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Binoculars fluid head problem - help

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#1 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:07 AM

Hello,

 

In preparation for getting a nice fluid head for big binoculars which i want to buy in near future i have bought a fluid head and i think i have a problem.

The head in question is a Manfrotto Mvh502ah and it is severly not level. When i attach it to the tripod the top of the head (where the quick release plate is inserted) is at approx. 10 degree or maybe even more tilted to the horizontal plane. It is tilted backwards toward the handle and user.

Is this possible to fix by myself or should i just return the head and buy a new one?

If this is an easy fix, i don't want to cause problems, but if it can't be fixed i want my money back.

Help please? Thank you guys.

 

CS, boki

 



#2 junomike

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:00 AM

Can you snap a quick pic to better understand the issue.

Are you sure it's not the counter-weight spring causing the issue?

 

Mike


Edited by junomike, 17 February 2017 - 11:01 AM.


#3 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:18 AM

Thank you for quick response Mike,

 

I will try to upload a picture of a problem, where you may clearly see, that the top of fluid head is severly tilted backwards. It may indeed be a counterbalance spring issue, but i have no idea how to fix this.

 

Boki

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#4 rockethead26

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:38 AM

The fluid head tilts forward and backwards to allow the camera or binoculars to pan up and down. There should be a small hand knob that adjusts friction allowing you to move it freely or lock it down in any position.



#5 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:47 AM

Hi rockethead 26,

 

Yes true, but all the drag and locking knobs are loose and the movement of the head is unrestricted. This is the normal (equilibrium :-)) position of the head. Not horizontal, but tilted. I have another manfrotto fluid head mvh500ah (smaller version) which doesn't have this problem and is nicely leveled. I wanted to replace it with MVH502AH for larger binoculars and now i am not sure if i can fix this or return it.

 

Boki



#6 rockethead26

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:55 AM

Seems to me that because of the large pan handle hanging off the back, that if you remove all tension, it will naturally tilt that way. With just a little tension on the knob, the head should move freely and smoothly, but stay where you want it to. The head has to be able to move above horizontal, so I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say that the other head stops at level with no tension on the knob. How does that one point to something above the horizon?



#7 junomike

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 01:48 PM

Click on the Video ( Blue "play button" on BH Photo website) and you'll see that there's does the same thing.  Also at 2:50 they mention the "fixed" Counter weight spring which helps with heavier loads.

 

I'd say yours is working as it should.

 

Mike


Edited by junomike, 17 February 2017 - 01:48 PM.

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#8 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 02:33 PM

Rockethead26, it is exactly in the same position if i remove the handle. The handle is very lightweight.

Mike, i have checked the video, it seems to me that the heads are leveled far better than mine, in certain positions even slightly tilted forward. This thing bothers me, imagine that i put large binoculars on this head and i have constantly apply pressure to look straight forward. As i said i have a mvh500ah also, which is nicely leveled and in my opinion as it should be. I just don't know if i can adjust this tilt by myself. Boki



#9 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 02:43 PM

This is how leveled mvh500ah (the smaller) fluid head is. And i expected the mvh502ah to be the same. Unfortunatelly it isn't and i am not convinced if i am asking too much...  boki

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#10 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 05:57 PM

Why not forget about fluid heads  and their  imbalance problems?

 

A trip to Lowes or Home Depot,  etc.   will show pre-milled hardwood    ready for you to assemble   a fork and a cradle to fit inside that fork.  

 

Some Teflon or PE or HDPE  washers cut from  food container lids,   will  smooth   azimuth and elevation motions.    A further refinement would be  a small , thin roller or ball  bearing, which will retain a  friction setting,  ff. Rich V.   

 

Trunnions on  the cradle can ride  in simple   Vee notches in the fork arms, for a  simple   configuration.   

 

Balance around the elevation axis   will be made via a line of holes in   the cradle arms.  The  center of mass of the binoc  plus cradle  can thus be set  to lie   in the elevation axis.


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#11 rockethead26

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 06:02 PM

I just watched a couple of reviews on this head. First mistake for me was that I didn't realize these heads were self leveling (mostly). Perhaps the internal spring on yours is weak. I had never used a self-leveling head, so I was unfamiliar with that aspect. If the self leveling isn't working properly, then I would guess that your mechanism is defective.

 

It still seems to me that the majority of safety control lies in the balancing of the binos fore and aft and in using the right amount of tension to keep them from flopping about uncontrollably while still allowing smooth tilts and pans.



#12 Boki

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 08:16 PM

Thanks rockethead26, i guess i will return it and then rethink, what to get. I was itching to disasseble it and try to fix the problem, but then i wouldn't be able to send it back. I guess that noone has ever tried it, so i will leave everything as is and return it. It just makes me angry that i am the one that gets a defective unit.  From all the people.... :-). But thanks anyway for your kind help. Cs, boki


Edited by Boki, 18 February 2017 - 01:59 AM.


