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A brief comparison of Manfrotto N8 and same class fluid heads

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#26 ihf

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:10 PM

I got a 75mm bowl video tripod already. I have been thinking of adding the Induro geared column to it (cheaper than Gitzo). I think the MGC23S is for 75mm bowls and the MGC45S for 100mm. I am just not sure if it would hold a 5-9kg bino (plus 2.5kg head) well enough.



#27 GamesForOne

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 01:33 PM

B & H Daily Deals: N12 for $350 USD!

 

Got mine.

 

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#28 garret

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:02 PM

No sale to my country  nonono.gif nonono.gif



#29 Rich V.

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 05:47 PM

B & H Daily Deals: N12 for $350 USD!

 

Got mine.

 

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Thanks for the tip, Michael.   waytogo.gif

 

I've given my 501HDV to a friend who needed one so now an N12 will fill the slot my 503HDV occupies.  The 503 covers a nice range of lighter loads and will replace the 501 nicely.

 

Rich



#30 Beg

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:15 PM

You guys will really like the N12. Smooth and stable with a 100mm bino. A darn good price also. Wonder what the deal is with that head. It's been out about a year and it's been replaced already? And maybe on the way out.....



#31 Rich V.

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 11:16 PM

Beg, the only differences I can glean between the N12 and the new N612 are different shaped knobs, very minor dimensional differences and the minimum operating temperature being lowered from -15° (N12) to -20° (N612).

 

"Other features of the 612 Nitrotech include improved resistance to lower operating temperatures in comparison to previous Nitrotech models and improved ergonomics and materials used for the different knobs."

 

https://www.manfrott...-continuous-cbs

 

https://www.manfrott...uous-cbs-1967c8

 

Couldn't pass up the deal. Thanks again to Michael for pointing out the B&H DealZone special price.

 

Rich



#32 GamesForOne

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:53 AM

Couldn't pass up the deal. Thanks again to Michael for pointing out the B&H DealZone special price.

 

Rich

You are welcome. I sacrificed my Inbox so all here could gain.  grin.gif

 

I have a 503HDV as well. I'll probably resell it to offset a portion of the new N12 purchase if I determine the N12 to be clearly superior.

 

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#33 Beg

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

Did everybody get their N12 heads yet. What do you think?



#34 GamesForOne

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 03:59 PM

Did everybody get their N12 heads yet. What do you think?

Got mine and used it last weekend under the stars with my APM 100mm 90 deg ED-APO binos.

 

Things I like:

 

  • Very adjustable drag on both axes
  • Adjustable friction lock on altitude that has intermediate operation range between locked and unlocked
  • Quick snap-in, snap-out release plate (no sliding!)
  • Strong counterbalance

 

Things I don't like:

 

  • Have to operate it backwards to reach zenith
  • Cannot use a second handle when operated backwards as there is not enough clearance
  • The counterbalance adjust knob does not have much feedback to know when you have it right -- and I keep forgetting which direction to turn for increase/decrease, e.g. no index markings for a repeatable quick set
  • I had to adjust the counterbalance slightly between 45 deg and zenith elevations for best feel

 

The altitude axis has the counterbalance, drag, and friction lock adjusts. Very adjustable!

 

I feel it is a minor step up from my 503HDV in that the counterbalance is stronger and with the right adjustment I can operate with a minimum of drag setting and get smooth movement without stiction at any angle. I am glad I did not pay $600 USD for it or I would have been a bit disappointed!

 

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#35 Rich V.

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 04:54 PM

Got my N12 yesterday.  My feelings are very similar to Michael's; very good friction adjustment range and counterbalance range.  Way more range to work with than the 503HDV.  Easy plate attachment and it also takes the smaller 501PL plates though their fore/aft range is very limited.  My Miyas are so light that they required very little CB; the N12 is overkill really.  

 

I had high hopes I could use my two 519LV adjustable length pan handles on the N12 because I like the dual handle "handlebar" setup I have on the 503HDV for BT use.  The Miyas are long binos and the adjustable handles are nice.  That didn't work out at all.   Trouble was that the N12 could only be set up in reverse with the one included handle because the tension and CB knobs stick way out and get in the way of a second handle. The rosette on that side would need at least a 1" extension to get clearance because of the asymmetry of the head.  Operating the plate release was a bit awkward with the handle running alongside.

 

The bino's motions with the N12 could be dialed in just fine but in the end the 503HDV went back on the tripod as it was more suitable for such light binos as the Miyas.  If the N12 had been more usable reversed with the dual handle setup I desired, I might have left it on.  Now I need a stack of R519.22 rosette extensions (at $19. each), longer wing bolts and perhaps a heavier bino...   wink.gif

 

Rich



#36 range88

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 01:59 AM

Got my N12 yesterday. My feelings are very similar to Michael's; very good friction adjustment range and counterbalance range. Way more range to work with than the 503HDV. Easy plate attachment and it also takes the smaller 501PL plates though their fore/aft range is very limited. My Miyas are so light that they required very little CB; the N12 is overkill really.

I had high hopes I could use my two 519LV adjustable length pan handles on the N12 because I like the dual handle "handlebar" setup I have on the 503HDV for BT use. The Miyas are long binos and the adjustable handles are nice. That didn't work out at all. Trouble was that the N12 could only be set up in reverse with the one included handle because the tension and CB knobs stick way out and get in the way of a second handle. The rosette on that side would need at least a 1" extension to get clearance because of the asymmetry of the head. Operating the plate release was a bit awkward with the handle running alongside.

