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Thread: tripod head type?

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    Member Tonym's Avatar
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    tripod head type?

    I would like to try using a tripod for bird photos and was wondering which head unit is the best to use? Is there one head type that is good for most styles of photography or do people have a few different types of head for different pics. I have an EOS 50D with a 100-400L series lens which is reasonably heavy so I will have to get a head that can handle that weight. I already have a Benro A358 M8 tripod that I have not yet used.

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    I have a Manfrotto with a Pan Tilt head but am currently looking at a new Pistol Grip style head as the Pan Tilt is too slow for me. I'm not a patient person.
    I have noticed a lot of members use Ball heads but so far I find them too difficult to get right.
    I think your best bet is to hire one and try it with your gear if you can.
    Peter.

    Some of my photo's are at www.peterking.id.au

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    That's interesting Peter I have a pistol grip head and am thinking of getting a ball head to try as well. The pistol grip is very fast but I have yet to master getting it to lock in precisely the right spot when I release the trigger, I m sure this is just practice like anything though.
    My Goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbee View Post
    That's interesting Peter I have a pistol grip head and am thinking of getting a ball head to try as well. The pistol grip is very fast but I have yet to master getting it to lock in precisely the right spot when I release the trigger, I m sure this is just practice like anything though.
    Thanks for that.
    What's your tripod and what model of Pistol you got?

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    Ball type heads are great for wildlife as you can follow the target freely then snap lock when they stay put. Panning locks on ball heads are also great for sports when you are following a target on a certain plane but still have freedom to tilt up or down.
    Three way heads are great for architecture and unmoving subjects where you can compose more freely and a bit longer.
    I use Manfrotto and these are the heads I often use:
    3 Way: 141 RC
    Ball: 486 RC2
    Ball with Tall Grip: #222 with Omni QR Plate
    "The greatest camera in the world is the one you hold in your hands when shit happens." ©2007 Raoul Isidro

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    I use a pistol grip on a tripod with my sigma 150-500, righthand and on the shutter release, lefthand on the pistol grip.
    It works quite well, can move freely but it will support the whole setup if I let it go.
    Just clowning around

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    I have the Benro B-3 head which is fantastic. I think for birding if you are tracking a bird you won't be able to do it with a three way head. The ball head will allow you to set a resistance knob so you can get nice smooth movement and then with a 1/4 turn of another knob lock it down solid.

    The size of the ball is the key, the bigger the better.
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    G'day Tony, I moved the thread into a more relevant forum, as it wasn't Canon specific.

    And FWIW, my reply would read exactly as per Etherial's reply
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    I have a Slik AF2100 pistol grip (ex eBay) that works very well with my Sony A350 and Konica Minolta AF70-200 f2.8. This is a very heavy lens, that balances well when connected on the lens tripod ring to the quick-release plate of the grip. The grip is very solid and does not allow for any movement when left unattended (no lens droop).
    One little setback is that if you use a battery grip on your camera and try to connect the grip to the lens mount - it will not fit, as the depth of the camera is too great.
    Other than that, the grip is superb.
    My partner as a lighter version which she is very happy with.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards
    Last edited by Lintrathen; 02-10-2010 at 9:32am.
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    Thanks everyone for the help, now Im off to the shop to compare pistol grips and ball heads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post

    And FWIW, my reply would read exactly as per Etherial's reply
    Funny that, as I believe I was quoting you! "bigger is better"

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    If you want to get really serious, you could have a look at a Wimberley head.
    Most useful for longer lenses than the 100-400 but superb for panning/tilting following birds. It'll cost you though

    http://www.tripodhead.com/products/wimberley-main.cfm

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    ...... I use this head for birds along with a leveling base.....http://acratech.net/product.php?prod...0&cat=1&page=1

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I've been following this thread with interest and hope I'm not hijacking it.

    I do 99% of my shooting off a tripod with a 141RC head. Sometimes with 2 adjustments to do in a hurry, I miss the shot.

    Was thinking about the Novoflex 40 ballhead. Anyone have one?

    Kevin
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterking View Post
    Thanks for that.
    What's your tripod and what model of Pistol you got?

    A Benro CF 297 M8 tripod and a Slick AF1100E Pistol grip, supports my 7D with a 70-200L IS USM no problems - no droop once its locked at all and fast to use - my left hand is just not co-ordinated enough

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    THis has been most useful - I was just going to start a new thread on this topic so thanks everyone - I can now do some research.
    A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.
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    Canon 450D & 550D; 10-22mm Sigma; 24-70mm F2.8L; 70-200mm F2.8L; 18-55mm F3.5-4 EFS



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    I'm not a bird expert, but I have used the Manfrotto RC pistol grip heads, both the lighter weight one and the heavier one, and found that with my Canon 60D, a grip, and the 100-400 that neither of them could really handle the weight and their range of movement is also pretty poor.
    To put the gripped camera and 100-400 on the tripod, loosen the tripod ring on the lens and then put it on the tripod in portrait mode, then swivel the camera back to landscape.

    The best head to use for chasing birds is definitely the Wimberly head, but I've had some success using the Acratech GP ballhead.
    When you tilt it over to the landscape side, it actually runs on a sort of bearing that allows a nice easy swinging movement and while not as good as a Wimberly, it's not too far off.
    This is the head I use, and check out the video for it too.
    http://acratech.net/pages.php?pageid=14

    This is also a great head to use for general photography and one of the few ballheads that easily takes the weight of my set-up.
    You can also get them from photovideo.com.au who are in Canberra, and their prices are cheaper than bringing them in from the US.
    They are also VERY lightweight unlike some other good quality ballheads.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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