REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Manfrotto504HD Fluid Video Head
 
4.5

(based on 77 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (50)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (20)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Stable (52)
  • Lightweight (13)
  • SMOOTH (10)
  • Large range of motion (6)
  • Attaches firmly (5)

Cons

  • Heavy (15)
  • Cumbersome (5)

Best Uses

  • Movies (33)
  • Stabilization (32)
  • Video (8)
  • Landscape/scenery (3)
  • Sports/action (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Film professional (38), Tech savvy (13), Aspiring film maker (7), Pro photographer (6), Video professional (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (67)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Excellent performance and value

I ordered this from BH, sight unseen due to a *really good* Manfrotto ad, [...]. It didn't disappoint. I am comparing this 504HD to three heads: 1) my...Read complete review

I ordered this from BH, sight unseen due to a *really good* Manfrotto ad, [...]. It didn't disappoint. I am comparing this 504HD to three heads: 1) my ancient, clunky Manfrotto 501 head; 2) a Sachtler DV2; and 3) the multi-thousand dollar Sachtler Video 20P head I use at work. Not exactly fair, but that's the kind of smooth, reliable performance I'm looking for.At 1/16 the cost of the Sachtler 20P, the 504HD is simply wonderful. And the tiny Sachtler DV2 simply does not not have enough head/drag/balance/baseplate options for even the Z1U. Manfrotto has packed a ton of nice features into this head. I don't expect it to be as rugged as the 20P, but I'm not going to expose the 504HD to that level of pro abuse, either. Hey, this is MY tripod/head. Some guys mistreat our stuff and then complain "Why is everything broken around here?!" My bet is my little 504 will work long after our pro gear has bitten the dust for being tossed in the back without its case over and over. But I digress....I'm also using it with smaller cameras like the Sony Z1U or my Canon HFS100 on a rail/mattebox system (that adds weight, length and an external field monitor). Yes, the 504HD big if you're holding up a little HFS100 by itself, but you'll appreciate it if you are pushed out long and tracking something moving fast. Features: 1) a very useful feature is the LED-illuminated leveling bubble. Press a tiny button next to the bubble and a bright orange LED turns on for 10 seconds clearly illuminating the bubble. Each working cameraman I showed this to who's tried to level a head in the dark said, "Now THAT is cool!"2) The long locking knob that tightens the head to the legs is rubberized, compact and very grippable. 3) The 501PLONG baseplate has a rubber plug that holds the screws in the plate securely but allows easy and rapid changeout of the screws. This sliding baseplate may not be as elegant as the snap-in Sachtler, but still allows the camera to be moved fore and aft for balance while allowing easy removal. The head has a pushbutton safety catch so even if you forget to lock the plate to the head, the camera will not fall off the head. Small, nice design element: pre-threaded holes on the underside of the bridge to store unused 3/8" and 1/4" screws. By the way, the sliding baseplate comes with two screws of each size. (Understand that a single Sachtler baseplate screw is ten bucks!) 4) Eight levels of fluid drag, horizontal and vertical.5) Three levels of spring counterbalance plus zero help hold the camera from tipping over.6) Excellent look and feel. The red anodized aluminum trim looks great. The edges are not sharp, the finish is nice. 7) The 75mm ball works great. Get the Manfrotto 319 adapter plate if you have a 100mm bowl. 8) Large, rubberized adjustment knobs are comfortable and grippable in any weather. The traditional Manfrotto "pull-to-reposition" teardrop-shaped locking knobs adjust so they don't get caught or run into things. This is just good design.9) Telescoping pan handle fits left or right and has a replaceable intermediate toothed spacer between the handle and the head. This is the part that wears out over the years of repositioning the handle. So instead of the head casting wearing out, the intermediate part does. The threads are brass, not potmetal. Good design again. 10) Two 3/8-16 accessory socket holes on the left and right of the head. Flexi arms can be threaded into these holes to hold French flags, external monitors, etc. And the holes have steel thread inserts in them so you won't strip out the aluminum casting. 11) This is small, but there is even a rubber bumper at the full tilt-down limit. So instead of the head "clunking" to a stop metal-to-metal if you tilt all the way down, it softly bumps into the rubber stop. Somebody's thinking here. This head really shines when holding a medium sized camera like the Sony Z1U or Panasonic 200. (It even holds the Panasonic 300 in a pinch.) I tracked both ice hockey and basketball games with a Z1U and my editor (without knowing I had used it) said, "Wow, you can really see the difference between that and hand held." When I showed my legs/504HD rig to my coworkers, each wanted to borrow it immediately. They realized it would be a lot easier to use when traveling than to ship our big tripods. I loved using it: very smooth. No need for image stabilization. Some people say the 504HD is heavy but good heads are not light or cheap. And this is a steal for what it is capable of. Besides, compared to a Sachtler 100mm bowl setup, it's positively lightweight.I have the 504HD mounted on a set of 100mm Varizoom aluminum legs. It'd be lighter with the carbon fiber 75mm legs, but this is easy to transport and the rubber floor spreader is easy to kick up to collapse the legs when you have to move to a new location quickly. Also, these days a "small" camera can get "big" fast when you add rails, mattebox, follow focus, above-camera external monitor, etc. My "tiny" Canon HFS100 rig now weighs 10.6 lbs. At that point, the extra support is really appreciated. And when you push out long for aircraft or sports tracking, that weight adds stability. There is no "lash" in the system: not the slightest "clunk" as the bearings change directions. The fluid drag is smooth and predictable. When you lock the head in position, it doesn't shift. (In other words, you can lock the head off on a speech or whatever and unlock it without the image moving.) The only (and I mean only) "click" is if you have the telescoping panhandle at minimum length. If the drag is set high, I can feel the handle move ever so slightly. If you extend the panhandle to be longer than minimum length, this slight hiccup is gone.Manfrotto has continuously and vastly improved their product line from their crude early days of gauling potmetal threads and oddball baseplates. Overall, this is a terrific head and I expect to use it for many, many years.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great Design but so...so manufacturing.

