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Update On the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3 Way Head

Published: 23/06/2015
By: larry

ManfrottoXPROA couple of months ago the Manfrotto XPRO geared 3 way tripod head was released.

For real estate shooting a geared head like this is a great help keeping the camera level in all three planes. Ben Schmanke has a nice little review of this new head.

While it has some minor short comings that Ben points out this head is the least expensive of the three most popular geared heads used by real estate photographers:

  1. Manfrotto 405 Pro
  2. Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head
  3. Manfrotto XPRO

11 comments on “Update On the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3 Way Head”

  1. While this Xpro is cheaper than the 410, it is only around $50 new. That said, you can pick up a used 410 on Ebay for less that are in great condition. The short comings stated and the fact that Xpro uses a different "quick release" system means that anyone starting out with this system, have to completely change over everything to move up to the other systems. Why they did not use the same "quick release" system is beyond me, bad move for those that want to get systems they can grow with. I myself have all my cameras set up with a QR plate and am able to just switch out on the fly without pausing.

  2. I looked at geared heads a couple times, and although I've never tried one, I find it hard to believe that it could be any faster to set than my ball head is.
    While my settings might not be as "perfect" as the geared head, using a spirit level and the ball head's lower rotating knob is very quick.
    Also, the time I spend in "post" straightening verticals & horizontals is short, and I would think all the tinkering with knobs on site (using the geared head) would be more time consuming in the end.

    Even if the time is about the same, I would prefer to spend that time at home rather than in an occupied listing.

    To me these geared heads look like more work than they are worth.....but that's me

  3. I have used a 410 head for some time. I recently purchased the XPro head, primarily for real estate work, because it is lighter than the 410 head and I think the ergonomics of the XPro head are better than the 410. The XPro is not rated for as much weight as the 410, but that is not an issue for me for real estate work, since I am not usually using very large, long telephoto lenses for this kind of work.

  4. I used to use a pan/tilt and geared pan/tilt heads years ago and I found the cumbersome. I certainly appreciate and understand their practicality, but after using my Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head, I just can't go back. A simple 1/4 turn loosens the head... I level the camera with the built in level on my 5D mkIII or a spirit level on my 5D mkII. Then a simple 1/4 turn again and it's locked. Are my shots perfect? No. But they are very close. Lightroom's Upright Perspective Correction is part of my basic presets anyway, so everything is straight on import.

    Much like John said, less time at listings means more time home (or at other listings!)

  5. I've been told real professional RE photographers use geared heads and heavy duty tripods. I have a $45 25 year old Bogan tripod and a 10 year old $45 ball head. With it I can perfectly balance my Sony A6000 without it tipping one way or another. I give the left-right and vertical just enough tension to make the adjustments without them being overly tight. Plus it's very light to carry around. If I used a full size DSLR, I would need a bigger heaver tripod and head. Been there, done that, never again!

  6. I recently purchased the XPRO Geared Head and mounted it on a new Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber tripod. I used this combo for the first time today and all I can say is WOW! The carbon fiber tripod is super light and sturdy. The XPRO Geared Head is perfect for RE photography. I had been using a cheap $50 tripod for the past year while saving up for the Manfrotto setup that I have now. I am completely satisfied with the stability and accuracy of the XPRO head. Don't let the reviews about the XPRO being plastic scare you away unless you are going to be mounting some serious weight on the head.

  7. I purchased one of these recently and did my third Real Estate shoot with it yesterday. It saves me a ton of time and is super convenient. My vertical lines were much better than normal without correction. Very happy about the purchase.

  8. I keep my camera about the same height as Scott recommended, (but on the lower end). But when I shoot kitchens, I started to go higher because of the under counter lighting.

    As recommended by this group, I gave up my Combo Ball head in favor of the Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head. It worked fine, but I found it a bit cumbersome and heavy to use with my large Nikon D-700 mounted. I also didn't like using the Manfrotto quick release, as I have Really Right Stuff brackets and QR systems on all of my cameras.

    Once I switched to the smaller and lighter Fuji XT-2 I went back to a ball head and now my 410 Junior has been sitting on the shelf as I was used to the ball head, and I can still level the camera quite quickly.

    The reason I switched to mirrorless, was because it had the tilting screen which is a pleasure to view without bending over to look through the small viewfinder. I also like to shoot some very low angle shots from the ground (not just for real estate) so the tilt screen is such a pleasure and I am lost without it.

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