As a videographer, I’ve had the opportunity to use a plethora of tripods ranging from small tabletop units to large 5-figure behemoths at sporting events. Currently, I’m on the hunt for a tripod ideal for shooting video with DSLR or mirrorless cameras. I want the tripod to be durable enough for the daily grind, smooth enough for precise camera moves, and at a price point that offers substantial value.
I was sent the Magnus REX VT-5000 tripod to review. Was this the answer to my search?
The tripod came in a nice padded case with shoulder strap that was perfect for carrying the unit. Opening the case, I found the Magnus Rex VT-5000 folded down to a 32.5-inch size.
The 2-stage black aluminum tripod weighs in at a little over 11 pounds. It’s not a tripod to backpack with on your vacation, but I immediately felt it was sturdy, portable and versatile enough to be a tool for the daily grind of a videographer.
Setup of the three leg sections with lever locks is quick and easy. There is an integrated mid-level locking spreader, which increases stability. This spreader has 4.25 inches of adjustment if you need a wide base.
The legs can be spread independently of one another, an excellent feature when working in an un-level environment. If you shake the legs with your hand, you’ll barely perceive wobble. This makes me confidant in its durability for its intended application.
Fully extended, the tripod has a 64.25-inch height. The minimum height is 29 inches. The rubber feet are extremely non-slip on a variety of surfaces. I would definitely trust them. If shooting outdoors on the ground, remove the rubber feet to use the dual metal spikes.
The fluid head sits in a 75mm bowl, which the manufacturer claims can support 17 pounds. An adjustable arm (rosette fitting) can attach to the left or right side of the head, which has a level.
The quick-release plate offers 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 screws. Unscrew the screw you don’t need so that it doesn’t interfere with your lens attachment or unfolding your camera’s LCD monitor. The plate easily slides in and locks firmly into place with the plate locking knob. The long plate allows a 3.25-inch range of movement to balance your camera. The plate release button works smoothly.
I especially like the extra 1/4″-20 mounting holes on both front sides. This allows me to attach my beloved Noga articulating arm and Atomos monitor if needed.
Using an Olympus camera on the tripod, I tested the pan and tilt control. When the pan lock is wide-open, the fluid head pans freely and loosely with no sticking. If you turn the pan lock just a little to introduce some drag for better control, the pan is smooth for most of the move but not for a wider-degree pan. There is a gradual build up of sticking.
The fluid head exhibits a stiffer tilt, as one would expect with a tripod featuring a fixed spring-loaded counterbalance. You will get smooth tilts, but it is more effort to tilt fast than to pan fast.
Tilting is even, well-controlled and offers a good degree range. However, I did not notice a great range of drag. A tilt drag control increases or decreases the time it takes for the head to return to vertical. I did not find the head to always return to vertical, but I do not mind erring on the stiff side … the head certainly is not going to fall forward or backward unintentionally.
One thing I missed on this tripod was a stepped pan, tilt and counterbalance control. I use a lot of accessories when shooting, so a stepped control allows me to dial in exactly what I need for precise balance and movement with a heavier load. I also enjoy having a better range of drag. However, Magnus offers a VT-6000 model that includes this feature (and a higher price) for those that need it. I have not tried the VT-6000 model.
This is a good tripod that offers great stability and features at its price point. It’s as easy to set up as tripods get, durable enough to be a workhorse and offers nice height. In addition, its weight capacity can handle accessories such as a secondary monitor, mic receiver, or small light. This is a huge plus. The pan and tilt control of this tripod is at a pleasing smoothness level for a tripod that is priced under $250.
While this tripod checks many of the boxes for me, my typical shooting scenarios lead me to personally prefer a greater range of counterbalance options, drag and maneuverability. Nonetheless, this tripod offers huge value and rivals many tripods that are double the price. Magnus makes a run at being the king of this price category.
As always, choosing a tripod depends on your shooting demands, typical type of work and comfort level. For users such as hobbyists, independent film makers or pros on a budget, this effective tripod is a bargain. The VT-5000 spans the gap between quality and affordability and will get the job done for you.