Tripod question...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bytch_mynickname, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. bytch_mynickname

    bytch_mynickname TPF Noob!

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    This is probably a very elementary question for most but...

    What is the difference in having a tripod with a ball head vs. a plate?

    And what is the difference between a ball head and a pan head?

    I live in the middle of no where and have no such thing as a camera store to see these things in person. The only place for me to look at a tripod here is at Walmart which is a big piece of crap. I would like to get a good tripod but it is hard without being able to see them in person and the heads are confusing me. Can anyone point me in the direction of detailed pictures of tripod heads to help me see the difference? Amazon's pictures are not helping at all. Thanks and once again, sorry for the dumb question.

    edit: what is a grip head? So many choices, so little information (that I can find anyhow)
     
  2. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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  3. Get the three-way.

    I really like Manfrotto pods and heads, but I gather there are other good ones, too.
     
  4. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ball heads use a ball in a socket to permit camera position adjustment. There is a single locking mechanism. It can be annoying -- even difficult -- to adjust 'up and down' and 'left and right' at the same time.

    The next type are 'tilt and pan' heads. These have separate movements and locks for 'up and down' [tilt] and 'left and right' [pan]. Mine are of this type.

    There are still more variations with still more controls, whistles and bells.

    If possible, be sure the tripod has a central adjustable column with a lock so that the camera can be raised many inches. This saves you from re-adjusting the legs. This column should be reversable so that the camera can be mounted between the tripod legs. This position permits low level shots and also serves as an improvised copy stand.

    Finally, mass soaks up vibration. The heavier the tripod, the greater it's ability to damp down vibration such as that caused by a flipping mirror.

    Ebay has loads of tripods and photos of them.
     
  5. bytch_mynickname

    bytch_mynickname TPF Noob!

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    Now i am even more confused, didn't know there were so many different heads.

    On the 3-way, does each litle handle screw and inscrew to "lock" everything or how does that work? They look so intimidating with all those lttle handles. And are the handle large enough to be able to grab a hold of. I am a female about 5'4" but my hands are not very small, I would like something that would be comfortable in my hand. That is what makes it so hard having to buy everything online.
     
  6. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    Yup! The ‘3-way’ utilizes one knob for each axis of movement. A ‘3-way’ head may look intimidating, but it is by far the simplest to use.

    Ball heads are cumbersome to position properly, particularly when a large lens is being used.

    My recommendation, for what it’s worth, is a Manfrotto 3021 tripod and a Manfrotto 3047 ‘3-way’ head. Manfrotto builds a near indestructible product, so buying used is a safe bet.
     
  7. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    Ball heads don't have the weight capacity, as measured in a headweight:loadweight ratio, as a 3 way head.

    LWW
     
  8. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Get a ballhead with a "trigger". It's super fast.
     
  9. bytch_mynickname

    bytch_mynickname TPF Noob!

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    what does the "trigger" do? I think I saw those somewhere in my search. Does it make it easier to control? I have heard a lot of negativity about ball heads from here and other places, is the "trigger" an exception? I am sure it is all about personal preference but without having the ability to try different things first hand, I have to rely on other's opinions. Thanks
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find 3-way pan heads more accurate and easier to adjust along a single axis. Ballheads are quicker and adjustable with a single lock. Whatever your choice, make sure you get something that is rated for the heaviest lens+camera you have. In general, he 3-way pan heads will be rated for heavier loads.

    Elsaspet was referring to something similar to this:
    [​IMG]
    Its pretty quick as you simply squeeze the trigger to unlock the head. The head locks automatically once you release. I personally didn't care for it much and it didn't have the load capacity I wanted (5.6lbs).

    Some ball heads ( albeit more expensive) have a tension adjustment which allows slight tensioned adjustment while locked. Makes it a whole lot easier to adjust than ballheads that are simply locked or unlocked.
     
  11. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    Several items to keep in mind:

    Most though not all cameras come with a 1/4" mounting stud. Many of the European and larger Japanese cameras (med. and large format) come with a 3/4" mounting stud, and you will need an adapter.

    You want to avoid at all costs the Wal-mart specials. Not only do they not have the sturdiness, but many of them come with cheap plastic thread holes. (where the adjustment screws go.) They will strip out easily, and cannot hold large lenses.

    Ball heads have a similar problem given that they hold the whole ball via friction, and thus any movement will change your alignment dramatically.
    X-Y type (3 way) will move in one direction perpendicular to each screw. This prevents too much unwanted movement. Try to get a tripod with a head that will cover approx. 1/4 the size of the base of the camera. This will create much more clamping force, and will hold the camera as one unit with the tripod. Older tripods have mounting screws that are longer than newer ones. You could end up having to use a spacer, and that can defeat the purpose.

    The heavier is not necessarily the better. You need to also go for WIDER.
    Remember the Pontiac commercials? Wider is better? Similar to tall SUVs, tripods that are fully extended have a higher center of gravity. You want the tripod to be adjustable enough and have (no double intaundra meant here) enough spread of the legs to prevent the tripod from tipping over.

    Some tripods come with a connector on the bottom to prevent the legs from spreading too far apart. This can help at times, and be a hindrance at others.

    Look for a tripod sand bag if you can, or even make one. This will help steady the tripod, and give you bore ballast to keep the tripod from tipping in uneven areas, and in wind.
     
  12. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    Super fast at frustrating a newbie photographer who might be very close to having the perfect composition except for a slight horizon correction… Pull the trigger on a ball head for that correction and the whole works flops over. A ballhead no doubt works well for Elsapet because she has much experience using it for the type of photography she does. In my opinion, ballheads are not for newbies, landscape photographers or anyone easily frustrated (like me). Too many variables come unglued when that trigger is pulled.



    This would likely be the only tripod and head combination you will ever need.

    Extremely versatile… The legs can be unlocked and individually splayed out, giving you the ability to “get low”, even in the most difficult terrain. Reversible center post, which allows you to hang your camera between the legs of the ‘pod, putting your perspective even closer to the ground.

    Extremely durable… Your grandchildren will be able to use this rig long after you’ve forgotten where your camera is and are blubbering into your soup.

    As for the head... A 3047 3-way head (or similar) allows you to individually tweak each axis… Horizon tilted a few degrees? Loosen that lock and straighten it. Elevation not right? Loosen that lock and make it right. Azimuth off by a few degrees? Same same… Loosen the knob and put it where you want it.

    A quick check of completed items on Ebay indicates that you can purchase the 3021 and 3047 used for between $150 and $180US.

    I think this thread has sufficiently beat itself to death…:wink:

    Bytch, let us know what you bought.
     

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