I bought this fluid head to provide greater counterbalance range, adjustable via a four position switch. The head it was to replace required the swapping out of springs which was very inconvenient when changing...Read complete review

I bought this fluid head to provide greater counterbalance range, adjustable via a four position switch. The head it was to replace required the swapping out of springs which was very inconvenient when changing cameras or lens loads in the field.

I own Manfrotto's out of production grand daddy, the 501 fluid head, with 100mm half ball which comes with three settings for drag (switching drag capsules) but an infinite range of counterspring settings. That head makes it extremely easy to balance various loads on the fly. But you are stuck with three settings of drag and nothing inbetween.

The 504HD is a bit smaller and lighter with a 75mm half ball, perfect for the slightly smaller, lighter Manfrotto sticks I use more often with my lighter cameras. It was to replace my Vinten Vision 3 head to afford a wider range of return spring balance. The Vinten is a more expensive head, also out of production. I assumed that Manfrotto had their act together and was able to machine a good product at a significantly lower manufacturing cost. I was mistaken.

While the continuously variable drag settings both tilt and pan feel very good, only having three settings for return spring balance reduces the tilt range that can be used before the spring is either too strong or too weak. I could work with that. So it wasn't the deal breaker.

I so wanted the 504HD to work for me. The red anodized trim accents, the overall appeareance, the longer camera adapter slide, the two accessory threaded sockets on the head for outboard gear, are all wonderful touches. In the end the spoiler was the excessive play in the tilt bearings and/or other axis components. At the end of a tilt, no matter how gently you stopped and then removed pressure from the handle the head would settle back slightly. Even when not using telephoto magnification the movement was still obvious in the image. I was able to reduce this problem, but not eliminate it with careful adjustment of camera slide position and counterbalance spring setting. Maybe if the spring tension was continuously variable it might have been possible to reduce the effect of its mechanical backlash to a tolerable level.

