Tag Archives: best budget tripod


These days when i'm asked to suggest a good Video Fluid Head to support small camera setups, my go to advice has been to suggest the Manfrotto MVH500AH (seen here). It's a great entry level head, but I mainly suggest this because it supports the 501PL style plate (heavily used in the industry), and also because it uses a 'Drop in' style quick release system. I prefer this over the type where you have to slide your QR plate into the head.

I've found the Drop-In style quick release system easier and faster on set, and also more compatible with all of the cheaper generic 501PL plates (found here) allowing me to save a lot of money when I need to buy new plates.

I've always found Libec to offer high quality equipment, but because many people depend on 501PL plates, they may not have been a popular choice. Some Sachtler and Benro Tripods use the 501PL plate system, which may have been a reason they were easier for many people to adopt. I probably would have used Benro more, but I chose to stick with the Manfrotto MVH500AH specifically because of the Drop-in style plate.

For these specific reasons, i'm excited about the new Libec TH-X Head. They have finally implemented the use of 501PL compatible plates along with the Drop-in Style Quick Release System. The TH-X Video Head is a great option for entry level shooters and cameras around 8-9 lbs as it is designed with a fixed drag on Pan and Tilt, and a fixed counterbalance.

I've been working the MVH500AH Video head for quite a long time, but only until I've been working with the Libec TH-X did I realize how much I prefer the quick release latch to be located on the left side. You'll typically use your right hand to pick up any camera (because every camera has a right hand grip), and so it makes perfect sense to release a latch with your left hand. On the Manfrotto it takes me a few extra hand swaps to release my camera.

The new Libec TH-X Head is also a Dual Function Head as it can be used on a 65mm Bowl Mount Tripod or any standard flat base with it's 3/8" threaded mount. For Manfrotto these are offered with two different heads - the MVH500AH for a flat base or the MVH500A for a bowl mount. The TH-X is versatile in this manner as you can level your camera on a tripod very quickly using the bowl mount, and then throw it onto any Video Slider, Table Dolly, or Jib without requiring any adapters.

Right now the Libec TH-X Head is offered as a complete Tripod System (here), yet is more affordable when compared with the similar Manfrotto MVK500AM Tripod System (found here). There is definitely a like to like with Libec's latest tripod system, and the fact is there is not many options for video heads that offer a 'Drop-In' style quick release system. The TH-X Head is easily one that I will suggest to others looking for that drop-in plate system, and something I will be using as part of my daily gear.

Learn-More-sm Libec TH-X Head and Tripod System

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