If you are looking to expand into videography with your camera, you’ll need a reliable, stable and fluid video tripod. I was sent the Magnus VT-4000 video tripod with dolly and the Magnus REX VT-4000 PRO tripod to review, from B&H. Were these up to the task?
First, I unboxed the Magnus VT-4000. It’s a popular budget model. The anodized aluminum construction seemed relatively sturdy for the price point. It came with a pan bar. The tripod weighed in at 7.9 pounds. It also included a case, although it was a very thin, non-padded case without a shoulder strap or compartments.
Next, I opened the Magnus REX VT-4000 PRO. I immediately noticed some differences that equated to a higher price point. It felt sturdier. The anodized aluminum alloy construction had a larger diameter, which also meant a heavier weight. It came with a 15-inch pan handle and weighed in at 9.9 pounds. The case was what one would expect — solid padded construction with a shoulder strap, buckles to secure the tripod inside and a large inner pocket.
Setting up both two-stage tripods was effortless. The VT-4000 had a clip to pull that allowed the legs to be spread. The PRO version had a hook on an elastic line to prevent unintentional opening. These legs had more resistance to being moved, which I preferred.
Upon raising both tripods, the locking latches on each section of the legs were very secure. While each tripod had a middle spreader, only the PRO version offered an adjustable spreader that could add 4.25 inches of width. The spreader locks were sturdy and secure.
Both tripods allowed two handles to be connected via rosette. Neither offered accessory mounting.
One differentiator I noticed was the tripod feet. The VT-4000 had small but sturdy rubber feet. If you retracted the rubber circular foot up, it revealed spikes for soft surface use. The PRO version had larger dual-spiked feet for soft surface traction and came with large attachable nonslip rubber feet. This resulted in an increased amount of traction and stability over the VT-4000.
Both tripods had a 65mm ball and a leveling bubble. For load capacity, the VT-4000 is rated for 8.8 pounds, where the PRO version is rated up to 11 pounds.
The VT-4000 is a fixed counterbalance tripod for pan and tilt drag. The counterbalance spring is set to 3.3 pounds to help smooth tilting movements. Tilt range is from -60 to +90 degrees, with a panning range of a full 360 degrees. I found the tilting feel to be great and the pan feel was relatively smooth for the price point. All head lock controls were positioned on the left side.
The PRO version had a fixed fluid pan drag, but the tilt drag was variable. The drag control was on the right side of the head. This allowed a finer level of control to meet certain shooting scenarios. While the tilt range was a little different (-65 to +80 degrees), this felt more like the movement I was used to with more expensive tripods.
There was a difference in the camera plates. The VT-4000 quick release plate had a cork non-skid surface with a slide range of +20 to -25mm. While it had a 1/4-20 mounting stud and register pin, it did not feature the slotted mounting screw. I do not believe you get as reliable purchase with this type of fixation.
The PRO version had a quick release plate with rubber pads for a non-skid surface. The slide range was the same as the VT-4000. This plate supported 1/4-20 or 3/8-16 tie-down screws and a register pin. Most importantly, the mounting screw was slotted.
The Magnus DWF-2 Universal Tripod Dolly elevated my VT-4000 experience. It came in a thin but adequate carrying case and had a secure locking mechanism. This adjustable dolly easily supported and secured the VT-4000 feet. It had surprisingly good construction, especially considering the affordable price.
The wheels had step-on locks that worked well. One thing to keep in mind is that the wheels are hard and only two inches, so you need to be on a reasonably flat surface to reduce bumps and vibrations. Grout lines on tile caused issues that wider and softer wheels may have kept more stable. However, when in a flat environment, it provided excellent movement. I highly recommend this accessory if you choose the VT-4000.
Unfortunately, the universal dolly does not seem to support the PRO version.
Both tripods offered features found on more expensive tripods, so either decision would provide you with great value. While neither offer more upper-end features like stepped counterbalance or accessory slots, they provide sturdiness, stability, and fluid movement at a fraction of the price.
The VT-4000 is well built for a tripod in its class. The universal dolly makes this tripod a winner if you need entry-level mobility. The REX VT-4000PRO adds on the additional stability and features you’d expect of a pro model. It would provide you with the ability to shoot in scenarios that the VT-4000 may not, but that comes with a price difference of about $100 or so. Note that per Magnus, the PRO comes with a 5-year limited warranty, while the VT-4000 comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
If you are a newcomer to videography or do a lot of on-the-go shooting, the lighter weight and price of the VT-4000 make it worth your consideration. If you want more features, rock solid stability, more versatility and durability, the PRO version is for you.
Traditionally, you had to choose between quality and affordability when selecting a tripod. Magnus is working hard to bridge that gap.
Magnus VT-4000 Video Tripod System & Universal Tripod Dolly Kit
The Magnus VT-4000 Video Tripod System & Universal Tripod Dolly Kit from B&H includes a 65mm bowl/ball tripod and fluid head system with a foldable, extendable, three-wheel tripod dolly for capturing smooth tracking shots. The maximum payload is 8.8 lb.