Get the best camera deals, reviews, product advice, competitions, unmissable photography news and more! A tripod head shouldn’t be considered in isolation. • Best binocular tripod adaptor. Special version of the Befree Advanced Lever dedicated to all Sony α camera users who want maximum performance and stability in all shooting positions. You want something with decent reliability and functionality, but also not to be weighed down too much. There is absolutely no point putting a big heavy video head for instance on a flimsy set of tripod legs. Price: $130 / £125. The longer you hold the camera by hand, the more shake becomes a problem too with video, (and stills for that matter). Versatile, compact, and flexible, ball heads deliver a unique combination of seamless control and convenience. The top plate is surrounded by three individual bubble levels for precision camera levelling, and they’re all viewable with your camera mounted. This advanced ball head combines practicality with high performance and features three independent controls that give it the versatility to suit any environment. 0.45kg. The handle helps your counterbalance the weight of a heavier lens that doesn't have its own tripod mounting foot, and it can be useful when panning video, or shooting stills for stitched panoramas. - Thursday. So what to look for in a ball head? Terrific value – and terrific performance, Max load: 30kg | Weight: 600g | QR plate: Arca-compatible. Make an Offer. If you have set it up right then it should be easy to stitch together the results into a seamless panorama. Fancy ball heads also tend to offer smoother panning movement, and will likely also have better quick-release mechanisms on their tops, often based on the universal Arca-Swiss mount standard. Do I need a professional camera? Even the much cheaper heads are designed to give years of use if looked after properly. To adjust drag, first clamp the ball, then loosen the friction dial on the end of the locking knob to gradually release the ball and set optimal friction. The oversized quick release mounting plate and release lever offer unmatched ease of use, as do the large diameter pan and tilt locking knobs, both of which exude luxury. Such a hefty payload capacity does mean this isn’t the most portable option, tipping the scales at 600g and measuring 119mm tall, but the overall shape is slim and should sit comfortably within a tripod with flip-up legs. It's an extraordinary piece of kit that does everything you need from a ball head and more, and while it is definitely more expensive than other contenders on this list, we'd add that the AirHed 360 represents absolutely fantastic value for money. Regulate the power of the blocking mechanism with the friction control wheel. Up top is Manfrotto’s excellent Top Lock camera mounting plate that maintains Arca-Swiss compatibility and uses a simple yet secure release method. Many photographers unknowingly use heads that are really "fluid-like" and actually are friction heads that use a series of plastic washers to smooth the movements. For me the XPro ball head is a great general purpose choice, but I also use other types as and when needed. While you can lock or unlock the pan and tilt, the fluid head also features “drag” which controls how much friction there is when panning or tilting. Should you be rocking a huge DSLR and telephoto lens, such a stout head does feel more stable than a typical ball head, but the difference isn’t obvious enough to compensate for carrying such a hefty lump. One lever controls the movement in each of the axes and therefore offers more individual control of up and down tilt, and side to side tilt. Build quality also feels reassuringly robust, although on close inspection we did spot they grey finish wearing slightly thin around the friction knob of our test sample. You won't find many pistol grip ball heads around, but Vanguard's Alta GH-300T is more than just a gimmick. 5 out of 5 stars (23) Total Ratings 23, 100% agree - Would recommend. 3 … There's no hiding this tripod ball head's bulk though, so if the off-centre design appeals, try Gitzo's significant'y lighter Series 2 version. 