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Davis & SanfordProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head
 
4.4

(based on 201 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (97)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (88)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

95%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Stable (145)
  • Unfolds quickly (67)
  • Folds away (35)
  • Lightweight (29)
  • Durable (11)

Cons

  • Heavy (74)
  • Cumbersome (18)
  • Poor quality (5)

Best Uses

  • Video (126)
  • Weddings (85)
  • Landscape/scenery (57)
  • Sports/action (47)
  • Home (45)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Semi-pro photographer (74), Pro photographer (56), Photo enthusiast (15), Casual photographer (8), Semi-professional (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (116)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Good solid tripod for the price

I shoot news at night for the local news as a stringer and use this tripod almost every day. I open and close this tripod several times per day, while in a rush,...Read complete review

I shoot news at night for the local news as a stringer and use this tripod almost every day. I open and close this tripod several times per day, while in a rush, without any concern if I'm gentile with it -- all that matters is I get on the scene and get the shot asap (house fire, suspect being arrested, etc). The fluid head is great for smooth pans and tilts, which is a huge improvement over cheap tripods without a fluid head, and the bubble levels are a nice feature too although they can be hard to see at night. The tripod is very stable, although sometimes when you let go, it will move a millimeter or two left/right/up/down. Locking the brakes tightly and waiting a second or two for it to settle is all it takes. This may be related to the "loose head" problem explained below. I really like the airlift center column. When I first got the tripod about 2 months ago, the center post would go up perfectly (without any weight and w/ the lock off). However, over time the center post seems to get stuck and I have to help "pull" it up. It still assists with the weight of my 10 pound camera (Canon XL2), but for some reason it isn't as smooth as it once was. If you are buying this tripod for the airlift purpose primarily, I'd look elsewhere. It works great for when I need to raise my camera height quickly, but is by no means a replacement for a jib crane or higher-quality airlift. The leg latches tend to be kind of loose when you first get it, but I tightened them with the included wrench and it works fine. Before tightening the latches, I noticed that if I would set my tripod down with the legs folded in (not spread) somewhat quickly/abruptly, the legs would slide upwards slightly, thus lowering the height and requiring adjustments every time. So tighten the latches and you should be fine. All in all I love this tripod considering the price, but I knew before I even bought it that it would not last forever. It's still running strong so far, but if you can afford it, I would recommend going for a better tripod from a more reputable brand. If you're in a pinch and need to get by for a few months or don't use it every day, this tripod should work fine. The bag is padded to protect the head and has small zipper compartments to hold small flat items. I'm sure the bag will outlast the tripod, as it is made of durable materials. I also like that it comes with two tripod adapter plates, so if you have two cameras you use with this, you don't need to worry about buying a second adapter plate. I bought this with the dolly which seems to be really nice. I have yet to use it other than playing around at home with it, but I am confident it will work great and smoothly when the time comes. My one complaint would be that the head is coming loose. Now this is probably my own fault from user error. Often times I need to quickly tilt my camera up or down and do not have time to unlock the tilt brake (for example, a suspect at a scene makes a sudden move). This puts strain on the head. I think the head is coming loose from me doing this often. Always remember to loosen the tilt brake and you should not experience this problem (learned this in college). There is a very large bolt which I suspect could be tightened, but it is impossible to get a wrench in there without taking apart the head or a very flat skinny wrench, which I'm afraid to do.Again, please keep in mind I use this tripod almost every day and I really put a beating on my equipment. To the average wedding videographer or average joe, this tripod should meet or exceed your expectations and last a long time.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Solid tripod for the money

This is a solid tripod. Its sturdy and reasonably well built. Its heavy, and not terribly portable, but the included carrying case and wheels are a good value. I just traveled with...Read complete review

This is a solid tripod. Its sturdy and reasonably well built. Its heavy, and not terribly portable, but the included carrying case and wheels are a good value. I just traveled with this tripod on a flight. I managed to squeeze a second smaller tripod and monopod into the bag with the the ProVista and checked it in as luggage. The tripod and bag are sturdy enough for travel of that nature.

