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Best Fluid Head Tripod [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 23/07/2021

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

If you want to eliminate shaky footage while taking real estate photos and videos, you can use a tripod with a fluid head system. We will take you through some of the best fluid head tripods and what to look for when buying them.

Our Top Fluid Head Tripod Reviews 

Fluid head setups take smoother and steady videos compared to mechanical heads. Combining counterbalance system, build quality, and price, the Manfrotto MVH502A, is the best fluid head and tripod system that can give you versatile setups.

Brand
Best Overall
Manfrotto MVH502A
Best for the Money
Benro S8 Kit
Best Cheap Pick
GEEKOTO Video Tripod
Product
Manfrotto MVH502A,546GB-1 Professional Fluid Video...
Benro S8 Single Leg Carbon Fiber Video Tripod Kit...
GEEKOTO Video Tripod Fluid Head,Professional...
Item Dimensions
32.68 x 7 x 7 inches
31.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
24.5 x 5.5 x 5.3 inches
Item Weight
12.13 pounds
9.92 pounds
3.1 pounds
Best Overall
Brand
Manfrotto MVH502A
Product
Manfrotto MVH502A,546GB-1 Professional Fluid Video...
Item Dimensions
32.68 x 7 x 7 inches
Item Weight
12.13 pounds
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Benro S8 Kit
Product
Benro S8 Single Leg Carbon Fiber Video Tripod Kit...
Item Dimensions
31.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
Item Weight
9.92 pounds
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
GEEKOTO Video Tripod
Product
GEEKOTO Video Tripod Fluid Head,Professional...
Item Dimensions
24.5 x 5.5 x 5.3 inches
Item Weight
3.1 pounds
Price

Best Overall Fluid Head Tripod: Manfrotto MVH502A

The Manfrotto MVH502A System is the best tripod with a fluid head that balances load capacity, flexible angle range, mounting support, and price point.

Manfrotto MVH502A,546GB-1 Professional Fluid Video...

Quite similar to GEEKOTO's fixed counterbalance, this model supports a maximum payload of 15.4 pounds. Even though it has a lighter weight than the Benro S8, its counterbalance allows heavy setups to remain stationary at any angle of tilt.

The flat base is wide and long to offer your camera extra stability while filming. In effect, you can quickly detach and adjust your cameras for proper balance. 

Pros

  • 360-degree pan range with a +90-degree and -85-degree front fluid head tilt range

Cons

  • Maximum load of the mount is only 15.4 pounds, although this is enough for most DSLRs
Manfrotto MVH502A,546GB-1 Professional Fluid Video...
  • Package Dimensions: 99.568 cms (L) x 22.352 cms (W) x 19.558 cms (H)
  • Package Quantity: 1
  • Product Type: Camera Tripod

Best Fluid Head Tripod for the Money: Benro S8 Kit

The Benro S8 Kit offers premium performance and functionality. Its most valuable feature is the 75mm bowl, enabling you to level cameras swiftly and drag the mount to do a range of movements.

Benro S8 Single Leg Carbon Fiber Video Tripod Kit...

Although heavier than Manfrotto, it has a bigger maximum payload capacity of 17.65 pounds. A 4-step counterbalance mechanism also ensures balance even when you have to mount large camcorders with external lights.

Similar to GEEKOTO, Benro offers a full 360-degree pan range that captures smooth panorama footage. It also has a sliding quick-release plate that provides superior balance both forward and backward. 

Pros

  • Aluminum alloy makes the body sturdy yet lightweight for exterior photography

Cons

  • Slightly loose tilt and pan lock
Benro S8 Single Leg Carbon Fiber Video Tripod Kit...
  • A complete tripod system designed specifically for handling larger, fully rigged cameras.
  • The system weighs 10 lbs. and can support up to 17.6 lbs. with a maximum height of 63.8".
  • The 3-section legs are held in place by twist locks and can be adjusted independently. 12.5 Inch...

Best Cheap Fluid Head Tripod: GEEKOTO Video Tripod

If you're looking for a professional fluid head with a cheaper price tag, look no further because the GEEKOTO Video Tripod can give you that. 

GEEKOTO Video Tripod Fluid Head,Professional...

Like Manfrotto, GEEKOTO has a stable flat base. This feature makes it a reliable option for real estate photography since you'll mainly focus on motionless subjects. It also uses a QR camera plate for swift switching from landscape to portrait.

GEEKOTO would better suit real estate photographers who prefer a lightweight system since the overall setup has a weight of 3.1 pounds. Despite its price, this model has a fixed counterbalance system that can hold gear up to 20 pounds.

Pros

  • 4-section legs that can stand up to 72 inches for photographing tall properties

Cons

  • Legs tend to be a bit wobbly due to having several sections
Sale
GEEKOTO Video Tripod Fluid Head,Professional...
  • 【Easy Set-Up】The quick release flip-locks with 4-section column makes the tripod could adjust...
  • 【Portable】19.5" compact storage size and 3.1 lbs weight make it easy to carry. You can take it...
  • 【Fluid Ball Head】Equipped with a professional fluid head offers 360° panning and +90°/ -70°...

