Review Manfrotto 393 long lens head

MattEg

TPer Emeritus
Messages
3,116
Name
Matthew Egan
Edit My Images
No
#1
Gimbel head on a budget
I received my new manfrotto 393 head.
It is described as a 'Long lens monopod bracket'.


Mounting the head
It attaches to your tripod via 3/8" female thread.
Once on the tripod tension the large rubber knob to secure.

The head will pan left to right without having to adjust any settings on the head,
but if the factory set panning isn't smooth enough or tight enough for the user it
can be adjusted via an allen key screw at the bottom of the head.


Mounting the Lens
The lens is mounted using the 357PLV quick release plate(qrp).


The qrp comes supplied with two 1/4" and two 3/8" thread screws.
This gives the user lots of options when wanting to use on multiple lenses.

The qrp inserts from either side of the head, and the head has a locking pin
to stop the qrp from sliding out.
By pressing the brass pin in, it allows the qrp to be removed.


Once the plate is in position on the head (with lens attched), slide the lens until it balances
before locking off with tension knob.


If properly balanced, the user should now be able to move the camera up/down left/right
and when released the camera/lens should stay in place.
If the lens drops forward or backwards the balancing will need re adjusting.
There is also two tensioning knobs at the top of the tuning fork shaped arms,
These can be used to assist in holding the lens in position.

Conclusion
This head is very stable and solidly built. It supports the 800mm and 10d without a problem.
At a cost of approx £95 (including a quick release lens plate) it is the cheapest option on the market.

The competition

King Cobra


Cost £319, requires a quick release plate to purchased at a cost of £48.95

Wimberley Gimbal Head


Cost £410, requires quick release adaptor C-10 £89 or C-30 £99

Wimberley Sidekick


Cost £235, needs a large solid ball head for use and usually cost around £250 upwards.
May also require the purchase of a lens plate see Gimbal Head above.

Black Widow Gimbal

Available from Canada at a cost of $509 US, Lens plate $60 US.

As you can see from the above competitors, the prices are quite high. And unless you are getting a high income form your images
these can be a long way out of most peoples budgets.



Camera and Lens balanced for use.


A shot of one of our nesting Dunnocks using the above setup.




Update
After some use today I have two things to report.

1. The rubber outer on the main locking knob comes off, it is advisable to put this somewhere safe if you don't want to lose it.

2. If you carry the camera/lens mounted on the tripod, the factory set tension for panning loosens, this results in there being wobble as pointed out by Andy.
Furtunately I had something to retighten this with me.
 
L

lolyton

Guest
#2
Sturdy looking piece of kit, but then with a lens like that you're gonna need it.
 
Messages
355
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#3
A bargain at that price, nice review Matt. Any negative points? Do you have total confidence in the safety of your lens on it? Everyone seems to be using a full Wimberley these days, but I'm still struggling to justify the expense for my relatively lightweight 500mm f4.5 (though the new camera is a real heavyweight).
Loan request going into Manfrotto tomorrow morning :D
 
OP
OP
MattEg

MattEg

TPer Emeritus
Messages
3,116
Name
Matthew Egan
Edit My Images
No
#4
I only received it yesterday Andy, and at the moment haven't got any negative points.

If in the future I do come across any Negative points I will add it to the review, including any potential fixes that I can come up with.

I too was in your position, and after looking at all the options including the Gitzo 1380 fluide head at £539 (this would have required purchasing a new tripod also) decided on the manfrotto.

I asked the question on Naturephotogrphers, the pro's go for the gimbals from wimberley and the above gitzo fluide, the ametuer photographers go for the manfrotto.
If Manfrotto pushed the marketing I think the prices from the other manufacturers would drop.
 
S

Steve

Guest
#5
Great review Matt and I bet you can guess what is coming next :D Do you mind if this review is added to the reviews section of the main site?

I see from the picture shown below that this setup has solved your issues with the Sigma..I would guess that you are completely happy and regard the money as being well spent?
 
OP
OP
MattEg

MattEg

TPer Emeritus
Messages
3,116
Name
Matthew Egan
Edit My Images
No
#6
Yes Steve, the money was well spent, and I don't mind the review being added to any part of the site.

Hopefully I will get to put it to the test at the weekend, but with the forecasted weather I might have to wait.
 
