Libec TH-X Head and Tripod System – Drop In Style Manfrotto 501PL Compatible

These days when i'm asked to suggest a good Video Fluid Head to support small camera setups, my go to advice has been to suggest the Manfrotto MVH500AH (seen here). It's a great entry level head, but I mainly suggest this because it supports the 501PL style plate (heavily used in the industry), and also because it uses a 'Drop in' style quick release system. I prefer this over the type where you have to slide your QR plate into the head.

I've found the Drop-In style quick release system easier and faster on set, and also more compatible with all of the cheaper generic 501PL plates (found here) allowing me to save a lot of money when I need to buy new plates.

I've always found Libec to offer high quality equipment, but because many people depend on 501PL plates, they may not have been a popular choice. Some Sachtler and Benro Tripods use the 501PL plate system, which may have been a reason they were easier for many people to adopt. I probably would have used Benro more, but I chose to stick with the Manfrotto MVH500AH specifically because of the Drop-in style plate.

For these specific reasons, i'm excited about the new Libec TH-X Head. They have finally implemented the use of 501PL compatible plates along with the Drop-in Style Quick Release System. The TH-X Video Head is a great option for entry level shooters and cameras around 8-9 lbs as it is designed with a fixed drag on Pan and Tilt, and a fixed counterbalance.

I've been working the MVH500AH Video head for quite a long time, but only until I've been working with the Libec TH-X did I realize how much I prefer the quick release latch to be located on the left side. You'll typically use your right hand to pick up any camera (because every camera has a right hand grip), and so it makes perfect sense to release a latch with your left hand. On the Manfrotto it takes me a few extra hand swaps to release my camera.

The new Libec TH-X Head is also a Dual Function Head as it can be used on a 65mm Bowl Mount Tripod or any standard flat base with it's 3/8" threaded mount. For Manfrotto these are offered with two different heads - the MVH500AH for a flat base or the MVH500A for a bowl mount. The TH-X is versatile in this manner as you can level your camera on a tripod very quickly using the bowl mount, and then throw it onto any Video Slider, Table Dolly, or Jib without requiring any adapters.

Right now the Libec TH-X Head is offered as a complete Tripod System (here), yet is more affordable when compared with the similar Manfrotto MVK500AM Tripod System (found here). There is definitely a like to like with Libec's latest tripod system, and the fact is there is not many options for video heads that offer a 'Drop-In' style quick release system. The TH-X Head is easily one that I will suggest to others looking for that drop-in plate system, and something I will be using as part of my daily gear.

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6 thoughts on “Libec TH-X Head and Tripod System – Drop In Style Manfrotto 501PL Compatible

  1. I saw your video-review ... great work I am currently thinking about either buying the MVH500A or the Libec TH-X. Just comparing the head itself (ignoring the plate for a moment) as you were using both, is there one over the other that you would prefer? What about stability, friction etc. I slightly tend to the Manfrotto unless somebody can really tell me the Libec is working as stable and good. I need to mount a Panasonic AG-3DA1

  2. Post author

    @J Han - Not anything cheap for a Drop In style Manfrotto 501PL plate, but you can also go the Arca Swiss Route. It's not very clean, and doesn't transition well when working with other people and their equipment though.

  3. J Han

    I'm with @krys. I have a tripod, mini tripod (I use as a high hat), and a spare head I use for my mono pod and my slider. all are different heads/plates.

    Is there 3 bases I can buy and attach to all that can take the same 501pl, preferably that have the load from the top ability. this sliding in thing is just crap on a stick.

    I've been doing it for years and it wasn't an issue until the cameras all changed.

  4. krys

    do you know if there are any third party drop in quick release adapters? i see a lot of plates available. and a lot of sliding adapters. but can't find any drop in style QR adapters

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