would be great for a basic fluid tripod that you do not plan to use for extended amounts of time, or for entry level work. However there seems to be more desired. Price is unbelievable, but then again you do get what you pay for in today’s world. My advice, stay away from the VT-2100 and spend more for a quality tripod, and video head.

Choosing between the Canon T3i, T2i, 60D and 7D

Was browsing around the internet this morning and found a great article revolving around the decision of purchasing a DSLR and choosing between the prosumer version and professional version of canon cameras. Being that I focus mainly on video shots the review became highly valuable. I have included a link below where you can read the full article.

Choosing between the T3i, T2i, 60D and 7D