Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod with FM18 Head Review

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We’re going to take a look at the primary tripod that I’ve been using throughout all of my videos so far, the Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 with FM18 fluid head. I bought this tripod from Amazon around a year ago for $159 USD as I’d read some pretty nice things about it.

It sounded like it was a nice stable tripod that would give me smooth pans and tilts at a pretty good price point, so I purchased it and haven’t looked back. The tripod itself is 12lb or 5.4kg and comes with a padded bag that you can use to transport the tripod around.

Sanford Provista 7518
Sanford Provista 7518

While the tripod is folded up for storage, it’s 29” or 73cm in length. While in use the legs can be adjusted for heights between 28” and 64”, or 71cm and 162cm. I would have liked the option to go a little lower, however the overall range of height is quite good.

The legs are adjusted by opening the metal quick-flip locks, making the adjustments, and then locking the legs into place. There’s a ball level which lets you quickly see if the tripod is level, very useful after changing the leg height on the fly. The tripod also features a 75mm claw ball which allows you to loosen and move the head into a different position and then tighten it in place, this could be useful if you’re using the tripod on uneven ground and need to level things out. The tripod and fluid head support a load of up to 18lb or 8kg, so even fairly heavy cameras will be fine here. It’s made of an aluminium alloy and feels quite strong, this is thanks to the double-strut top leg section which adds extra stability, and the mid-level spreader which helps strengthen the legs even further.

Further stability could be gained by placing some sort of additional weight here. The legs have rubber tips which secure the tripod on various surfaces which helps reduce unwanted movement. The whole thing has a black non-glare anodized finish to it which looks pretty nice. I’ve found the fluid head to work really well, the pans and tilts are very smooth and I’ve been using this to get all of the shots in my previous posts.

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360 degrees of panning is available, and +/- 90 degree tilting. The pan or tilt can also be individually locked by tightening, which also allows the drag to be adjusted, allowing you to control how much force is required to move the head. The quick release system uses the QRFM18, which simply slides into place.

I found that due to the rough finish of the head it was sometimes not easy to slide the quick release plate in. There’s a safety button that you need to press in in order to slide in or out, this helps prevent your camera falling off while loosening the screw that holds the quick release plate firmly in place. I’ve also had some problems actually tightening this screw that holds the plate in place, as the body of my camera gets in the way a little making it a slow process, so I usually end up using a screwdriver to fully tighten it. I was provided with two quick release plates, so I leave one attached to my camera at all times allowing me to simply swap things in and out. The quick release plate supports both ¼” and ?” mounting screws, allowing for common mounting options.

Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod
Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod

The head also has dual pan bars for handling with fairly grippy handles, which I’ve found nice to hold with both hands when panning or tilting rather than just using one, however you can always remove one if you prefer the single handle.

Finally here are a few video examples of what panning and tilting looks like with the tripod, as you can hopefully see the results speak for themselves and are pretty smooth. Overall I think this is a pretty nice tripod, I’ve been able to get some pretty nice shots with it thanks to the very smooth fluid head, it feels very stable while I’m using it regardless of the height. In my opinion it’s priced pretty well so it’s a great option for someone just starting with video production such as myself that wants to be able to get nice pan and tilt shots.

So what did you guys think of the Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod? Be sure to let me know down in the comments, and let me know what gear you’re using, and don’t forget to subscribe, share or bookmark site for future posts like this one!

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