Anyone Recommend a Good Tripod Head?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheDrift-, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #1
    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?
     
  2. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #2
  3. flyshop macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Tripod Head

    Really Right Stuff is an excellent choice. I have a Wimberly which I love.
     
  4. Fezwick macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I have a Markins Q20 and it is an excellent ball head for the price.
     
  5. TheDrift- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    #5
    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
     
  6. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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  7. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #7
    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
     
  8. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #9
    I have three setups from Induro and highly recommend them.
     
  10. someoldguy macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Acratech GP-S . Holds my 100-400 fully extended no problem , wouldn't go much bigger though .
     
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    dpreview put together a very thorough comparison review of ball heads recently: LINK.
     
  12. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #12
    Note which head the pros (at least in the States) are using. RRS BH-55.
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    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
     
  14. TheDrift-, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014

    TheDrift- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #14
    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?
     
  15. MiniD3, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014

    MiniD3 macrumors 6502a

    MiniD3

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    #15
    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
     
  16. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    Huh? I use a ball head with an inverted column quite often:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #17
    ^^^ 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.
     
  18. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. TheDrift- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #19

    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!
     
  20. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #20
    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.
     
  21. TheDrift- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #21

    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 :)
     
  22. righteye macrumors 6502

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    London
    #22
    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
     
  23. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    #23
    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.
     
  24. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    Auckland
    #24
    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....
     
  25. MCAsan, Jan 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #25
    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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