Manfrotto MH804-3W Review

The MH804-3W is an entry level pan-tilt head from Manfrotto.  The head can be purchased separately, but is most often included with a kit.  This is an economical head offering, and it shows in the performance.

NameManfrotto MH804-3WUS
TypePan Tilt
Stiffness About Vertical Axis732 +/- 8 Nm/rad
Stiffness About Radial Axis551 +/- 8 Nm/rad
Retail Price$130
Weight1.58 lbs (0.715 kgs)
Manufacturer weight rating8.8 lbs (0.32kgs)
Maximum Height4.8 in (12.2 cm)
Base Diameter2.1 in (5.3 cm)
Ball DiameterN/A mm
Tension Controlno
Panning Lockyes
Quick ReleaseRC2

There is no mincing words here.  The stiffness performance of this head is quite poor.  The head is also heavy, as most pan-tilt heads are, and the combination here makes for one of the lowest scoring heads I have tested.  The flexibility of this head should negatively impact the performance of any tripod system it is used with, with the exception of the smallest, lightest travel systems.  But you wouldn’t use this head on such a tripod anyways.  If you are reading this review because you own this head and have not been happy with the stiffness of your camera support system, this head is a likely culprit.  Strongly consider upgrading.

The build quality of the MH804, like most Manfrotto products, is good.  If not abused, this head should last for many years of use.  All of the knob actions are smooth and easy to use.  No complaints from a usability perspective.  The MH804 uses Manfrotto’s RC2 quick release system.  This system is fast, cheap, and simple to use.  Unfortunately though it is not very stiff and isn’t compatible with camera specific plates.  For light duty applications it does the trick though.

The only reason you should buy this head is if you are using a small camera in still conditions, and you want a well-built pan-tilt head for the precise control over each axis such a head provides.  Otherwise, avoid.  If you already own this head, consider upgrading if you feel the need to upgrade the performance of your tripod.