Monday, October 18, 2010

Manfrotto 3265 tripod griphead


(click images for larger versions)

PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END BEFORE WORKING ON YOUR TRIPOD HEAD!

I have a Manfrotto 3265 tripod griphead. I believe they have discontinued this model, but replaced it with one almost identical, so the following tip may apply. I've had this tripod head for several years. Recently I noticed that it was getting loose. It's been getting loose and looser for some time. There is a big thumbwheel on this device to adjust tightness. I had it cranked all the way up. Recently I was shooting outdoor foliage for HDR (which requires multiple identical shots at different exposures). And this darned thing was flopping all over the place, and my camera and lens were going with it!

This will not do, I say! I thought it was $100 down the drain, plus another $40-$80 (someday) to replace it with a simpler ballhead. So, for bleeps and giggles, I start my search on B&H and Amazon. I realize that I'm going to want the same attachment specs so I can still use the old tripod but I'm not sure how it will be described. I find my 3265 somewhere on the interwebs and happen to scroll down and read some of the reviews. A commenter mentioned that his, too, became loose and he fixed it himself, by opening up the contraption and adding several washers above the spring assembly. Eureka! I say.

I acquire allen wrenches and washers and go to it (read all the way to the end before you dive in, please -- learn from my mistakes!). First off, if you go this route, wear protective eyewear -- luckily I had my readers on -- this thing is loaded with two tightly compressed springs that WILL jump out! Now gather everything up that flew apart and take a few minutes to figure out where it all goes back. Insert your washers (six were suggested, but I went w/ four) above the main spring assembly and put that thing back together. This is harder than it sounds because the second spring which pushed out the control lever really only stays in place when both halves of the unit are together. I managed to compress it and hold it down with a flat screwdriver while I forced the two halves of the head back together.

Success, right? Well, not right away. Turns out the control lever was rather loose. I found a small nut (which is really what this whole story is about) on the front side of the unit and tightened it with a smaller allen wrench. Not only did the lever stabilize, but I noticed that this tiny nut also seems to contribute some control to the overall tightness of the tripod head (see pictures above to see where this little gem is).

So, the moral of the story is: If you have the same or similar tripod head and it gets loose, you might try a couple of easy turns with an allen wrench before you try major tripod surgery. If it solves your problem, I guarantee you will save yourself a bleep-load of aggravation.

That being said, I'm now, once again, very happy with my Manfrotto 3265!

23 comments:

Matt said...

Yep that screw is the key. I found out about it on a forum and I was glad I didn't have to tear it apart or replace it.

Dawn & Ron said...

Seems odd that there are two different places to adjust the tightness of the mechanism (the screw in question as well as the the thumbwheel).

Anonymous said...

Magic! Thanks for posting. You saved me from having to get a replacement!

Dan said...

You are the man! Thanks very much for taking the time to post this clear, articulate description of how to fix this. As others have already stated, you have saved me a great deal of time, cost and hassle.

Anonymous said...

yes you are the man, saved me and now I'm back in business, glad I was able to be enlightened by your mistake. many thanks

Neil Chowdhury said...

Thanks very much. You just saved me a bunch of money. I've had that head for years and it's never been that tight--ok for small cameras but nothing heavy. Was about to dump it for a much more expensive one. Now I have a Speed Graphic with a huge Aero Ektar Lens mounted....sitting at an extreme angle on the heaad and it's not budging at all!

Neil Chowdhury said...

Thanks Mr. Warren, you just saved me a bunch of money! It took a second to find the allen nut caked under some dirt....and another hour to find the right size allen wrench. After that it was cake! I was about to dump that tripod head in the trash...needed something sturdy to mount my Speed Graphic and HEAVY aero ektar lens. & my old 3 way head is just too heavy and slow to use. The 3265 has never been able to support even a medium sized camera at an angle...now it's got a hefty 4x5 sitting at an extreme angle and not budging at all!

Anonymous said...

Let me add a 2013 thank you to the list. Watched all of the disassemble vids and was just about to embark when your post and two twists of the allen screw revitalized the head. Thank you

Amy said...

Another head saved (both the tripod and my own)! Easy fix, once I found the right-sized Allen wrench. Thank you SO much!

Anonymous said...

Same here! I've had this head for years and its served me well but recently won't hold my 70-200L. It does now.

Thanks!

Dawn & Ron said...

Glad to have been of help! ~RW

Anonymous said...

Nice! Saved the day! :)

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for a valuable piece of information. Before I made the recommended screw adjustment, I couldn't tell the difference between when the grip lever was engaged and when it was not. I made about a half a turn (till it was tight), and now it feels like a new unit.

Anonymous said...

2.5 mm hex wrench and 360 degrees and the slipping problem became history, thanks.

Don

Anonymous said...

Another 3265 saved! Thanks for the info and several reminders to read the entire article before taking the tripod head apart! I was so tempted! But with just a few twists of the Allen wrench and I am smiling again!

Dawn & Ron said...

I'm so glad this post has helped so many people! I don't even own the tripod and head anymore (nothing wrong with them, just moved to a lighter configuration) but the tip lives on. Good luck and good shooting everybody! ~R

Anonymous said...

I was just about to send mine in for repair, but happened across this post. 1 full turn of the hex screw and it's tight enough that I can back off the tension and still handle a D2Xs with SB800 and RayFlash. Hurray!!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW ! THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Excellent help. Works great now! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Excellent help. Works great now! Love it!

Anonymous said...

another save!

Bob Duvall said...

Hi, Well here comes info that may be Very helpful..
a. The friction thumb wheel is intended to ONLY adjust the 'Slight drag' ie.
Friction, that is desired when the lever is "pulled in" to recompose the shot.
It IS NOT intended to affect the Main clamping Force when the lever is released.
b. The small allen screw opposite the lever pivot point IS the ADJUSTMENT for the
Main Clamping Force. As the internal parts wear slightly the Main Clamping force
will become LIMITED due to wear at the "Lever Pressure Point" inside the handle.
Adjust this allen screw clockwise until Clamp force is sufficient. Now turn the
allen screw an additional one sixth turn clockwise. IF you turn it in too far you
will notice the lever does not release as far and it will be difficult to
recompose even when the lever is fully depressed.
This information is applicable to models 3265, 322, 324.
The RC2 suffix stands for "Rapid Connect".

Unknown said...

I too want to thank you for this post. It worked perfectly for my head which is well over 10 years old.

Archives