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Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver)

B&H # MA131DD Mfr # 131DD
In Stock
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You Pay: $105.83
Product Highlights
  • Replaces #3153

The Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads mounts onto the center column of tripods with 3/8" threads. The platforms feature 3/8" screws, which allows a standard tripod head to be mounted on either or both sides. In addition, the horizontal bar features 3/8" screws on both ends, allowing mounting of tripod heads from the sides.

Replaces part number 3153.

Horizontal Arm Travel 12" (30.7cm)
Length 23.6" (60cm)
Weight 2.4 lbs (1.1kg)
Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver)
  • 2-Year Warranty + Additional 3-Years after Registering Online or by Mail
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Manfrotto131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver)
     
    4.7

    (based on 13 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (10)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to use (5)
    • Improves tripod function (5)
    • Solid/sturdy (4)
    • Stable (4)
    • Fits well (3)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Portraits (6)
      • Home (4)
      • Video (4)
      • Weddings (4)
      • Sports/action (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Semi-pro photographer (5), Pro photographer (3)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (10)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Slick and sturdy

      I use the arm for my in-studio work for tethered shooting. I set my camera on one side of the arm and have a laptop with running software on the other side. The setup...Read complete review

      I use the arm for my in-studio work for tethered shooting. I set my camera on one side of the arm and have a laptop with running software on the other side. The setup is very sturdy coupled with Manfrotto tripod. Make sure that clamps/fixtures are tighten properly. No clutter, I can fold everything down very quickly and take it to work on-location. Good product. Thanks, Bogen and BH Photo.

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Great idea, execution a little weak

      The Manfrotto 131DD Cross Arm is a useful device for either mounting multiple cameras on one tripod or providing a means aim one or two cameras directly down. There are two...Read complete review

      The Manfrotto 131DD Cross Arm is a useful device for either mounting multiple cameras on one tripod or providing a means aim one or two cameras directly down. There are two "carriages" on which tripod heads may be mounted and slid back and forth so that, for example, two different cameras can be used to photograph the same scene. In addition, the ends of the arm have 3/8" screws onto which one or two other tripod heads may be attached. These could support cameras pointing down, or alternatively by rotating the head 90 degrees support two more cameras upright. Once set up properly, this device can be very versatile and useful.
      The overall construction is quite rugged and well made. However, there are some glaring oversights in the execution of the design. Normally, Manfrotto products are well thought-out, but someone really dropped the ball here. Fortunately, it is not too difficult to arrive at some work-arounds to deal with these shortcomings:
      1. The two movable carriages and the center cross arm holder all consist of two separate pieces of metal held together at one edge by two fixed screws, and on the other edge there is a single screw with a handle to open the pair to allow motion or to lock the screw to fix the carriages the cross arm in place. The problem is that as delivered the two sides are not well aligned, with the result that there is no well-defined surface on which a tripod head can be solidly affixed. In simplest form, there is a high spot at the dividing line between the two halves, so the tripod head can rock back and forth across this ridge, no matter how hard one tries to tighten the screws by hand.
      2. This problem is easily solved, at least as described above. For the carriages, loosen the hand screw completely and using a 4 mm Allen wrench loosen the two affixing screws just barely enough to allow the two halves to move slightly. Place a tripod head with a flat bottom on the carriage and tighten the center screw to pull the head firmly into place. This will assure that the two halves of the carriage match at the interface. Now tighten the two Allen screws completely, preserving this alignment. This is the first-order solution to the ridge problem.
      3. Now tighten the hand screw that would fix the location of the carriage on the arm. In turn, this brings to light the second ridge problem: In tightening the hand screw, the two pieces of metal bend a little and that splays out the two halves, forming a new ridge that is now "part of the design."
      4. If Manfrotto had been consistent in their tripod design, there would have been three grub screws on the bottom of the carriage. Their center posts have them, and affixing a tripod head to a center post is made very solid by tightening these screws that rest in little valleys on the bottom of the tripod head. These prevent the head from coming unscrewed in use and it also assures that it does not rock. However the carriages do not have such grub screws, and one is stuck with a "high center."
      5. The "right" design would have four screws at the top to clamp together two flat surfaces. This or some other method would give a useful lever arm to resist tightening the bottom hand screw and the concomitant effect at the top. This flexing may be the reason that grub screws are not used, because their efficacy would depend upon how much the hand screw was tightened, and it is possible that excessive forces could be applied to the head when tightening or loosening the hand screw.
      6. A simple, but crude fix is to make some small shims to put between the bottom of the tripod head and the top of the carriage. A discarded film box was cut into two pieces round the outside to match the circle of the carriage top and leaving a gap of about 2 cm between the two pieces for the ridge. These could be affixed with rubber cement to the top of the carriage to keep them from running away. At least for my unit, this fix was sufficient.
      7. There is a similar problem for the center support. The simple mismatch of the assembly can be addressed as above. When the hand screw is tightened, again there is no flat surface offered to the tripod column and there is severe wobbling. However, the shim solution described for the carriages will not work here, because it is not possible to hand tighten the affixing screw sufficiently to prevent the whole assembly from rotating on the tripod in use. Because of the long lever arm, even modest forces on the arm – or camera – are enough to overcome the friction of the center screw. In this case, however, one can use the grub screws of a Manfrotto tripod to provide more security. However, once again Manfrotto did not follow its normal design, and there are no little valleys on the bottom of the center support to provide positive restraint against rotation. Now one must rely on brute force to tighten the screws enough to keep things snug but not do damage either. There will most likely still be some slippage during use, because of the large lever arm. One must just live with it. (Yes, this solution conflicts with the previous speculation on why grub screws were not used for the carriages. I don't see an alternative here, however. In any case, the force that the simple screw tightened by fingers is much less than the screw with the handle.)