The "Airlift" part of the tripod is a bit jarring. I didn't know what it meant when I bought it, but I found out the first time I untightened the column lock knob. The column shoots up to maximum extension very rapidly. If you were standing over the tripod head it would give you a solid crack in the jaw. If you had a camera on the head and cables connected with little or no slack, the force would most certainly break an audio/video output on the camera. They call it "Airlift, but I think its just a big spring in the column. Its a theoretically cool concept, but it could be called clumsy for a device designed to hold very valuable video equipment.

Now you may be wondering how the column is lowered after its been let loose. There's no mechanical way to lower the column, which leaves only the physics of brute force. The only way to lower the column is by pushing straight down with a force greater than that which the spring exerts upward. The tripod actually comes with two handles that screw into the base of the head. The purpose of these handles is a great mystery until you realize that you need a sturdy grip to push the column down. Only then will the column recede and be locked down, ready to spring into action at the next turn of the lock knob, intentional or otherwise.

The airlift function is alarming at first, but becomes quite routine after a couple of minutes. Once situated, the tripod operates well. The pan and tilt are a bit tight, but very smooth and stable.

The column issues aside, this tripod is a reasonable buy. its affordable and comes with a sturdy bag and a set of dolly wheels. That's a tough deal to beat.

Reviewed by 201 customers

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3.0

Great legs, wrong head for me

By dastep

from Cary, NC

About Me Business Owner

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Professional Quality

Cons

  • Lacks Functionality
  • No Quick Level

Best Uses

  • Independent Films

Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

This was my second D&S tripod. I thought I'd like the extra height this one provided but I ended up returning it as it does not have a the claw ball for quick leveling. I'd recommend this tripod but with the standard FM18 Head without the Airlift.

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5.0

Insanely smooth

By Zach

from Richmond, Virginia

About Me Film Student

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Improves Performance
  • Professional Quality

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

    Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

    This tripod is extremely sturdy and the handling is very smooth. For the last couple of years I've used fairly cheap tripods I got off of @ and while they've done the job, this tripod is on an entirely different level. Whenever I set up my camera I know that it's going to be completely secure and any panning I plan to use will be completely smooth. My only complaint is it's a little hefty but anyone who reads the item description would know that.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Sturdy tripod

    By ShadyMaple

    from Pennsylvania

    About Me Business Owner

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Improves Performance
    • Professional Quality

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Moving Subjects
      • Weddings

      Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

      Very fluid tripod, pans nicely. It's well built and sturdy.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      ProVista Airlift Tripod with Fluid Head

      By Genesis Design

      from San Antonio, TX

      About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist, Professional Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Price Value
      • Highly Compatible
      • Improves Performance
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Smooth Pans
      • Professional Quality

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Movies
        • Independent Films
        • In The Studio

        Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

        I have used a Manfrotto 351MVB2 tripod with the 503 fluid head for several years - it has been fine except the ball mount of the head never seems to be able to perfectly horizontally align - so I could not get even horizontal pans. The Provista (at about a third of the cost) is very comparable, without the ball mount. The tripod is sturdy, my Pnansonic HPX250 sits very securely on on it, the up & down and side to side is very smooth - I can get a perfectly even 180 degree pan without change of vertical angle. I am absolutely pleased with this, even a bit surprised at how nice it is to use at such a reasonable price. I have no negatives (the carrying case is pretty light weight, but works fine) and would recommend this product strongly.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Outstanding

        By Scott Torvea

        from Atlanta, GA

        Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

        I have used many tripods over the years including the previous version. This one is outstanding! It gives the height that the old one was lacking and still has the smooth fluid motion to allow for excellent following.

        It is a bit heavy and does not compact down as much as some others on the market, but that is a small price to pay for the quality and benefits you gain. It is sturdy enough to hold my large camcorders yet still works just as well with something as small as the XA 20 or 25.

