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Camera Tripod heads





Tony The Tiger
The salesman at my local camera store here in Chicago told me that the swivelling ball heads are far more popular than the three-way tilt heads. It seems to me that the tilt heads are superior in many respects. What do experts use? I see that there is also a video tripod head style that is somewhat like a joystick. These seem to be uncommon because they are hard to find. Any comments on them would also be helpful.
william
I prefer ball heads just because they're easier to fine tune and adjust. It's just one knob that opens up total control. The three-way tilt heads can, of course, adjust to the same position as a ball head, but it takes more time (something you don't necessarily have when on the field). Ball heads are also less cumbersome. That said, at least in my experience, if they're both the same price, three-way tilt heads can be the more stable of the two when you use heavier loads like long telephoto lenses.

I have only used a joystick tripod head once, and I could certainly see why they're great for video (free, precise, and easy control). For photography, though, I don't really see the need to carry something larger like that. But that's all personal preference.

If you get a ball head, I'd suggest getting one that has a separate friction control knob. They're really nice to have.
Tony The Tiger
william wrote:
I prefer ball heads just because they're easier to fine tune and adjust. It's just one knob that opens up total control. The three-way tilt heads can, of course, adjust to the same position as a ball head, but it takes more time (something you don't necessarily have when on the field). Ball heads are also less cumbersome. That said, at least in my experience, if they're both the same price, three-way tilt heads can be the more stable of the two when you use heavier loads like long telephoto lenses.

I have only used a joystick tripod head once, and I could certainly see why they're great for video (free, precise, and easy control). For photography, though, I don't really see the need to carry something larger like that. But that's all personal preference.

If you get a ball head, I'd suggest getting one that has a separate friction control knob. They're really nice to have.

The monopod that I bought came with a (one-way) tilthead. Then, Manfrotto had (it may still be going on) a special on tripods with a ball head. I got a 190XPROL Tripod, 496RC2 Ballhead . That ball head does have a friction control. I do not understand how it is any different than the other knob on the head. I was using the two knobs interchangeably. What is the advantage of friction control? On my limited budget, I am not likely to buy any more heads, but I should learn for the future.
william
Tony The Tiger wrote:
ht came with a (one-way) tilthead. Then, Manfrotto had (it may still be going on) a special on tripods with a ball head. I got a 190XPROL Tripod, 496RC2 Ballhead . That ball head does have a friction control. I do not understand how it is any different than the other knob on the head. I was using the two knobs interchangeably. What is the advantage of friction control? On my limited budget, I am not likely to buy any more heads, but I should learn for the future.


Yeah, I saw the specials Manfrotto was having. I think they ended on December 31, though. (I've actually never heard of a 190XPROL, I guess it's just a taller version of the 190XPROB). Anyway, I'm quite familiar with the 496RC2, it's a good head (though it would be nice if it had a separate panning control). The friction control is more precise than the position control. They can be used interchangably, but the way they intended for you to move the camera was to completely turn the position control to unlock movement and just leave the friction control at a setting you feel comfortable with. This way you can have fast motion or precise motion, and lock on quickly.
Tony The Tiger
william wrote:
Tony The Tiger wrote:
ht came with a (one-way) tilthead. Then, Manfrotto had (it may still be going on) a special on tripods with a ball head. I got a 190XPROL Tripod, 496RC2 Ballhead . That ball head does have a friction control. I do not understand how it is any different than the other knob on the head. I was using the two knobs interchangeably. What is the advantage of friction control? On my limited budget, I am not likely to buy any more heads, but I should learn for the future.


Yeah, I saw the specials Manfrotto was having. I think they ended on December 31, though. (I've actually never heard of a 190XPROL, I guess it's just a taller version of the 190XPROB). Anyway, I'm quite familiar with the 496RC2, it's a good head (though it would be nice if it had a separate panning control). The friction control is more precise than the position control. They can be used interchangably, but the way they intended for you to move the camera was to completely turn the position control to unlock movement and just leave the friction control at a setting you feel comfortable with. This way you can have fast motion or precise motion, and lock on quickly.

