Remedies For Sticking Tripod Head?

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    • #84883

      I have a “e-image tripod” and I use a Panasonic HMC150 Camera on it.
      It has started sticking during pans. Any suggestions on how to remedy the situation?
      How can you re-lubricate the head?
      Has anyone ever tried using graphite lubricate, the stuff you use on door locks?
      All comments appreciated.

    • #211759

      Make sure you google your stuff too you will get faster results than waiting for a response on here.


      Anyways here is what I found:


      Tri-flow is awesome for just about everything.

      The biggest thing is you have to clean the tripod no matter how much you lubricate if there is dust and dirt it will keep locking up.


      I have done this with a second hand tripod I bought and it worked really well for a couple months, but the lube I used gunked up and now it sticks worse than it did before, I just use it for my second camera that just sits and points no movement.


      Good luck,

      Justin Reto


    • #211827

      I advice you to set all the knobs in tight position. And little oil or grease may also help to lubricate.

    • #211961

      Be careful when using any petroleum based product as it may damage plastic parts and make things worse. CHeck with the manufacturer or one of their dealers about lubrication; they may have a product for the problem. Manfrotto makes a non-petroleum grease for their "fluid" heads like the 501HD, which isn't really a fluid head.

    • #214882
      Space Racer

      The part number is “Manfrotto R116,23. Grease”
      Beware that fluid head lubricants are hellishly expensive—the Manfrotto version is $41 in 2016, but they’re all at that level.

    • #278602

      Best lube for pan head is Krytox. Comes in both liquid and grease forms. Otherwise use *pure* PTFE lubricant; e.g., Teflon. Find on Amazon and eBay. And bike shops (chain lube).
      Do NOT use:
      * Silicone
      * WD40
      * Tri-Flow
      * Grease (lithium, white, etc)
      * Petroleum lubricants (oils) or solvents (i.e., if it contains “petroleum distillates”, do NOT use it)

    • #278604

      The trouble is that with cheap heads, it isn;t lubricant that is needed at all. Those dreadful but amazingly popular Manfrotto and badged OEM Vinten heads that are concentric rings internally packed with what appear to look like vaseline are good examples. Lubricant doesn't help- these at all – you need to clean out the gunge and re-grease. What I bought on ebay really did look like a pot of vaseline and actually be it!

    • #278605

      My own opinion, based on professional experience, is that Manfrotto fluid heads (e.g., MVH500AH) are good for the price point, and that Krytox lubricant can help the smoothness of any head. What you bought on eBay might well have been counterfeit — that's a common problem. I usually buy my gear from B&H.


    • #278608

      It could well have been – it did feel and smell like vaseline! I just don;t like these heads, and I have two bought a few years ago. They give the impression of quality, but they don't stay in one place – either lens or battery heavy, and they overshoot when the lens is at the long end. You stop turning and there's a little jerk – like when the legs wind up. Locked off they're fine, but diagonal moves are always tricky. I don't see how Krytox can really help because it's the viscosity of the vaseline like substance that provides the resistance to movement, not friction changes.

    • #278610


      Yes, a serious fluid head has smooth operation, constant (ideally adjustable) drag, no backlash, and adjustable counterbalance. And it is important to match the head to the weight and balance of the camera, especially when tilting.

      But not everyone can justify the high cost of a serious fluid head, and good results can be obtained with a decent lesser head, especially if all you need is smooth panning.

      The point of Krytox is to deal with friction from bearing design, wear, or contamination, rather than the fluid. For example, I had a modest tripod with too much uneven friction, perhaps from being overtightened at some point, that I was able to restore to smooth panning (no tilt or diagonal) with a few small drops of Krytox.

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