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Tripod adapter for Manfrotto 701rc2

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Old Sunday 29th August 2004, 23:11   #1
BobM
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Tripod adapter for Manfrotto 701rc2

I have a Velbon EL Carmagne 530 tripod. I wasn't satisfied with the head that came with it for digiscoping (altho it works acceptably well for scoping without a camera attached), so I got a Manfrotto 701rc2 head after reading Andy Bright's review and a statement on one of the threads here that it was stable in windy conditions. The head did not come with a 3/8-1/4 adapter and the adapter that came with the tripod is either a little too long for the Manfrotto head or has a flared or otherwise built-up head on it so that it sticks up out of the tripod head, preventing the tripod head from properly seating on the tripod, and providing a fulcrum for the head to pivot on in a breeze. I've attached two photos showing the condition and my attempt to remedy the problem by taping some folded pieces of paper to take up the space between the tripod head and tripod.

The local hardware store doesn't have a 3/8-1/4 adapter, nor does the closest camera store. Does anyone know if all the 3/8-1/4 adapters are standard? If so, I'll stick with my make-do solution. If there is another adapter that would fit so that the 701 head would sit flush on the tripod, who makes it and where can I get it?

Thanks,
Bob

P.S. I don't find that the slidng plate on the 701 prevents my Kowa 823 scope with a camera attached (either a CP4500 or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10) from tilting back when not tightened down. However, the panning action of the 701 is far better (smoother and more precise) than the Velbon PH-250B head that came with the tripod. Nevertheless, it's still difficult to get the subject exactly in the center of the lcd so it's within the focus brackets. Almost invariably, when I think I've got it, however lightly I'm holding or touching the panning handle in centering the subject on the lcd, when I release the handle, the scope moves ever so slightly and the subject goes off-center. Would a ball head be better than a pan head in that regard?
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 04:13   #2
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I have a ball head, a Manfrotto 486 that sits exactly where I put it when scoping. It locks very well but gets too loose too easily. I've asked the same question as you have- will a good ball head make a good scope head. I'm saving up my money and I'm going to buy an expensive ball head with a friction control and separate panning ability. A good one- like a Kirk or Markins weigh only about 1 pound. Very compact, sturdy, high quality... I can't stand a head that moves one degree when set! The problem is, and it's a big problem, is that they cost about $320 US! Ouch. I'll let everyone know how it works out whenever I can get the green light from my wife to buy one. (this may take a while)
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 08:00   #3
Andy Bright
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Hi Bob,
You may have to get a hacksaw out to take a fraction off the length of the tripod's bolt. All the 3/8 - 1/4 converters I have are fine, with the flanged top fitting into the recess on the head.... so you may have better luck with another converter.
Try finding a large hard synthetic washer to fit between head and tripod plate, this will improve stability.
Question? Why would you loosen off the tilt control completely? You need to set up fluids so they just hold the weight at most angles expected to be used, playing with the tilt control should be a rare event, especially with this head.

The 'head bounce' you are experiencing may be related to the instability caused by the packing between head and tripod. In correct use, this head will stop where you want it to.
Good luck, it is an excellent head.
regards,
Andy
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 21:08   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bright
Hi Bob,
You may have to get a hacksaw out to take a fraction off the length of the tripod's bolt. All the 3/8 - 1/4 converters I have are fine, with the flanged top fitting into the recess on the head.... so you may have better luck with another converter.
Try finding a large hard synthetic washer to fit between head and tripod plate, this will improve stability.
Question? Why would you loosen off the tilt control completely? You need to set up fluids so they just hold the weight at most angles expected to be used, playing with the tilt control should be a rare event, especially with this head.

The 'head bounce' you are experiencing may be related to the instability caused by the packing between head and tripod. In correct use, this head will stop where you want it to.
Good luck, it is an excellent head.
regards,
Andy
Hi Andy,

The problem is not the length of the tripod bolt, but the length of the converter bushing. I got a shorter one from another photo store today and will install it if I can get the longer one out. It's screwed in so tightly that I haven't been able to move it.

I loosened the tilt control so movement of the head wouldn't be jerky. If I tighten the tilt control just enough so that I can move the scope/camera unit but it won't tilt down on its own, I find that movement is somewhat jerky, rather than smooth. Is that normal? If so, I'll try to adjust to it. If not, is there something I can do to alleviate the problem, or do I have a defective unit?

