If you love photography, one of the equipment in your arsenal has to be a reliable tripod. The market has plenty of tripod options, right from beginner-level tripods to premium ones. However, if you are looking for a smooth motion and fluidity, the range narrows down. And that's where fluid head tripods come into the picture. Not only do these tripods allow your movements to be more precise, but they also help you get a fluid transition or shots seamlessly.
Similar to tripods for photography, buying a fluid head tripod for videos is tricky. For instance, does the camera plate allow enough flexibility to balance the camera? Or, does the tripod in question have the right counterbalance for your video camera?
That's where we come in. This post has assembled a list of the best fluid head tripods for videos and still photos. Since it's going to be a long one, let's get going, shall we? But first,
The Ravelli AVTP tripod is one of the least expensive tripods on this list, and for its price, it packs a punch. For one, it can handle heavy cameras with ease. For the record, it can take up to 27 lbs of weight, and for a camera, that's quite a lot, especially in this age of mirrorless cameras. More importantly, for its looks, this metal tripod sports a premium and professional look.
And it's just not the looks alone, for it bundles the right performance. For one, the tripod head supports a 360-degree drag on both the direction. The best part is that it works as advertised, and several users have backed this claim. However, it's not all hale and hearty. There's a learning curve involved since you need to loosen it up before pan or tilt it smoothly.
As mentioned above, this one is a sturdy tripod and can manage decent weight. The legs are strong and the 3-segment legs help its cause. The best part is that the crutch-type legs are easy to lock/unlock, which helps out in the long run.
In the end, the weight of 10.8 lbs may seem to be a little more for a tripod, but let me tell you that with that smooth head and a metal body (and that price), the Ravelli AVTP strikes to be a good bargain.
2. Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head
Weight: 10.8lbs | Weight Capacity: 8.8lbs | Maximum Height: 59.05-inches
Another budget tripod you can consider for your video (and still photos) needs is the Magnus VT-4000. Like the one above, this one is pretty lightweight, which makes it easily portable. This one doubles up to be an effective tripod for remote shoots as well. Again, the fluid head of this tripod is praise-worthy. From pan to tilt, it provides a buttery smooth movement. There's a fair bit of resistance in the drag.
However, the budget pricing means there are some limitations. For example, Magnus VT-4000 lacks tension control. If you need a tighter pan or tilt, there's no mechanism onboard that would let you do so. On the upside, it has a few locks in place, and as you may have guessed, they let you lock the position of the tilt and the pan as per your preference or frame.
Overall, it's a sturdy tripod and can maintain its position as long as you keep the weight capacity within limits. So far, this tripod has managed to attract a fair number of reviews. People love it for its sturdy build, solid quick release plate, and buttery smooth drag.
However, the maximum height of the tripod can be a demerit for few folks.
The Velbon DV7000N addresses one of the shortcomings of the above tripod. Yeah, this one includes a tension control at the base of the fluid head. Also, it lets you play with the tightness of the screws. Apart from the tension lock, there's a dedicated lock for the position of the head as well. Though the DV7000N is designed primarily for video cameras, the sturdy and slightly heavy design means you can use it to mount your DSLR camera and lenses.
It's a two-level tripod and comes with a spreader. If you must know, the spreader somehow limits the possibility of low-level shots (the minimum working height is around 22-inch). On the upside, the geared central pole of the tripod rises up to add the height perspective to your shoots. The latter actually helps if you are a tallet-than-average person.
Though the Velbon DV7000N is one of the lightweight tripods on the list, it can feel slightly heavy.
The highlight of the E-Image EK60AAM tripod is that it sits between affordable and expensive tripods and brings several features to that table. For one, the fluid head is made of metal which makes it extremely simple to use. Secondly, the tripod offers you a spring-loaded counterbalance. You will find three presets for counterbalance, thereby letting you frame your shots as per your preference.
The E-Image EK60AAM bundles the usual bells and whistles such as adjustable metal legs, a mid-level spreader, grippy footpads, and a lightweight build. And the maximum weight capacity of 17.6 lbs means you can safely use an entry-level DSLR camera with ease.
However, it's not perfect. For one, the pan & tilt drag of the EK60AAM are fixed. This means you won't be able to adjust them as per your liking. On the upside, the fixed-tilt/pan makes way for smooth camera moves.
The Benro A3883 ticks several boxes. The best part is that you can convert it into a monopod. Apart from that, it brings home a 5-step counterbalance that lets you dial down the transition shots' precision as per your preference. More importantly, this one bundles a center column that lets you raise the height of the tripod. Out of the 5 tripods in this list, this one gets you the maximum height.
Since it doesn't have a leg spreader, you get the flexibility to mount the legs in your chosen position. This means you can get extremely low-level shots as well.
And there's more to the story. The reverse-folding design, while unique, has its advantages. For one, it makes the tripod more portable and easy-to-use. Unlike the one above, you get a continuous pan and tilt. In fact, you get a 360-degree pan.
The Benro A3883 is a versatile and durable product and justifies its price tag. The aluminum legs are sturdy and well-built and so is the fluid-head.
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Shooting videos don't always happen inside the studio. And when you are out there in the wild, you will want a system that's both sturdy and reliable enough to take the weight of your camera, lens, and other accessories.
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