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Manfrotto MHXPRO-3WG XPRO Geared Head

MANFROTTO_MHXPRO-3WG-View2.jpg I purchased the Manfrotto MHXPRO-3WG XPRO Geared Head, and I must say, I am not a big fan, here is my breakdown:

Quality:

  • Build: Lower build quality that what I am use to with a quality brand like Manfrotto. I feel like they really let their standards drop on this one.
  • Material: Plastic
  • Stability: Just not feeling it, I put the Pentax 645Z w/24-45mm lens, and its flexes and twitches. The rock solid feeling is just not there, and thats over $13,000 worth of equipment on it, and I am just not comfortable with it!

Quick Release Plate:
This unit uses the RC2 Manfrotto plates, which I like, because everything I have has been converted to this. However the locking lever is very loose, and the safety latch is thin plastic and can be twisted off by a two year old. Honestly, I felt like I was breaking it while just using it.

Adjustments:

MANFROTTO_MHXPRO-3WG-Adjust.jpg

  • Course/Fine: The adjustment knobs are very course, about 10 degrees per turn. 2 Turns and you just moved your camera 20degrees!!!! This is not a fine adjustment that is required when purchasing a geared head. With a 55mm lens at a distance of about 7ft, the center spot in my viewfinder moved about 6 inches with just a 1/4 turn of the adjustment knob. With a 200mm lens, it moved about 9 inches. Forget about any fine adjustments with over 200mm.

MANFROTTO_MHXPRO-3WG-Unlock.jpg

  • Gear engagement: Very rough, feels like gears grinding when adjusted, if there is any weight on this thing gears just skip, and the head does not move. This happen when I had a 70-200mm lens attached, and was pointed about 45deg downward, when I tried to adjust, it just skipped.
  • Unlock/Lock: Unlocking to move is simple, squeeze and move, but when released to relock, it doesnt always fall into place, and then skips and jumps when you touch the adjustment.


MANFROTTO_MHXPRO-3WG-645Z.JPG

The XPRO with my Pentax 645Z w/55mm lens attached to it.
Coincidentally enough the roll axis is perfectly inline with the optical center of the Pentax 645Z mounted on either Horizontal or Vertical orientation on the camera.


thumb_down_fail.png So it is my opinion, and just my opinion, that one should not purchase this unit if you want a rock solid, fine adjustment geared head. To be honest, the only thing I liked about this geared head, was the fact that roll axis was inline with my Pentax 645Z and the fact I had a geared head. But this head really is not for anyone with a serious investment in gear. It can work for the hobbyist who just wants to play and fiddle around, but anyone who wants a serious tool, this is not it.

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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