A Fluid Head Video Tripod For Only $149. Fancier FC-270A

April 29, 201312 Comments

That’s right. This Fancier 270A cost only $149 and gets a 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. I bought this mainly for the head. I want to put it on a slider since the 75mm ball can be removed leaving a flat base. perfect!  I found this deal combing the web for an alternative fluid head for my slider. I was going to get a Manfrotto 701 or 501 or even the new 502. Then when I saw the FC-270A price, and the reviews I had to get one and try it out. To be honest I’m not expecting it to be as good as my Miller or Sachtler systems but you never know. People really like this tripod!

Fancier FC270A with AF100

Fancier FC270A FC-02H Fluid Head

The Good. The Bad And The Very Good Deal.

I want to say right off the bat that this tripod didn’t work for me. Mainly since I was originally looking for a head only and the head had a few issues that was a deal breaker for me but for many the fluid head happens to to be the best part of the system. However my needs and yours wont be same and this system could very well be the perfect fit for you. So why did I decided to do this review? Because I found the tripod to be pretty darn good for the price, and if you dont have the funds to buy a professional tripod that costs well over $1000 I think this tripod will serve you well until you decide you need something more. I pointed out a lot of features in the video that I didn’t like as well as ones I did, and I didn’t find this information on the internet until I actually had it and tried the tripod out, so please understand that I dont dislike it. Heck how could you. It only cost $149.

The best thing about this tripod is the price. You would be hard pressed to find a better one for the same amount. The head is very fluid but the drag in the pan was to tight for my taste. The tilt had about half the drag so they didn’t match and I found that to be hard to deal with. When you perform a tilt or pan the head performs very well. In fact I was surprised how little kickback if any you get when you stop the move. Impressive, but since you cant adjust the amount of drag on either tilt or pan I found that to be a problem. While panning the leg actually lifted off the ground a little. This could be avoided by hold the leg. The maximum weight capacity is 13 pounds and it held my AF-100 just fine, so any DSLR will work as well. The tripod has a metal mid-spreader and attaches to the legs with a long screw that is fastened with a nut that looks like it has some Loctite blue in it to keep it from coming loose.

Fancier FC270A Mid Spreader

A feature this Fancier FC-270A has that the big boys do as well is a counter balance and it works pretty well!

The overall build of the tripod is solid. Its all metal construction feels good and the legs slide out very easy and smooth. The legs lock secure and nice and tight. They are also very sturdy. The footprint isn’t really that wide but it’s plenty stable for it’s size. I’m impressed with the overall look of the tripod. It has a very pro look to it and that’s important to look like a pro around clients. I know that sounds sully but it’s true.

I did find some blemishes on the finish on the legs and the stickers on the locking knobs were already peeling off.

Fancier FC270A Blemishes

Fancier FC270A leg blemish

Fancier FC270A Sticker

If your using the tripod for standing interviews you might be disappointed with the height. Fully extended it’s only 53 inches or 4 feet five inches. That’s not very tall and could be an issue.

The included arm telescopes pretty far and fastens to the head nice and tight.

I liked the quick release system. It’s pretty much the same as a Manfrotto but smaller. I dont think a Manfrotto camera plate would work with it since it’s much smaller. It has the same safety pin as the Manfrotto’s do and works very well to keep your camera from accidentally sliding off the head.

Fancier FC270A Camera Plate_

The FC-270A comes with a pretty nice padded bag that has hard inserts on the ends to protect the head and a zippered pocket inside to store the handle. It also has two nylon straps with buckles to secure the tripod inside the bag.

Fancier FC270A Tripod

DESCRIPTION FROM AMAZON

Max Operating Height: 53 inch
Min operating height 28 inch
Folded height 29.9 inch
Handle Length: 14.6 inch
Bowl Size: 2.95in/2.95″
Max load capacity: 13.2 lbs
Weight: 9.7 lbs
Versatile -65°to +90°tilt range, 360°pan range
Fluid damping head system for smooth rotate and tilt for recording
14.6 inch long handle can be installed on the right or left of head for inching adjusting
A Built-in bubble level for horizontal position
Dual-Lock for quick-release plate and the second safety locking pin prevents equipment from unexpected drop.
Large quick release plate for better bearing of DV or cameras.
The legs utilize large ergonomic lock adjustment knobs design for fast tripod height adjustment with strong locking.
The metal mid-spreader makes the tripod more stable.
Three tripod height choices satisfy the different photography requirement.

