Manfrotto 504HD tripod first hands on review


Well we’ve just got our grubby hands on the beautiful shiny new Manfrotto 504HD tripod system....
I believe this to be the replacement for the 503 head that we have many of and tend to use for cameras like the Sony EX1 and EX3 in our fleet.
Couple of things straight from the box..
Its light – even though the legs are metal.
Comes with the usual padded Manfrotto carry bag with strap that hire clients like so much when having to carry kit on the tube etc..
It has a mid spreader on the 546 legs which is a step in the right direction.
The head has a tension dial that is nice and sensitive and easy to adjust.
The tripod is capable of 9kg of load, so an EX1 or 3 or similar camera will sit very nicely on it even when loaded with mattebox, filters, top light, radio mic receivers and any number of other extras.
We even put a DSR 450 with HJ22 lens on it and it was fine to be honest, but we probably wouldn’t do that as a hire kit.
Looking on the internet, I notice an estimate price banding of approx £700 to £800 (the price variation is mainly due to which legs you order with the head) which is a good price for a mid-range tripod and looks like the perfect answer to our prayers for a mid range tripod for those newer mid range cameras.
So how was it for us ?
We don’t get out much – so forgive us if we seem a bit over keen and eager, but playing with new toys is something we take seriously!
The legs are the usual Manfrotto standard – easy to adjust and use with quick release latches that are simple to tighten with an Allen key if they should work loose.
The spreader is very handy and again easy to adjust for lower level shots. It can also be detached as required very easily.
The feet and firm and again easily detached for sandy/stony ground to give spikes only.
The head is very nice indeed.
For those of us used to the 501 and then the 503 this is a couple of steps in the right direction.
The baseplate is nice and long for heavier cameras and spreads the work load over the base of the camera so that the single screw thread on an EX1 for example isn’t going to give out so easily – something that happens to us with clients lifting the camera by the handle whilst attached to the tripod and wondering why the threads give out…
There are a selection of screws threads supplied – in my kit there were 2 of each size along with the locating pin.
A very nice touch is the locking nuts – they are free running on springs so that you can pull out the plastic knob and turn to tidy away once a nut is tightened.
The bubble is illuminated – another feature normally saved for the bigger boys.
Another bane of our lives has been the teeth wearing on the pan bar fitting in older models – Manfrotto have given the 504 the newer bigger toothed ring so that replacing worn parts is cost effective and easy and because of the bigger teeth that replacement will hopefully never happen.
Balancing is made easier because of the longer baseplate and locking system so that you can a nice balance on whatever camera you are using.

But the nicest part of the new 504HD is the pan and tilt system that allows you to dial in a proper fixed amount and achieve a proper drag on shots that only a higher end tripod would have afforded before this.
We have spent many happy hours playing with this new toy and showing it to several clients who seemed quite keen and did say they would certainly look at purchasing – although thought our obsession with a new tripod slightly odd !

Obviously we don’t get out much – but we do appreciate a nice new – user friendly tripod when we see one.
The tripod is due for release imminently and we shall be ordering a few for EX3 stock for definite.
Out of 5 Jims =


Ease Of Use = 4 Jims
Weight range = 3 Jims
Strength = 2 Jims (worries about the mid-spreader)
Looks = 5 Jims
Overall = 4 Jims

Tags: Kitroom Monkey | Manfrotto 504HD tripod | iss044 | manfrotto | 504hd | tripod | support | 503 head | review | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

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Alan Wheable Continual technological change in the broadcast and media industries can make it difficult to plan for the mid to long term. Typically, broadcasters and media organisation are still implementing the last set of changes to working practices when the next changes come along.
Tags: iss133 | omnitek | ip | waveform | vectorscope | ultra tq | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Smashing the WTA Tour
Danny Ridler The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $146 million in prize money. The 2018 WTA competitive season includes 54 events and four Grand Slams in 30 countries. In 2017, the WTA was watched around the world by a total TV audience of 500 million – with host broadcast services provided by NEP UK.
Tags: iss133 | tennis | wta | nep | outside broadcast | ob | Danny Ridler
Contributing Author Danny Ridler Click to read or download PDF
Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF
Fast-moving productions need multi-cam RF reliability
Darren Bilton Wireless acquisition creates a level of freedom not possible with any other form of filming yet only a decade ago the technique was barely possible. The technology enabling live real-time connections over radio frequencies has advanced leaps and bounds such that there is barely an entertainment, documentary, sports or news format today that doesn’t benefit from at least one link system. That means the demands on the kit continues to rise and includes the need for fail safe multi-camera operation, ease of use and backwards compatibility all within a small, lightweight and budget-friendly package.
Tags: iss133 | boxx tv | wireless | mpeg-4 | multicam | rf | multi-cam | Darren Bilton
Contributing Author Darren Bilton Click to read or download PDF