FT-717 A.K.A WF-717 Fluid Head + Tripod Review

bogen-504-fluid-head

There she is. She's my Eleanor. That mystical Unicorn. The legendary beast that constantly eludes me from capturing her as my own. (Referencing 'Gone is 60 Seconds'). Anyways, that's the Manfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head. It looks good and works awesome, but the fluid head alone will run you $399. Grab a set of legs with it and you're running yourself close to $900 dollars. Sure i'd love to have every single tripod in my stash to be the best, but the truth of the matter is, it wouldn't be practical. At least, not for what I do right now. For bigger projects where you think you'll need the best of the best, you can always rent. (Check out BorrowLenses.com)

Last minute, we decided to do a live shoot with different camera angles, and we wanted a shot that was done in one take all the way through. I needed a few more tripods to station cameras around the subject. In a small studio space I don't need to have every single tripod to be an expensive one. I'm finding that many times we set the camera in it's position, start the recording, and forget it. There may be some light rack focusing involved and slow pans, but we're not chasing fast moving athletes. So for the many stationary cameras, I decided to order a few of the FT-717 Tripods + Fluid Head combo kits. It's exactly the same as the WF-717 re-branded. This fluid head is almost the same as the 717AH I use for the DIY Slider, except that it is ball mounts. If you're not familiar with the ball mounts, it's basically a super fast simple way to get that final adjustment into leveling your camera.

wf717-tripod
find-price-button WF-717 Ball Mount Video Fluid Head + Three Stage Aluminum Tripod + Travel Bag

This is a three stage Tripod that has a very wide rail design common for Video tripods, and also has a center brace for extra sturdiness. Three stages of adjustments means that it can collapse shorter to make traveling easier. I've seen some monopods with 5 stages that allows it to collapse down to less than 16" for traveling and cheaper tripods may only come in 2 stages. Once the tripod is extended to your liking, leveling the camera is fast with a simple turn of the knob at the ball head. This particular design is also available in plastic if weight is a concern, but I opted for the metal version mainly for durability.

three-stage-tripod
find-price-button WF-717 Ball Mount Video Fluid Head + Three Stage Aluminum Tripod + Travel Bag

I have several different tripods, and one is a beast which can extend to 7ft high. If this WF-717 / FT-717 would be your only tripod, there's some things to keep in mind. Getting the camera to eye level is important for some shots, and because this is a ball mount head, there's no adjustable center neck with this particular tripod. You'll lose about 1 ft compared to the other types of tripods. With the legs fully extended the base of the camera will sit at 53" inches. Bringing the legs close together and 'cheating' a bit, you'll gain maybe 2-3 inches of additional height. This type of tripod is perfect if you're elevated, shooting low shots, if you're at a distance from your subject, or if your subject is seated.

Panning horizontally was a bit stiff right out of the box, but performed very smoothly after working them in. I believe it's because there is just random fluid thrown into the head before shipping. Once you've worked it in, it's very very smooth, especially when adding the weight of your camera and lens. A few nice additions too. The WF-717 Ball Head + Tripod also has a built in retractable bungee hook used to wrap it up and keep the legs from opening up as you carry it. It also ships with a pretty nice travel bag that includes a sling strap for hands-free carry. It's no Eleanor, but I was able to grab three of these for about the price of a single Bogen 504HD Fluid head.

WF-717-Tripod-Fluid-Head-Review
find-price-button WF-717 Ball Mount Video Fluid Head + Three Stage Aluminum Tripod + Travel Bag

 51 Comments





51 thoughts on “FT-717 A.K.A WF-717 Fluid Head + Tripod Review

  1. Chris Perilli

    Bought this tripod a while back, while it's decent fluid head with smooth shots, it's crap. the spreader got destroyed in a few months, the locking knobs also stripped. the fluid head started to loosen up which I have to tighten often. My buddy bought the same one, same stuff happened.

    I say if you are going to put a 3k 5dmark3 on something it should be a decent sticks like Manfrotto at least go for the money you can't go wrong with it.

  2. David

    Hey Emm,
    Do you think this Tripod would support a prom 8ft jib with a 5D MkII and tamron 28-75mm lens on it? If not what could you recommend? On a budget.

  3. Rory

    The "fluid" they put in these for the panning is glue, and not even a grease!! mine has been super stiff from day 1 and I pulled it apart to see what was going on

  4. Pingback:

  5. I can't seem to find what you are talking about. I guess I just bought the wrong tripod thinking they were all easy to remove and reattach they make way to many different similar models its very confusing . Right now Im using a joby gorilla pod ball head x which works good but the magnet part cause some minor shakiness when going at fast speeds anything you would recommend as far as a ball head or tripod head or an accessory to get the smoothest video possible ? Or is moving it by hand what is recommended ?

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @JC - Look for tiny locking screws under the head mount. Once you remove those tiny locking screws, you can unscrew the whole head. Lock down the panning motion and then turn the head counter clockwise. It will come off, just give it a good smack once the locking screws are off.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Jon - The 717 Bowl Mount is not the same as the basic thread mount. You cannot remove the bowl.

  8. Jon

    Hi Emm!

    Is it possible to unscrew the ball part of the fluid head, mount a konova slider on the ball part, and then mount the fluid head on the slider?

    The manfrotto 525 with 501 head will do this with the aid of a screwdriver, but it's out of my price range.

    Or is the head on the 717 sturdy enough to put a konova on it and then have a second fluid head on the slider?

