• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Berlebach 510 Video Head vs. 552 (1 Viewer)

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
For several years I have used a Berlebach 552 head on a Sirui M-3204 carbon fibre tripod and recently purchased a Berlebach 510 as a lighter alternative to go on a Novoflex TrioPod.

One previously associated Berlebach with solid but somewhat rustic products (wooden tripods) so the introduction of the precisely CNC machined aluminium 552 was a surprise. It was light (800 g), stable but also expensive at €400. The 552 has since been replaced by the 553 but as far as I can tell, the only changes have been the guide handle, which can now be adapted to left-hand use, and a revised counterbalance actuation.

The 553 now costs €445 and the lighter 510 €319, however without QR plate, so the difference is effectively just €90. Both heads are Arca-Swiss compatible and Berlebach has an unique and ingenious safety retention system. Other Arca-Swiss plates may not be compatible with this or require the user to press the release button to get the plate in.

The 552/553 has separate locking levers for pan and tilt whereas the 510 has a winged nut which locks both simutaneously. In addition to a panorama scale the 552/553 have a +/-90° tilt scale and a counterbalance. The tilt friction on both heads provides similar subjective damping to fluid heads but there is no friction adjustment for panning.

Berlebach now rate the 510 with the same 6 kg capacity as the 552/553. However, the 510 seemed better matched to my Swarovski ATM 65 (with long balancing plate) than to my Kowa 883, which with its higher weight and higher centre of gravity tended to tip over centre beyond about 20° tilt unless the friction were set high. Here the counterbalance of the 552 is a real advantage. Strangely the top plate sits a mere 40 mm above the tilt axis on the 552 but 47 mm above on the 510.

In summary, the Berlebach 510 is an excellently made lightweight video head well suited to use with lighter scopes but IMO the extra price of the 553 is justified for larger scopes if only for its counterbalance facility.

John
 
Last edited:

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
The 553 now costs €445 and the lighter 510 €319, however without QR plate, so the difference is effectively just €90.

My 510 video head was delivered without a QR plate, but apparently the 40 mm plate is standard and Berlebach have now supplied the missing part.
I no longer find the lack of a counterbalance such a disadvantage. At worst the scope could only collide with the neoprene covered legs of the Novoflex TrioPod, and the single lock for pan and tilt is a big convenience in the field.
The 510 is capable of holding the big Kowa 883 at a high tilt angle without creep, which a now disposed of Manfrotto 128 could not.
My Berlebach 552 head is now on an old and heavy Gitzo Studex, which I shall not be carrying far.

John

PS:- The grimace above crept in and was unintentional. I couldn't delete it.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top