Anyone Recommend a Good Tripod Head?

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
872
1,364
As the title says, Ive been doing a bit of macro focus stacking lately and my tripod head isn't cutting it.

I could do with a good all round head.

I have also got a wildlife photography trip coming up so have been looking at maybe some of the gimbal types, but not sure if they would suit general purpose so much?

Anyone got any good recommendations they would like to share?
 

flyshop

macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2004
23
0
Tripod Head

Really Right Stuff is an excellent choice. I have a Wimberly which I love.
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
872
1,364
Thanks I'm in the uk and the really right stuff is hard to get, the international shipping may attract the attention of hm revenue and customs. Who will add 20% plus handling fee, not to mention delays :(

Never heard of Markins..thanks I'll check them out
 

Cheese&Apple

macrumors 68010
Jun 5, 2012
2,004
6,604
Toronto
I can't comment on a head for focus stacking but for wildlife, the Jobu gimbal head is great. It's less expensive and I think every bit as good as Wimberley.

If you're supporting anything less than a 600mm prime, the Jobu "Junior" gimbal will do the job for around $350 Cdn.

~ Peter
 

nburwell

macrumors 601
May 6, 2008
4,585
1,620
DE
I'd absolutely recommend Really Right Stuff as well. But although you said you're in the UK, some other viable options would be Kirk or Manfrotto.

Keep in mind that if you were to go with a Kirk, RRS, or even any Arca-Swiss ballhead, you will also need to purchase a 'L' bracket or plate for your camera body. If you don't want to invest too much, then Manfrotto makes some viable and inexpensive options for tripod heads.

Also, check out Adorama or B&H.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,598
380
Redondo Beach, California
As the title says, Ive been doing a bit of macro focus stacking lately and my tripod head isn't cutting it.

I could do with a good all round head.

I have also got a wildlife photography trip coming up so have been looking at maybe some of the gimbal types, but not sure if they would suit general purpose so much?

Anyone got any good recommendations they would like to share?
No. What's good for wildlife, a "ball head" is not the best for macro. The gal allows you to track the animal in both directions and then with one quick twist lock the tipod. For macro you want to move one direction a tiny about at a time. The LAST thing you want is a ball head that unlocks both directs at the same time.



I actually like this one
http://www.manfrotto.us/3d-junior-camera-head

It you reverse the center column on the tripod so that the camera is BETWEEN, not on top of the legs this head lets you work with the camera right side up. The "yaw" goes all the way past 180 degrees. Many times with macros you need the camera just 6 inches off the ground. The reverse center column is very stable.

This head is useless for wildlife, just as a ball head is useless for inverted column shots
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
872
1,364
Thanks for the link the FLM looks pretty interesting...


...for macro work I would look to attach a rail to the tripod head.

I have a mid range manfrotto at the moment, but for macro (and I was using extension tubes for extreme close ups) just tightening was moving my composition point way off...the tiny amount of movement is no prob for general use, but on the macro stuff it was too much

The RRS looks as tho its the way to go..but as i said its not easy to get hold of in the UK....(well not without risking a customs hijack!)

For the wildlife side of things lens wise prob nothing special.. 70 200 2.8 mk2 and a 2x extender, but I might look at some of the cheaper telephoto's, (i can't quite justify the 600 f4L :(!! ...maybe a gimbal type is just overkill for that?
 
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MiniD3

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2013
644
255
Australia
I would second the RRS!

The size of the RRS head will depend on the weight of your largest lens, or future lenss
RRS also has a multipurpose rail that allows you to balance your gear if it is back or front heavy, have images if needed!
....Gary
 
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Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
3,950
99
Folding space
^^^ Correction: I use a ball head and an L bracket with an inverted column all the time.

But you can hang the camera upside down.

Dale

Gitzo, Marky, RRS; pick it and you will be happy.
 

Cheese&Apple

macrumors 68010
Jun 5, 2012
2,004
6,604
Toronto
No. What's good for wildlife, a "ball head" is not the best for macro.
The ball head is not your best choice for wildlife. Setting the friction high enough to prevent accidental movement will restrict quick movement that may be needed and too loose...what's the point. A gimbal head works around this problem.

Thanks for the link the FLM looks pretty interesting...

...for macro work I would look to attach a rail to the tripod head.

