Tripod Review: Manfrotto 519 + 515MB

Times have changed when it comes to camera technology, and there have been changes in camera support gear as well. When I started out in video production, cameras weighed about as much as I did, and tripods were made of solid steel or cast iron. Later, when we got lighter cameras, we got smaller tripod heads, and were able to switch back to old-fashioned film sticks, made out of actual wood.

In fact, the cover of my book features my old tripod and head combo, which I still own, and it has served me well under many a clunky old BetaCam. I was glad to have such light and portable equipment then, but modern materials and even lighter cameras have led to some substantial changes. Here’s my new camera support system:

The Head
I’m not a big fan of Bogen heads, but this is partly because I’ve been spoiled by those big, heavy, and silky-smooth O’Conner, Miller, and Sachtler heads and I’d only ever used Bogen’s low-end, gel cartridge DV offerings. Until now. The Bogen/Manfrotto 519 Pro fluid head is a smooth and solid piece of kit.

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