I don't understand the reference to "packing between head and tripod" in your last paragraph. The only thing between the head and tripod is the flange (or flare out) of the converter bushing that I can't unscrew.

Anyway, thanks for your help.
Bob
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 21:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobM
Hi Andy,

The problem is not the length of the tripod bolt, but the length of the converter bushing. I got a shorter one from another photo store today and will install it if I can get the longer one out. It's screwed in so tightly that I haven't been able to move it.

I loosened the tilt control so movement of the head wouldn't be jerky. If I tighten the tilt control just enough so that I can move the scope/camera unit but it won't tilt down on its own, I find that movement is somewhat jerky, rather than smooth. Is that normal? If so, I'll try to adjust to it. If not, is there something I can do to alleviate the problem, or do I have a defective unit?

I don't understand the reference to "packing between head and tripod" in your last paragraph. The only thing between the head and tripod is the flange (or flare out) of the converter bushing that I can't unscrew.

Anyway, thanks for your help.
Bob
Ah, just that velbon tripod bolts are usually a bit too long for manfrotto heads.

The pan and tilt of these heads should be smooth as silk?...one could say 'fluid' Obviously they are damped and slightly stiffer than the totally free movement of your previous head when you had it losened off (maybe a PH157Q head?).

If you know anyone with a fluid head like the Manfrotto/Bogen heads, let them try yours and see if you have a genuine problem. Or just take it back to the shop for them to have a look at.

The 'packing' (maybe a brit expression?) that I was referring to was the paper stuff you were using between head and tripod base to fill the gap.

regards,
Andy
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 22:05   #6
BobM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bright
Ah, just that velbon tripod bolts are usually a bit too long for manfrotto heads.

The pan and tilt of these heads should be smooth as silk?...one could say 'fluid' Obviously they are damped and slightly stiffer than the totally free movement of your previous head when you had it losened off (maybe a PH157Q head?).

If you know anyone with a fluid head like the Manfrotto/Bogen heads, let them try yours and see if you have a genuine problem. Or just take it back to the shop for them to have a look at.

The 'packing' (maybe a brit expression?) that I was referring to was the paper stuff you were using between head and tripod base to fill the gap.

regards,
Andy
Thanks Andy,

The Velbon head that came with the tripod is a PH-250B.

To be more precise in what I mean by jerky, it's a jerkiness when I let go of the pan handle and then move it again. When the scope/camera first starts to move (if I have the tilt control tightened just enough so the camera doesn't tilt down on its own), it jerks. In other words, from a standstill, there's a jerk to get it moving. This is somewhat of a nuisance in trying to make fine adjustments of the subject's positioning on the lcd. Once the camera/scope unit is moving, the motion is smooth and silky. I would assume that any tripod head would be like that because the friction that is holding the unit in place has to be overcome to get it moving, but if my assumption is wrong, let me know and I'll investigate this further with the shop.

Thanks again.
Bob
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 22:48   #7
Bill Atwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Mac
I have a ball head, a Manfrotto 486 that sits exactly where I put it when scoping. It locks very well but gets too loose too easily. I've asked the same question as you have- will a good ball head make a good scope head. I'm saving up my money and I'm going to buy an expensive ball head with a friction control and separate panning ability. A good one- like a Kirk or Markins weigh only about 1 pound. Very compact, sturdy, high quality... I can't stand a head that moves one degree when set! The problem is, and it's a big problem, is that they cost about $320 US! Ouch. I'll let everyone know how it works out whenever I can get the green light from my wife to buy one. (this may take a while)
Yeah those heads should be very nice. You may want to look at Acratech (US $280) and Really Right Stuff heads too. You have to watch those prices, sometimes they don't include the clamp. Also, you typically need to buy the plate, which can run an additional $35-$50.

I've got an ArcaSwiss B1 for photography, which easily holds 8lbs; some photogs use it with a 13lb 600mm f4 lens! Wish Bogen would
utilize the AS type clamping mechanism on their lightwieight fluid heads.
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Old Wednesday 1st September 2004, 08:11   #8
Kevin Mac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Atwood
Yeah those heads should be very nice. You may want to look at Acratech (US $280) and Really Right Stuff heads too. You have to watch those prices, sometimes they don't include the clamp. Also, you typically need to buy the plate, which can run an additional $35-$50.