      Some side notes on the use of the cross arm:
      1. The arm and carriages slide very smoothly, and it appears that this may be in part due to what looks like talcum powder on the felt lining of the bearings. This is a very clever way to provide lubrication without a sticky mess. In the long run, however, it could be that the talcum needs to be replenished, but this is just speculation.
      2. Care must be exercised when loosening either the carriages, or especially the center holder to slide things. The reason is that if the load is unbalanced, the cameras may lurch forward or backward as the arm/carriage itself becomes free to rotate as well as slide. This would not normally be a problem with small, light cameras, but it could be serious with something large and/or heavy, particularly if they are "looking down," leading to an unbalanced load towards the front.

      The bottom line is that with the investment of a little hand work, this can be made into a very useful device, but without that investment, the wobbly nature will be unsatisfactory. Keep in mind that securing the center part depended upon the grub screws of the Manfrotto tripod design. The results may be less satisfactory if the arm is used with another tripod that does not have this facility or a logical equivalent thereof.

      Reviewed by 13 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-13

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      5.0

      Works great.

      By The Photog

      from San Diego, California

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Good Stability

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

          The 131DD arm is mounted on my 058B tripod and has a 410 head. Together this set-up makes for very precise camera positioning especially for small products/ objects as well as macro photography. The four heads mounts gives me incredible flexibility with camera angles. It is well designed and manufactured.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Great idea, execution a little weak