 

Fancier FC-270A Head In Hand

Fancier FC-270A Head In Hand

As you can see in the picture the Fancier FC-02H is a very small head. It fits right in the palm of my hand.

All in all the Fancier FC-270A is a really good deal and if your a budget filmmaker that needs a good tripod but isn’t ready to spend the big buck I think you would do just fine with this one. Just know the limitations and you will be good to go!

UPDATE.

I ordered the Fancier Professional Video Camera Fluid Drag Tripod Head EI717 and found the drag is also very tight and has no drag control options. The ball head on the 717 isn’t 75mm. I think it’s like 65mm. Not sure since I dont have a tripod it will fit. The 717 doesn’t have counter balance adjustments either.

  • Pan Range 360° and Tilt controls
  •  Built-in bubble horizontal leveling
  • Ideal for digital camcorder weighing up to 6kgs or 13lbs
  • A quick release system with a safety lock
  • Fitting: 3/8″ for tripod. 1/4″ & 3/8″ for video camera

Fancier Professional Video Camera Fluid Drag Tripod Head EI717 Head

Fancier Professional Video Camera Fluid Drag Tripod Head EI717 Head

I got this one from ebay for only $60. I’m going to keep it. Could come in handy when I need a second light head for a jib or dolly.

I went ahead and ordered the 717 head and found the drag is also very tight and has not drag control options. The ball head on the 717 isnt 75mm. I think it’s like 65mm. Not sure since I dont have a tripod it will fit. The 717 doesn’t have counter balance adjustments either.

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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (12)

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  1. marklondon says:

    Can’t lose at that price. Looks like some reverse engineering of Manfrotto. That plate looks compatible too.

  2. Robert Hotz says:

    Wow. I just ordered the Manfrotto 701HDV Fluid Head on Amazon. They have mail in rebate right now making it $114, so if you need sticks too, this is a deal.

    • Erik Naso says:

      Robert thanks for the heads up on the rebates. I ordered the Manfrotto 502HD today and saved $45. Total came to $154.99. That’s a good deal.

  3. Erik Naso says:

    The tripod came in the mail and looks pretty good. I will do some testing with it this weekend.

  4. Brandon says:

    I’ll have to keep an eye on this model. I’ve been buying and recommending Davis & Sanford tripod systems with the FM18 head. I have one, and then I recently bought another FM18 head and put it on some smaller Manfrotto sticks. And then I got another venture I work with (sports broadcasting) to buy two from them, as well. And while my first tripod system from them was and is great, I’ve got to say that their Q&A has gone way down since then. The two that the other guy bought that I mentioned each have different issues with tightening the pan and/ or tilt. And with the head I just bought, the grip on the end of both handles that it came with pulled off with just a little bit of torque. They were just glued on, so I can glue it back, but my oldest one has never done that.

    So any way, I might start recommending this one.

    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi Brandon and welcome to the blog!
      As we all know that old saying… “You get what you paid for” I’m always looking to save a few bucks when I can. When you buy less expensive items you have to accept some limitations and I found a few that for some might be a deal breaker. Like a good story I don’t want to give away the ending! Thanks for the comment.

  5. stan gore says:

    Thanks for you review. All in all though do you feel the panning is pretty smooth, when following someone on a stage? Reading some of the other reviews it appears the video is pretty smooth when panning?? I just cant afford 800 bucks. Its gotta be better than the non fluid head Im using now. I do need it smooth with no jerky motions.
    Would appreciate your response on smoothness. thanks!!!

    stan

    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi Stan.
      The Fancier FC-270A head is very smooth. A little on the tight side but for the money I dont think you will find a better cheaper tripod.

  6. Sunday says:

    Hi, is it possible to use this fancier tripod and replace the platform with the manfrotto 502HD?

    Sincerely waiting for your answer. Thank you~

    • Erik Naso says:

      I dont believe the fancier tripod has a 75mm bowl. I think its smaller. If it did then yes it can be done with a Manfrotto bowl adapter added to the 502. Might want to send Fancier an email.

  7. Steve says:

    I just received this tripod and head, unfortunately the grease is leaking from the tilt hinge right out of the box. Very disappointed.
    see ► https://www.dropbox.com/s/8mzxqzf0ij2idih/2014-02-08%2008.24.40.jpg

    I only hope the ebay seller is willing to exchange the head without trouble.

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