I've got an ArcaSwiss B1 for photography, which easily holds 8lbs; some photogs use it with a 13lb 600mm f4 lens! Wish Bogen would
utilize the AS type clamping mechanism on their lightwieight fluid heads.
I just ordered a Markins Q10 head late Sunday night and it arrived this morning (Tues). It came with the clamp but not a plate. Couldn't find one in town so I ordered one from Really Right Stuff. Yep, at $55 US including shipping. I sure hope a Mongolian Plover or Spoonbill Sandpiper shows up to justify the cost of all this! (just got my Swaro scope a couple of weeks ago)
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Old Wednesday 1st September 2004, 12:05   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Mac
I just ordered a Markins Q10 head late Sunday night and it arrived this morning (Tues). It came with the clamp but not a plate. Couldn't find one in town so I ordered one from Really Right Stuff. Yep, at $55 US including shipping. I sure hope a Mongolian Plover or Spoonbill Sandpiper shows up to justify the cost of all this! (just got my Swaro scope a couple of weeks ago)
On the upside, the head and even the plate (assuming its not a weird one) hold some resale value. You should be able to get 60-80% of the new price.

If you ever need to sell photo eequipment I suggest you try the www.photo.net classifieds.
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Old Thursday 2nd September 2004, 07:34   #10
Kevin Mac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Atwood
On the upside, the head and even the plate (assuming its not a weird one) hold some resale value. You should be able to get 60-80% of the new price.

If you ever need to sell photo eequipment I suggest you try the www.photo.net classifieds.
Thanks Bill. I haven't checked out that website before. The plate is specifically for scopes and certain oddball long lens. I was glad to find the spotting scope category at Really Right Stuff because they sure have alot of plate adaptors!
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Old Thursday 2nd September 2004, 11:52   #11
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Hmmmmmmmm, is it the B-6 plate??? I have that one lying in a drawer.
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Old Friday 3rd September 2004, 06:01   #12
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Hmmmmmmmm, is it the B-6 plate??? I have that one lying in a drawer.
Ouch. I think it's called the b-76. Let me guess... You'd sell yours for $1.75 and I spent way too much!
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 20:14   #13
Humboldt Jim
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Tripod head adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobM
I have a Velbon EL Carmagne 530 tripod. I wasn't satisfied with the head that came with it for digiscoping (altho it works acceptably well for scoping without a camera attached), so I got a Manfrotto 701rc2 head after reading Andy Bright's review and a statement on one of the threads here that it was stable in windy conditions. The head did not come with a 3/8-1/4 adapter and the adapter that came with the tripod is either a little too long for the Manfrotto head or has a flared or otherwise built-up head on it so that it sticks up out of the tripod head, preventing the tripod head from properly seating on the tripod, and providing a fulcrum for the head to pivot on in a breeze. I've attached two photos showing the condition and my attempt to remedy the problem by taping some folded pieces of paper to take up the space between the tripod head and tripod.

The local hardware store doesn't have a 3/8-1/4 adapter, nor does the closest camera store. Does anyone know if all the 3/8-1/4 adapters are standard? If so, I'll stick with my make-do solution. If there is another adapter that would fit so that the 701 head would sit flush on the tripod, who makes it and where can I get it?

Thanks,
Bob

P.S. I don't find that the slidng plate on the 701 prevents my Kowa 823 scope with a camera attached (either a CP4500 or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10) from tilting back when not tightened down. However, the panning action of the 701 is far better (smoother and more precise) than the Velbon PH-250B head that came with the tripod. Nevertheless, it's still difficult to get the subject exactly in the center of the lcd so it's within the focus brackets. Almost invariably, when I think I've got it, however lightly I'm holding or touching the panning handle in centering the subject on the lcd, when I release the handle, the scope moves ever so slightly and the subject goes off-center. Would a ball head be better than a pan head in that regard?
This might be a bit involved for some folks but I am adapting an old Flip-Lock tripod to accept a Manfrotto adapter/mounting plate.

