Welcome to our ultimate Sirui VH 10 review that we decided to publish a few weeks back now after reviewing a few other products from the Sirui range and being pleasantly surprised by the quality and performance. We have also noticed a few people reaching out about the VH 10 too so decided to publish a review for it when we had the time free.
Although the Sirui VH 10 has a decent reputation amongst the community while also offering some decent performance, we feel that it is a little too expensive as it does have some drawbacks that some competing fluid heads do not. For example, the Manfrotto 502 fluid head (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is not only cheaper than the Sirui VH 10 but it also has a better reputation within the community while also not having most of the drawbacks that the Sirui VH 10 has.
Although we really do think our readers should really consider the cheaper Manfrotto 502 fluid head, we will still review the Sirui VH 10 in full below as it is still a decent product. We hope that any of our readers considering picking up the VH 10 find our article useful while it hopefully helps them decide if the VH 10 will make a better addition to their collection of camera accessories than the Manfrotto 502.
User Interface And Control System
The user interface for the Sirui VH 10 is pretty straight forward and allows you to quickly get to grips with the fluid head and pretty much use it efficiently right out of the box. It offers you some very smooth panning for your camera rig allowing you to easily capture some beautiful slow pan video footage or some epic panoramic photographs while out and about.
In our opinion though, one of the main problems with the Sirui VH 10 is that there is no drag control for panning. This means that you are unable to increase the resistance level to make it easier to control the speed of your panning an in all honesty, at this price point in the market, we would expect some form of pan drag control similar to the tilt drag control the VH 10 has.
One thing that the Sirui VH 10 does have going for it is that any left-handed photographers or videographers can quickly and easily switch the pan handed over to the left side of the fluid head for easier left-handed control. Although you would think that this would be commonplace today, some heads still miss this relatively basic feature off but thankfully, Sirui has added it to the VH 10.
One thing that we have seen some people complain about when it comes to being able to switch the side of the fluid head that the handle is on is the location of the bubble level as shown in the image below. Around Ninety percent of people are right-handed and will be using the fluid head with the handle to the right with it near the bubble level as shown in the image above.
Although this does not cause issues with the range of motion of the fluid head we have seen some people mention how the Handel can knock into the casing of the spirit level when the handle is not extended. Although we could not find a report of anyone actually breaking the bubble level due to this, it does seem many people are worried about it happening.
This is mainly due to the top bubble level being the only one can you clearly see on the VH 10, the secondary bubble level is in a ridiculous location as shown in the image below pretty much being hidden away from view no matter what you do, especially once your camera rig is mounted.
Other than the issues with the spirit levels and the lack of panning drag control, we feel that the Sirui VH 10 does a pretty decent job and can provide you with some very smooth panning. It is very easy to set up and even easier to use and personally, we feel that the people complaining about the location of the top bubble level are just worrying about a potential issue rather than there actually being one there.
Performance And Functionality
As we have mentioned, when it comes to the performance of the VH 10, it definatley stands ahead of the majority of the fluid heads within its price range but in our opinion, it offers the same level of performance as the Manfrotto 502 fluid head (Click here to check for product prices and availability) with a higher price tag.
Although the VH 10 can support a maximum load capacity of 13.2 Pounds without issue, the counterbalance on the head can be a bit of an issue with lighter camera rigs due to its snappy spring mechanism. If your camera rig does not provide enough weight to counter this then when the counterbalance kicks in, it can be a little aggressive and rapidly level itself out.
Although we doubt this will result in any direct damage to your camera rig, over time it may become a pain and increase the wear and tear on the joints and mounts on your camera due to the vibration caused when it corrects.
The performance of the quick release plate on the VH 10 is excellent and allows you to quickly and easily mount or unmount your camera rig as required. Additionally, once mounted, the plate can easily be locked in place to ensure that your camera rig will not accidentally slide off the had during use.
The Sirui VH 10 uses the Sirui VP 90 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) quick release plate and it can be a bit of a pain to source spares. That said, we have seen people mention how the 501 Manfrotto plate (Click here to check for product prices and availability) will mount to the VP 90 mounts without issue but keep in mind, we have not tested the Manfrotto plate on the Sirui head and this is from third party sources.
Build Quality And Design
If you have ever used or researched a Sirui product before, you may know that they are well known for specifically engineering their products down to componant level so they work flawlessly. This results in some of the smoothest panning that you will be able to find from the VH 10 fluid head as everything has been designed to work together for the smoothest motion possible.
In our opinion, this is why Sirui are often able to compete with Manfrotto who are the only other brand that are well known for taking this approach. Many of the lower price point brands simply license designs from Manfrotto or try to reverse engineer the system often resulting in a poor user experience.
The Sirui VH 10 really does have an outstanding build quality but we do feel that they have overlooked the location of a few things when planning the head like the location of the bubble levels as explained earlier in the article. The majority of the head is made from high quality forged aircraft-grade aluminum making it as lightweight as possible while also ensuring that the head is robust and can take knocks without taking damage.
Another thing that we feel that Sirui has overlooked when designing the VH 10 is that it there is no way to lock the fluid had into the top plate of your tripod. We really don’t understand why this is not a feature on this head as it is on the majority of their other heads with many of them coming with a lower price tag.
Anyway, the issue is, as you are unable to lock the head to the top plate of the tripod, when panning right, you may actually be spinning without your tripod head moving with the head. Although the circumstances for this would be extremey rare, if for whatever reason you end up panning right for an extended period of time, you could, in theory at last, spin the Sirui VH 10 right off the mounting thread on your tripod and cause your camera rig to fall.
As we mentioned, this is very rare but we have seen a fair few people point this out now as a simple key lock could have been added to allow you to fix the head to your tripods plate to totally prevent the chances of this ever happening.
That brings our review of the Sirui VH 10 to a close and although we do feel that the VH 10 offers some excellent panning functionality for your camera rig, we just don’t see how a higher price tag than the Manfrotto 502 fluid head (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is justified.
As we have pointed out throughout the article, we feel that the VH 10 has a number of issues with it and although the Manfrotto 502 does have a few issues, they are nothing compared to what the VH 10 has. That is why we would recommend the 502 over the VH 10 to any of our readers who are looking to add a new fluid head to their camera accessories.