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Davis & SanfordProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head
 
4.3

(based on 224 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (107)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (97)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (12)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

95%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Stable (145)
  • Unfolds quickly (67)
  • Folds away (35)
  • Lightweight (29)
  • Easy to use (16)

Cons

  • Heavy (75)
  • Cumbersome (18)
  • Poor quality (5)
  • Lacks functionality (4)

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), Business owner (9), Casual photographer (8)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (126)

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 224 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

I would purchase again.

By Greg

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Very sturdy. Flows beautifully. The camera mount is a little awkward but does not affect performance.Well priced. If I needed another tripod and head I would not look elsewhere.

 
5.0

Works Very Well For My Needs!

By Williamd

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

This is my second ProVista Airlift Tripod with the FM18 Fluid Head. I was so pleased with the first one that I decided to buy another as soon as I could afford it. The pan and tilt actions are very smooth, it's built well, and the airlift feature lets me get up over people's heads. Nuf' said!

 
2.0

Disappointing

By Kristen

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

I was talked into buying this tripod as an 'upgrade' from the Davis and Sanford tripod I have now. Unfortunately, the one feature I use THE MOST in any video setting is missing, namely being able to level using the center column and not the legs. I really wish they'd been more straightforward about this, as not having it is a major flaw. I feel misled.

 
5.0

Fantastic, entry level tripod/video head

By Nonov Urbizniz

from ECUSA

Verified Buyer

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

Countless YouTube video's and bloggers will tell you you need to spend $1k for a great Tripod/Head setup, and that MAY be true if you want one set of light weight legs you can use in any situation with a few top quality heads.

As a hobby photographer, that's just not something I'm willing to spend, however after having been using a 100 dollar collapsible ball head tripod for the last year or two and finding it being "good enough" for basically everything except panning video and studio photography (too shaky even with weight added and remote trigger use) i decided to give this head/leg combo a try when I saw it on sale.

This thing is ROCK solid, I have a D3200 on a 15mm rail rig external 7" monitor and heavier old manual zoom lens, and the dampening is absolutely amazing. Solid no shake stops, smooth starts, no creep or tilt even when at odd angles and not clamped down... I was genuinely astounded by the quality of this thing.

It is however VERY large, and VERY awkward, and pretty darn heavy. I would have to have a REALLY specific and motivating need to bring this thing anywhere a walk to location would be required. CERTAINLY would not hike this thing into the woods.

 
4.0

Reliable, solid, does the job

By Cappyf0t0

from Undisclosed

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

This is my 2nd one. I need it for consistency in my booth operations. It has it's quirks. For example, the rubber feet due to usage loosens and pops off. Similarly, the leg locking mechanism no longer engages because the hex screws need to be tightened. The tripod can support a heavy load but I don't use it for video. Bottom line, the bag will fail first before this tripod ever fails. It's reliable, solid and does the job.

 
4.0

Reliable, solid, does the job

By Cappyf0t0

from Undisclosed

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

This is my 2nd one. I need it for consistency in my booth operations. It has it's quirks. For example, the rubber feet due to usage loosens and pops off. Similarly, the leg locking mechanism no longer engages because the he screw needs to be tightened. The tripod can support a heavy load but I don't use it for video. Bottom line, the bag will fail first before this tripod ever fails. It's reliable, solid and does the job.

 
4.0

going up?

By Rocco

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

The airlift version may get you up there faster but you need a heavy camera to ease it down or need to use some muscle otherwise with a lighter camera. I have the crank version as well, needed two for AB cameras with the height these give you, at least 6.5 feet from lens to ground. The fluid head is accurate and smooth. The legs lock in tight. Quick and easy to set up and break down. The lock plates are also easy to insert and remove off the head. For the price, well worth it.

 
3.0

Get what you pay for.

By Benjamin

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Good base and legs, having the extra ups is nice. That head is terrible, hard to get plate in and out, the " fluid" head is lacking. It's what you pay for, and the price should have been less.

 
4.0

Works great!

By Mike

from San Diego, CA

Verified Buyer

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

Works very well but is pretty heavy.

 
5.0

good solid video tripod

By Jon

from Niagara Falls, Canada

Verified Buyer

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

Great product. have to get used the the weight since I'm coming from a much lighter photo tripod.

 
4.0

I like it.

By panguitchjoe

from St. George, Utah

Verified Buyer

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

Good. Sturdy. Heavy. Smooth. I would give it a 4.5 if I could. I take away 1/2 star because "the jury is out" on the airlift mechanism. I like how fast and smooth it is to raise the height of the center post. But since it's new, I'm not sure how long it will work well. I get the impression that in time it will lose pressure, but we'll see.

 
5.0

Excellent product - will purchase more.

