Manfrotto / Bogen 458B Neotec Pro Photo Tripod – Neck Wobble

What a cool tripod.  A bit heavy, sure, but keep reading if you’re not familiar with the unique trick this tripod offers.

I’m posting this not to review the tripod, but to help out anyone who may have run into the trouble I did.  But before I get into that…

Briefly, this tripod is unique because it does not have clamps or screw knobs on the legs.  When you extend the legs, you grab them and just give them a tug.  They slide out and auto-lock exactly where they stop.  Want to make them longer? Tug again.  No fiddling with locks or clamps on the legs.  I set up my tripod in less time than it takes most people to get the first leg unclamped.  When you’re ready to collapse the tripod, just press in the locking button at the top of the leg, and all the sections of that leg will collapse back in.  There’s one button for each leg, and with a little exploring it’s not hard to learn how to hold down all three buttons at once, push down on the whole tripod, and have the entire thing collapse down to it’s carrying size.  It’s so fast it’s ridiculous.  Look it up on YouTube if you want to see more.

So what’s the issue that I ran into?  Well the top 2″ of the tripod neck is made of a different material from the rest of the neck.  There’s a joint between the top 2″ and the rest of the neck.  When I received my tripod, I noticed a very slight amount of wobble at this joint.  It bothered me because A) this is an expensive tripod, and B) the work I do with this tripod is mostly for layering in Photoshop, and I need multiple shots to be exactly aligned.  (It turns out there’s a reason for this joint – more on that later.)

I started searching around the internet, and I did not find anyone or anything that explained why the neck was built this way, or what to do about it.  I posted my question on the Amazon reviews page for the product, and “Sergey” responded with some information that lead me to the solution.  In short, what they told me was that the top 2″ of the neck is removable for using the tripod in an extremely low-to-the-ground setup.  Pop that part off, remove the neck, insert the 2″ piece into the legs, and you can get your camera within 2″ of the ground.  Brilliant!

At the bottom end of the neck (the end opposite where the head is mounted) is a solid, rubberized cap.  Grab that cap and “unscrew” it, and what actually unscrews is the 2″ portion at the top end of the neck, allowing the entire neck to separate for that low-to-the-ground functionality.

When my Neotec tripod arrived from the factory, this rubberized cap was not fully tightened, allowing a slight amount of neck wobble.  Grasping it firmly, I tightened it down all the way, and voila!  A solid, non-wobbly center shaft on my tripod.

Did you run into this issue with your tripod?  Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Manfrotto / Bogen 458B Neotec Pro Photo Tripod – Neck Wobble”

  1. I happily used this tripod for quite a few years, before the legs locked up completely. It seems this will happen eventually in any case, reading real user reviews from e.g. B&H. Oh well, I got my fair share of painless and ultra-fast operation out of it, compared to many others, I think. I replaced it with a more conventional, clamp-based carbon tripod – much lighter, but not so fast to operate, of course.

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