To confirm that it wasn't me or the camera I replaced the head with my older Vinten. The Vinten had zero backlash and behaved as it should.

I think Manfrotto's problem is a machining tolerance issue as my old trusty 501 head has a tiny amount of the same backlash problem, but small enough that it isn't disturbing.

I guess the old maxim, "you get what you pay for" still holds forth. It probably isn't fair to compare it to a fluid head that originally cost 3X as much. And maybe some of the 504HD's are coming through, per chance, with tighter tolerance or better fit. Mine did not.

Reviewed by 77 customers

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5.0

Great video head for the money

By mightyviking

from Downers Grove, IL

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Attaches Firmly
  • Good Stability
  • Large Range of Motion
  • Smooth motion

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Sports/Action
  • Video

Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

I've been using a Manfrotto 501 head for years and have noticed recently that the tilt function of the 501 has become stiff so my initial tilting while shooting is now jerky.I shoot a lot of team sports that require a lot of pan and tilt so it was time to upgrade.I've been looking at the 504HD for a while, and have watched the price slowly come since its release. A new tripod wasn't in my budget this time but the 504HD has a 75mm half ball like my 501 and it worked perfectly with my old sticks.The head is much larger than the 501 and weighs more as well. Its motion is far superior and the controls are much more precise than the 501 so the weight isn't a concern for now. The weight presets are a bonus as well. I'll let you all know how I feel about the weight in another 10 years. Hopefully I'll have some carbon fibre sticks by then.I haven't had the head long enough to develop and criticisms of it. I would, however, make two suggestions to the manufacturer. First, make all the QR plates the same. I may want to use my ball head instead of my video head, different QR plate, big pain in the neck. This is not an original complaint and many people feel the same way. Second, make the plates wider. Prosumer cameras, DSLRs, cinema cameras are all wide and always have been.Do yourself a favor and buy an extra QR plate. It never hurts to have a spare.

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  • No

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4.0

Perfect head for wedding Video

By Nadroj

from Huntington, WV

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Good Stability
  • Large Range of Motion

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Video
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

    Great drag options for smooth pans and tilts.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    4.0

    Good for the money...

    By Mr. Bill

    from De Moines, Iowa

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Attaches Firmly
    • Good Stability
    • Large Range of Motion
    • Strong Clamp

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Shots
      • Portraits
      • Video

      Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

      I use the 504HD head with a DSLR Canon Mark II & a JVC790 video setup.
      The counterbalance system is a great help for the different weights of the two cameras. For still photography, the system works well for lockdown shots.
      As for video, tracking a moving shot is fine until the subject stops. I find I must hold the shot steady or I get slight movement as I bring the shot to a stop while continuing to shoot. My Vinten Vision 6 system is far superior in this instance, but at a much greater cost for the tripod.
      I got the 504HD as a location, run and gun system.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Got good head for low cost

      By Zan Shin

      from Midwest

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Didn't Get Spring-back
      • Great Head Low Price
      • Smooth pans and tilts

      Cons

      • Counter Balance Limits

      Best Uses

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

      Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

      Only used it once videoing a dance recital, but it was nearly non-stop panning to follow dancers. My previous head was a Sachtler DV6SB, which is pretty good but won't fit in the 75mm bowl adapter on a Manfrotto 536 tripod... the screw isn't long enough to attach the handle. So I thought I'd try out the new design Manfrotto.

      My first head was the iconic flat-bottom 501, a friction head, not a fluid head. Since then I've gotten a 701, which is nice but too small for my larger, "real video" cameras.

      This head pans and tilts very smoothly. The long plate let me balance an EX1 without much difficulty (note that this plate is different from the 357 Quick Release plate so you can't interchange those). It's the same profile as the smaller plates used on the 501 and 701 (and maybe the 503HD), so you could use those although they are way too short for it. But wierdly, an the plate is stoopid expensive if you want a spare, literally a third of the cost of the entire 504HD head.

