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700 RC2 vs 128 RC vs XPRO 2-way

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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 11:04   #1
simpleman19
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700 RC2 vs 128 RC vs XPRO 2-way

Which of these heads is heavier duty for handling a long 80mm+ scope like a Pentax PF ED.

By heavier duty I mean:
- able to keep vibrations out while panning
- able to be locked on chosen object with dropping after being locked
- most able to work high celestial sights as well as not so high terrestrial sights
- toughest
- weight isnít a factor
- able to work in the cold without becoming too stiff (-5 Celsius at times)

The XPRO 2 way is within their photo fluid head section not their video head section. Should I take this as it not being able to handle heavier scopes as well as the 700 or 128?

Also, after all this I may just end up going with the 502 as I like the longitudinal adjustment and the adjustable drag (as I will be using this in cold weather).
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 12:30   #2
Rotherbirder
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No experience of the XPRO 2-way; 128 is quite a heavy, robust tripod head and should be OK for an 80mm scope. The 700RC2 is a cracking head for the money but would be a little too small and lightweight to support/control an 80mm scope effectively. Neither are true 'fluid' heads.

RB
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 20:41   #3
Hermann
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Originally Posted by Rotherbirder View Post
No experience of the XPRO 2-way; 128 is quite a heavy, robust tripod head and should be OK for an 80mm scope. The 700RC2 is a cracking head for the money but would be a little too small and lightweight to support/control an 80mm scope effectively. Neither are true 'fluid' heads.
I totally agree.

Hermann
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 21:00   #4
jtc
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I use the XPRO head on my ATX 95 with no issues. That replaced the 128RC that is now my spare.
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 22:49   #5
Alexis Powell
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In my experience, the 700RC2 would be on the small side, and it isn't a very good head besides.

The 128RC and XPRO 2-way are similar in capability. The former is physically more robust (essentially indestructible) but is heavier. I had a predecessor of the XPRO that worked well enough but never as smoothly as the 128RC. I've not tried the current XPRO, but it is probably the overall best among these heads. My biggest concern is whether there might be rocking slop in the panning base when it is not locked. Manfrotto heads tend to have that problem.

Are you set on Manfrotto? If not, I'd consider an alternative brand/model that uses sliding plates (unlike all the above), such as one from Sirui (e.g. VA-5). Sliding plates have many advantages.

--AP
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 23:14   #6
jring
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Hi,

I'd consider all the smaller Manfrotto offerings mentioned above not really up to the task of a full size scope. At least my 128RC wasn't and that seems to be the strongest of the crop. It is fine for sth light like my Kowa 613 but that is a bit less than 1kg with EP and well balanced.

I'd recommend a real fluid head with counterbalance and a slide plate for correctly balancing the scope - either the Manfrotto 500AH which is quite strong and should be fine even for 95 or 100mm instruments or the Sirui mentioned by Alexis which is a lighter option (with the added benefit of being compatible to the de-facto standard Arca-Swiss) - it should be ok for around 1.5kg or thereabouts.
With the Pentax body being 1.4kg and the normal XL zoom 550g, I'd really look at the 500AH for that.

Joachim, who really likes his 500AH...
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 02:00   #7
simpleman19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
In my experience, the 700RC2 would be on the small side, and it isn't a very good head besides.

The 128RC and XPRO 2-way are similar in capability. The former is physically more robust (essentially indestructible) but is heavier. I had a predecessor of the XPRO that worked well enough but never as smoothly as the 128RC. I've not tried the current XPRO, but it is probably the overall best among these heads. My biggest concern is whether there might be rocking slop in the panning base when it is not locked. Manfrotto heads tend to have that problem.

Are you set on Manfrotto? If not, I'd consider an alternative brand/model that uses sliding plates (unlike all the above), such as one from Sirui (e.g. VA-5). Sliding plates have many advantages.

--AP
Thanks,

Iím not necessarily set on Manfrotto. Iím just looking for a quality stable set up and it seems that manfrotto is widely available and adaptable and they are having some good sales right now. I will look into the sirui.
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 02:05   #8
simpleman19
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Originally Posted by jring View Post
Hi,

I'd consider all the smaller Manfrotto offerings mentioned above not really up to the task of a full size scope. At least my 128RC wasn't and that seems to be the strongest of the crop. It is fine for sth light like my Kowa 613 but that is a bit less than 1kg with EP and well balanced.

I'd recommend a real fluid head with counterbalance and a slide plate for correctly balancing the scope - either the Manfrotto 500AH which is quite strong and should be fine even for 95 or 100mm instruments or the Sirui mentioned by Alexis which is a lighter option (with the added benefit of being compatible to the de-facto standard Arca-Swiss) - it should be ok for around 1.5kg or thereabouts.
With the Pentax body being 1.4kg and the normal XL zoom 550g, I'd really look at the 500AH for that.

