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Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head

B&H # DAFM18 Mfr # FM18
In Stock
Free Expedited Shipping
You Pay: $75.00
Product Highlights
  • 18 lb Capacity
  • 10 Year Warranty

The Davis and Sanford FM18 is a compact fluid head with an 18 lbs capability. This head offers an economical choice for videographers using a full size camcorder.

Adjustment
Independent pan and tilt drag and locks offer effortless control over tripod capabilities.
Quick Release
A sliding quick release that locks offers balancing capabilities for a variety of camcorder sizes from small to full size.
Load Capacity 18 lbs (8.2kg)
Diameter/Thread 3/8" Female Thread
Counter Balance System Sliding Quick Release Plate
Counter Balance Range Not Specified by Manufacturer
Center of Gravity Not Specified by Manufacturer
Quick Release/Wedge Plate Yes, Sliding with Adjustable Balance
Balance Plate Sliding Quick Release
Camera Mounting Screw Interchangeable 1/4" and 3/8" screws included
Tilt Drag Adjustable
Tilt Range +90/-90°
Tilt Lock Yes
Spring Loaded Counter Balance Adjustable
Pan Range 360°
Pan Lock Yes
Leveling Bubble/Illuminated Yes/No
Temperature Range Not Specified by Manufacturer
Height Not Specified by Manufacturer
Weight 4 lbs (1.8kg)
Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head
  • Pan Bar
  • Fluid Head
  • Quick Release Plate
  • 1/4" Camera Mounting Screw
  • 3/8" Camera Mounting Screw
  • 10 Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Davis & SanfordFM18 Fluid Head
     
    4.3

    (based on 34 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (17)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (12)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    93%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Stable (13)
    • Durable (4)
    • Unfolds quickly (4)
    • High quality (3)
    • Smooth action (3)

    Cons

    • Cumbersome (4)
    • Heavy (4)

    Best Uses

    • Stabilization (11)
    • Movies (8)
    • Video (3)
    • Weddings (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Aspiring film maker (9), Film professional (8), Tech savvy (8), Semi-pro photographer (3)
      • Primary use:
      • Business (3)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (24)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Good fluid head action, mediocre quality

    For the price this is one of the best heads you can get. I prefer it to our Manfrotto 501 head that is suited for the similar cameras, yet it is pricier and does...Read complete review

    For the price this is one of the best heads you can get. I prefer it to our Manfrotto 501 head that is suited for the similar cameras, yet it is pricier and does not have the same smooth action as the FM18 when starting or stopping pans and tilts.

    That being said, the build quality on the FM18 could be improved. Most of the connections do not feel sturdy, and while trying to adjust the tilt lock for the first time a piece of plastic broke off the handle making that adjustment inoperation without toting a separate piece with you. Luckily we were able to procure the all metal tilt lock hardware from our older FM18 that we were also replacing due to broken parts.

    I don't think this head is intended to have variable drag, but some tension can be added without completely tightening the locks. That being said, even with the locks fully open the drag is too great for the mounting points for the arms. When operating the unit with both arms spread wide it feels sturdy, but if you need one hand to operated controls while using a single arm it will flex slightly at the joint, which can be irritating and can potentially mees up a shot.

    All in all, if you're looking to get great moving shots on a budget this is the best head I have found, but that can come at the cost of reliability.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Solid, but inconvenient fluid head

    Normally I rent high end tripods for bigger shoots, but I wanted to get a low end setup for day shoots, and the reviews about pan and tilt performance tempted me into purchasing this...Read complete review

    Normally I rent high end tripods for bigger shoots, but I wanted to get a low end setup for day shoots, and the reviews about pan and tilt performance tempted me into purchasing this model.

    This unit is well designed for shoots where performance is needed over adjustability, and provides solid performance at an unbeatable price but it not as well suited for situations where quick 'adjustability' is vital.

    Great pan and tilt performance - on par with $1000 units, but pan and tilt fluid friction are not matched, so it requires a very steady single hand or the use of both hands operating both panhandles for a clean pro diagonal move.

    Two full length tripod plates is a very generous touch - most heads at this price offer one short plate and make you pay an additional $20-40 for a longer one.

    The down side of this head is ergonomics, or complete lack of... The QR lock runs into the bottom of any wider camera bodies, and often requires a full turn as the QR plate is not a uniform width all the way across, so pull the spring loaded twist handle then reset,then lock tripod plate and slowly ratchet the QR down… making it a 'slow' release.

    This QR handle also runs into the right panhandle, sometimes requiring pulling the panhandle completely off to get the QR plate locked - which takes forever - a Gitzo style round twist nob instead of a protruding twist handle would solve this.

    Panhandles are very stable and don't slip if loose, like on many panhandles with shallower adjustment teeth. The down side of the deep teeth in the panhandle mount, adjusting a panhandle requires more than 10 full turns of the adjustment nob to loosen, and another 10 or so turns to re-tighten. By this time, actors are asleep, and crew is ready for a bathroom break…

    So, for film/video/still shoots where a single configuration works, this is a great tripod head, but once adjustments need to be made, time is lost, and frustrations can rise.