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        5.0

        Excellent Tripod

        By Patrick

        from Lexington, KY

        About Me Hobbyist

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Highly Compatible
        • Improves Performance
        • Professional Quality

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Complex Projects
          • Home Movies
          • Independent Films
          • In The Studio

          Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

          I use this tripod with my Canon XA-10. This is a perfect match.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          It's Great.....!!!

          By Jmont.

          from Hempstead

          Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

          Es un Buen producto y por el precio aun mejor.

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          4.0

          Very Sturdy

          By jtmcf

          from Salem, OR

          About Me Business Owner

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Good Price

          Cons

          • Lacks Functionality

          Best Uses

          • Home Movies
          • In The Studio

          Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

          Very Sturdy tripod. I use it in the studio to hold a Canon XA10 with a fairly large iPad teleprompter.

          It's also a great price compared to other tripods in this height range.

          Probably isn't want you want if you're looking for a lot of adjust-ability. This is the only reason I gave 4 stars, but I have no complaints given the price.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          Sturdy and Smooth!

          By DIRECTORGUYNEZ

          from Philadelphia, PA

          About Me Film Student

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Easy To Use
          • Highly Compatible
          • Improves Performance
          • Professional Quality

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Complex Projects
            • Independent Films
            • In The Studio

            Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

            I use this tripod in productions with my DSLR and it has been great! The pan and tilt on the head is super smooth and always gives me quality and professional shots. The tripod is extremely strong and durable, and I don't anticipate it breaking or falling apart in the near future or anytime for that matter. The only thing I have to say about this tripod is that it is large and heavy. It is a little much for my little DSLR, and I should have read the description of this tripod more in depth to be honest before I purchased it, because it isn't the easiest thing to lug around when you're a small time filmmaker like me. Asides from that, this tripod is a great bang for your buck and extremely professional! I'm glad I purchased it!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Smooth Pans

            By Harry Harris

            from South East Texas

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Good Stability

            Cons

            • Cumbersome
            • Heavy

            Best Uses

            • Video
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

            I use this for weddings, Graduations, and Recitals and it works great for a tripod in this price range. I couldn't find anything within a 50 bucks that was as appealing as this. I have 3 of these in use weekly. I have one set up with an Panasonic HMC-150 and the other two with Canon 70Ds. So far So good. It is heavy but thats ok and the pnuematic lift is nice except when u have to push it back down. It got stuck when i was unboxing it for the first time and it almost knocked me out when it hit me in the face due do finally coming free lol. I ended up buying two more so i like it.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            4.0

            Great legs, cluttered head

            By Ryan

            from Athens, TN

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Good Stability
            • Smooth panning
            • Tall

            Cons

            • Cluttered Head

            Best Uses

            • Video

            Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

            I got this tripod to add to my gear arsenal for the video company I'm starting. First, the legs are great. The flip-locks are kind of hard to release and lock because it's so resistant, but are solid once done. The center column is nice and high (a big reason I got this particular tripod), and is also kind of hard to push back down after it's been extended all the way. Once set-up it's very solid. The head however is goofy. Like other video heads I've used, many of the tighteners hit each other as they get rotated, requiring some components to be taken completely off to tighten a given section if you don't want to remove the camera (in my case a Canon DSLR). I never understood this very unintelligent design that seems to plague video heads, but some of it can be gotten used to with enough practice. The panning is nice and smooth, though, so once the camera is situated it's a nice piece of equipment to use. It's no lightweight, but that should come as no surprise after looking at the product specs. Overall it's good for the price, especially the legs.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Great Tripod

            By Mikey G

            from Provo, UT

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Good Stability
            • Tall

            Cons

            • Heavy
            • Large

            Best Uses

            • Home
            • Night Shots
            • Portraits
            • Sports/Action
            • Video
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

