Manfrotto's Nitrotech tripod head creates smooth video effects — for a price

Manfrotto’s new video tripod head is smooth — and we’re not talking about the sleek red-and-black design. The Nitrotech N8 Video Head, launched on Wednesday by the Italian photography accessory company, uses a nitrogen piston to counterbalance heavy rigs up to 17.6 pounds.

The nitrogen piston, a design unique to the photography market, guarantees continuous counterbalance, Manfrotto says, offering both steady shots and precise control over the camera’s movements.  The counterbalance system creates smooth motion by using the pull of gravity to balance out the camera without locking it in place.

The variable fluidity mechanism gives photographers and videographers the ability to control just how quickly the camera moves in continuous pan-and-tilt motion. That motion control, Manfrotto says, allows for judder-free, smooth video effects. Along with the smooth video motion, Manfrotto says the tripod head also works well for photography, particularly when using long telephoto lenses.

The rig can pan 360 degrees, while the front tilt allows for a range of motion from -70 degrees to 90 degrees. The head attaches to a tripod with a 75mm half ball for more precise leveling. A bubble level assists with the setup, and in low light, the level is still visible thanks to a built-in light powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery

A flat base houses the new nitrogen piston, which allows the head to be used with video sliders, cranes, and jibs, as well as tripods. A quick-release attachment plate makes for easy set-up using slide-to-lock mechanism, with both quarter-inch and 3/8-inch standard threads. The $20 Easy Link attachment system allows the head to adapt to different accessories, including an external monitor.

That smooth motion will cost you, however — the head alone lists for $450. It’s $949 with aluminum twin legs or $1,179 with single carbon fiber legs.

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