Recommend a tripod head

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Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:44 pm

When I was getting started setting up my DSLR kit, I ignorantly purchased this tripod, which still seems decent, and then I bought this ball head, which is definitely junk.

What tripod head would you folks recommend? I'd like something strong enough to hold my EOS 40D with a 100-400mm telephoto lens and a flash attached.
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:10 pm

What is your price budget for each piece. And what is your weight budget.

Its pretty easy, out of these three things: low weigh, low price and high quality you can get two out of three.

On a lower budget i would go with something classical. Manfrotto/Bogen 055(perhaps 190) and a with a 40D and a 100-400 at least not smaller than a 488rc2. This setup is quite heavy. If you want something medium priced, the magfiber series are decent price/performance if you dont to go with carbon fiber. If you can take a good pounce on the wallet, i wouldnt go with anything else besides a Gitzo carbon fiber and either Acratech ultimate ballhead or a really right stuff ball. Perhaps a hydrostatic 468mg head. There are other good ballheads two of course, i just dont have them all in my head. You can probably find similar stuff from most other makers as Cullman and Benbo too.

Personally, i use a Acratech UBH and a Gitzo G1127. The whole setup weights in at 1.67 kg and kan take my weight(72kg) freehanging in the center pole with the legs in the first nock-position. Expensive as hell though.
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:46 am

I've wondered about this too. My $15 Newegg tripod doesn't seem to like my 70-200 f/2.8 L lens too much :wink: Fortunately I have a hefty one from an old video camera that works really well, but I have considered looking into seeing how much getting something decent would be.
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:48 am

I don't have a fixed budget, but I'm cheap. If a $350 Acratech ball-head is the way to go, I guess that I could screw up my courage and order it and some mounting plates. :o
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:49 pm

If you really need a ballhead. Of course, Acratech is only one of several good. RRS is really great too. And you can usually find the hydralic Manfrottos/Bogen for a steal sometimes. 468MG. If you go with a 3-way sturdier heads is easier to come by, but they arent nearly versitile enough IMHO. But then, the arca swiss plate system is really second to none and barely tied by a few custom systems. But certainly look into RRS too.

But of course, after you upgrade the tripod and head you might notice that the 100-400 doesnt really have that much to give against some other lenses and you might want something better. And then it just continues. A horrible horrible cycle. :o
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:49 pm

Aphasia wrote:But then, the arca swiss plate system is really second to none and barely tied by a few custom systems. But certainly look into RRS too.
Yeah, the Arca-Swiss system is really the way to go. Quick, sturdy, supported by all sorts of quality manufacturers of heads, camera plates, and lens plates. Add in a custom camera plate/L plate and plates for any collared lenses and you're pretty well set.
...
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:07 pm

Recommendations so far:

$345 for the Arca-Swiss Z1 :o

$300 for the Acratech ultimate ballhead with quick release

$245 for the Bogen / Manfrotto 468MGRC2

$107 for the Bogen / Manfrotto 488RC2
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:26 am

For years, I used a Mafrotto pistol grip head.

$97 for the Manfrotto 3625 vertical grip.

There's also the horizontal version:

$120 Manfrotto 322RC.

I used a Canon EOS1 w/vertical grip and have mounted up to a 300 mm F/4 L IS lens on it, so it was definitely strong and sturdy enough for the job.

It did get a bit top heavy when manoeuvring, though, which is why I think the horizontal version would probably be better (they didn't have the horizontal when I bought mine).
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:29 pm

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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:35 pm

Yeah, ball head for action/sports/wildlife photography and 3-way for panorama/landscape.

The 'frotto ball head with the separate pan/swivel mount sounds like the best of both worlds.

Another option is to use a monopod, but that's really annoying for landscape shots.

One criteria I use is that if a tripod is too heavy to carry around, then it's probably not worth it, as I'll never have it when I need/want it. The head factors into that.
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Thu May 01, 2008 6:20 am

So, have you found yours yet ?
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Re: Recommend a tripod head

Postposted on Thu May 01, 2008 7:41 am

I've added a few to my wishlist for consideration. The Bogen/Manfrotto 322RC2 got some recommendations in the photography forums, too. Many folks said that it lacked adequate tension with the camera in portrait orientation (but works fine in landscape orientation).

I intend to keep my existing tripod for a while.
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