          By Graf von Foto

          from Menlo Park CA

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Useful Tool

          Cons

          • Unstable Design

          Best Uses

            Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

            The Manfrotto 131DD Cross Arm is a useful device for either mounting multiple cameras on one tripod or providing a means aim one or two cameras directly down. There are two "carriages" on which tripod heads may be mounted and slid back and forth so that, for example, two different cameras can be used to photograph the same scene. In addition, the ends of the arm have 3/8" screws onto which one or two other tripod heads may be attached. These could support cameras pointing down, or alternatively by rotating the head 90 degrees support two more cameras upright. Once set up properly, this device can be very versatile and useful.
            The overall construction is quite rugged and well made. However, there are some glaring oversights in the execution of the design. Normally, Manfrotto products are well thought-out, but someone really dropped the ball here. Fortunately, it is not too difficult to arrive at some work-arounds to deal with these shortcomings:
            1. The two movable carriages and the center cross arm holder all consist of two separate pieces of metal held together at one edge by two fixed screws, and on the other edge there is a single screw with a handle to open the pair to allow motion or to lock the screw to fix the carriages the cross arm in place. The problem is that as delivered the two sides are not well aligned, with the result that there is no well-defined surface on which a tripod head can be solidly affixed. In simplest form, there is a high spot at the dividing line between the two halves, so the tripod head can rock back and forth across this ridge, no matter how hard one tries to tighten the screws by hand.
            2. This problem is easily solved, at least as described above. For the carriages, loosen the hand screw completely and using a 4 mm Allen wrench loosen the two affixing screws just barely enough to allow the two halves to move slightly. Place a tripod head with a flat bottom on the carriage and tighten the center screw to pull the head firmly into place. This will assure that the two halves of the carriage match at the interface. Now tighten the two Allen screws completely, preserving this alignment. This is the first-order solution to the ridge problem.
            3. Now tighten the hand screw that would fix the location of the carriage on the arm. In turn, this brings to light the second ridge problem: In tightening the hand screw, the two pieces of metal bend a little and that splays out the two halves, forming a new ridge that is now "part of the design."
            4. If Manfrotto had been consistent in their tripod design, there would have been three grub screws on the bottom of the carriage. Their center posts have them, and affixing a tripod head to a center post is made very solid by tightening these screws that rest in little valleys on the bottom of the tripod head. These prevent the head from coming unscrewed in use and it also assures that it does not rock. However the carriages do not have such grub screws, and one is stuck with a "high center."
            5. The "right" design would have four screws at the top to clamp together two flat surfaces. This or some other method would give a useful lever arm to resist tightening the bottom hand screw and the concomitant effect at the top. This flexing may be the reason that grub screws are not used, because their efficacy would depend upon how much the hand screw was tightened, and it is possible that excessive forces could be applied to the head when tightening or loosening the hand screw.
            6. A simple, but crude fix is to make some small shims to put between the bottom of the tripod head and the top of the carriage. A discarded film box was cut into two pieces round the outside to match the circle of the carriage top and leaving a gap of about 2 cm between the two pieces for the ridge. These could be affixed with rubber cement to the top of the carriage to keep them from running away. At least for my unit, this fix was sufficient.
            7. There is a similar problem for the center support. The simple mismatch of the assembly can be addressed as above. When the hand screw is tightened, again there is no flat surface offered to the tripod column and there is severe wobbling. However, the shim solution described for the carriages will not work here, because it is not possible to hand tighten the affixing screw sufficiently to prevent the whole assembly from rotating on the tripod in use. Because of the long lever arm, even modest forces on the arm – or camera – are enough to overcome the friction of the center screw. In this case, however, one can use the grub screws of a Manfrotto tripod to provide more security. However, once again Manfrotto did not follow its normal design, and there are no little valleys on the bottom of the center support to provide positive restraint against rotation. Now one must rely on brute force to tighten the screws enough to keep things snug but not do damage either. There will most likely still be some slippage during use, because of the large lever arm. One must just live with it. (Yes, this solution conflicts with the previous speculation on why grub screws were not used for the carriages. I don't see an alternative here, however. In any case, the force that the simple screw tightened by fingers is much less than the screw with the handle.)

            Some side notes on the use of the cross arm:
            1. The arm and carriages slide very smoothly, and it appears that this may be in part due to what looks like talcum powder on the felt lining of the bearings. This is a very clever way to provide lubrication without a sticky mess. In the long run, however, it could be that the talcum needs to be replenished, but this is just speculation.
            2. Care must be exercised when loosening either the carriages, or especially the center holder to slide things. The reason is that if the load is unbalanced, the cameras may lurch forward or backward as the arm/carriage itself becomes free to rotate as well as slide. This would not normally be a problem with small, light cameras, but it could be serious with something large and/or heavy, particularly if they are "looking down," leading to an unbalanced load towards the front.

            The bottom line is that with the investment of a little hand work, this can be made into a very useful device, but without that investment, the wobbly nature will be unsatisfactory. Keep in mind that securing the center part depended upon the grub screws of the Manfrotto tripod design. The results may be less satisfactory if the arm is used with another tripod that does not have this facility or a logical equivalent thereof.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            5.0

            Extended Reach

            By David

            from Covington, Kentucky

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Good Stability

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Home
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Shots
              • Portraits
              • Sports/Action
              • Travel
              • Video
              • Weddings/Events
              • Wildlife

              Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

              Nice Extension arm. Well buit and very sturdy.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Simultaneous accessability.

              By Sean

              from Jemez Springs, NM

              About Me Pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Good Stability

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Portraits
                • Sports/Action
                • Video
                • Weddings/Events

                Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                I shoot video using a DSLR Canon 60D and record to a Tascam Field Recorder, and occationall use my lap-top as a monitor and use a separate lighting system. The four-head mount helps me to consolidate, monitor, and control all of these things from one central location.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                It is the way to go for professional vid

                By soccergoal

                from UT

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Good Stability
                • Unfolds Quickly

                Cons

                • No carrying case included

                Best Uses

                • Sports/Action
                • Video

                Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                I would like to thank B&H Photo that the customer service is very helpful to respond all the questions. I received the product right on time. I really like it. Also, thanks to Manfrotto. It is very sturdy material. I would prefer the silver color not the black and it is less expensive. I would suggest to buy some adapters that are compatible with your camera in order to be able to attach securely. Manfrotto Male 1/4" to female 3/8" for the small camcorders, etc... Also, Manfrotto 117B tripod is the one of the best for this arm. I highly recommend it for professional video recording with simultaneously using two (up to 4) cameras.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Excellent Piece of Hardware

