For over many years I have used a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 carbon fibre tripod in combination with a Manfrotto 498RC2 head. This combination was advised by Kamera-Express as a good, serious solution for my all rounds needs. Not a cheap set but very suitable for traveling, studio work and whatever I might want to do. During the years I was very satisfied with this combination.
As time goes by I moved towards landscape and there the 498RC2 head showed his limitations. It was a real problem in staying 100 % horizontal during panning. This resulted in a loss of time in post-processing the pictures. If you didn’t spend enough time to tune the head and tripod then you run in problems during processing.
Process of tuning the setup:
- Put the tripod on place.
- Use the tripod bubble level to tune the tripod 99% horizontal.
- Put your camera on the 498RC2 head and start it.
- Use the horizon line in the camera to position the ball head horizontal.
- Turn the ball head 90% and retune.
- Turn the ball head 90% ….. retune.
The time issue:
- The time for taking pictures during the sunset and sunrise is limited.
- Taking long exposures photos is time consuming if you try some combinations.
- Every placement of another angle of a view takes a long tripod setup time.
So it was time to look for another combination. I searched the web and came to see the Manfrotto MHV500AH head. This head, originally made for filming, had the features that resolved the time consuming levelling of the setup. It has his own bubble level unit and the head only does pan and tilt. The bubble level is placed below the rotation axe for the tilt.
If I want to tune my setup I only have to tune the feet of my tripod. When done then the head is very horizontal tuned. Gain of setup time and more photo time.
- The weight of my setup increased with 310 gram.
- If I want to use the camera in portrait position then I have to use an extra 90° angle accessory.
- Better stability.
- Faster setup time.
- Horizontal is more horizontal than with the ball head.
- Sliding plate to move the camera forwards and backwards. You can easily move the focal point of the camera-lens combination above the panning rotating axe. Ideal for making panoramas.
- If you forget to fix the sliding plate there is no danger that the camera could fall of the tripod.
- Made for DSLR filming with fixed fluid drag system on Pan and Tilt.
An extra point: They are not killing you with the price.
129 € at Kamera-Express seems an honest price to me.