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Velbon Videomate 538/F Aluminum Tripod with Fluid Pan and Tilt Head Review

Hey guys, Tom Collins here and I am obsessed with electronic gadgetry. One of my favorite hobbies is photography so I am going to review the Velbon Videomate 538/F Tripod. I bought one and I love it. The link is above and here it is again:

I have an older tripod that I bought to video our son play football years ago. Back then, I didn’t know much about photography and while I am not a professional, I can tell what works and what doesn’t. The Dynex tripod below serves a different purpose for me even though both products look similar and have similar functionality.

Here is a link to the more inexpensive Dynex tripod that I also own:

While I love to write, one of my favorite things to do when traveling is to document our trips with photos and videos. Over the years, I have accumulated a fairly substantial amount of photo and video gear. Some has worked very well and some was just useless. I like these tripods for different reasons and plan to continue to use them both.

On our most recent trip to Mexico, I wanted to practice taking some sweeping pan shots of the ocean. An online videography course mentioned that a “fluid pan” tripod was necessary to avoid the jerkiness that occurs on many tripods. The technology behind the true “fluid head” tripod is a bit complicated but simply put, it reduces friction by using a dampening system that eliminates jerky starts, stops and pans. Here is a YouTube video that explains it in full detail:

Like the video says: avoid cheap representations of the true fluid head tripod. Some ads will call the product “fluid like” or something else that does not truly call the product “fluid” which for our purposes means “smooth.” The Dynex tripod at $21.09 is almost 1/5 the price of the Velbon at $99.95. If you are a true amateur or just starting out like I was when I bought the Dynex, the more inexpensive solution just might work for you. I bought the Velbon because I wanted to make better videos to share with my friends, family and readers. I have a fairly nice Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera so I wanted to get another tripod that could show what the Canon could produce.

Here is a video I just took using the Dynex:

And here is a video I took recently using the Velbon:

Some final thoughts: The Dynex tripod definitely has a place in my gear bag. At just over $20, I’m not worried about damaging it too much. I can take it to the beach, near or even in the water and setting it up on muddy or rocky terrain is no worry. The more expensive Velbon tripod has a very specific duty: smooth pan video shots. I am a lot more careful when using this tripod due to its cost. Do I use both? Absolutely. The Dynex is great for still shots and still videos. I have also used it for time-lapse photo sequences and for static video interviews. They are both great products and I am glad to own each one. As my skills as a photographer and videographer improve, I am sure I will find other items that will add to the variety and quality of my work. Here is an item I know very little about but I am dying to get:

Movo Photo CTS300-II Panoramic 120° Circular Camera Sliding Track System with Roller Bearing Sliding Platform

Because with this…you can do this:

I hope this has been helpful information. When I find something useful, I will definitely recommend it to my friends and I hope they will do the same for me.

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