The bino's motions with the N12 could be dialed in just fine but in the end the 503HDV went back on the tripod as it was more suitable for such light binos as the Miyas. If the N12 had been more usable reversed with the dual handle setup I desired, I might have left it on. Now I need a stack of R519.22 rosette extensions (at $19. each), longer wing bolts and perhaps a heavier bino... wink.gif

Rich


You definitely need a bigger bino to match n12.

#37 ERHAD

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 05:19 AM

I have an N8 that I’ve been very successfully using with my 20x80 and 30x80 Binos. I am considering buying a bigger 100mm BT and was wondering if you guys could comment on how well the N8 would cope with those... thanks.

 

Erik.



#38 Rich V.

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 12:35 PM

Here's an N12 update now that I've had a chance to get to know it better...

 

Despite my initial freaking out about my inability to create the "handlebar" pan handle setup I've used on previous heads for years, I've had a chance to spend some time getting familiar with the new head.  I've attached one of my 519LV handles on the left side of the reversed head and skipped the idea of a second handle altogether.  It's just a matter of getting used to as I've been using a dual handle setup for a long time.  No big deal; I can still adapt.

 

As far as the N12 goes, now that I've had some time to fiddle with it, it works great with my BT.  It just took some time to dial in the right balance and tension adjustments.  The N12's range of adjustment is clearly much wider than the 503HDV and the sturdy, smooth feel of it inspires confidence.  IMO, it's a great head for 100mm BTs with plenty of capacity to spare.

 

For the $350. sale price at B&H, the N12 was a super deal and is money well spent, IMO.  My 503HDV head is well matched to my heavy 22x70EDs on my other 3036 tripod.  Now, if only the evening T-storm/monsoon weather pattern out here will go away!   The yard loves it though!

 

Rich



#39 Rich V.

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 01:24 PM



I have an N8 that I’ve been very successfully using with my 20x80 and 30x80 Binos. I am considering buying a bigger 100mm BT and was wondering if you guys could comment on how well the N8 would cope with those... thanks.

 

Erik, based on my recent experience with the N12 used with my 14 lb. BT, I'm using the lower end of the 12kg counterbalance mechanism's range.  Since the N8 and N12 appear to be the same head except for the gas CB cartridge used, I'd suspect the N8 would just need to have the CB turned up a bit further into its range.

 

The new BTs offered by Oberwerk are a bit lighter than the APM models; Oberwerk claims their BT-100XL binos weigh only 12.5 lbs which would seem to be well within the CB range of the N8.  Oberwerk sells and recommends the N8, FWIW.

 

Rich


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#40 ERHAD

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 03:29 AM

Erik, based on my recent experience with the N12 used with my 14 lb. BT, I'm using the lower end of the 12kg counterbalance mechanism's range.  Since the N8 and N12 appear to be the same head except for the gas CB cartridge used, I'd suspect the N8 would just need to have the CB turned up a bit further into its range.

 

The new BTs offered by Oberwerk are a bit lighter than the APM models; Oberwerk claims their BT-100XL binos weigh only 12.5 lbs which would seem to be well within the CB range of the N8.  Oberwerk sells and recommends the N8, FWIW.

 

Rich

Rich, thanks a lot for that, didn´t know the N8 and N12 shared body. Really helpful and informative. And encouraging too...



#41 Rich V.

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:09 PM

The N series's ratings are based on 55mm cog. This is not the industry standard for fluid head, but aiming more at the DSLR and compact VR market.

So you can calculate your bino's cog and see if they fits.

 

Load Range

N8 & F8: N8 identifies its load capacity from 0-8kg at 55mm cog(center of gravity). Not bad but not on the same level of F8: identical 0-8kg, but at 75mm cog. In my test, both heads can start from 0, but N8 won’t hold my standard testing tools, so a lighter weight is used. There is a 10cm cog difference between the two at respective max cb settings. F8 lives up to its balance graph perfectly well. But as this is not my standard testing tools and no balance graph was provided by manufacturer, I can’t calculate the cog and load capacity of N8, but I think the specification is relatively accurate and the max load may be around 5-6kg translated to 75mm cog. Not bad at all, just falls short of best practice in industry.
V6: Here comes what I dislike Vinten most. The range is 2-3kg throughout and the min bar is so high. Sometimes you need multiple heads to cover up all your scopes.
VH10: Without an effective cb mechanism, it is mainly friction to hold the head with higher loads. It seems pointless to assess here, so I just mark a 5 (min. acceptable performance).

 

L/W Ratio
N8 & F8: F8 excels here with a 5(8kg/1.6kg), actually this is the most potent/compact small fluid head I can find. N8 is not far behind with a 3(6kg/2kg). As N12 and N8 share the same chassis and are of similar weight, I think N12’s L/W Ratio will improve quite a bit.
V6: 4.1(9.5kg/2.3kg)..
VH10: Although the result is a high 6.6(6kg/0.91kg), it just doesn’t count. 5 points, same reason above.

 

FWIW, as an update to Range's fine report, the N-series heads min/max CB capacity specs as rated by Manfrotto for both 55mm and the standard 75mm COG are:

 

N8 @ 55mm--   0 - 8 kg (17.6 lb)

     @ 75mm--  0 - 6.8 kg (15 lb)

 

N12 @ 55mm--   4 kg (8.8 lb) - 12kg (26.5 lb)

       @ 75mm--   3.4 kg (7.5 lb) - 9.5 kg (20.9 lb)

 

The stronger gas piston used in the N12 would likely change Range's conclusion, I'd expect.

 

Rich




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