A ball or a 3-way?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sothoth, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Pardon the Freudian undertones in the title. :)

    I like the convenience of a ball head for the tripod I'm planning to get, but I'm concerned that the 3-way is steadier for outdoor shooting with long exposure times. Suggestions for which to use? I'm getting into star/night shooting so I'm looking at 4min-2hr shots. My inclination is to skip the ball but I don't know if the criticism that they're less steady is fair or not.
     
  2. Remi M.

    Remi M. TPF Noob!

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    I vote for ball.
    I would find a 3 way head to be a pain. If I'm not shooting with a video camera I just don't see the need for a 3 way pan head.

    I have a "heavy duty" ball head a manfrotto 468mgrc2. I have a d70s with a 70-200vr nikkor mounted on it and it's rock solid. I have taken many HDR shots and 5min exposures. The ball head is the last of my worries.
     
  3. I have two three-way heads and I am getting tired of them. I started one version of my life as a video operator, so I am comfortable using one... but I think I'm going to get a nice Manfrotto ball-head.

    I'm going to google Remi's right now...
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    i use ball heads, and today, they rweally are the way to go, unless you do alot of panoramic panning, and even then, you use specific heads.
     
  5. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I have a 3 way and its the biggest pain... a nice ball with the pistol grip sounds good about now.
     
  6. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    Agree with everyone else.
    Ball head all the way!
    I use a 3-way for my personal use, but it's very frustrating at times... but then again I rarey use a tripod unless I have too.
     
  7. jeeper

    jeeper TPF Noob!

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    I like the pan/tilt heads, I just can't get used to the ball.
     
  8. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    interesting. I would love to hear what is so frustrating about the 3-way. I like the 3-way, especially with my heavier zoom.
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The ball heads are normally the best choice for small cameras like DSLR's. They are easier and quicker to use with light cameras. The exception would be an application that requires accurate panning such as with stitched images.

    The 3 way heads are generally best for larger cameras such as view cameras because they are stronger and actually a little easier to use with a big camera. I tend to have 3 way heads on my large, heavy tripods and ball heads on the small, light, portable ones.
     
  10. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    Ball heads all the way. I like being able to move the camera when and where I want to and have it stay where I put it, without twisting handles in order to lock.
     
  11. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    I'm less freaked out about the ball head after reading the positive reviews, but FMW and TCimages kind of summarize my reluctance:

    The camera I'm using most of the time for night shooting is a Hasselblad 500C/M, which isn't all that heavy by the standards of heavy cameras, but it's definately heavier than your typical SLR + lens.

    For long star/night exposures (1min-2hrs) holding steady is a chief concern of mine. Does anyone use ball heads for long exposures like that, and if so, can you get a suitably sturdy ball for under $200? I'm reading weight max's for some of the balls I'm looking at, but frankly I doubt the weight specs mean much. Mine is rated for 8 lbs or something, but it seems like a fly landing on my camera can cause the tripod to wobble.

    Thanks in advance for more feedback.
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Both.

    3 way pan for things that I like to take time and like to frame properly. I like the fact that you can adjust each of the axises separately. They generally are rated for more weight as well.

    Ball head for pretty much everything else. For me, a ball head with tension adjustment is absolutely necessary.

    My current Giottos ball head snapped under load and completely freaked me out. If it were just the right moment my lens+camera would have taken a pretty hard fall. I took it to my shop and tapped the "stem" and bolted on a bogen quick release. Works for now but I'm saving up for a Bogen Pro-ball. Not sure I would trust another Giottos head in the near future.
     

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