    I tried this combo with my present tripod, a Velbon C-600, but the head and QR plate are plastic, and the fluid character of the velbon head just isn't tight enough when locked so I get a see-saw thing going on when doing a horizontal slide.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Daniel H- That's a bowl mount head and tripod. Similar but not exact. Looks like metal.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @utah62 - I think sometimes they go by what it's packaged with, like a Tripod.

  11. Emm

    Post author

    @Kelly - I belive it's metal + plastic legs. Not the beefiest set, but was a good buy when it was on sale + fluid head.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Ben Hickson - No problems whatsoever and customer service is great. They appear to be the same from what I can tell...

  13. Ben Hickson

    Hey Emm I have a question. I'm trying to decide between the "ePhoto" one on amazon and this one:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/543319-REG/VariZoom_VZ_TK75A_VZ_TK75A_Aluminum_Tripod_System.html

    They appear to be the same equipment. My question is: is VariZoom a good brand name? Or are they known for making cheap gear? Would I be better off going with the Weifeng one? What do you think would appear more professional?

    The $30 difference doesnt matter, I want to get one that I can rely on and won't embarass me too much. I'm not expecting anything world class of course, but I'd like to not buy something that is obviously a bad brand. Did you get any lemon equipment with the ePhoto stuff or do all tripods perform perfectly, no blemishes, broken equipment etc.?

  14. Emm,

    I am just wondering when you stated "There’s a way to loosen up panning by cleaning out some of the excess fluid..."

    Where and how do I access that on the head.
    Mine arrived today and I'm trying to loosen it up a bit.

    Came with no instructions or maintenance although getting bowl & control arm on was done in a few minutes.

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @MV - If you checked out how I mounted a Quick Release plate to my television, that's pretty much the same concept. Ball head or not, you can mount the quick release plate directly to the slider. When you're ready to use the slider, just put it onto the fluid head (since the quick plate is attached).

    Depending on how long of a slider you got, you can get away with just one tripod down the middle.

  16. Alex

    Are there any quick release plates for this yet? It's a pain having to change quick release plates for other kit and this is ultimately holding back this head...

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Rabby - There's a way to loosen up panning by cleaning out some of the excess fluid. The hook is for wrapping the tripod up when transporting. Fold the entire unit up, pull the hook out, and wrap it around the tripod. Hook it to one of the legs. This will keep the legs from flapping all over the place while transporting.

  18. spaceflows

    Recieved mine today as well. Smooth and sweet. Came very quickly from the seller on eBay. I did notice that this is different than the one available with the ball mount & heavy-duty sticks in that it has a different brand name: Fancier instead of Weifeng. Are these distributors, model names, or what?

    Regardless, nice find as always, Emm!

  19. Rabby

    Just got today and tested it works great. Bit stiff when panning but then panning shouldnt be crazy. Worth the price. Still don't know what that little hook is for. Anyways...

    Thanks. Emm
    -Rabby

  20. spaceflows

    I've had this model for about a month, with minimal use, and I'm noticing little things starting to fall off it... Like the cover for the tilt tension knob just popped off the other day and won't stay on, so now it's off for good. Also, the labels on the leg knobs are peeling off. None of this affects the actual stability of the sticks, for which I am thankful, but it is a little disheartening.

    On the other hand, I just picked up a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod and Manfrotto 498RC2 ball head... Wow! Beautiful and sturdy and flexible as all get out! The difference in build is pretty staggering.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Charlie - can you be more specific of what broke? I've had my fluid head for a long time time and beat it up pretty good. These tripods are all metal construction, with very little parts, I can't see how it could just break?

  22. Charlie

    i have the FT-717 Tripods + Fluid Head combo kit. The damn thing broke after using for about 2 weeks.

  23. I'm seriously considering this. However, if it is simply meh then I'd like to invest more toget something that I'm actually happy with.

    What would you get if you had $300 to spend on a tripod/fluid head?

  24. Bob James

    Emm

    totally right price of tripods and renting if you need more. As Robert Rodriguez would say "it's just a stand. Do you want you film to look stiff? Then take it off the stand".

    So no need in putting TONS of money into a 'stand'. I owned the Manfrotto 535 sticks and 501 head and sold it. Too bulky. I order one of these last week. It's cheap and now the leftover money into more lenses. Thanks

  25. This is my first video tripod and I've been very happy with it. the only issue i have is the height, when shooting interviews sometimes I need to tilt up, but its solid and sturdy and great for the price. There is one knob that holds the leg in that gets loose from time to time, but for the price, its a win for those on a budget.

  26. Quick

    So, the head seems to be the same, but the legs are different. What would you get, this one or the other?

  27. I bought one of these a few months ago after seeing your original video of the 717 head.

    It's not the most amazing tripod in the world but it's lightweight, easy to set up and sturdy.
    I'm pretty happy with the fluid head too.

  28. Emm

    Post author

    @Chris - So far, none. For those who wanted the cheap price, they ended up putting another Quick Release adapter on the Fluid head.

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @Princeton - Same build, but different mount. This tripod one comes with a ball head mount. The 717AH is a 3/8" thread mount.

  30. Hey Emm,

    Is this the same fluid head you use to demonstrate putting the video head on a slider? I was going to buy one of these heads to use on my glidetrack. I've seen a few different post you did but not sure which one to get. I like this one because it comes with the heavy duty legs as well.
    But can I still detach it to use on my glide track too without any problems? Thanks:)

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