Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tripod Mating Issues

Yeah, that doesn't sound right to me either.

But that was the problem. How to get an old set of legs to mount to a new head.
Crap. That sounds worse.

Okay, let's try this again from the top.

A wonderful friend gave me a tripod she said she was seldom using. I took one look at it and my eyes popped out. It isn't everyday that a Bogen tripod drops into your lap. It had the most interesting head on it though.

Manfrotto 056 3D junior head - image courtesy of B&H Photo

When I started working with it, I felt like the head was going to be problematic in terms of how much adjustment it allowed for... basically it felt like you needed three arms to adjust this, and loosen that, and to hold the camera... and that is just not how I like to shoot.

Nancy encouraged me to find something that would replace this head. Searching the B&H website thanks to many recommendations from fellow bloggers, I found the Manfrotto 327RC2 Joystick Head.
Manfrotto 056 3D junior head - image courtesy of B&H Photo

This is what the underside of the new head uses for an attachment to the legs of the tripod.

This is the underside of the old head plate, attached to the old sticks. This is where I ran into a problem.

I assumed that if I just undid the setscrews in the bottom of the plate, and unscrewed the allen key in the top of the head (shown above) that this would lift up and reveal a threaded stud attached to the top plate. NOPE. I figured then, that maybe I had to pry apart that metal plate below it... NOPE.

At that point, I got frustrated... but rather than reaching for a BIG hammer, I called B&H. At first I was less than impressed with their customer service food chain. I got passed from one department to the next... five times. The last person I talked to was Patrick. Once I had Patrick on the line, his first comment was that the phone maze stopped with him. He felt confident that he could solve my problem. So I described it and rather than doing what everyone else had done: asking for my order number, my mother's maiden name, my shoe size and my favorite breath mints... he asked me to send him some images. He said he would call me right back with a solution.

Less than ten minutes passed and he called back. He walked me through what should be have been a very obvious solution. All I needed to do was tighten the daylights out of the panning knob, and the knob for the rising support, turn the head counter clock-wise and voila! There was the stud! The head popped right off!! DONE.

I was able to put my new head on in less than a minute. PERFECT. Thank you Patrick and THANK YOU B&H for hiring such great people. Having someone like that at the end of the line made my day. I know big companies have to have lots of layers of customer service... and like most big companies, the entry level of service sucks. Flat out, it just sucks. I think that is sort of the pre-filter defacto status these days.

But finding someone like Patrick , who actually WANTED to help solve my problem, was awesome. I have no problem spending money with a company who can offer that level of service whenever I need it. Thank you!

Here's my new spiffy tripod, happily joined with a new head.


  1. Thank you for posting this. We're very sorry for your initial frustration and very glad this was finally resolved to your complete satisfaction.

    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video

  2. I couldn't be happier with how my new tripod head works now. This thing is built like a tank! It just amazes me that some companies build stuff to break, and other companies like Manfrotto build stuff to last forever! Nice touch.