    This product could be modified, or redesigned into a super head at a super deal, but for now, I am hoping to find something with more thought put into ergonomics... hopefully something out there that matches the solid performance for 5X the price.

    Reviewed by 34 customers

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    5.0

    Love it!!!!

    By Pang

    from Ohio

    Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

    Love it! Vary smooth. I use it for a outdoor hunting show. It's worth it's weight in gold

    Share this review

    (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Problem after problem

    By JPL

    from San Francisco, CA

    About Me Professional Artist

    Pros

    • Cheap

    Cons

    • Lacks Functionality
    • Limited Compatibility
    • Poor Design
    • Poor Performance

    Best Uses

      Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

      One time the grip handle which separates the fluid head from the tripod got so tight it wouldn't come off for over a year. Then one day it just came off. Now that same grip wont tighten through the ball mount to the fluid head and there is no way to fix it because of its flawed design. I will never buy Davis and Sanford fluid heads again because of this. They make sub par products and it hurts any professional with unfixable problems from their lack luster designs. There is a reason why their tripods are SO CHEAP!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • Yes

      Share this review

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Very Fluid

      By Movie fan

      from Dayton, OH

      About Me Aspiring Film Maker

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fluid

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

        Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

        This tripod head is everything I need it to be.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        great head for the price

        By Matt

        from New Orleans, LA

        About Me Film Professional

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Good Stability

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Movies
          • Stabilization

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          great head, great price, highly recommended!

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Curious...

          By Media Rebel

          from Tulsa, OK

          About Me Tech Savvy

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Heavy Duty
          • Well Buit

          Cons

          • No Manual
          • Not Intuitive

          Best Uses

          • Movies

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          Bought this head for use in our creative media department. It arrived undamaged, but without a user manual or any documentation at all. I have looked on the web for online documentation, but to no avail. The drag settings are very heavy... so heavy, in fact, that it tilts the entire tripod. I can find no fluid or friction settings, and with no documentation, have no clue where to find the settings.

          The head is quite stable, and very smooth.... but it is too stiff for use.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Overall great product

          By J aaron

          from Madison, NJ

          About Me Aspiring Film Maker

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Good Stability
          • Sturdy

          Cons

          • NONE

          Best Uses

          • Slider
          • Tripod

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          Mounts on My tripod, and Slider, Overall great study equipment, smooth and study movements.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          solid fluid head

          By Shaw

          from Strasbourg, France

          About Me Aspiring Film Maker

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Comparatively Inexpensive
          • Good Stability
          • Heavy Duty
          • Solid
          • Unfolds Quickly

          Cons

          • Cumbersome

          Best Uses

          • Movies
          • Stabilization

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          A really impressive piece of equipment for the price, of solid construction. It's heavy, but that's what I wanted as my dslr, cage rig and monitor weigh about 11lbs all together and the FM18 can support an 18lb load while most of the cheaper heads available here in Europe are not up to the job or are not real fluid heads. The quick release plate functions well and includes a safety catch and a ratchet-style mechanism for locking the plate in place. A replacement top plate is also included. The FM18 has a 3/8" screw so I had to purchase a 1/4" adaptor to attach it to the tripod, but it wasn't expensive and works fine. The head itself has good fluidity.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Good fluid head action, mediocre quality

          By ACutadean

          from Lexington, KY

          About Me Film Professional, Professional Videographer

          See all my reviews

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Economical
          • Inexpensive
          • Smooth action

          Cons

          • Weak Construction

          Best Uses

          • ENG
          • Pans
          • Stabilization

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          For the price this is one of the best heads you can get. I prefer it to our Manfrotto 501 head that is suited for the similar cameras, yet it is pricier and does not have the same smooth action as the FM18 when starting or stopping pans and tilts.

          That being said, the build quality on the FM18 could be improved. Most of the connections do not feel sturdy, and while trying to adjust the tilt lock for the first time a piece of plastic broke off the handle making that adjustment inoperation without toting a separate piece with you. Luckily we were able to procure the all metal tilt lock hardware from our older FM18 that we were also replacing due to broken parts.

          I don't think this head is intended to have variable drag, but some tension can be added without completely tightening the locks. That being said, even with the locks fully open the drag is too great for the mounting points for the arms. When operating the unit with both arms spread wide it feels sturdy, but if you need one hand to operated controls while using a single arm it will flex slightly at the joint, which can be irritating and can potentially mees up a shot.