Best Fluid Head for Camcorders: Magnus VT-4000 Pro

If you are looking for another budget-friendly option with exceptional features, we recommend the Magnus VT-4000 Pro. Its best feature is that it conveniently tilts and pans at broad angles to capture cinematic shots.

Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head

While its bowl is different from Benro S8's 75mm bowl, the VT-4000's 65mm bowl still makes it easier to adjust the 2-stage legs.

The fluid head comes with a fixed counterbalance spring of 3.3 pounds to allow smooth tilt motions while comfortably supporting your gear. However, it can only support 8.8 pounds of camera weight, much lower than that of the Manfrotto and Benro.

Pros 

  • Includes a quick-release sliding plate with pins to lock camcorders

Cons

  • May need to retighten the legs due to wear
Sale
Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head
  • Supports 8.8 lb (4 kg) | 65mm Ball Diameter | 2-Stage Leg Design
  • Height Adjustment Range - 27.6" to 59" | Middle Spreader | Fixed Counter Balance
  • Fixed Pan / Tilt Drag | +20/-25mm Slide Range | Lightweight Tripods | With Quick Release Plate

Features to Consider for Fluid Head Tripods 

Before you purchase fluid head setups, ensure that the specifications fit your camera needs. Consider the load capacity, mount, camera plate, and counterbalance system, and price, among others.

We've also prepared a feature comparison table to give you more options before you purchase.

ProductPayload LimitBase MountPan and Tilt
Manfrotto MVH502A15.4 Poundsflat360° pan
+90° / -85°
Benro S817.65 poundsbowl360° pan
+90° / -70° tilt 
GEEKOTO Video Tripod 20 poundsflat360° pan
+90°/ -70° tilt 
Magnus VT-40008.8 Poundsbowl360° pan
+90° / -60° tilt

Camera Plate

A sliding camera plate lets you quickly detach and remove the camera from the fluid head without removing the plate. 

A quick-release camera plate comes in handy if you have one camera and need to alternate between mounting and handheld shooting quickly. All of the fluid heads in this guide come with quick-release plates. 

Suppose you need to balance uneven payload, like when you have a camera with a long lens. In that case, you should purchase balance plates that come with a sliding range, such as the Manfrotto MVH502A and Benro S8

Load Capacity

The payload is the total weight a tripod can withstand before losing balance. Think about such other factors as the size of the lens, the size of the batteries, as well as setups with several accessories.

Camera placed on a tripod

Whatever you do, make sure that you do not exceed the rated weight capacity. Otherwise, you may damage the fluid head. When you exceed the recommended weight, you will affect the damping abilities of the fluid head and end up getting shaky footage.

GEEKOTO is a better option if you need a high payload of 20 pounds. If you won't be using long lenses that much, Manfrotto MVH502A's 15 pounds and Benro S8 fluid heads 18-pound limit should be enough. 

Counterbalance System

Counterbalancing is the fluid head’s ability to keep a camera stable despite the tilt angle. To do this, the fluid head provides a counterforce that ensures a balance between the camera and the tripod you mount it on.

This way, you won't have to hold the camera with your hand while taking shots at an angle. Fluid heads with a lower counterbalance weight, such as the Magnus VT-4000 and Manfrotto MVH502A, are easier to use.

Pan and Tilt Range

Much like in ball fluid heads, the more you can drag the mount to tilt and pan, the more compositions you can create for real estate images and videos.

The tilt is the angle at which a camera can move in a vertical plane. On the other hand, the pan is the angle at which a camera can move from side to side along a horizontal plane. 

All of the models we reviewed have a 360-degree pan range and a minimum of +90 degrees for tilt. 

Base Mount

Setups for stills typically have a detachable fluid head with a flat base, whereas those for video usually contain a 75mm bowl mount. 

If you usually shoot stills, it would be better to choose a flat base mount, either the Manfrotto MVH502A or GEEKOTO. Their flat base mounts are easier to attach to most camera mounting setups, including sliders.

The Benro S8 and Magnus VT-4000 would be more suitable for videographers because of their bowl mounting and bubble adjustments that keep lines straight. You can also use a bowl base mount for stills, especially if you want faster shooting. 

Camera on a tripod

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the Difference Between Friction and Fluid Heads?

The difference is that aside from being cheaper, friction heads have less resistance, making it harder to do a range of panning and tilting. Meanwhile, fluid heads offer greater drag control because fluid heads can dampen the resistance of setups.

What Budget Should I Prepare for a Tripod Head?

The budget you need to prepare depends on the features you want. For example, while heavy-duty, Sachtler bowl setups are typically expensive. However, the models we reviewed offer an excellent counterbalance system, high load capacity, and versatile tilt range without breaking your budget.

Conclusion

Capturing quality real estate photos may be as simple as getting the right fluid head. Make sure you consider such factors as load capacity, camera plate, pan-tilt range, counterbalance system, and price before buying any fluid heads.

PFRE Team
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