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.


How to Use the 200PL Quick Release Plate


While there is nothing particularly complicated about the 200PL plate, there are a few things you should know.


This plate the most commonly sold and used Manfrotto quick release plate. This is good, because it gives you more choices of heads, monopods and tripods to use, without removing the quick release plate from your camera.

This plate shown to the right is the 1/4 inch screw that universally fits most small film and digital cameras ( Click here for size info) while the 3/8 size ( Click here for size info) will fit some medium format film cameras, view cameras and larger telephoto lenses that use the 3/8 screw.  The 200PL is the standard 1/4 screw and includes a 3/8 thread adapter to make it a 3/8 screw.  You can still buy a 3/8 plate if you want the strength and piece of mind of not using an adapter screw. Either way, get a plate for each camera and large lens that will fit a tripod. This way you can use the tripod without having to continuously change plates every time you use a different camera.   The screw is centered on the plate, there is also an anti-rotation pin that can be removed if not needed.  The anti-rotation pin is for video cameras that have a guide hole next to the tripod screw pin the base of the camera.

On the bottom of the plate, embossed into the plate is the word “Lens >” the arrow should be pointing toward the lens on the camera.  This makes sure that the lens is oriented correctly on the head.  This will ensure that the handles and knobs are all within reach for easy use.


While this may seem a small thing, if you are purchasing and using the Architectural plate with 1/4 inch screw ( See left, or Click here for more) this is important. Because the correct orientation when making panoramic shots, or verticals will ensure that the handles on some heads will NOT be in the way.  Some heads cannot be operated because the camera will be in the way if the camera is on the plate wrong. The Architectural plate is also available in a 3/8 inch screw as well.

As you can see to the left the architectural plate has a floating plate with a lip that snugs against the camera so it will not rotate when in the vertical position.

There are replacement screws for the 1/4 Plate or for the  3/8 screw  or you can buy the 3/8 adapter which can be used on this plate as well.  The 3/8 adapter we sell has more threads than may lesser adapters we’ve seen.  This should make the fit stronger and more secure, so the threads in your camera re not stripped or damaged.

As always, we recommend that you zip tie or stow a spare plate inside your camera bag some where, just in case you loose one.  Because your tripod is useless without one.

We have a wide selection of quick releases, adapters and parts and pieces on this accessory webpage.

New Manfrotto MVM450A Video Monopod with Fluid Base


Parts450AmonopodIntroducing the newest addition to the Manfrotto line of fluid monopods !

The MVM450a is the fully functional MVM250A fluid video monopod with a MHXPRO-2W Video head on top.  This monopod is ready go, featuring both a fluid head on top and the removable MVA50A base; which can now be purchased separately as well!

Key Benefits and Features:  MHXPRO-2W Video Head:
This head is quickly becoming the best selling video head on the market.  The head features a  200PL Quick Release Plate (Click here for purchase and size info) Which is Manfrottos most popular plate, and most universally used on both photo, video and monopod heads.
 Portability:
Great solution for those users who are looking for a compact and light weight support for the camera. It can be easily carried around and in those situations where the use of a tripod is not possible because of the lack of space.
 Operating Height:
Four Sections on the monopod offers a great range of operating heights. This allows the user to be more flexible while shooting and reach points of view that otherwise wouldn’t be achievable. Whether shooting at eye level or overhead you always have a smooth pan in a very limited footprint. Minimum height flooded is 30.31 inches and maximum extended height is 78.74 inches including the head. Weighs only slightly more than 4 lbs. Safe operating capacity is 8.8 pounds of gear.

New Monopod foot with fluid cartridge

New Monopod foot with fluid cartridge

 Patented Fluid Base System:
Features the patented fluid cartridge system incorporated into the base that gives an incredibly smooth panning action to the monopod while shooting video.
 Fluid Base:
The fluid base accessory will convert a photo monopod into a fully functional and video monopod. Compatible with Manfrotto models; 679B, 680B, 558B, and all the photo monopods that feature a 20mm tube in the last section.
 Reasonable Price:
The MVM450a is expected to retail for for about $ 249.99, including the installed fluid base.

Click Here to see pricing and availability.