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Archive 2013 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

Hey all. This is my first post but I've been lurking for a while. I'm, I guess, an enthusiast photographer. I'm looking for advice on what would be the best tripod head for the following: urban landscapes and moon shots. I've got a Nikon d5100 and my largest lens at the moment is a Tamron 70-300mm. I may get a larger lens sometime in the future but don't have any immediate plans.

Can you offer some suggestions on a good head to look at? I've recently had some bad luck purchasing heads, both defective (a Manfrotto MH055M0-Q5 and a Giottos MH-5001). I currently have an Oben BA-1 and it works but I don't like the QR plate (prefer arca-swiss style) and I don't like that it only has one adjustment knob. I have the Oben legs that came as a kit from B&H and I also have the Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 CF tripod that I'll use for urban landscape.


Jan 01, 2013 at 03:02 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

For ball heads I like the kind with the screw (stud) on top so I can use whatever kind of release plates fit my current hankering or use it for flashes or other standard threaded mount items directly.
There's so many awesome ball-heads to choose from! Lots of on-line reviews too. Visiting the local camera shop is one good way to pick IMO - unless you're going to go with a bargain brand. For years I've maintained both pro-grade and bargain-brand legs and heads and there's little to no difference. There's a big emotional difference but if it's well designed and reasonably constructed it operates the same: pro or bargain in most cases. Especially for ball heads which are fairly simple devices.

I recently (about 6 months ago?) started using a gimbal head for everything. After using this I doubt I'll ever have the desire to use a ball or 3-way head again. I'm using the $69 Beike model:
For which there's quite a discussion thread to be found here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1105558/0 These might be a little heavy to carry around for some people but I personally don't notice any difference. If I have the need or desire to carry a tripod around the gimbal head isn't an added deterrent by my standards. And wow, what better way to support your system than perfect balance on all three axis. Camera and lens weight become a total non-issue for both the legs and user operation.

Edited on Jan 01, 2013 at 04:09 PM · View previous versions

Jan 01, 2013 at 03:49 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

one of the best pieces of advice I was given when starting out, is spend a good chunk of your budget on a good quality tripod. If you buy the $200 leg/head, your just going to end up replacing it in the coming months. Buy a quality one now, and be done with it.

I personally use a gitzo tripod and a Arca-swiss Z1 ballhead. Love it.

Jan 01, 2013 at 03:51 PM

Search in Used Dept. 

Roland W
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

I have been very happy with the Really Right Stuff ball heads in combination with their lever quick release clamps. You should study their offerings, and look through their site for information on ball heads and Arca Swiss compatible clamps. Then, stay with better brands than you have previously chosen as you consider what to get. A quality ball head from one of the better manufacturers will last many decades, and going with Arca Swiss compatibility will allow you to adapt to most any camera that comes along.

And I would think you should consider a good ball head over any adaptation of a gimbal head. I own both, and would never consider mounting a camera body on my gimbal head. Each type of head is designed for specific intended uses, and a good ball head is where to start.

Jan 01, 2013 at 04:36 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

As interesting as the gimbal looks, I doubt it'll suit my needs but I'm sure it'd be fun to play with.

I do like the idea of buying the stud and using whatever plate suits my needs.

BenV & Roland W:
I've been looking at the Kirk BH-1 And I've read really good things about RRS heads and tripods.

Is the Kirk gear considered to be in the same league? I also like that they're made in the US. Don't see that too often any longer.

Jan 02, 2013 at 01:25 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Advice on what kind of tripod head to get

I am also on the quest for a good head. And got the Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 for Christmas.. I have been looking at the 496RC2 vs the 498RC2.. I am leaning towards the 498 because you can pan horizontally. I have heard good things about both.. I use a d700, largest lens 80-200 2.8..

I dont really mean to threadjack but if anyone has any thoughts thatd be sweet.. I also wanted to throw out those who head suggestions to you.

Jan 02, 2013 at 01:11 PM

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