          All in all, if you're looking to get great moving shots on a budget this is the best head I have found, but that can come at the cost of reliability.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          FM18 Fluid Head

          By eternallion

          from Queens, NY

          About Me Aspiring Film Maker, Photographer, Tech Savvy

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Carry Heavy Loads
          • Good Stability
          • Lightweight
          • Unfolds Quickly

          Cons

          • Locking Knobs

          Best Uses

          • Cranes
          • Movies
          • Rigs
          • Stabilization

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          I purchased this fluid head with the purpose of carrying heavier loads. It works well with my 8 foot crane and I'm able to use it with heavier camera rigs. The two handles are very useful when creating smooth pans and tilts. The design and structure is very solid. The only thing I dislike is the knob used to lock the sliding quick release plate. It tends to hit or get in the way of wide-body cameras/gear when locking and unlocking the quick release plate.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Good head for the money

          By Dan

          from Hillsboro, Or

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

          this fluid head is great and it is very smooth......

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Perfect balance of Quality and Price

          By JTown

          from San Jose CA

          About Me Film Professional, Tech Savvy

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                This head delivers as promised. Perfect balance of quality and price. Good finishes, simple engineering (you'll love this in the field) and an amazing fluidity both in pan and tilt considering the price-point. A winner in my book I would suggest it to anyone looking for great quality while mindful of budget!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A great product for the money.

                By Larry

                from central IL

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • High Quality

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                    This product is well worth the money.

                    • Primary use:
                    • Business
                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Solid and dependable.

                    By Jake

                    from New York, NY

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                          Needed something that would support a slider setup without breaking the bank. Nice fluid movement, stiff like I prefer it. Comes with two handles, but the right handle is largely useless due to how the tilt knob is configured. Definitely a good budget or second head.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Business
                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          4.0

                          A little stiff to begin with!

                          By ICEMAN

                          from San Diego

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • High Quality

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Video

                            Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                            It is definitely a quality video head. It is a little stiff though which takes a little getting use to.

                            • Primary use:
                            • Personal
                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Better than the photo

                            By Nadman

                            from Ontario, Canada

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • High Quality

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                It doesn't look impressive in the photo, but this is a very sturdy, high quality head! Good buy.

                                • Primary use:
                                • Business
                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Rock Solid, Super Price Point

                                By Big Glass Dave

                                from Nashville, TN

                                About Me Tech Savvy

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Good Stability
                                • Quality feel

                                Cons

                                • Heavy

                                Best Uses

                                • High mag terrestrial view

                                Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                The FM18 was mated with a Giotto tripod and a Meade 80mm refractor to create a travel telescope kit. My viewing interest, which include terrestrial and sky objects, pulled me towards a fluid head instead of an AZ mount. The FM18 has no problem carrying the 7 lb scope along with a heavy 2" diagonal and 2" eyepiece. Movement is smooth enough to allow the small nudges needed when following a celestial object. The head is not lightweight, but mass is an asset for stable viewing/photography. Other reviews mention the interference between locking levers. While true, the ratchet feature provides a workaround. I'm very pleased with the product.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                4.0

                                Great Head!

                                By Rogan

                                from Oklahoma

                                About Me Film Professional

                                Verified Reviewer

                                Pros

                                • Good quality
                                • Good Stability
                                • Smooth action
                                • Unfolds Quickly

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Dolly Shots
                                  • Field
                                  • JibCrane
                                  • Studio

                                  Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                  I bought one of these heads to beta-test it against a Bogen 3063, and wound up fitting all three of my 3035 tripods with FM18's! This head has good balance, actions are smooth, and the quick release plate is a good size for any of my cameras. I use this head in the field, on live shoots outside, in a studio, on a jib-crane, and sometimes on a dolly. Occassionally I forget that the QR plate tightening screw lever is spring loaded, so other than that, a great overall head for the price! On my three heads, there is only one plastic part: the pan lever. Every other knob is metal! Great build.

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

                                  Share this review

                                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Best [$] head on the market

                                  By Brap

                                  from Dartmouth, MA

                                  About Me Aspiring Film Maker

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                        Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                        I now have two of these, one word SMOOTH

                                        • Was this a gift?:
                                        • No

                                        Share this review

                                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        Seems great to me!

                                        By Will

                                        from Texas

                                        Verified Buyer

                                        Pros

                                        • Good Stability

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Stabilization

                                          Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                          I use this head mostly for my video camera, obviously; however, I have been using it for my DSLR as well in studio-type shooting. It is very stable and smooth (if adjusted properly), and just a very nice item in general in my opinion.

                                          Be aware though, it is fairly large and heavy. It hasn't bothered me so far, but I would rather not have to carry it with my tripod overly far.

                                          • Was this a gift?:
                                          • No

                                          Share this review

                                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                           
                                          5.0

                                          Great Fluid Head

                                          By pt

                                          from LA, CA

                                          Verified Buyer

                                          Pros

                                          • Good Stability

                                          Cons

                                            Best Uses

                                              Comments about Davis & Sanford FM18 Fluid Head:

                                              This is a great fluid head with one caveat - it really performs best with heavier weight loads - perfect if your camera is on rails with accessories -

                                              • Was this a gift?:
                                              • No

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                                              Quick Release Plates

                                              Davis & Sanford -  Quick Release Mounting Plate for FM18
                                              • You Pay: $12.98
                                               
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