Tripod heads

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by scottdg, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. scottdg

    scottdg TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I have done a search of the forum and read what I could about tripods and heads but I am not sure if I understand the difference between different head types.

    The tripod I buy will be used in many ways. I live near the shore and will be using it at the beach and also around the house and for some hiking. I have narrowed the legs down to the B/M 3221 or 3021 or the Benro C-228. At this point I do not need it to hold a lot of weight but I would like to avoid replacing it in the near future so I would rather pay a little more now.

    As far as heads though I am not sure what I need (or want). Is it just a matter of personal preference. Or do people use different types of heads for different uses. I am not really sure what they mean either. If someone could point me to a good resource that describes the different head types and how they work I would appreciate it.

    The ones I am referring to in particular are ball head (which I think I understand just by looking at it), pan and tilt and I think I saw one of the Manfrottos on B&H that had a "3D" head.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think that if you have a good look at them, it's fairly self explanatory...and you already know. A ball head has a ball, while a three way head has three different mechanisms for movement. A pan/tilt has two movements. Either way, you can point the camera in just about any direction that you want.

    There are certainly things that one type would be better at. Pan/tilt is good for video, because you would always want the camera to be level side to side, but you would want to pan and tilt up or down. With a still camera, you might want to tilt it side to side (flip it to portrait orientation) as well as pan side to side or tilt.

    For landscape, or shots for stitching...you might want a 3-way because it allows for small movements in one plane, while keeping the others locked. A ball head is made for speed and convenience...but when you loosen it to make small adjustments, you have to be concerned about it moving in all directions.

    Personally, a ball head is fine for me...but so is a 3-way. They are both good.

    Just make sure that you get one with some sort of quick release.
     
  3. scottdg

    scottdg TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike. I guess what I wasn't sure about having not used any type of tripod other than a POC from BestBuy is if there are any limitations to one or the other.
     
  4. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. CPayton

    CPayton TPF Noob!

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    Totally agree with Johnboy2978 concerning the 3021/322RC2 combo. I've had mine about a month now and have been very please. One of the big pluses with the 322RC2 is that you can take the mounting plate mechanism and move it to the end of the handle. This way the handle is vertical and can be positioned using both hands. I've included a link with some pics that explain it better.

    322RC2 Review and Pics
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Being a user of all three types of head, I thought I would pass on how I use them. My current choice of legs is the 3021BPro from Manfrotto. On this set of legs I will use either the Manfrotto 3437 Pan Tilt head, the 488RC2 Ball head or the 322RC2 grip head. For me, each has it's own uses.

    The most common head I use is the 488RC2. It is a good all around head for most shooting applications. It has the ability to pan without loosening the ball.

    For closeup, technical work I prefer the 3437 pan/tilt head. It is easy to make those very minor adjustments necessary. For macro work I have a sent of Manfrotto micro rails that I attach onto of the head.

    For portraits I much prefer the 322RC2 head. Quick, responsive and great for shooting people. I found a good deal on the 322RS electronic shutter release that I especially like. This head is not a lot of fun to truck around, but a great head for portrait work. In fact in the near future I am going to put this head on a set of 3051 legs and put the 322 on it permanently for studio work. The one thing I will say with this head is do not take the plate of and attach it to the end of pistol grip. The bearing load is reduced to 6 pounds and it is not nearly as stable.

    Tripod heads are a personal thing. Go to a good camera store and try them out and see what fits your style.
     

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