      The drag adjustments on the head are positive and easily used allowing just the right amount of drag for individual taste. The tilt and pan locks seem positive, and didn't budge when engaged. The head only has 4 positions for counter-balance -- not as nice as my Sachtler, but then again, it cost about half a grand less. It felt every bit as smooth in use, though, and that's where the value lives.

      I think anyone wanting a relatively good medium large tripod head that doesn't break the bank will find it a VERY good bargain. It will do the job and leave you plenty of extra cash to get something else for your kit, like a decent external monitor. And after all, who shoots on a tripod much these days anyway? :D

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      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Excellent Fluid Head at Reasonable Price

      By John Giannini

      from Sausalito, CA

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Large Range of Motion
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Action
        • Interviews
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Movement
        • Night Shots
        • Sports/Action
        • Travel
        • Video
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

        As a video journalist and one man band, I need a head that is full functioned, light, yet stable and this head fills those requirements. I bought this head because I found that the tilt controls for the Manfrotto 502 head I had been using were difficult to operate and caused camera shake when I moved from a stable shot. The 504HD solves this problem, because it has a tilt release lever on the left side of the head, where it belongs. It also has great controls for balancing the camera and a useful lighted level.

        The only drawback I found with this head is that it has increased the weight of my gear by about three pounds, which is to be expected. There is always a trade-off.

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        • No

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great Fluid Head

        By Far East Arts

        from Boise, Idaho

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Good Engineering
        • Good Stability
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Strong Clamp
        • Well Built

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Any Video Work

          Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

          I shoot documentaries, training videos, commercials and narrative movies and this fluid head works perfectly with my Panasonic AG HPX250. It is easy to set up and use and works exactly as advertised. Pans and tilts are butter smooth, giving very professional looking results on screen. A good fluid head like this gives the onscreen impression of "inertia," i.e. the indication of a much heavier camera being used.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          I LOVE this Manfrotto Fluid Head, a lot!

          By Herb

          from Poulsbo, WA

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Attaches Firmly
          • Good Stability
          • Large Range of Motion
          • Very smooth movements

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Video

            Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

            This head is worth every bit of the investment, and has given me all I was looking for in my research for it. Smooth vertical and lateral movements being the ultimate purpose. Manfrotto is simply a go-to vendor for equipment that just has to work, in the field and in the studio!

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            • No

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            (0 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Not happy.

            By Rocco

            from Oswego, NY

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

              Cons

              • Complicated Controls

              Best Uses

                Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                Not too happy with this purchase. Nothing against B&H they are great. But literally this thing just collects dust. For me, it is just too bulky and finicky. I have a Manfrotto 701HDV I bought years ago, and it is much better than this 504HD. The 504HD LOOKS pretty, but it doesn't have the elegance it should have for the price.

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                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                I really like this

                By Tubeman

                from Keene, NH

                About Me Pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Good Stability

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Video

                  Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                  I used the 504HD head the other day for the first time. It worked wonderfully. It balanced perfectly for my Panasonic AG-AC160. I bought it as a replacement head for the Prompter People Heavy Duty Tripod I bought last year. The original head with the Prompter was very stiff, but the legs were sturdy. The 504HD fit perfectly. I'm very glad I purchased this new head.

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                  • No

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                  (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Kind of the new standard...

                  By d

                  from san francisco, ca

                  About Me Film Professional

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Movies
                      • Stabilization

                      Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                      When I bought my C100, I originally thought I could get by with a 502A head, and yes, technically it worked. But once I started building up my rig the weight limits of the 502 turned out to be perhaps a bit lower than promised. And when you're using a long, heavy zoom like a 70-200, with a matte box on the end of it and a follow focus, even if you can position the long plate back far enough from the center of gravity, the 502 just doesn't seem to work right when you load it up. The 504 is better in every way, and it nicely fills the niche between that "high prosumer" level and the truly pro heads by other manufacturers that cost much more. If you stay within its weight parameters it's an extremely well thought out and balanced design. There, I got through a whole review of a fluid head without once using the word "smooth" (doh!)

