Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Some of the simplest bits of kit are the most important. I've had this Manfrotto tripod head (model 410) for longer than I care to remember, something like twenty years I should think - it's been all over the place with me, from Honduras to Iceland up mountains and down rivers. It's never let me down. It's robust and reliable, although can get a bit stiff to use in the cold. Then, last week, as I was standing under the M4 Flyover in London, waiting for the sun to set (as you do), I noticed that one of the adjustable thing-a-me knobs (as it turns out, Item number 410,03 if you must know) had been shattered, and in fact the head was almost, but not quite unusable. I can't recall a moment when I would have broken it, I must have given it a bit of a smack - but considering the abuse It soaks up it's quite impressive that it lasted as long as it had.

I was delighted to discover that the exact same model is still in production, and available at my normal supplier - so ordered a replacement right away, but today I've been taking a closer look at the broken one, with a view to throwing it away, but was pleased to see that even someone with my lack of mechanical talent was able to remove the broken section. I checked the Manfrotto website and easily located a serial number for a replacement part thanks to the well designed exploded diagrams of their products, and went on to order a replacement. Presuming that I'm able to replace the part ok, and I'm confident I can, it is going to mean I'm going to have two of these heads in working condition, but for such an important bit of kit, that's no real problem. The thing that impresses me most though is the service and quality provided by Manfrotto - spare parts routinely available for 20 year old bits of equipment, and a product made solidly enough that it lasts for that long in the first place, but is still repairable by a novice. Hats off to you guys. Long may you thrive.

As always, you can see more of my work on my website:

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