I had a bushing machined with an outside diameter to fit inside the central column and with an inside diameter just over 5/8 inch. The bushing has a 1/4 x20 threded hole to mach the flat on the Manfrotto brass lug and smaller holes below that to pin it into the column.

The custom stainless steel bushing cost me $76 us but would have been cheaper if the machinist had the right brass stock.

The concept here is to toss the old head mounting system and go for a Manfrotto base.

I'll be out a total of about $90 us but will have my favorite tripod with a 701rc2 head AND versatillity for less than another good tripod. Not to mention the fun.

Why fiddle with the little stuff when given the opportunity to make a really big improvement (or mistake)?
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Old Saturday 5th March 2005, 19:41   #14
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I'm responding belatedly to Bob's concerns about the 701's "jerky" movement comments. I have used one of these heads for test purposes for a while now. Firstly, there are considerable differences in drag between different samples. This is because the drag depends both on the precise amount and distribution of the damping substance on the bearing surfaces, and on the tightness to which the parts were assembled, both of which seem to vary. I had two different specimen, the first having way too loose a drag when the locking bolt was loosened, and the second having a very nice amount of drag. I measured the difference by having the same scope on the heads, balanced exactly the same with the sliding plate, and then measuring the time it took for the scope to "fall" all the way on its nose when tipped just enough to begin moving on its own. With the first sample, the "drop time" was about three seconds, with the second about 25 seconds.

Secondly, I did a slight modification to the (second) head. I unthreaded the tilt locking lever, and inserted between the two flat washers which are closest to the plastic lever a spring washer made out of steel. This is of the type which is stamped out of very thin steel and bent slightly out of flat to provide spring action. It made tilt drag adjustment possible without jerkiness for a much wider range of drags than was possible otherwise. If a similar modification would be possible for the pan drag, I would be very happy with the head. As it is now, the pan drag on the sample I have is too light, and I cannot adjust it without introducing significant jerkiness. Also, the head moves slightly when the lock/s are fastened, which would annoy me if I did a lot of digiscoping. However, this happens as much or more with most other heads I've tried, with the exception of the Gitzo 2380 which is my current favorite. However, the Gitzo also varies greatly from sample to sample, and I happen to have one where the drags are very close to my liking. I have tried others which were way stiff, and also one or two which were too loose.

As an aside, I find it almost incomprehensible that a really good head for birding does not exist yet.

Kimmo
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 13:33   #15
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Exclamation

I experienced this problem with a left-handed customer yesterday who purchased a Manfrotto MF055(3) and a 701 RC2 head for birding/digiscoping. He demonstrated the movement "off centre-axis" when the horizontal panning screw was tightened and the amount of movement was quite significant. This did not happen with the vertical tensioner.However the system looked odd and this was due to modifications because he is left handed. Result was that the q/r plate was on the scope back to front (i.e. lens arrow showing backwards), the locking system for the plate was not flush and the silver /grey sliding lever was not fully tightened home. Finally the handle was reversed but this should not have made any difference. As a result of these adaptations some sligh surface denting of the q/r plate was evident - they are, I believe, shamfered to specifically fit into the plate housingsone way. I did re-assemble it as per instructions and it did work as expected, but still a tiny amount of movement was apparent. We swapped over to a demo 701 and this was faultless. So beware that these units do vary in tension (maybe temp or viscosity) and if all else fails read the instructions! There is still a degree of vertical fall back when an 80mm scope with a digital camera attached is set on the system - a bit of a surprise given the faultless performance of the old MN128rc head.
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Old Friday 18th March 2005, 17:49   #16
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I just got my 701RC2 in today (along with a Berleback 3032), very nice combo. I'm at work and don't have anything mounted, but have a quick question on the 701. Are you supposed to tighten the tilt screw for correct drag, or is the drag supposed to be correct with it loose? With it loose the head moves to horizontal postition (spring loaded) from any position I tilt it. THe only way to get it to "stay" say at 20 degrees, is to tighten the screw. Just want to make sure this is "normal". Never owned such a nice head. I also need a 3/8 to 1/4 adaptor... Berlebach sure should include that with their tripod with all the 3/8 heads out there.
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 07:45   #17
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Tom,

It is normal if you have no load. Try it with a load and you'll see a different picture.