                By AJ Photography

                from Frederick, MD

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Portraits

                  Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                  Everything is well thought out on the arm head. Even the head handles lift and move after tightening to move out of the way. Very sturdy highly recommneded.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                   
                  4.0

                  Tripod accessory

                  By Linda B

                  from Marion, IL

                  About Me Casual Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Improves Tripod Function
                  • Solid/Sturdy

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Home
                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Portraits
                    • Video

                    Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                    Setting up camera with computer tethered. Set up easily

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Great Product

                    By wbell619

                    from Antioch CA

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Fits Well
                    • Improves Tripod Function
                    • Solid/Sturdy

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Home
                      • Portraits
                      • Weddings/Events

                      Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                      I purchased the manfrotto tripod accessory arm so I could tether my camera and laptop...The tripod accessory arm is really solid and also very light..I just love it! To complete the setup I also had to buy a manfrotto platform for projectors (3290) to sit my laptop on... it's approx. 10x14 and fits my laptop perfectly..it would probably fit a 15" laptop okay... mines is a 12" notebook. The center mount has a 3/8 male screw to mount to the tripod and the two mounts on either side of the center has 3/8 female to mount the camera/platform..it works really great!!
                      One small bit of advise...make sure you tighten your mounts on the arm good especially the computer platform becuz if not you will probably do as I did and lean on it..it spent around dumping my laptop on the floor...I'm lucky it wasn't a long drop..

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                       
                      5.0

                      I would recommend this product

                      By Bob

                      from snowy New Jersey

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Improves Tripod Function

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                          I am using it to support camera above small items for tabletop photography.
                          Well made, as are all Manfrotto products.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          #1 Product to buy for shooting tethered

                          By Richard

                          from Florence SC.

                          About Me Pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Fits Well
                          • Improves Tripod Function
                          • Solid/Sturdy

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Home
                            • Portraits
                            • Weddings/Events

                            Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                            It is well constructed, very sturdy, and fits well on tripod. This is a must-have for anyone shooting tethered to a laptop in a studio or on location. It fits onto any solid tripod. You can add a ball head to the other support on the horizontal bar for your camera, and then attach the camera to the laptop you're good to go.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                             
                            5.0

                            Well designed, easy to use, sturdy.

                            By Steve

                            from Berkeley, Calif

                            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Easy To Use
                            • Solid/Sturdy

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Portrait

                              Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                              I use this to support a Gitzo platform that holds my laptop when I shoot portraits and tether the camera to the laptop.

                              Share this review

                              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Extremely versatile and functional

                              By B Gavin

                              from Montreal Canada

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Durable
                              • Good Value
                              • High Quality

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                                  This product is intended to be used to mount mult5iple cameras, and it will do that very well, but it can also be used to mount a vaiety of other items like multiple lights.

                                  The build quality is excellent and the overall design and dimensions have been virtualy unchanged in the past 20 years and no attemps have been made to cut corners on materials over the years - a good indication that the design was always very effective.

                                  The arm can also be used as a rigid vertical extension for a tripod by adding a Manfrotto CONVERTER PLATE f/1/4-20 SOCKET HDS
                                  between the arm and the tripod and re-mounting the tripod head on the other end of the now vertical arm.

                                  For some macro applications I've also used it as a horizontal extension on a 055 tripod and mounted the tripod head on the extended end. Some newer tripods have a convertable center column - mine don't and this does the same thing.

                                  Not lightweight, but well made and so versitile in a variety of applications (using other Manfrotto items) that I keep several around.

                                  Share this review

                                  (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Slick and sturdy

                                  By Jim

                                  from Portland, OR

                                  About Me Professional

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                  • Compact
                                  • Fits Well
                                  • Improves Tripod Function
                                  • Lightweight

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Photography
                                    • Stabilization

                                    Comments about Manfrotto 131DD Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Silver):

                                    I use the arm for my in-studio work for tethered shooting. I set my camera on one side of the arm and have a laptop with running software on the other side. The setup is very sturdy coupled with Manfrotto tripod. Make sure that clamps/fixtures are tighten properly. No clutter, I can fold everything down very quickly and take it to work on-location. Good product. Thanks, Bogen and BH Photo.

                                    Share this review

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