Joachim, who really likes his 500AH...
Iím going to look into the Sirui, but I feel with the current deal on with Manfrotto and their 055 tripod mixed with 502 head might be my best option. Itís cheaper than going with a 055 paired with a 128 (when buying head and legs separate). Iím really wanting to stick with the 055 legs as they seem solid and stable as can be within reason.
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 04:00   #9
Bill Atwood
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I second the 500AH. I had the Pentax 80mm on the older 128RC. It was ok, but I was usually wishing for a little more stability. The 502 should work fine, but weighs a bit more than the 500AH
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 04:29   #10
Boogieshrew
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I also love the 500AH. The best one I've used after recently getting it after recommendation by BFers. So stable, so smooth!

Using it for a Nikon EDG85 which is 2.4kg
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 06:40   #11
Ries
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I've had the 128rc twice but both times the locking/spring system broke down when it fell when clumsing with the bike. Used a 65mm on it, and doubt it's stable enough for a 80mm.

Now I use the xpro-2w and, besides the bit flimsy counterweight knob, quite pleased with it and using with an 82mm. But resistance when panning is not very optimal regulated...got this cheap but when I need or want a new head I'm going for the 500ah
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 10:43   #12
simpleman19
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Thanks, that’s what I was thinking. I’m okay with going to the 502 because it allows me to adjust the movement resistance which I feel is important when I take it out in the cold. From what the video guys were saying on reviews, it does get harder to pan and tilt in the cold.
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 21:40   #13
Alexis Powell
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The 500ah is a great head, so I'll join the crowd in endorsing it (or, alternatively, the Sirui VH-10X, which I prefer).

Quote:
Originally Posted by simpleman19 View Post
...I’m okay with going to the 502 because it allows me to adjust the movement resistance which I feel is important when I take it out in the cold...
I have the 502. It is a hulking big and strong head, way heavier and stronger than any of the heads you were originally considering. If you don't mind its size, it is a fine head, but I have one complaint--to my way of thinking, it is designed backwards. What I mean by that is that the controls for locking the head are reversed from my preference. The pan lock is at the front of the head, making it awkward to reach/access, and the tilt lock is on the right side. I am right-handed and use scopes like I would a camera with a telephoto lens, meaning that I prefer to hold the camera (or, in this case, operate the panning arm) with my right hand and focus (or make other adjustments, in this case, locking the pan or tilt) with my left hand. Fortunately, the design of the 502ah allows it to be used backwards by attaching the panning arm to the same side as the tilt tension adjustment and running it backwards so it extends back along the length of the head, over the top of the tilt tension adjustment knob. Doing so positions the tilt lock on the left side of the head and also moves the panning lock to where it is easier to reach at the back of the head. The only resulting inconvenience is that the plate receiver can't be reversed, so to slide one of Manfrotto's unidirectional plates on/off, it has to be inserted from the front of the head rather than from behind. The 500ah does not share these problems.

--AP
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Old Thursday 28th November 2019, 00:10   #14
simpleman19
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
The 500ah is a great head, so I'll join the crowd in endorsing it (or, alternatively, the Sirui VH-10X, which I prefer).



I have the 502. It is a hulking big and strong head, way heavier and stronger than any of the heads you were originally considering. If you don't mind its size, it is a fine head, but I have one complaint--to my way of thinking, it is designed backwards. What I mean by that is that the controls for locking the head are reversed from my preference. The pan lock is at the front of the head, making it awkward to reach/access, and the tilt lock is on the right side. I am right-handed and use scopes like I would a camera with a telephoto lens, meaning that I prefer to hold the camera (or, in this case, operate the panning arm) with my right hand and focus (or make other adjustments, in this case, locking the pan or tilt) with my left hand. Fortunately, the design of the 502ah allows it to be used backwards by attaching the panning arm to the same side as the tilt tension adjustment and running it backwards so it extends back along the length of the head, over the top of the tilt tension adjustment knob. Doing so positions the tilt lock on the left side of the head and also moves the panning lock to where it is easier to reach at the back of the head. The only resulting inconvenience is that the plate receiver can't be reversed, so to slide one of Manfrotto's unidirectional plates on/off, it has to be inserted from the front of the head rather than from behind. The 500ah does not share these problems.

--AP
Thanks for that, when I go ahead with it I will look into running it in reverse if I feel itís needed. Nice to know thatís itís at least workable that way.
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Old Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 01:35   #15
Alexis Powell
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Thanks for that, when I go ahead with it I will look into running it in reverse if I feel itís needed. Nice to know thatís itís at least workable that way.
Yes, a bit awkward but fine. At an event today, I happened to notice a video crew using the even larger 504. It isn't built backwards--the pan lock is at the back and the tilt lock is on the left. Why is the 502 the way it is? Stupid.

--AP
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