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Velbon V4 Boom Arm Review

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Review - We look at the versatile V4 boom arm from Velbon.

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Category : Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
Product : Velbon V4-unit
Price : £69
Rating :
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Features
Handling & Performance
Verdict
Specification

Velbon V4 arm
The Velbon V4, oddly titled V4-unit, is a boom arm that is designed to make your tripod more versatile. So if you've been considering changing your tripod for one of the new feature-packed models with an integral reversible column, you now have a lower priced option to consider. 

The Velbon V4 arm pointing downwards
The Velbon V4 arm attached to a Manfrotto 458B and set with its head pointing downwards.

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Features

The Velbon V4 is an aluminum boom arm with a geared extender. It attaches to the neck of a tripod replacing the existing head, which is then attached to the end of the arm. The arm has a grip knob at the rear end which is also the combined lock for the pan & tilt action. There's a locking wheel at the end to stop it slipping when in the upright position, and a friction knob to adjust the tension on the geared action. The base has a removable 1/4in thread spigot that can be exchanged with a 3/8in version, which is also supplied for use on older or larger pro spec tripods.

Key Features

  • Geared column
  • Friction control
  • 3/8 or 1/4in adaptors
  • Grip handle
Close up of the Velbon V4 arm
Close up of the Velbon V4 arm and friction knob.

  The Velbon V4 arm fits 1/4in and 3/8in threads
The Velbon V4 arm comes with 1/4in and 3/8in thread spigots.
Using the Velbon V4 arm for copying
Using the Velbon V4 arm in copying position.
  Using the Velbon V4 arm as a macro rail
Using the Velbon V4 arm as a macro rail.

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Handling and Performance

To attach the V4 to your tripod you need to align threads and then spin the arm around to screw it into place. This can be a bit tricky and care needs to be taken to avoid cross threading. Similarly when it's in place you ideally need a head with a quick-release plate because, the center column doesn't spin around, so the camera may have to be spun (depending on the head you use). That will be even trickier than getting the arm onto the tripod. Once in place though you soon realise the extra versatility the V4 brings to your tripod.

The large grip at the end of the arm is twisted to lock and unlock the pan & tilt action and can be held while you adjust position. It could be used for controlling video too.

Having the geared adjustment of the arm extension ensures precise control and makes it really useful for macro work where you may just need to move the camera backwards or forwards slightly.

When the camera is positioned down you can use it for copying by extending out over and away from the legs. I would have liked to mount the camera directly to the arm for this as I wouldn't need a head, but the thread from the arm is 10mm long and too deep for a standard camera base.

The extension is not that long, so when trying to shoot from a very low angle you ideally need to use it on a tripod with a short leg profile, or with ones that splay out wider so the top is nearer the ground. On my Manfrotto 458B it only just cleared the leg releases, so I needed to splay the legs wider to get a ground position. A perfect solution would be a double extension arm to deliver twice the length.
The Velbon V4 arm used for low level shooting
The Velbon V4 arm is ideal for use in low level shooting.

Value For Money

The £60 Manfrotto 131D Repro Arm has a camera thread at each side but doesn't have geared adjustment or angle. The Gitzo G-532 Lateral Side Arm has one camera mount and no angle adjustment and costs a typical Gitzo wallet-emptying £180. In both cases you could attach it to the top of the tripod head, but then you'd need another head for the camera. The nearest competitor for features was the Cullmann 3060 Extension/Macro Arm. We say was because it's no longer available, but did have geared column and pan/tilt and a longer 34cm of movement compared with 20.5cm on the Velbon. So the £69 Velbon is clearly alone in providing versatility, unless you upgrade your tripod and buy one with a built in rotating center column, but even that is unlikely to be geared.

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Verdict

The only thing I don't like about my regular used Manfrotto is the lack of a rotating center column. You can take the column out and slide it through the head to give a horizontal position, but there are times when a more flexible approach is needed - particularly with my love of fungi and wildflower photography. Adding the Velbon V4 removes that frustration and gives me that extra versatility. If you are in a similar predicament with a favourite tripod that has limitations, this is an excellent option.

 
  The Velbon V4 offers precise control and increased versatility with camera shooting position.

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Pros

Makes your tripod more versatile
Great as macro rail
Solidly made
Good for video

 

Velbon V4 Boom Arm Cons

Column not very long
1/4in thread too long to attach camera directly to arm 

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Velbon V4-unit Specifications

Tripods
ConstructionAluminium
Maximum Height545cm
Minimum Height340cm
Maximum Weight CapacityNo Data
Number of Leg Sections1
HeadNo Data
Box Contents
Box Contents3/8 adaptor, spanner
Dimensions
Weight572g
Width27mm
Height340mm

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Comments


8 Feb 2012 7:34PM
If it had a longer useable column length I'd buy one, but 20cm isn't much, 30-40 would be far more useful.

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Ade_Osman 11 4.5k 36 England
11 Feb 2012 9:38AM
That's a clever idea, I wonder if it would be geared low enough to be used not just as a focus rail suitable for the stacking of images? If so 20cm of movement would be more than enough. Think I'll be off to do a little more investigations on this item......

Ade

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