How to change a head on your tripod.


055 tripod

One of the simpler modifications you can make to your Manfrotto tripod is changing the head.  While you may be able to get by with only one head, having several for different situations will make you life easier.


Mt tripod

All Manfrotto, and Bogen, tripods that have center columns will allow you to lock the head so it does not unscrew during use.  The older tripods had up to 3 locking screws, we call them “grub screws,” while the newer tripods may only have one.  The grub screw is used to put tension on the head when it is screwed on, so it will not come off.  Indeed, if you have ever attempted to remove a head while the grub screws were tightened you could more easily destroy the head than unscrew it.

You don’t even need to remove the grub screw. Just backing the screw out enough to allow the head to unscrew is all that it takes.   The grub screws are accessed from the bottom of the center column plate or to the side of the plate. Just make sure they are backed out completely before you reattach the head, because the stability of the head depends upon the base of the head and the center column plate both being in good contact with each other.


If even one grub screw protruded it will prevent the head from staying locked and it may wiggle or unscrew during use.  The picture to the right is a head that never stayed on tight.  the customer sent this in for repair when it was only a grub screw that was causing the problem.  Backing out the grub screw, re tightening the head and re tightening the grub screw was all it took.

We often find on the really old Bogen tripods that the head and the center column plate might get stuck after years of being together.  Sometimes this is the aluminum wanting to bond, often its is corrosion or foreign contaminants.  Either way if you cannot unlock it, we can.

There are different grub screws for different series and models of tripods and center columns.  The old Bogen 190, 055 use three grub screws,  the Manfrotto MT190, Mt055 and MT290 tripods use a single grub screw and the 055 and 190 leveling columns use a single grub screw that accesses from the side.  The video balls also have grubs screws, found here.

If you are having problems determining parts needed, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to: Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

Trade in your old tripod & how it works.


Yes, we take old tripods on trade in.  Is it worth it?

  1. We recycle old tripods that are not salvagable, so very little other than plastic and rubber goes into the land fill.
  2. It does cost you money to ship it to us, but you get a newer tripod, with a new warranty, for less than you could buy it for, including the shipping.
  3. Having the correct tools improves your work.  Less time improvising or making non-standard parts work, messing around with an inadequate piece of crap…

Click Here for an estimated credit value list.  These are only estimates, and actual value is based on condition once we receive it.


Make money from your old gear.

This October 13th and 14th we will be making trades in the store.  Trade in’s brought in or delivered on or before that day will also be eligible for trade in credits from Manfrotto on their New tripods and heads.  In some cases, the trade in incentives and specials from the Trade In & Trade Up day will make select tripods up to HALF OFF, or more.