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Manfrotto 501HDV Pro Video Fluid Head clocks in at 3.5 lbs. and can support up to 13.2 lbs. The new 501HDV boasts an improved drag on both axis and comes with a switchable counterbalance. The medium length sliding camera plate helps balance uneven payloads. Two separate axes of movement – panoramic rotation and front-rear tilt with a separate lock on each axes of movement. The pan bar uses the principle of the lever to use less effort to support and move the weight of your camera and to iron out any jarring or shaking movement between your arm and the camera. A neat feature on the 501HDV is the balance system which prevents front heavy weight from falling forward. The 501HDV has both friction control on pan and tilt where the 701HDV does not.
Manfrotto 701 HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head comes in at 1.8 lbs. and can support up to 8.82 lbs. With this fluid head, you don’t have variable friction control on both your pan and tilt axes of movement, only the ability to lock in place. This fluid head is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the 501HDV but doesn’t support as much weight if you’re planning to build onto your camera with lights or mics. The 701HDV is butter smooth, but if you try to overload the 701HDV, you will compromise it’s performance.
For a small fee to upgrade, you might want to invest in the peace of mind that comes with purchasing the more expensive 501HDV fluid head. Also, supporting very lightweight equipment isn’t a problem on the 501HDV since you’ll be able to adjust the friction accordingly to balance the light payload.501, 501HDV Pro Video Head, 701, 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head, comparison, Manfrotto, tripod
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