There are several answers to this one question.
- As long as your tripod is a Manfrotto or a Bogen (made by Manfrotto) it should be possible to fix it. Stay with in the brand for better results. Manfrotto parts do not fit MeFoto, Vanguard or other tripod brands.
- Try to stay within a model series; Bogen 3221, 3021 or Manfrotto 055XPRO and 055XPROB are similar enough to be interchangeable, but not from the Bogen brand to the Manfrotto brand.
- As long as the parts as similar enough to the original, it should be possible. A 1mm or 2mm difference on a clamp or a tube is ok it the parts are measuring 20mm or 30mm wide. The smaller the amount of the variation the better.
What are the variables in repairing the old tripod with new parts? From the feet up…
Feet. Rubber feet are standard on most tripods. The feet are usually based on the diameter of the bottom tube. Click Here for the page that has the feet listed by diameter. A few tripods have special shapes that can only be replaced with the original part.
Most of the time the feet on tripods are rubber push ons. Some versions of tripods have retractible spiked feet that came on the tripod as part of a kit, or the spike feet were added later by the user. There are also suction cup feet that have the pikes and very wide rubber cups. The spikes are useful on ice and other hard surfaces you want to “bite”into, the wide cups are great for loose gravel or sand, and the rubber feet help protect your indoor floors like wood and marble. A suction cup foot on smooth marble floors is remarkable in how little slippage there is even though the surface is slick.
Leg tubes. There are round tubes, 6 sided tubes (3 round and 3 flat sides), 2 sided (round with a flat side) and square or triangular shaped. Obviously the round tubes will only fit the round tubes. Some of the round tubes have flutes inside that keep them from rotating. These have got to match, and nest correctly so they will slide freely inside each other. These will be available by diameter and length for each model. Also in silver or black, depending upon the tripod model. Call for price and availability – 864-583-6835
Leg Locks. Leg locks are interchangeable in the same way leg tubes are; very limited but entirely based on diameter. The round tubed tripods HAVE to use round tube leg locks. Some 2 or 6 sided tubes may appear to be the correct diameter, but they WILL NOT WORK without modification of the leg lock. This is not something regular people can do without the use of a machine shop. Also there are snap locks, that snap open and locked. Flip locks flip up and down to lock. Screw locks twist one or two revolutions to lock. None of these three types of locks are interchangeable.
Leg Braces. These are the parts that connect the main casting to the legs. The leg braces have to use the EXACT same type of tube they were made for. Round braces can only take round tubes, the braces that are round with a flat side can only take those tubes etc, etc. Leg braces are also particular in that they have hinge points that may point inward, or outward. There are also different sizes of these braces. The Manfrotto 055 series had at least 5 versions using 3 different braces; then there was the 055XPRO series and then the new MT055 series that uses different braces altogether, and incompatible with the ear;lier versions.
Main castings. This is the crucial part that holds the tripod together. The main casting also comes in many types as well. Some older tripods us a single casting, that if cracked or broken cannot be glued or welded back together. Other tripods use two piece castings that screw together. So that is an exact replacement part only. Some of the main castings that are two part have to have can exact match on the guide holes that hold the two haves together, as well as the diameter of the hinge points and the width of the hinge points.
Center Column. Center columns are matched to the type of main casting the tripod uses. Round, fluted, geared, 6 sided, triangular are all variables. There are no adapters to make on fit another. There is not a way to add a gear and crank to a non-gear center column. So as with all Manfrotto or Bogen gear you must be specific and get the exact part, since there are no universal parts.
Center Column Pivot. Center columns on the XPRO tripods have a pivot that will allow the center column to pivot or to be removed and reinserted horizontally. These pivot points are different on the different series of tripods, and the pivots are different on the different models. So, none of these are interchangeable.
So, with this brief primer on parts differences, if you have questions or are not sure, but you need a tripod repair, then just send it in to us for an evaluation. Tune ups are currently $25 + return shipping + parts. We will let you know what the charge is before we start any repairs. Click here for more information.