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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 12:17   #18
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I have a tripod that is marked as Swarovski but closer examination shows Manfrotto stamped into the head. There's no model number. I was delighted with the tripod when I first got it last year. It panned nicely and held my Leica scope rock steady. Since I 've got into digiscoping it's a different story. My Leica scope - Nikon 4500 combination invariable causes the head to move when I'm attaching the camera. I can be lined up perfectly on a bird but when the camera gets attached, the scope is pointing several feet above the subject. It doesn't matter how tightly I screw down the locks, it always happens. I also find that with the camera on, the head doesn't pan smoothly. I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is the head or the tripod itself. I'll have to experiment when i'm not in the field.
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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 13:23   #19
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Hello Dan, would the Manfrotto sliding plate be the answer for you? I have one and used it for digiscoping, it helps to deal with the balance point when attaching the camera, Michael, Bragg Creek, Alberta.
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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 15:24   #20
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Hello Dan, would the Manfrotto sliding plate be the answer for you? I have one and used it for digiscoping, it helps to deal with the balance point when attaching the camera, Michael, Bragg Creek, Alberta.
Hi Michael!
I wasn't aware of such a thing. Where can I find out more?
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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 16:07   #21
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Try Birdnet Ltd on http://www.birdnet.co.uk/digiscoping.html

Cheers

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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 16:56   #22
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Whoops!

Sorry Snowy Owl - Didn't notice you were 'across thr pond'! At least the link shows a picture of the plate.

Cheers

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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 13:53   #23
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Hi Dan, here is a picture of mine, that by the way is for sale, as I do not digiscope anymore, $60.00 for the lot, includes shipping, retails for close to $175.00cdn, I have attached 2 pics to show the amount of play on the slider, includes 2 plates, cheers, contact me thru PM if you are interested, Michael.
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Old Saturday 26th March 2005, 04:36   #24
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701rc2 "jerkyness"

OK, put my Meade ETX scope on it, moved the adjusting plate all the way back so it's almost balanced at horizontal. Will not hold in either direction without "some" tightening of the locking knob. Doesn't take much, just until it starts to tighten, then it holds fine... but then it gets the "jerkyness" per Bob's description. I find leaving it loose with my hand on the knob works, so I can lock it as needed. Once locked, it and the Berlebach are very stable. It even holds the moon still!

Quote:
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Tom,

It is normal if you have no load. Try it with a load and you'll see a different picture.

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Old Saturday 26th March 2005, 12:18   #25
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Will not hold in either direction without "some" tightening of the locking knob. Doesn't take much, just until it starts to tighten, then it holds fine... but then it gets the "jerkyness" per Bob's description.
I've played with at least 4 different 701rc2 heads (demos at dealers), and all of them exhibited this behavior -- they are not very smooth as soon as any drag is applied (this applies to both pan and tilt axis). The problem is that, as with every other inexpensive fluid head I am aware of, the additional drag is applied not through a fluid mechanism but by the increased application of friction against a teflon pad. The 701rc2 is an improvement over the 700rc2, which was lousy, but in my experience it is significantly less smooth when drag is applied than the Bogen 3130 head. The 3130 also uses a friction mechanism to apply drag -- you have to move up to the Bogen 503 to get a head which applies drag purely through increasing fluid resistance -- but perhaps because of it's larger size (hence greater possible contact area of its friction pad) -- the 3130 allows smoother starts and stops with drag applied than does the 701rc2.

I liked the sliding plate, leveling spring, bubble level, fully orientable handle, and light weight of the 701rc2. For use purely as a scoping mount it may be fine. But I need my scope head to do double duty as a light-weight video head with a 2.5lb prosumer camera in circumstances where my Sachtler is too heavy to carry. For this purpose the 701rc2 is inadequate, while the 3130 is (just barely) acceptable.

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Manfrotto 190cpkit tripod, advice needed herring99 Tripod and Heads 2 Tuesday 15th June 2004 09:03
Would tripod upgrade significantly reduce wind vibration & improve ease of sighting? JimG Tripod and Heads 17 Monday 31st May 2004 18:16
New scope and tripod from scratch Malcolm Onley Spotting Scopes & tripod/heads 37 Thursday 18th March 2004 22:59
Eagleeye adapter for Videoscoping Tattoo ian VideoScoping 1 Monday 22nd December 2003 10:14

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