MANFROTTO – Snap Tilthead & Nanopole Stand – Now Available

Snap_Tilthead_300

 

The Manfrotto Snap Tilthead and Nanopole Stand are a couple of pieces of great looking new gear that appear to have really slipped in under the radar, as they have actually been available for a few months already with very little mention.

The Snap Tilthead is new compact umbrella swivel / speedlite mount. And the Nanopole Stand is an upgrade of the original compact Nano Stand, now adding an adjustable leveling leg, and a removable column, doubling as a hand held boom pole.

 

Nanopole Kit

 

Snap Tilthead

 

A quick background on umbrella swivels – Up until now there have not really been many serious attempts at engineering a good compact swivel option, partly because its harder than it sounds to actually do well.

Over the years many people often end up turning to the more heavy duty Manfrotto 026 Lite Tite, or variations like the Phottix Varos BG. Because these swivels (like most serious grip gear) are simply bulletproof, and provide a huge amount of versatility with the universal 5/8″ stud mounting system used at both ends.

The trade off though is added weight and bulk, which can be overkill for simply mounting a lightweight speedlite and umbrella, for a super compact carry around kit.

The main relatively solid compact alternatives have been then the E-Type Swivels. And these were making good progress and improvements at one stage. Though even they have gone though a bit of a de-evolution, with even many name brands all just selling the same cheapest variations now.

Many are still ok, but not nearly as good as they could be, or even once were (which is often the same issue with clamping coldshoes now).

 

Enter the Manfrotto Snap Tilthead

Manfrotto appear to have incorporated a number of clever functions into the new Snap Tilthead. In order to keep it nice and compact, as well as very functional and user friendly.

 

Snap Tilthead

Clamping Coldshoe –

Firstly a unique new clamping cold shoe mount is built directly into the top of the swivel.

Instead of twiddling a very small thumbscrew (with the tips of your fingers), a large easy to grip locking ring is now used to clamp the flash foot securely in place.

And this is universal to clamp most any flash with a standard foot.

 

Snap Tilthead

 

Swivel Joint and Counterbalance –

And then there is the swivel joint itself. Its surprisingly difficult to engineer a swivel joint that will hold in place tightly, without having to apply a huge amount of pressure on the locking lever or handle. Or in this case a relatively compact thumbscrew.

So without having one of these yet to dismantle I’m really not too sure how Manfrotto have managed this. Though its pretty clear there is not a lot of strength needed lock the swivel securely in place on the new Snap Tilthead.

Another very unique feature of the swivel joint though, is what Manfrotto are describing as a counterbalance. This is actually a clever spring mechanism which dampens the fall of the flash if the swivel joint is left loose. So if left to fall, the flash will simply bounce back on the swivel joint.

 

Snap Tilthead

 

You can see this counterbalance feature in action (around minute 1:50) in this short video review I came across by Rob Richards of Ferj Photography.

 

Stand Lever Clamp –

One catch (pardon the pun) with the Manfrotto Snap Tilthead may be the new locking lever used to attach the Tilthead to a light stand stud. That is if you intend to use the Tilthead on stands other than Manfrotto’s own Nano, or new Nanopole Stands.

The locking lever uses a cam mechanism (similar to a tripod leg clamp) to tighten onto the recessed section in the middle of the 5/8″ stud at the top of the light stand.

Manfrotto appear to make this recessed section a slightly smaller diameter on their stands than most other brands though. Which means when using other stands, the locking lever may not actually clamp over far enough to hold itself in place without coming loose again .

 

Snap Tilthead

 

If you’re a little bit handy though, I would be surprised if just filing a small flat section on your light stand stud recess, would not then allow the Tilthead to lock in place very well.

If not, then using Manfrotto Nano or Nanopole (and possibly other Manfrotto) stands would be the alternative.

The Snap Tilthead does also engage a safety locking mechanism as its placed onto the light stand stud. So the swivel can not fall off the stand, the lever lock just stops it from moving or rotating on the stand.

 

The Manfrotto Snap Tiltheads currently retail for just under $40. Which is obviously not cheap, and even slighlty more than the heavy duty 026 Lite Tite (without a coldshoe).

Though if you’re looking for something a bit more refined and convenient than the compact Chinese swivels available, the Lite Tite at least, are made to last a lifetime, so its likely the Snap Tilthead will still be money well spent as well.

 

Snap Tilthead

 

Nanopoloe Stand

 

One piece of gear there are plenty of good options available for now though, are similar alternatives to the original Manfrotto 190cm reverse leg Nano Stands.

So its no surprise Manfrotto would want to raise the bar here as well, with the new Nanopole Stand now incorporating a couple of very useful new features.

 

Nanopole Stand

 

Leveling Leg –

Firstly the new Nanopole stands now has an adjustable leveling leg.

A leveling leg helps to keep the stand as upright as possible on uneven surfaces. This helps to keep the weight centered over the stand so that it won’t overbalance too easily.