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                      • No

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                      5.0

                      Great Bargain

                      By Jaymes Kohnen

                      from Seattle

                      About Me Film Professional

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Good Stability
                      • Lightweight

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Movies
                        • Stabilization

                        Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                        I love this head, great price, great function... tired of paying arm n leg for these!

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Fantastic

                        By Jeppydean

                        from Midwest

                        About Me Film Professional

                        Pros

                        • Good Stability

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Stabilization

                          Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                          I have used a Manfrotto 501 head for years and I was just tired of the initial jerk on pans. (If you have one you know what I'm talking about).
                          For that reason I was hesitant to buy Manfrotto again.
                          I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. Pans and tilts so smooth that the viewer will need to be watching the edge of the screen to realize that you are panning.
                          A bit heavy but Very satisfied.

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                          • No

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                          5.0

                          Awesome Head, Consistant Fluid, smooth

                          By Claudio Faccio

                          from Sao Paulo, BR

                          Verified Buyer

                          Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                          Filming with light and medium weight cameras

                          Share this review

                           
                          5.0

                          Worth it!

                          By Randee

                          from N.Y

                          About Me Film Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Folds Small
                          • Good Stability
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Movies
                            • Stabilization

                            Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                            Smooth action, sturdy, a must have for professional results.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Does just what I expected

                            By ADSK video guy

                            from Boston, MA

                            About Me Film Professional

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Accessory Attachment
                            • Good Stability

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Corporate Video
                              • Studio

                              Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                              I produce corporate video content and purchased this head as part of a system with the carbon fiber tripod offered by Manfrotto. The system is rock solid and the head performs very well. I very much appreciate the threaded attachment spots on the side and the thoughtful extenders that are included. I use this system in a small studio with a Panasonic HPX250 & a 10" Marshall LCD and it works great.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Smooth and adjustable

                              By One stop shop production

                              from Hickory, NC

                              About Me Corporate Videographer, Graphic Designer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Easily Adjustable
                              • SMOOTH

                              Cons

                              • Heavy

                              Best Uses

                              • Movies
                              • Smooth Panning

                              Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                              I have used this on several video projects already doing corporate videography for healthcare companies. I am extremely pleased with the smooth head movement in all directions. This head has the ability to make all sorts of tension adjustments as well as a great counterbalance for when I make lots of lens changes during a shoot. I can't say enough about this product. Even though there is a bit of weight to the head the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              5.0

                              Best fluid video head under $

                              By Mark from New Mexico

                              from Placitas New Mexico

                              About Me Film Professional, Tech Savvy

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Good Stability
                              • Lightweight

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Movies
                                • Stabilization

                                Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                                I had access to this video head and the carbon legs for about a year and a half, and when I moved on, I couldn't live without it, so I purchased the video head for my tripod legs. Very adjustable head with solid fluid action - good enough to pull off cinematic panning, tilting, and diagonal moves. Backlit bubble level is convenient on darker sets and live venues. Tripod plate allows for sufficient adjustment My only wish is for an even longer tripod plate for balancing the occasional long DSLR rig. Counterbalance system is good, and there is enough spring tension for most DSLR rigs built to go on sticks.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Very nice tripod head

                                By Gravy

                                from Terrigal, NSW

                                About Me Tech Savvy

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Easy to use
                                • Quality
                                • SMOOTH

                                Cons

                                • Heavy

                                Best Uses

                                • Movies
                                • Stabilization
                                • Stills

                                Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                                Beautiful smooth movement in this tripod head. Easily adjustable for various weighted cameras, and easy to use. I use it mostly for shooting with a Canon 5DMk2 and also slightly smaller video recorders, with a Beachtek XLR adapter, and the weighting is perfect for this with the counterweighting set at minimum.

                                I liked it so much, when I had my first one of these stolen, I replaced it with exactly the same tripod head. Goes great on the carbon legs Manfrotto 535

                                Fairly heavy, but great quality and will last forever. Better suited to heavier cameras - counterweighting may be a bit much for really light cameras eg small camcorders.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                3.0

                                Great Design but so...so manufacturing.