I have a mid range manfrotto at the moment, but for macro (and I was using extension tubes for extreme close ups) just tightening was moving my composition point way off...the tiny amount of movement is no prob for general use, but on the macro stuff it was too much

The RRS looks as tho its the way to go..but as i said its not easy to get hold of in the UK....(well not without risking a customs hijack!)

For the wildlife side of things lens wise prob nothing special.. 70 200 2.8 mk2 and a 2x extender, but I might look at some of the cheaper telephoto's, (i can't quite justify the 600 f4L :(!! ...maybe a gimbal type is just overkill for that?
My choice for that lens, even with an extender (especially when travelling), is handheld. I do see people using a tripod/gimbal combination with that lens but they're usually doing it while laying in wait for a long period of time with finger on a cable release. Otherwise it's really not necessary and may just weigh you down.
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
872
1,364
The ball head is not your best choice for wildlife. Setting the friction high enough to prevent accidental movement will restrict quick movement that may be needed and too loose...what's the point. A gimbal head works around this problem.







My choice for that lens, even with an extender (especially when travelling), is handheld. I do see people using a tripod/gimbal combination with that lens but they're usually doing it while laying in wait for a long period of time with finger on a cable release. Otherwise it's really not necessary and may just weigh you down.

Yeah for the trip I'll be in the wait round all day camp, pretty much sun rise to sunset, I'm 6ft 2in but 2/3 days of that combo is gonna hurt handheld!
 

Cheese&Apple

macrumors 68010
Jun 5, 2012
2,004
6,604
Toronto
Yeah for the trip I'll be in the wait round all day camp, pretty much sun rise to sunset, I'm 6ft 2in but 2/3 days of that combo is gonna hurt handheld!
I use a BlackRapid strap that puts the weight on my shoulder instead of my neck and can carry the weight indefinitely but I'm hiking around a lot and don't have the camera at my eye for long periods. Of course, it's the position of raised arms that causes the most strain and it's that position that can benefit the most from a tripod.

You could also try a monopod for wildlife. They're inexpensive, easy to carry and transport, work well with a variety of head styles (gimbal is still best) and take the load off your arms if you plan on spending a lot of time looking through the viewfinder.
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
872
1,364
I use a BlackRapid strap that puts the weight on my shoulder instead of my neck and can carry the weight indefinitely but I'm hiking around a lot and don't have the camera at my eye for long periods. Of course, it's the position of raised arms that causes the most strain and it's that position that can benefit the most from a tripod.



You could also try a monopod for wildlife. They're inexpensive, easy to carry and transport, work well with a variety of head styles (gimbal is still best) and take the load off your arms if you plan on spending a lot of time looking through the viewfinder.

Yeah I have a black rapid I agree it's a great bit of kit.

Like you used on many a walk :)

Think I'm gonna upgrade my ball head, it's probably going to be the most useful most of the time :)
 

righteye

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2011
337
47
London
For Macro and Landscape work i would recommend the Manfrotto 405 or 410 the 410 being the smaller and lighter of the two. The big problem with 405/410 was that you could not use Arca Swiss style plates but that has been resolved by a photographer Henjar who now supplies an adapter plate. These geared heads are superb for macro as turning the knobs gives very precise positioning no drop, they are not for fast work but when precision matters more this is what i use.

http://www.hejnarphotostore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16_17&products_id=139

http://www.manfrotto.co.uk/410-junior-geared-head
 

Ish

macrumors 68020
Nov 30, 2004
2,055
463
UK
I use a Manfrotto 460MG and it's rock solid. I bought it to use with the Canon 5DII and it's a bit of an overkill now I've gone mirrorless but better that than not steady enough.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,849
716
Auckland
My kit:
Manfrotto Pistol Grip head for wildlife
Slik 800 Ball head for general use (great for pano stitching with its circular camera removable mount)
Manfrotto Monopod/beanbag for field use.

Horses for courses....
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,528
410
Atlanta
Whatever the ballhead brand....get a larger model (for strength) with an Arca-Swiss compatible clamp. That is the defacto photography standard for clamps and plates. Do NOT do one of those weird proprietary clamps from Manfrotto or other. There are virtually no accessories for those things.

By doing an Arca-Swiss clamp you can get from several different companies (RRS, Kirk, Wimberley, Benro Induro...etc.) all manner of flat plates, L plates (for camera bodies), macro rails, pano rails, all sorts of flash mounts, a sidekick (alternative to a full gimbal), and more.
 
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