GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1

Manfrotto 055x Pro & 804 RC2 head Review

With an adjustable centre column and three way head, the Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 head are a combination as flexible as a boneless gymnast. Matt Grayson dons his tights to take a look.

|  Manfrotto 055x Pro & 804 RC2 head in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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The 055x Pro is a top of the range rapid column tripod and coupled with the 804 RC2 head, will cope with anything today's photographer could need it for.

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Specification

  • Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 headClosed length: 77.5cm
  • Minimum height: 22cm
  • Maximum height: 190cm
  • Weight: 2.40Kg
  • Load capacity: 7Kg
  • Colour: Black
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Leg cross section: round
  • Column cross section: three-faceted
  • Leg sections: 3
  • Bubble spirit level: 2
  • Leg angles: 23°,45°,65°,88°
  • Centre column: rapid
  • Section centre column: 1
  • Column tube diameter: 28mm
  • Attachment: 3/8in
  • Legs tube diameter 29.4, 25, 20mm

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Build quality
Manfrotto have always been known for the quality of the products and the 055x is no different to the usual formula. The head and body are sold separately and so the two have to be connected together.

Connecting the head to the body is a simple screw thread and three screws are located under the top plate of the legs to screw up to the head and then lock them together to stop accidental Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 head unscrewing. The bottom of the head has ridges in it so when the screws are fully in, they will lock against the head more easily. The legs are made of aluminium for a lighter, yet strong, tripod and the legs extend smoothly using a lever release. The legs reach a height of 135cm without the centre column extended which only destabilises the tripod and coupled with the head at 12cm, reaches average head height. The release on the legs is stiff, but when carrying the maximum load this would be a bonus and it also won't get knocked with valuable gear on it.

The 055X Pro is part of the Rapid Column range and has a great feature for shooting unusual angles as the centre column, once extended to it's full capacity, can be moved to a horizontal position by pressing a button on the bottom of the column to release it a little further. Then it can be dropped to a 90° angle without the inconvenience of being dismantled which is an improvement on the 055 Pro. Another button is located at the bottom of the column which can be depressed to release it completely.

Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804RC2 head The 055x Pro also has four leg settings which are set by depressing the grey switches at the tops of the legs. They can go out to 88° which has the camera practically on the floor.

Both the 055x Pro and the 804 RC2 have spirit levels on which is a good idea if you like to mix and match the legs and heads as one or the other may not have a spirit level on. Both items also have a degree measure so perfect right angles or panoramic images can be measured confidently with them.

The 055x Pro has a hook for attaching a strap, although it is not provided with one which is a shame, but straps can be picked up easily enough

The 804 RC2 head is a pan & tilt head with three screw thread handles that are big and chunky and rubber coated for comfort. They are easy to release and tighten solidly, but the movement could be smoother as it would be easier to get the head level before shooting. The quick release plate has a double locking system on it. A small button must be depressed to release the lever fully and allow the plate to be removed. This can be done one handed so the camera can be removed confidently.

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Performance
Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 headI took a series of different images to see how the tripod would perform in different scenarios. As a pro tripod, a general use image was easy to get and the Derwent dam tower is pin sharp. The Manfrotto is very quick to set up, the legs won't drop down if you let go of them which means they don't crash to the bottom like other tripods can do. Speed is of the essence as is caution when shooting wildlife and the best looking duck happened to be the most wary and was getting ready to run off. Luckily, I managed to set up and fire some shots off before it escaped. A common thing tripods are used for is smoothing out water in a waterfall, river or even the sea. Using a long exposure makes water look like silk and the shot I got was taken over two seconds using a very small aperture of f/32. This is not a bad coincidence as the small aperture also puts everything in focus in what is essentially a landscape shot.

Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 head
The 055x ProB is waterproof.

Manfrotto 055x ProB &804 RC2 head
Simple architectural images are a breeze.

Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 head

The 055x is quick and quiet to assemble so nature shots are possible.

Manfrotto 055x ProB & 804 RC2 head
Long exposures can be attained with confidence as the tripod remains rock-still.

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Verdict
The 055x is a very strong set of legs and will put up with plenty of abuse. They can be dunked in water or scraped on stone and still stay firm. The aluminium build makes them light but they still feel strong. My only complaints with the legs are that they have no spiked feet, the screws to fix the head could be fixed to the legs with retaining screws so they don't fall out from overuse and the levers are very stiff.

Manfrotto 055x & 804 RC2 head The 804 RC2 head is a very competent accessory to the legs. The combination of the peak and groove underside for the screws on the legs keeps them locked tight together. The handles are still quite stiff and jerky and some work has to be put into it to get the tripod totally level. I like the extra security of the additional quick release catch and I like the chunky handles.

The combination of the 055x Pro and the 804 RC2 head will fulfil any photographers needs, even panning shots. The jerkiness only really applies when the head is not being moved then needs to be moved. When loosened enough, the head is smooth with panning.

Because of the high build quality, flexibility and the amount of thought gone into the features, the 055x ProB and 804 RC2 head gets the coveted ePHOTOzine Highly recommended award.

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Plus points
Aluminium build
High maximum weight capacity

Manfrotto 055X Pro & 804 RC2 head Minus points
No spiked feet
Head locking screws could fall out
Handles can be quite stiff to release




The Manfrotto 055x ProB costs around £140 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.

The Manfrotto 804 RC2 head costs around £55 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.

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brian1208 Plus
16 11.5k 12 United Kingdom
Thanks for this review Matt, as a result of reading it I tracked down and purchased demo models of the tripod + the 808 RC4 head (at avery nice price!).

So far I'm delighted with it although I do find the quick release device quite difficult to operate. It clicks in easily and is very rigid but the silver button to move the release handle is proving very stiff to operate

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