S

Steve

Guest
#7
Cheers Matt, I will have a word with EosD and see if he will be his usual very efficient self ;)

I will keep my fingers crossed for the weather being good, I could do with it being nice as well as I am away from this weekend and the whole of next week too. This time I am staying in the UK so what you get I will also :shock:
 
Messages
355
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#8
Matt said:
I only received it yesterday Andy, and at the moment haven't got any negative points.

If in the future I do come across any Negative points I will add it to the review, including any potential fixes that I can come up with.

I too was in your position, and after looking at all the options including the Gitzo 1380 fluide head at £539 (this would have required purchasing a new tripod also) decided on the manfrotto.

I asked the question on Naturephotogrphers, the pro's go for the gimbals from wimberley and the above gitzo fluide, the ametuer photographers go for the manfrotto.
If Manfrotto pushed the marketing I think the prices from the other manufacturers would drop.
A full Wimberley is the business for a 500/600mm f4 (or your rocket, or even the 300-800 beloved of a certain young lady in your county), but my f4.5 is a lightweight in comaparison.

Oddly enough Gitzo and Manfrotto are ultimately owned by the same group... though they keep very seperate lives. Keep us informed of your findings with this bargain, and like I said, I'll see if I can get hold of one over the next few weeks... more than handy as I now at last have a camera capable of some decent flight photos.

cheers,
Andy
 
OP
OP
MattEg

MattEg

TPer Emeritus
Messages
3,116
Name
Matthew Egan
Edit My Images
No
#9
Steve said:
Cheers Matt, I will have a word with EosD and see if he will be his usual very efficient self ;)

I will keep my fingers crossed for the weather being good, I could do with it being nice as well as I am away from this weekend and the whole of next week too. This time I am staying in the UK so what you get I will also :shock:
Hopefully you'll get more if the weathers bad :D

Only joking.

Have a good week, look forward to seeing some of your images.
 
L

lolyton

Guest
#10
Looks like it's a carbon fibre tripod from the pics, does that make it light enough to lug out into the wilderness with a fair size backpack? I'm used to lugging around Manfrotto tripods of a similar size (different heads though and they weigh a bit themselves) but the ones i have are metal and weigh a ton (not literally). It's always an effort taking them anywhere.
 
OP
OP
MattEg

MattEg

TPer Emeritus
Messages
3,116
Name
Matthew Egan
Edit My Images
No
#11
It is a carbon fibre tripod the Gitzo explorer 2227.
The weight of this is 2kg, which really isn't light compared to some aluminium ones.
Gitzo do some CF tripods that weight between 1-1.5kg which is nearly a 1Kg lighter than some of the well known Alu tripods.

I carry this about on my backpack wihout any problems.
 
S

Steve

Guest
#12
Matt said:
Hopefully you'll get more if the weathers bad :D

Only joking.

Have a good week, look forward to seeing some of your images.
:LOL: :LOL: [smilie=n:

We have a few things to get sorted and yes, I hope to do some photography as well. Unusually I have not got anything in mind for this trip so I will have to work harder to get some worthwhile photographs.
 
Messages
355
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#13
Further to this review, just found out one of our Phillipine photographers is using this head with his 300-800mm Sigma. He hasn't had it very long and is delighted with it but says there's a tiny bit of play in the rotating base that causes some minor wobble (not a problem as he puts his hand on top of the lens to dampen mirror slap anyway) ... and in fairness he does say it may be cured with some more tightening.

Slight edit: Thought I'd put a link to Romy's page of birds taken on his first day using this head. The photos are taken with an even larger lens than Matt's (some with 1.4x tc as well!!), just proving that this is more than a poor man's Wimberley and very capable of producing the results.
http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/candaba8
 
Messages
355
Name
Andy
Edit My Images
No
#15
Received the Manfrotto 393 this morning (thanks Manfrotto). Initial tests really do mirror Matt's findings... in fact I have yet to discover any real flaw (o.k. that rubber knob grip does come off quite easily, probably glue it on if it were my own head). I haven't used anyone's full Wimberley for over 6 months, but to me this head doesn't come across as being inferior in it's action. I've got a major birding week coming up later in the month, looking forward to some flight shots with this head.



cheers,
Andy
 

Matt

Staff member
Messages
37,550
Name
matt
Edit My Images
Yes
#16
this review is now in the main site, thanks Matt
 
Top