3-Way Head or Ball Head Tripod

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by PhotoDim, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. PhotoDim

    PhotoDim TPF Noob!

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    I sold my old tripod and am looking to get a small, portable, yet quality tripod. I've narrowed it down to the following 2 models:

    1. Manfrotto 7301YB (3-Way Head)

    2. Manfrotto 7302YB (Ball Head)

    Both have quality aluminum legs, quick release plates, similar lengths/heights, and other features.

    I simply cannot decide between the 3-way head and the ball head. I've used a 3-way before and have seen the ball head. Which is better and why? Which should I get? Perhaps you can provide other suggestions. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    how about a tripod with no head and buy a ball head from really right stuff or Kirk photo? I have 3 tripods all setup with ball heads with acra clamps. I put an L bracket on all my cameras and love the quick setup. I think for a still camera is ball head is better than a 3 way head. For a video camera I think a 3 way head is better. I am only into still cameras so I like ball heads.
     
  3. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ball head for me. I've used the three-ways on occasion in the past, and it seems like there's always a handle on a stick trying to poke me in the neck as I lean into the viewfinder of my camera to frame the shot.
     
  4. PhotoDim

    PhotoDim TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I am also looking at this tripod:

    Flashpoint F-1128


    It's $25 more than the other two but it's made of carbon fiber. Is that a huge advantage in a tripod? It's disadvantages are the 3-way head (I'm leaning towards a ball head) and the fact that there's no quick release. Any thoughts?
     
  5. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Carbon fiber can be an advantage by giving you the same reach and stability for less weight. It's specifically made for folks who plan to carry their tripods out into the field, especially on long treks. If that's you, you'll want to trim your load, and carbon fiber is a great way to do that.

    If you're just going to shoot in a studio, or pop it out of your car and carry it a few feet to set up, then back to the car, it's probably not going to be worth the extra dollars to you.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Tripods are like fishing rods--there's a model,size,and weight for every possible use and buyer. I think the Flashpoint tripod looks like the best of the three you showed us. A funny thing about tripods is that the heavier they are, the steadier they are, but the less likely they are to be carried and used!

    Legs are interesting too; the more sections, the more compact the tripod is,and the slower and more fiddly it is to get set up.

    Tripods can be used for basically two things. One is for stability and movement suppression, such as high-magnification work, macro work, use with long lenses, and timed exposures. A second use for a tripod is for slowing down the shooting process, allowing you to frame more accurately or more repeatably, or to help keep the weight of heavy lenses supported over long shooting sessions or days afield. For architectural work, the 3-way heads are probably the best, allowing critical adjustments on 3 axes; for portraiture, I will not use anything except a big, beefy ball head.

    If all you need a tripod for is to help improve your composition, almost any tripod will do. If you need one that's rock-steady, these $150 and less tripods usually will not cut the mustard under anything except light duty.
     
  7. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Either head type has it's own advantage. The 3 way head for more precise movements. The ball head for quick movements.

    I happen to have several of each. I use ball heads the most though. What I suggest is like buying into a camera system. You buy into a tripod / head system. Keep your head choices to ones that use the same QR plates. Then you can go from one head to the other without having to mess around with changing QR plates.
     

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