            I really liked this tripod. I use it for video. I am 6'6" so I like how it can get up to my eye level. I can film standing interviews with just about anyone with this. The only feature I wish it had was a way to level it without adjusting the leg height but that's kind of impossible with this kind of design because the center post is in the way. Also, because it is so tall, it is best to use a sandbag to weigh it down to get better panning motions.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            4.0

            A solid tripod for the money

            By Joe

            from Philadelphia, PA

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Fluid Head Movements
            • Good Stability
            • Sturdy

            Cons

            • Heavy
            • Poor Construction

            Best Uses

            • Home
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Sports/Action
            • Video
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

            After reading a lot of reviews I was a little worried about buying this tripod. But my fears have subdued. Don't get me wrong, the issues with the airlift column and leg extension flaps are real, but I find them manageable.

            You can read tons of reviews about the leg flap locks being hard to use. I find them pretty easy to open, but they're real tough to close. It's best to close them with your palms rather than fingers because you could probably injure your fingers doing so.

            The air lift is OK. I just let it shoot up and fully extend. It would be a real pain to try and get it somewhere in the middle, so I don't bother. Getting the center shaft back down requires brute force to push it back down. If you have weak arms this is not your tripod. The first time I did it, it was tough. But the second time was easier because I knew how much force I had to exert and it wasn't as much of a surprise.

            This could've been a great tripod if they used a regular center shaft crank and more fluid leg snaps. But with that, I'm pretty satisfied with this tripod. The head is fluid and easily adjustable. I will be shooting weddings, communions, sporting events, and just about everything with this tripod.

            Bottom Line: This tripod is not meant for the weak. If you can get past the leg locks and the air lift it's a good tripod for the price.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Solid, sturdy with nice features

            By tigerose

            from Bradenton, FL

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Folds Small
            • Good Stability
            • Unfolds Quickly

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Sports/Action
              • Video

              Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

              This stand is easy to set up and has nice fluid motion for video. The mounting bracket also allows you to remove the camcorder quickly and slide it back on for handheld use.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              5.0

              Davis & Sanford tripod

              By New cam guy

              from Texas

              Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

              This is the best tripod I have seen for the price!!!! I have a friend the had a manfrotto and he likes this one better. It is very sturdy!!!!

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              Can't recommend this one

              By ChrisFromVision

              from Sydney, Australia

              About Me Pro Photographer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Good Stability

              Cons

              • Cumbersome
              • Heavy

              Best Uses

                Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

                This is a solidly built tripod, that pans like a dream but I simply can't recommend this product at all. As mentioned by plenty of people here, the Airlift option is a bit of a joke, and no matter how tightly you lock it will sporadically pop up at the worst of times, which is far, far from ideal. The clips on the legs are also incredibly hard to lock, and is a running joke with my assistant and I as to who will have the unenviable task of having to close them at the end of a job, and as a result hurt their hands doing so. There are much better options out there at B & H, I wouldn't be going for this one.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                So far, So Good!!!

                By jake

                from long Island, NY

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Folds Small
                • Good Stability
                • Lightweight
                • Unfolds Quickly

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

                    Made better than the old version

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                    5.0

                    Great looking and strong enough

                    By OmarRuben

                    from East Rutherford, NJ

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Folds Small
                    • Good Stability
                    • Lightweight
                    • Unfolds Quickly

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Portraits
                      • Sports/Action
                      • Video

                      Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

                      I used for video with a panasonic pro camera and gives me the confidence i need on the field. Very sturdy and people always gives me a nice look , makes me look more pro...

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      5.0

                      Great Product

                      By MR.Willis

                      from Ferndale,Wa

                      Verified Buyer

                      Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

                      Awesome tripod.

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                      5.0

                      Wow

                      By elements01

                      from Montreal

                      About Me Pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Good Stability
                      • Lightweight
                      • Unfolds Quickly

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

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

                        Comments about Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head:

                        smooth, stable, very good

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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