                                By bdcst

                                from Vermont

                                About Me Broadcast Engineer

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Pretty
                                • Variable Counterspring
                                • Variable Drag Controls

                                Cons

                                • Movement Backlash

                                Best Uses

                                • Movies
                                • Videography

                                Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                                I bought this fluid head to provide greater counterbalance range, adjustable via a four position switch. The head it was to replace required the swapping out of springs which was very inconvenient when changing cameras or lens loads in the field.

                                I own Manfrotto's out of production grand daddy, the 501 fluid head, with 100mm half ball which comes with three settings for drag (switching drag capsules) but an infinite range of counterspring settings. That head makes it extremely easy to balance various loads on the fly. But you are stuck with three settings of drag and nothing inbetween.

                                The 504HD is a bit smaller and lighter with a 75mm half ball, perfect for the slightly smaller, lighter Manfrotto sticks I use more often with my lighter cameras. It was to replace my Vinten Vision 3 head to afford a wider range of return spring balance. The Vinten is a more expensive head, also out of production. I assumed that Manfrotto had their act together and was able to machine a good product at a significantly lower manufacturing cost. I was mistaken.

                                While the continuously variable drag settings both tilt and pan feel very good, only having three settings for return spring balance reduces the tilt range that can be used before the spring is either too strong or too weak. I could work with that. So it wasn't the deal breaker.

                                I so wanted the 504HD to work for me. The red anodized trim accents, the overall appeareance, the longer camera adapter slide, the two accessory threaded sockets on the head for outboard gear, are all wonderful touches. In the end the spoiler was the excessive play in the tilt bearings and/or other axis components. At the end of a tilt, no matter how gently you stopped and then removed pressure from the handle the head would settle back slightly. Even when not using telephoto magnification the movement was still obvious in the image. I was able to reduce this problem, but not eliminate it with careful adjustment of camera slide position and counterbalance spring setting. Maybe if the spring tension was continuously variable it might have been possible to reduce the effect of its mechanical backlash to a tolerable level.

                                To confirm that it wasn't me or the camera I replaced the head with my older Vinten. The Vinten had zero backlash and behaved as it should.

                                I think Manfrotto's problem is a machining tolerance issue as my old trusty 501 head has a tiny amount of the same backlash problem, but small enough that it isn't disturbing.

                                I guess the old maxim, "you get what you pay for" still holds forth. It probably isn't fair to compare it to a fluid head that originally cost 3X as much. And maybe some of the 504HD's are coming through, per chance, with tighter tolerance or better fit. Mine did not.

                                Share this review

                                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                A big step up from the 503.

                                By Erik

                                from Tennessee

                                About Me Aspiring Film Maker

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Good Stability

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Movies
                                  • Stabilization

                                  Comments about Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head:

                                  I am really digging this head.

                                  The things I find a big improvments over the 503hdv are this heads size, the long plate and the large flat size over all lend to a very stable head.

                                  I love the change in the locks, I am sorry manfrotto but the tilt lock on the 503hdv was nothing short of stupid in my experience. even with adjustments locking and unlocking on the 503 was just goofy to get a grip on the half knob/wheel thingie.

                                  this tripod gets it right, like a cartoni or satchler, this time they put each lock as its own teardrop knob, easy to grip and lock and release.

                                  i also love the abilty to adjust the brakes on the fly. the 503 you had to take everything apart to adjust for wear and tear on the brakes.
                                  the 504 you simply pull the tear drop knob up, or out, depending on which one, and rotate the knob and let the spring pull it back into place and bam the brakes are as good as new.

                                  the counter balance system is the same as the 503hdv just a little stronger, sadly my rig is front heavy and it never really helps.

                                  it moves very smooth is is great for operating. A nice heavy head is good for me. As i am commercial/narrative based style. Might be a bit bulky for run and gun shooters.

                                  if your looking for a solid head and have the budget you wont be disappointed by this one.

                                  if your thinking of upgrading sell you old one and get this one.

                                  i bought this of my own accord for my work, i have not recived any compensation for my review.

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

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