October 11, 2016 at 11:44AM, Edited October 11, 11:52AM

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Best Tripod for GH4?

Hi,
I am currently searching for a good video tripod to be used with a Panasonic GH4. Max budget is 500$ .

I am thinking of choosing between:

Davis & Sanford Provista 7518B Tripod (FM18 fluid head)
Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod
Manfrotto MVH500A Fluid Drag Video Head with MVT502AM Tripod
BenroA2573FS6 S6 video head & legs kit

Do you have good reviews for these? Which one would be best or any other options? Thank you!

14 Comments

Would say choose the Manfrotto MVH502HD + Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055.
It's lightweight, reliable and made for DSLMs. And the head is also detachable so you can use it on a slider as well.

October 11, 2016 at 5:14PM

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Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller
1814

I agree, I have the same combination. Amazon has a bundle discount for the both which comes to 399$. https://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-MVK502055XPRO3-Photo-Video-Hybrid/dp/B0...

October 16, 2016 at 12:50PM

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Prem S
24

...The most important aspect for me with any video tripod is the ability to properly balance your camera package ( camera, lens, monitor, audio, etc... ) so that when you pan or tilt your camera the video head will automatically stay pointing in the direction where you let go without having to lock anything. So you can follow a character coming into your shot, then slow down when they stop to talk to another character, and you can let go of the pan-handle and your camera will stay pointing where you let go of it. This makes for very smooth camera movement as you shoot, and why I am willing to pay a lot more for a good video head with a wide range of counter-balance settings.

When I first started in video I went through four Manfrotto tripods, and generally found the Manfrotto legs were great but the video heads were pretty bad. Most of the affordable heads have either no counter-balance or a fixed counter-balance that was always too much for my camera. For example the Manfrotto MVH502HD head has a single counter-balance setting of 8.8 lbs, so if your camera package does not weigh close to this weight you won't be able to properly balance your camera. ( in other words your hand does the counter-balancing and you will have to lock the video head when you let go of the pan-bar )

I owned the Benro A2573FS6 S6 video head & legs kit for about one year. I bought it as a compact tripod to use on small personal projects where I did not want to drag out my bigger tripods. For the money ( I paid about $300 Canadian for it ) it was a very good deal, and it was the only tripod I could find at this price point with an adjustable counter-balance. It's a good tripod, but I found the adjustable counter-balance to be a little wishy-washy where I found it harder to correctly balance my camera. I would definitely buy it again if all I had was $300 to spend on a tripod.

Here are the tripods I would take a look at for smaller cameras, in order of lowest to highest price...

Benro S6 Video Head and Tripod Kit : $ 300
Benro BV4 Pro Video Tripod Kit : $ 499
Sachtler Ace M Head with Tripod : $ 621
Sachtler Ace L Freddie Wong Edition Tripod : $ 783
Sachtler FSB-4 Aluminum Tripod : $1,116

I would also check around to see if you can find any good used tripods ( Libec, Sachtler, Vinten, etc... ) as sometimes you can find great deals. ( I would only buy used tripods that are in very good shape, almost like-new kind of shape )

October 11, 2016 at 8:24PM, Edited October 11, 8:50PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30862

Very much agree with Guy's experience here. My first fluid-head tripod was a Sachtler FSB. It is great to have a head that works like it is supposed to, not something that constantly forces you to compromise.

October 13, 2016 at 6:00AM

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Thank you for this detailed answer!

October 14, 2016 at 1:22PM

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I have 2 of the Benro s6 tripods. They're fairly light and sturdy. There's also a half ball head under the fluid head for easy levelling. The head itself is good for tilting (being that its counter balanced) but the panning is terrible. Basically unusable for actual panning movements.
I found the quality control of both tripods to be bad. I constantly have to tighten up the screws on the flip locks. One of the heads is totally unusable after a couple of years of very light use. The plate system on one of the heads was very loose when it arrived. If the QC was better I'd recommend them (despite the panning).

October 12, 2016 at 4:02PM

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Mark Relf
Director, Editor
310

I had no trouble with panning with my S6 head, it was only the counter-balance settings that I was not a fan of. ( still better than no-settings on Manfrotto heads )

October 12, 2016 at 7:48PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30862

The best tripod is one that you can afford and support the weight of the camera and keep it steady while recording. If I had to do it over again, my first tripod would be a monopod.

October 13, 2016 at 5:19PM

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Thank you for the advice. Already have a monopod, great support indeed

October 14, 2016 at 1:23PM

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I use a Benro Aero 4 travel tripod with my GH4. This is for run and gun type work, and I love it. Very quick setups and one of the best value video tripods in my opinion. It can handle a GH4 + lens, rails, follow focus, and shotgun mic without being too heavy. In general, Benro is pretty underrated.

October 14, 2016 at 8:36AM

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Sounds good, I would like to do more travelling and filming. Thanks for the details!

October 14, 2016 at 1:24PM

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We got a BV6 tripod. We shoot outdoors a lot and it is very stable in windy conditions and balances nicely. With the ball head set up is very quick. Its not light, but, it is stable, and the transport bag is well designed. Good luck with your projects! Wishing you success.

October 14, 2016 at 1:53PM

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Scott Jensen
Tai Chi and Kung Fu Instructor
220

I have a Miller DS-20 with solo legs and its a tank, but before that I used a set of Manfrotto sticks and a set Satchler, My Manfrotto sticks died in 6 months, my satchler ace tripod is still kicking though I don't use it much now I've got my DS-20.

October 14, 2016 at 7:59PM

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Kent Harkey
Director of Photography,
96

I recently ordered the Benro BV4 head with carbon fiber legs - C373F series 3.
It arrived today & I tested it around the house: really pleased with build quality & smoothness.
Thank you all for the suggestions!

November 18, 2016 at 7:47AM, Edited November 18, 7:48AM

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