View Full Version : Decent Fluid Heads?

01-13-2014, 01:48 AM
I've been seriously neglecting my tripod and it's time to upgrade the head. My rig is now at ~12 pounds. I don't have any experience with heads costing more than ~$100 so I would like some input as to what could work for me. Smooth pans and tilts are paramount (If that wasn't obvious), and it seems I'll need a head that can counterbalance my new rig.

What heads could you guys recommend that would fit my price range? Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot I can spend on this. I don't want to spend more than $700. I'd prefer to keep the cost as low as possible, of course. My tripod has a 75mm bowl mount.

If I could I'd buy a Sachtler but I just don't feel like I'm near experienced enough to warrant that kind of investment. Maybe a Cartoni HiDV?

Alán Ortiz
01-14-2014, 12:34 PM
Anything in the Sachtler FSB, Miller Compass, Cartoni HD line is going to be the right direction. You'll probably have to accept that at 12 pounds your rig is already climbing into the FSB 8 and compass 12/15 range - don't get a head that can support anything less than 19-22 pounds. The idea is that you'll be wasting money investing in a fluid head that is too close to your COG max weight.

Look at the miller compass 12/15 - this setup will let you grow into it as you get more experienced and come to expect more from your tripod. Sell blood/plasma/eat ramen for a while to save up if you have to - its worth it!!

Frank Glencairn
01-14-2014, 02:29 PM
Sell blood/plasma/eat ramen for a while to save up if you have to - its worth it!!

Whereby a kidney will get you a nice Vinten head.

01-14-2014, 04:34 PM
I definitely learned buying good from the start the hard way - I've had my fair share of getting too many cheap products only to realize paying the premium for the good stuff IS worth it. I just wish a professional fluid head at this weight didn't cost as much as they do. I guess you can't have everything you want in life.

I can get away with running shoulder rig + steadicam + locked off tripod while I save up...

About how much should I expect to set aside for this? I've been looking at sub $1000 heads but haven't really ventured above that yet. Looks like I've got more research ahead!

Edit: And I was actually looking at some Vinten heads earlier...

Frank Glencairn
01-14-2014, 06:27 PM
I prefer to buy used pro gear instead of new semipro gear.

Personally I'm in the Vinten/O-Conner camp, when it comes to head and sticks, but the better (100mm upwards) Sachtler and Miller stuff isn't bad ether.
I would stay away from Manfrotto though.

Got me a nice used Vinten 150mm head, that once was over 6000 bucks for 700 Euros on Ebay - happy camper :)

01-14-2014, 09:01 PM
I went with manfrotto a couple years back as my "entry" gear and that's exactly what it is. A backup, at best. Moved onto the Compass 20 with 3 stage solo CF sticks. One of the best investments I ever made.

Tripods will outlast many cameras and the performance is LEAGUES apart. It's hard to describe how much better a proper fluid head is for pan and tilts. If that's what you're after, you have to pay for it.

01-14-2014, 09:56 PM
So before I jumped over the $1000 mark, I went back and saw a couple of Libec heads that seems to fit the bill - the RH35R (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/861098-REG/Libec_RH35R_Pan_and_Tilt.html) and RH45R (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/861099-REG/Libec_RH45R_Pan_and_Tilt.html). Anyone here have any experience with this brand? I originally skipped over them since I never really heard much on them.

I read someone's review of the RH-45 head (http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?44164-Libec-RH-45-An-unexpectedly-awesome-tripod-head-for-only-1200-or-so) on Reduser (I saw no difference in spec between the RH45 and RH45R). All the cons mentioned don't bother me...

I'm thinking the RH35 would be fine - It's not even that much of a stretch above what I originally wanted to spend. :confused:

01-30-2014, 06:38 PM

I'm selling my AS NEW Miller DS10 tripod. Used only a couple of times. I can send you some photos if you would be interested. Is a really good tripod and I'm only selling it because I travel a lot and I'm in the need of investing in a carbon (lighter) leg kit for my Sachtler head.