And with really lightweight stands like the the Nanos this should be even more of an advantage, particularity if using the stand outdoors often.

 

Nanopole Stand

 

Detachable Boom Pole –

The other significant feature of the new Nanopole stand is that the centre column now quickly detaches to become a separate hand held boom pole.

And there is also a hook added to the upper leg clamp, to hang a sand bag or weight like a battery back etc from.

 

Nanopole Stand

 

You then have a very lightweight boom pole set up, still with great reach though if needed.

 

Nanopole Stand

 

Nanopole Kit

 

And there is also a kit with Nanopole Stand, Snap Tilthead, and a carry bag. A compact double fold umbrella would likely fit in nicely as well.

Though I’m not sure where this combined is kit is available as yet.

 

Nanopole Kit

 

And just a small tip for anyone looking for something more stable than the original manfrotto Nano Stands.

The Matthews MERF Stands look quite similar to the Nano, though if you see them side by side, the MERF stands are basically twice as sturdy. Like a Nano Stand on steroids, though still quite compact.

They both have their place, and the Nano are still more suitable if traveling as light as possible. Its just that many people are not aware the sturdier MERF stands are also available.

 

Price and Availability –

 

The Manfrotto Snap Tilthead, and Nanopole stand are available now for around $39 and $79 respectively –

Snap Tilthead – Amazon, UK, Ebay, Adorama, B&H Photo.
Nanopole Stand – Amazon, UK, Ebay, Adorama, B&H Photo.

Nano Stand – Amazon, UK, Ebay, Adorama, B&H Photo.
Light Tite – AmazonUK, Ebay, Adorama, B&H Photo.

 

Manfrotto – Website.

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22 Comments
  1. Jacques 5 years ago

    For a compact, lightweight umbrella bracket for use with speedlights, I like the Smith-Victor UM5 Umbrella Mount, about $20, with a $2 cold shoe added on top.

  2. stig 5 years ago

    I like manfrotto gear, but $43 is insane. it offers nice features, but nothing I desperately need. looking at it, there was not a single feature I said “wow, that will make my life so much easier/so much faster/save me time and money” the flex head thats spring loaded is nice but I never had my head fall over and hit my flash. and the quick mount on the light stand is nice but not a must have feature. and personally, I prefer to tighten the flash foot down.

    I use Ishoot plastic umbrella brackets I buy from asia for $8 each. have used it for more than 100 weddings without an issue. light stands get hit from the guests many times, have even toppled over and hasnt broke. the umbrella (42″ photoflex) absorbed the main hit.

    but this is an extreme price. those who feel it will make their work so much easier,please go buy it. I do have two light lites but they sit at home because of their weight and bulk. just not relevant for me today.

    $43..jeezus. with tons of 3rd party options, these guys are crazy. only a matter of time till they copy this in asia.

  3. Robert 5 years ago

    I like the U-shape Type Swivel Flash Bracket for Umbrella Holder found here: http://www.amazon.com/U-shape-Bracket-Umbrella-Adapter-580EXII/dp/B00F5VYJBK and it’s only $20, and it allows one to direct the flash in the center of the umbrella, it’s all metal which I don’t mind, I would feel more secure with this bracket.

    • Robert 5 years ago

      If you look at the photo example, because the cold shoe is fixed with the umbrella holder, the flash is only filling the top half of the umbrella, the before mentioned flash bracket will allow the flash to be directed or aimed in the center of the umbrella, that’s the reason for using an umbrella to turn a small light source in to a much larger which also makes it softer. And I don’t think that the quick locking mechanism will be able to lock tight enough to hold an umbrella in place with out twisting.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 5 years ago

        Thanks Robert,

        The only thing is I’m not really keen on laying a flash over like that, only supported by the foot. Hand holding the flash I’ve broken a shoe off like that. With radio trigger on the foot is causes all sorts of problems.

        I’ve made a number of brackets myself, and also the Phottix Multi Boom has a single flash mount now, as well as the HS Speed Mount II having a flash base. Neither are really available on their own at this stage though unfortunately.

        • Evaldas 5 years ago

          I am using similar brackets, http://72.41.206.101/ebay/PictureShow/SE-L012/SE-L012-11.jpg Selens SE-L012. I prefer this one over standard brackets as it gives more flexibility, more options.

          Some weight of a flash can be put on umbrella shaft, that removes a bit of the tension from the foot.

          So far none of the foots (flash nor trigger) have broken, hopefully it will stay that way 🙂

          • Author
            Flash Havoc 5 years ago

            Actually the way that’s pictures there it makes sense to be able to keep the flash upright, but still angle the umbrella shaft a little more when needed.

        • Robert T. Johnson 5 years ago

          I also use the following: http://flashhavoc.com/godox-s-ec-speedlite-bracket-for-elinchrom/
          it’s the Godox S type bracket in the bowens mount. No weight is placed on the flash shoe at all, the flash is held in place by a screw clamp.

