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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Supporting HD

Fluid heads are the best choice for smooth panning and tracking, whether shooting stills or video

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Davis & Sanford FM18
Davis & Sanford
The Davis & Sanford FM18 video head supports up to 18 pounds, enough for a full-sized camcorder or a DSLR with plenty of extras. Drag can be set and locked independently for pan-and-tilt, and a sliding quick-release plate can be adjusted for the best central balance. Estimated Street Price: $105. Contact: Davis & Sanford (Tiffen), (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com.

Gitzo Series 2 G2380
The Gitzo Series 2 G2380 fluid head features pan-and-tilt locks and separate friction controls that are positioned on the same side so that photographers and videographers can make changes quickly. The pan lock also is designed to stop any unwanted movement dead in its tracks, making it an ideal solution for long telephoto lenses that are susceptible to vibrations. The head can be set up for right- or left-handed operation, and there’s a dual-direction, quick-release plate for removing the camera from the front or the rear. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Gitzo, (201) 818-9500, www.gitzo.us.

Manfrotto 504HD
The 504HD video fluid tripod head from Manfrotto includes a pan axis-rotation unit that uses ball bearings for reducing vibration during movement. The Fluid Drag System (FDS) is available on both the PAN and TILT axes independently. Easy link connectors also are provided for flexible accessory attachment, thanks to two 3⁄8-inch female heads, the standard for photo and video accessories. The CBS counterbalance system includes four presets for accommodating variable camera weights, and the 504HD is the first to feature Manfrotto’s Bridging Technology, which adds a wider top plate and longer sliding plate for fitting bigger camera setups comfortably. List Price: $400. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.

The Sunpak VideoPro-M2 tripod system includes a true fluid head with a quick-release platform. The floating ballhead system keeps your camera level on uneven terrain, and the legs include retractable spikes and quick-release leg locks. Estimated Street Price: $119. Contact: Sunpak (ToCAD America), (973) 627-9600, www.sunpak.com.

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