If you’re following closely, you might have noticed that I am writing more about video these days. That’s because I am shooting more video these days. My clients prefer it now about 50% of the time. (Check out my latest video about peace, right here.)
I’ve struggled with the video side of the business for 10 years. I am not naturally gifted when it comes to video. And I didn’t have the advantage you 20 and 30-year-olds had in terms of growing up with all the tools you need to make great video.
But finally, after 10 years of frustration, failure, and practice and more frustration and failure, I am finally to the point where I can safely say I no longer suck at video 🙂
Because video requires a whole different toolkit if you want to really dive in, I decided I wanted a real video tripod with fluid head. You can make a photography tripod work, you can even add a fluid head to a photography tripod, but it’s still not quite the same thing, at least in my opinion.
I looked into tripods and heads from all the big names like Miller, O’Connor, Sachtler and Acebill. Talk about sticker shock… there are dozens of models to choose from in the $5000 to $19000 price range! That’s more than I want to spend. So I looked at the next tier. Manfrotto and Benro are big players in the under $5000 video tripod segment. They make nice stuff.
But since video is not my main thing, that’s still more than I wanted to spend. Then I found out about the Magnus REX VT-6000 2-Stage Video Tripod with Fluid Head.
This is a tripod and head that are specifically designed for video. And at $549, it is very affordable.
When it comes to shooting video, you need a tripod and a head that are rated for heavier gear. Even if you are a mirrorless shooter like me, or someone who uses smartphones, by the time you add cages, lights, microphones, etc., the rigs can get pretty heavy.
My rule of thumb is I want to find tripod/head combos that are rated for twice the weight of my rig. The VT-6000 is rated at 17 pounds of load capacity which is just perfect for me, because my biggest video setup only weighs about 8.25 pounds.
One of the reasons you want a video head is the need to move the camera. In still photography, we lock down every shot. In video, (think motion pictures) the movement is important. If you just have lots of locked down, static video shots, then you might as well be shooting stills.
The bread and butter moves for video shooters are pans and tilts. This beefy tripod and fluid head combo helps make those moves smooth as butter. It’s hard for me to overstate how important a robust tripod and head are for video. If all you have ever done is shoot stills, you probably won’t get it. But when you try to pan or tilt with an inferior tripod and/or head, your shots will suffer.
Here are the basic specs on the VT-6000:
Sliding Balance Plate
Supports up to 17 Pounds
Stepped Pan, Tilt and Counterbalance
Min Height 29.3 ”
Max Height 65 ”
Mid-level locking spreader
Non-slip rubber feet or spikes
Sliding quick release plate included
Pan bar 15-23″ long and works on either side of the head
Wight 12.2 lbs
Comes WitH Carry Case
When I unboxed this unit I was impressed by the included base plate, and carry bag. It’s quick and easy to set up and the fluid head absolutely delivers, and then some. All my test pans and tilts were incredibly smooth and it’s very easy to set the amount of tension for each.
A FEW QUIBBLES
No tripod is perfect, even the $19,000 ones. And the Magnus is no exception but the quibbles I have with the unit are so minor that I am almost ashamed to mention them.
The bubble level is located in an odd spot right under the tilt drag control. It’s hard to see it but it does work. I also would prefer the pan lock be located at the back of the head with the other controls, but this is something solved with muscle memory.
There are many little details that this tripod/head get right. The camera plate is MANFROTTO shaped / designed plate and will also accommodate your OEM Manfrotto plates as well as most compatible plates. Magnus was smart not to try to re-invent the wheel here.
The Magnus Rex VT-6000 may not be as flashy or sexy as some of the more expensive and well-known name brands, but it’s every bit as capable. This is a rock solid unit that does weigh more than a carbon fiber tripod, but it’s more affordable by being made of aluminum.
I really like this unit and think it’s an incredible value, meaning you get a lot for your money with The VT-6000. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!