#13 range88

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 03:37 AM

Return it and never look back.

Manfrotto fluid heads are useless.


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#14 Allardk

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 07:51 AM

Send it back and try another one. Seems this one is faulty.

 

I have several Manfrotto (and other brand) videoheads, the 501,502 and 516. No problems at all. Main thing is to make sure you don't overload them, so stay away from the weight limits. 

 

Main thing is to balance the bino and set the counter balance. It will not self level if you do it this way.



#15 Boki

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:21 AM

Hi all,

 

I have contacted Manfrotto about the "problem", they have forwarded my messages to the local distributor and they gave me a call (twice today!!!). I felt that it was nicely and professionaly handled. The lady on the phone said, that she had 3 units in front of her and all were similar in this respect (not leveled). She promised, that their technicians will make some photos of the fluid heads and send them to me, so i may compare the results to my fluid head. She also promised to investigate, if there is any possibility to adjust the level of the fluid head by myself or their technicians. She explicitly told me NOT to open the head by myself. I will have to wait a few days for their reply and see what can be done. In the meantime i have switched back to MVH500AH, which is flawless. Somehow i feel that MVH500AH is better and more precisely built than MVH502AH (but i have only tried 1 example of each).

I will share the reply with you, when it comes back from Manfrotto. Thank you guys for help.

 

Allardk, can you please confirm, that your mvh502ah is leveled when all the locks are released and drag is on minimum setting and the handle is attached? And no binos mounted. Thank you.



#16 Allardk

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 02:15 AM

I will check when home tonight.....



#17 Allardk

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:40 PM

Mine is slightly tilted. Normally I balance the binoculars on it. I checked and even the smallest one will level (horizontally) immediately when set at the CG. Not an issue here...

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#18 Steve Cox

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:53 PM

Hi all,

 

I have contacted Manfrotto about the "problem", they have forwarded my messages to the local distributor and they gave me a call (twice today!!!). I felt that it was nicely and professionaly handled. The lady on the phone said, that she had 3 units in front of her and all were similar in this respect (not leveled). She promised, that their technicians will make some photos of the fluid heads and send them to me, so i may compare the results to my fluid head. She also promised to investigate, if there is any possibility to adjust the level of the fluid head by myself or their technicians. She explicitly told me NOT to open the head by myself. I will have to wait a few days for their reply and see what can be done. In the meantime i have switched back to MVH500AH, which is flawless. Somehow i feel that MVH500AH is better and more precisely built than MVH502AH (but i have only tried 1 example of each).

I will share the reply with you, when it comes back from Manfrotto. Thank you guys for help.

 

Allardk, can you please confirm, that your mvh502ah is leveled when all the locks are released and drag is on minimum setting and the handle is attached? And no binos mounted. Thank you.

Depending on what binoculars you're talking about mounting, the MVH500 might be plenty.  I just upgraded my Pro2W head to the MVH500 and it handles my 20x80's very well.  Even the Pro2W carried them well, just not as nice as the MVH500.  I don't feel a need for a larger head, unless I went to something like the Oberwerk 25x100, but then I'd be up into the MVH504 region.



#19 Boki

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 12:21 PM

Hi all,

 

Allardk thank you so much, i guess my fluid head MVH502AH is without problems after all. Your picture is very similar to mine and it convinced me, that these are built this way. I owe an apology to the seller, since i wanted to return it as defective. I will keep it then, but The smaller MVH500AH stays (somehow it is easier to use). 

 

Steve, the larger fluid head was preparation for binoculars in 80mm range. I am looking at new 82mm APM 90 degree ED binoculars and their 70mm brother. I was toying with the idea of Kowa Highlander Prominar also, but i am undecided at this point. I have to raise some funds for this binoculars and i will see how it goes.

 

You guys were very helpful, thank you all.

Cs, boki



#20 Rich V.

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 12:41 PM

To me, the resting position of the head when unloaded isn't important anyhow.  I figure that if the head holds your binos in any position you aim them with a small, reasonable amount of clutch tension, the head is doing its job.

 

If you want to be prepared for the load of a BT as heavy as a Highlander on your video head, I'd suggest a higher capacity head with a multi-step or variable counterbalance spring option.

 

Rich


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#21 Allardk

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:49 AM

I agree with Rich.

 

For binos like the Kowa Highlander I suggest a Cartoni Focus HD (around 600 euro in Europe, ridiculously expensive in the USA). The Manfrotto 516 (now only second hand) is also a good option, check Ebay. 


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#22 range88

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:08 AM

Considering manfrotto uses a simple linear counterbalance spring, I don't think the position of the head when all loosened matters at all as far as it can be offset by shifting the cog of the load.

#23 Allardk

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 01:17 AM

That's correct. The tiniest load will balance it already.......


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#24 mooreorless

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 11:22 AM

Return it and never look back.

Manfrotto fluid heads are useless.

Yea, what ever you say  they are useless!

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#25 mooreorless

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:00 PM

lol.gif

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