Today we are looking at a new compact fluid head by the Japanese manufacturer Libec from its H series. We have seen the Libec H25 fluid head for the first time in IBC 2022 and have been working with it for a couple of months now and the following are our impressions of it.
Libec is a Japanese company that has been around since the 1950s. Lately, they’ve been focusing not only on tripods and heads but also professional camera support including pedestals, jibs, sliders, and even some electronically-controlled products.
The Libec H25 fluid head
The H25 is one of 4 heads in the HS series, providing from 3 to 12 kg of payload in a compact form factor with counterbalance and versatile add-ons. The models in this series are the following (the weight in KG is the maximum carrying capacity of each head):
- H15 – 3kg
- H25 – 5kg
- H35 – 8kg
- H45 – 12kg
Build and design
The H25 weighs 2.5kg (6.2 lbs) and is 17cm (7’’) tall. It comes in a full-metal construction with plastic ratchets and a plate lock.
It’s a dual-tone design, with a silver base and counter-balance knob on a black body with branding on the side and front. The telescoping handle extends from 35 to 45cm. It feels solid and attaches to a rosette on either side of the head.
The head uses a standard long plate (501PL, 500PLong) with a lock and a one-handed release. There are stoppers to prevent the plate from sliding out when the lock is not tightened. Underneath the plate, Libec included two spare screws securely stashed for emergency use.
The head features tilt and pan locks and drag controls and a tension meter below the balance knob. Both, the bubble level and the tension meter are illuminated for easier use in the dark.
The tension meter and “perfect balance” knob
On the bottom of the front of the head, there are two accessory mounts (¼’’ and 3/8’’). These are positioned in a way to not interfere with the balancing of the payload. It’s a great idea, but the mounts come with no locating pins, which we feel should be standard by now.
One of the prominent features of the H25 head is the dual mount design. It’s compatible with 75mm bowl tripods and flat base tripods.
Dual design – flat base and 75mm bowl
The H25 is designed to work with small mirrorless camera setups. The minimum payload for the counterbalance to work properly is 1.7kg, but we found that the sweet spot for counterbalancing on the H25 is around 3kg. For lighter setups, the counterbalance is a little too strong, and it will slowly drift at extreme angles.
Havier setup close to 3KG
In order to set the counterbalance, start with the tilt drag set at 0 and center the camera on the base. For a minimal weight setup, turn the drag setting to 3. Turning the balance knob adds more pull force, so this is needed for a heavier setup.
The drag knob
For example, this 3kg setup can be balanced at the 0 drag setting and 40 pull. At 4kg, the pull setting needs to increase to about 70.
Update: After talking to Libec about the counterbalance lower minimum payload of the head, a Libec representative explained to us that the counterbalance is very dependent upon the center of gravity of the camera system (C.G. – see the chart below). In our case, we used a small Arca base plate above the 501 plate that Libec provided which might have increased the center of gravity of the camera (although not by much). At any rate, this should be taken into consideration when considering the counterbalance topic.
Libec H25 head counterbalance chart
In conclusion, in our experience with the H25 head, we found it to provide very fluid movement. Once you get used to the locks and counterbalancing, it’s very straightforward. For most of our setups, though, it’s a little too much. Thankfully, Libec has the H15 head that can balance a setup of as little as 800 grams.
Ideal for somewhat heavier mirrorless setups
As for pricing, the H25 head from Libec sells for $760.
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