By Yeshiva Dean

from Crestline, CA

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Improves Performance
  • Professional Quality

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Independent Films

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

    This tripod and fluid head is great for filming classes. Flexible enough for each classroom environment.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No
     
    3.0

    Heavy Duty Tripod with Strange Head

    By Zak

    from miami, florida

    About Me Business Owner

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Heavy Tripod

    Cons

    • Lacks Functionality

    Best Uses

    • In The Studio

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

    This tripod is heavy duty and it can hold heavy camcorders. The head is not that smooth as in Manfrotto but the price is not as manfrotto's so that is OK...
    If you place a camcorder on a quick release plate and put it on the head you are not able to turn the knob to secure the camera, this is a huge thing for me... so I have to open the knob just enough that i can secure the cam with a little turn, this makes it difficult to put the cam on the head...
    The second thing i didn't like is that the plate couldn't be attached securely to my Nikon D610, it is wobbling on the plate, like the screw on the plate doesn't go all the way in to the camera...
    All in all it's a good tripod but the head is sooooooo weird...

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No
     
    4.0

    Good quality for price.

    By Matt

    from Ohio

    About Me Professional Artist

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Improves Performance
    • Professional Quality

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Independent Films
      • In The Studio

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

      Good quality for price. If you take out the right arm, that fixes the clearance issue. The airlift is a bit rough to retract, but again, for this price zone, you can't beat it in my opinion.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Not too shabby

      By Greg

      from Los Angeles

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

      Well built! This is a sturdy product. It's a little heavier and bulkier than I expected but so far it's getting he job done. I can't for the life of me find the serial number on the product, so I can register it for warranty though...

       
      5.0

      Great Fluid Head, and Height

      By Jason

      from Evansville, IN

      About Me Business Owner

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Complex Projects

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

        This is a great Tripod for the money, we used it as a camera follow shot. And it worked great with Volunteers.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        3.0

        Good tripod

        By ronzac

        from North Carolina

        About Me Hobbyist

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Improves Performance

        Cons

        • Lacks Functionality

        Best Uses

        • Home Movies

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

        It is a nice tripod, specially the air lift quality, it lifts your camera nicely.
        The fluid head is good, not excellent, my camera tilted down by itself a couple times. It is a good product for the price but need a little improvement if you are using a heavy camera

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        5.0

        Great Quality for Great Price

        By Buffalo Above

        from Buffalo, New York

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Improves Performance
        • Professional Quality

        Cons

          Best Uses

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

            Extremely smooth panning, sturdy...no complaints yet!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great For Music Videos

            By Team Rich Visuals

            from Beaumont, TX

            About Me Business Owner, Hobbyist, Videographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Awsome Quick Release
            • Easy To Use
            • Highly Compatible
            • Improves Performance
            • Professional Quality
            • Real Fluid Motion
            • Tall Enough For Anybody

            Cons

            • Airlift Is Very Quick
            • Heavy

            Best Uses

            • Complex Projects
            • Independent Films
            • In The Studio
            • Music videos

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

            I'm using this tripod for music videos so the fluid head movements have given me a much more professional look. The airlift rising movement doesn't come in handy much, but it does add about an extra foot to the height of the tripod which gives you another point of view. It was much heavier than i expected which was actually a plus for me(The wind will not knock this tripod over). The quick release plate is awesome also, very easy to use. I love this product.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No
             
            4.0

            Strong & Well-Built Tripod with Super Smooth Pan/Tilt Action

            By memoriesRpriceless

            from Hemet, CA

            About Me Business Owner

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Great Height
            • Improves Performance
            • Professional Quality
            • Smooth Panning
            • Strong
            • Sturdy

            Cons

            • Airlift Jerky
            • Tilt Action Too Tight

            Best Uses

            • In The Studio

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

            I've owned several other tripods of different makes over the last few years, most of which were less expensive than this one, and the only one I was the most satisfied with was my RocketFish tripod, as it had the smoothest pan & tilt action. As my business as a wedding videographer becomes more successful, I find myself upgrading my equipment here and there as budget allows, and I was overdue for a better tripod, hence the Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift with FM18 Fluid Head purchase.I used it for the first time a little over a week ago, and will be using it again this Friday for another wedding. I like things to be light in weight, but if they don't function well, and are not sturdy and able to stand up to regular and reliable use, then I have no use for them. This tripod is definitely not light, it is built for strength, not gliding through the air easily. The pan & tilt action is super smooth, and in fact, is similar in that regard to my friend's recent purchase of a $+ tripod. I also love the fact that the head mount rises up to well over 6 feet high.What I was a little disappointed in, and it may be that I just have not figured out all the adjustment methods yet, is that the tilt action is a little too tight. For it to operate smoothly, I have to have one hand holding a leg down, otherwise the tripod tends to lift up on one leg when tilting the head in a downward direction. There is no problem tilting the other way. To be fair, I have not had time to check into it further, as I almost used it for the first time right out of the box.As far as the Airlift goes, if it's supposed to lift smoothly, mine does not. Instead it kind of shimmy's up in a rough & jerky manner. And, like others have mentioned, it takes a bit of effort to lower it back down because of the back pressure. I don't mind the former, as I'm not going to use the lift feature while filming, and I have no problem lowering it again before packing it away. I bought it because I wanted something smooth, strong and sturdy, and that's what I got. So, I gave it four stars instead of five based on these last two items...

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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