Manfrotto 701 vs. 501 Pro Video Fluid Heads: 2024 Comparison

The Manfrotto 501HDV Pro Video Fluid Head and the Manfrotto 701 HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head are both designed to provide smooth and stable movement for video recording. Here’s a comprehensive comparison between the two based on the provided data:

Manfrotto 701 vs 501 Pro Video Fluid Heads

Manfrotto 701 VS 501 Pro

Weight and Load Capacity:

  • 501HDV: Weighing 3.5 lbs., the 501HDV has a higher load capacity, supporting up to 13.2 lbs. This makes it suitable for heavier camera setups with additional accessories like lights and microphones.
  • 701HDV: With a weight of 1.8 lbs., the 701HDV is lighter but has a lower load capacity of 8.82 lbs. It is more compact and suitable for lighter camera setups.

Friction Control:

  • 501HDV: The 501HDV boasts friction control on both pan and tilt movements. This feature allows for precise adjustments and the ability to control the resistance according to the weight of your equipment.
  • 701HDV: In contrast, the 701HDV does not have variable friction control on both axes. It only allows you to lock the head in place without the option to adjust the friction. This limitation may affect the smoothness of movements, especially when working with different camera setups.

Counterbalance and Balance System:

  • 501HDV: The 501HDV comes with a switchable counterbalance and a balance system that prevents front-heavy weight from falling forward. This is particularly useful when working with uneven payloads or when adjusting the balance of the equipment.
  • 701HDV: The 701HDV does not mention a switchable counterbalance or a specific balance system. While it is described as “butter smooth,” it may not offer the same level of control over the balance as the 501HDV.

Axes of Movement and Locking Mechanism:

  • 501HDV: The 501HDV provides two separate axes of movement – panoramic rotation and front-rear tilt, each with a separate lock. This allows for independent control and locking of both movements.
  • 701HDV: The 701HDV offers movement on both pan and tilt axes, but the information provided does not specify whether these movements can be locked independently. Having separate locks on each axis can enhance control and stability during shooting.

Pan Bar and Ergonomics:

  • 501HDV: The pan bar of the 501HDV uses the lever principle to reduce effort in supporting and moving the camera weight. This design aims to minimize jarring or shaking movements between the operator’s arm and the camera.
  • 701HDV: The information provided does not go into detail about the pan bar design or whether it incorporates the lever principle for smoother movements.

Also Read: How to Make a DIY Camera Jib Under $100


Q1: Have you tested the Manfrotto 501 underneath the 4ft Glideshot jib?

A: Yes, we have tested the Manfrotto 501 under the 4ft Glideshot jib and found that it worked best, providing adequate support for the weight.

If you’re looking to support the small 4ft jib and a DSLR, we recommend choosing the 501 over the 701 for optimal performance.

Q2: I use a DSLR with a Rode mic. Which tripod and fluid head do you recommend? I’ve seen people use the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a 701HDV head. Is that a suitable choice, or should I consider the new MVH502AH head?

A: For your setup with a DSLR and a Rode mic, you might want to check out the Manfrotto 500 Series Fluid Head and Tripod Kit as mentioned in my latest post.

Keep in mind that this option doesn’t have drag control on the pan or tilt. If you prefer drag control, you may consider the 701HDV or the new MVH502AH.

Author Note:

Ensure to review all specifications to ensure that your chosen equipment meets the requirements of your workflow.

Comparison Table: Manfrotto 701HDV vs. 501HDV Video Fluid Heads

In this comprehensive comparison, we delve into the features and specifications of two popular options from Manfrotto – the 701HDV and the 501HDV.

Whether you’re a seasoned videographer or a passionate content creator, understanding the differences between these fluid heads can help you make an informed decision.

Explore the dimensions, weights, customer reviews, and various features of each model to find the one that aligns perfectly with your filmmaking needs.

FeatureManfrotto 701 HDVManfrotto 501 HDV
Product Dimensions12 x 12 x 12 inches15.67 x 4.33 x 2.76 inches
Item Weight1.83 pounds3.99 pounds
Item Model Number701HDV501HDV
Customer Reviews3.8 out of 5 stars, 272 ratings3.6 out of 5 stars, 75 ratings
Discontinued By ManufacturerNoNo
Date First AvailableOctober 2, 2001August 1, 2008
Product DescriptionImproved ergonomics, better fluidityFixed counterbalance spring, updated design
Maximum Working Temperature60°CNot specified
Height3.7 inches (9.5 cm)4.53 inches
Independent Pan LockYesYes
Independent Tilt LockYesYes
Tilt DragFluid cartridge with fixed drag1 step plus variable PTFE friction
Pan DragFluid cartridge with fixed drag1 step plus variable PTFE friction
CounterbalanceOne fix spring for 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) camera2-step: 0Kg – 2.5Kg
Balance ControlNot specifiedSpring-loaded counterbalance
Quick Release Plate Type501PL501PL
Attachment (Top)1/4” and 3/8” screw1/4” and 3/8” screws
Attachment (Bottom)3/8” female thread3/8” female thread
Sliding Travel of Plate2.2 inches (58 mm)2.28 inches
Pan Bars Included (No.)11
Pan Bar Positions22
Bubble Spirit Level (No.)1Yes
Panoramic RotationNot specified360 Degree
Load CapacityUp to 8.82 lbs.13.23 lbs.
Working Height3.7 inches (9.5 cm)4.53 inches
Additional FeaturesNo variable friction control on both axesFixed counterbalance spring, gradual tilt system

Author Note:

Specifications may be subject to change, and it is advisable to check the latest product documentation for accurate details.

Manfrotto 701 HDV Video Review

Manfrotto 501 HDV Video Review


The choice between the Manfrotto 501HDV and the 701HDV depends on your specific needs and the weight of your camera setup.

If you require higher load capacity, variable friction control, and advanced features like a switchable counterbalance, the 501HDV is the more suitable option.

However, if you prioritize a lighter and more compact design for a smaller camera setup, the 701HDV could be a cost-effective choice, keeping in mind its lower load capacity and limited friction control.

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