I have been having some issues with the panning control of this combined setup. The head has no panning ability. You have to do the panning with the legs. What I have had to do is unlock the knob that puts pressure on the neck. Once this is released you can pan the head. I think this means that you can not pan the head if you have the neck elevated, but I am not exactly sure. I am glad that I now understand the difference between the friction control and the position control. I will be able to use my tripod a little bit more like it was intended in the future.
william
Tony The Tiger wrote:
william wrote:
Tony The Tiger wrote:
ht came with a (one-way) tilthead. Then, Manfrotto had (it may still be going on) a special on tripods with a ball head. I got a 190XPROL Tripod, 496RC2 Ballhead . That ball head does have a friction control. I do not understand how it is any different than the other knob on the head. I was using the two knobs interchangeably. What is the advantage of friction control? On my limited budget, I am not likely to buy any more heads, but I should learn for the future.


Yeah, I saw the specials Manfrotto was having. I think they ended on December 31, though. (I've actually never heard of a 190XPROL, I guess it's just a taller version of the 190XPROB). Anyway, I'm quite familiar with the 496RC2, it's a good head (though it would be nice if it had a separate panning control). The friction control is more precise than the position control. They can be used interchangably, but the way they intended for you to move the camera was to completely turn the position control to unlock movement and just leave the friction control at a setting you feel comfortable with. This way you can have fast motion or precise motion, and lock on quickly.

I have been having some issues with the panning control of this combined setup. The head has no panning ability. You have to do the panning with the legs. What I have had to do is unlock the knob that puts pressure on the neck. Once this is released you can pan the head. I think this means that you can not pan the head if you have the neck elevated, but I am not exactly sure. I am glad that I now understand the difference between the friction control and the position control. I will be able to use my tripod a little bit more like it was intended in the future.


Yeah, if it's anything like the 055XPROB, you can pan with the legs, but it isn't that smooth and you can't do it at any extended length. It's a nice addition, but not quite as good as a head with a dedicated panning control (like the 498RC2). You can still pull off decent panorama shots with the legs' panning, though.
Tony The Tiger
william wrote:
Tony The Tiger wrote:
william wrote:
Tony The Tiger wrote:
ht came with a (one-way) tilthead. Then, Manfrotto had (it may still be going on) a special on tripods with a ball head. I got a 190XPROL Tripod, 496RC2 Ballhead . That ball head does have a friction control. I do not understand how it is any different than the other knob on the head. I was using the two knobs interchangeably. What is the advantage of friction control? On my limited budget, I am not likely to buy any more heads, but I should learn for the future.


Yeah, I saw the specials Manfrotto was having. I think they ended on December 31, though. (I've actually never heard of a 190XPROL, I guess it's just a taller version of the 190XPROB). Anyway, I'm quite familiar with the 496RC2, it's a good head (though it would be nice if it had a separate panning control). The friction control is more precise than the position control. They can be used interchangably, but the way they intended for you to move the camera was to completely turn the position control to unlock movement and just leave the friction control at a setting you feel comfortable with. This way you can have fast motion or precise motion, and lock on quickly.

I have been having some issues with the panning control of this combined setup. The head has no panning ability. You have to do the panning with the legs. What I have had to do is unlock the knob that puts pressure on the neck. Once this is released you can pan the head. I think this means that you can not pan the head if you have the neck elevated, but I am not exactly sure. I am glad that I now understand the difference between the friction control and the position control. I will be able to use my tripod a little bit more like it was intended in the future.


Yeah, if it's anything like the 055XPROB, you can pan with the legs, but it isn't that smooth and you can't do it at any extended length. It's a nice addition, but not quite as good as a head with a dedicated panning control (like the 498RC2). You can still pull off decent panorama shots with the legs' panning, though.


I guess I should just be happy with the features that it does have for the price. The vari-angle legs and the 90 degree neck are big features.
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