      • Markthetog 5 years ago

        @Robert, In the real world this doesn’t make a bit of difference.
        I have tried ALL the “best” solutions that in theory ought to be better.
        Just not true.
        It is a matter of theory being true but not meaningful.
        As for the swivel, you “think” it wont hold but you need to buy one and use it before pronouncing judgement.

  4. Craig 5 years ago

    Looks like some nice upgrades.

    Elvis, I agree with you on the Matthews stands. They are excellent. I first had a Manfrotto Nano and had planned on getting a second, but read a lot of positive reviews on the Matthews Reverse stand, and already being pleased with their with C-Stand that I own, I decided to give it a shot. Man does it make the Nano look rinky dinky. The Matthew stand is just much more solid and well built. Very stable too. And collapsed, it’s not really that much larger than the Nano. Highly recommend them.

  5. David C 5 years ago

    How do you think the Nano or MERF stands compare to the LumoPro LP605 stands? Those are what I use and curious how they rate in comparison…..

    • Markthetog 5 years ago

      I have LumoPro stands and while they are OK they are not nearly made to the standard the Manfrottos are. Visit a camera store if possible and you will see the difference.

      Of course with the slaughter of small camera stores we are now dependent on the testimony of strangers as to what is worth buying online.

      Interestingly I found this stand at my local store and when I went online to get more info could not find it listed anywhere.

  6. Author
    Flash Havoc 5 years ago

    Hi David,

    I think the Lumopro like most other variations where modeled off the original Nano Stands, so still quite light. There are generally 2 heights available though, both are similar build.

    The MERF and also some Lowell models are much beefier.

    • David C 5 years ago

      Thanks, good to know.

    • Markthetog 5 years ago

      Note that the footprint on the Matthews is 24″ compared to 36″ on the Nano. Makes a difference in tippiness particularly with the Matthews taller maximum height.

  7. Ian Cheung 5 years ago

    I did mention the nanopole stand on the strobist flickr group a couple of months ago but it didn’t attract much discussion. Having seen the stand in real life though, it looks really flimsy at the top when fully extended. I had a look at the tilthead bracket too and it is alright, a bit more compact than my photoflex adaptors. The lever was very stiff though.

    And to answer your question, the combined kit has been available in Japan for a little while 🙂

  8. Markthetog 5 years ago

    I found the nano stand at my local camera shop. It was precisely what I had been longing for with its adjustable leg.
    I had gotten several other “nano” stands from other manufacturers and this one is demonstrably better made.
    The clamps really clamp.
    The finish is superb with all tubes sliding fluidly.
    There is a hook to hang ballast at the bottom.
    Yeah it is more money but they really did make a better stand than all the copycats out there. When you are on location and rushing to set up the last thing you need is some POS stand collapsing because the clamps are cr@p. The ability to level the stand on uneven terrain is gold.

    As for the swivel clamp. I will be getting some because it promises speed and security. It looks to be that much smoother for setup and will get us shooting sooner than the fiddly gear now available.

    For the price critics, they will never understand quality and the impact it has on making a paying job go that much smoother. Go ahead, get the cheap stands you will suffer in your work while I enjoy mine.

  9. sloma_p 5 years ago

    Hi, the kit is available in one of the Polisch on-line shops: http://www.cyfrowe.pl/wyposazenie-studia/manfrotto-kit-statyw-nanopole,-glowiczka-i-torba.html

  10. mmmfotografie 5 years ago

    I bought today a Nanopole and have a problem when I move it around. When I set it down it unlocks in the lower collar and the unlock button is not touching the ground or any other obstacles.

    I had a look at the lower collar and there are vertical slots in it which weakens the lock so the lower part detaches from the collar and only the high collar is holding the pole.

    I any have bought also this nice stand does it has also vertical slots in the lower collar or is it a different design?

  11. Naftoli 5 years ago

    Just Bought 2 Manfrotto snap Tilt heads. I will be returning them to B&H.
    at first they looked really nice, the build quality felt solid and I loved how it can lock onto the stand automatically. first of all it will not hold a 60 inch umbrella even after tightening the knob as tight as i could when the umbrella is inserted it will slowly sag down. secondly the mechanism for attaching the flash hotshoe needs some work, it is surprisingly difficult to tighten all the way, and even when fuly tightened the speedlight is still a bit shaky, compared with 8$ umbrella adapters that have no issue holding 60 inch umbrellas and have a regular metal coldshoe

    Im hoping Manfrotto (or some other company) can fix these issues and i would gladly buy this product again

  12. paul 4 years ago

    Anyone know if the Flashpoint battery will fit a Mettle strobe I found refference that they were interchangable. The specs are the same I just do not know about the connection. The Mettle battery has three three holes to connect with about 1/8 inch strait across the bottom

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