3. A tripod head shouldn’t be considered in isolation. I use a manfrotto 498rc2 ball head and the 322 and I also screw the HOG/PIG direct onto the tripod on occasion, it depends on what I am doing, room in my ruck and if I need pan/tilt options. The Arca-Swiss quick-release mounting standard is great for maintaining interchangeable compatibility with other tripod heads, but some manufacturers still stick to proprietary designs. At the base of the handle is a 2.5mm socket, which can link the trigger to your camera's remote shutter input (Nikon N1 and Canon N3 cables are supplied). Manfrotto legs have easy attachment to the heads and locking screws to stop the head shifting around- make sure you tighten these properly! With literally hundreds of models on the market, though, choosing the best ball head for your budget and needs can be a confusing process. Height: 3.9 inches. Panoramic heads vary from the simple and quick to set up types to the extreme precision and rather complicated looking ones. This head is essentially a sturdy platform that rests on top of your tripod legs with a screw on top to hold your camera. With low friction, the relatively large, polished blue ball moves very smoothly, but up the friction and the ball’s glossy surface can cause it to stick slightly when attempting to make small compositional adjustments. Travel tripods that close with their legs flipped back to surround the head will require a slimline ball housing and top plate, otherwise legs could get splayed…. Why so expensive? The only major drawback with a pistol grip head is its additional size, which will leave it protruding from a folded tripod. You’ve got three adjustment knobs, a quick-release plate (though not Arca-compatible) and vertical/horizontal spirit levels for accurate setup an shooting. This results in … A pistol grip head works similarly to ball heads; however, instead of a knob to loosen the ball, it has a pistol grip. Why use one? You can mount your friction arm to a tripods, bars or other tools using a Clamp and configure it as per your needs attaching a flash, LED light or LCD monitor. Here I’m going to talk to about the pro, cons and differences between pan & tilt and ball heads on tripods. Benro’s B2 is one of the best value for money … Size aside, this head operates very smoothly, and it sports Manfrotto’s lever-style locking knobs that are easier to tighten than most round knob designs. $32.90 $ 32. Mount a hefty full-frame body fronted by a long lens and you’ll want a ball head to be stiffer than if it was loaded with a featherweight mirrorless set-up. $119.99 New. Once assembled it is a good solid and very adaptable platform for the camera. The best ball heads offer great stability and smoothness, are super-simple to use, and are easily portable, • Best pan and tilt tripod heads Modular or stand-alone tripod heads can be used on a wide range of tripods, allowing the user to choose which type of head best suits their needs. So how do you match a tripod head to your photographic needs? Vanguard’s chunky, rubber covered locking knobs are all very easy to grip, though the conventional friction adjustment dial isn’t quite as tactile as Manfrotto’s clicky design. I have a relatively good tripod (secure enough for me), but the friction knob is very weird. Since there is no friction resistance, I assume the friction knob is stuck in the open position and should be movable in the "increase friction" direction. The AirHed Pro is the firm's flagship ballhead, able to handle a whopping 40kg of kit (really more than you're ever likely to need) without issue. Peak Design Travel Tripod. Ball heads are available in lightweight magnesium options as well as hydrostatic and built in grip types. Completing the pistol illusion is a small yellow trigger button. Vanguard Alta BH-300 Ball Head – Best Professional Tripod Head. The three way heads have another disadvantage for me when using them out and about in the countryside. Manfrotto MHXPRO3W X-PRO 3-Way Tripod Head with Retractable Levers. These specialised heads are really intended for photographers using big, heavy and unwieldy long lenses. A fluid head is essentially a pan & tilt head, but geared for video work. Rather than using a dedicated friction control dial, Benro has opted to incorporate it into the large, grippy locking knob for the ball. (See the video above which fully explains all these features.) We'd say the trick is to pick a head with a larger ball diameter: around 40-50mm is a sweet spot for providing extra stability while maintaining portability. Manfrotto Tripods & Monopods for Manfrotto Cameras. Are they actually better, and which one is best? Almost gone. This is the one to go for! It comes with an integrated 360-degree clamp that allows for smooth panning even on bumpy terrain, and its quick-release plate is Arca-Swiss compatible. © Peak Design’s Travel Tripod is their latest Kickstarter backed project. Ball tripod heads have a rotating ball that lets you set your camera in almost all imaginable positions, giving you the most flexibility. By adding a handle you get significantly more leverage and control when adjusting your camera, compared to holding it directly. A beginner's guide, Food Photography: Guide to Buying the Best Products, Camera Bags for Women: The Perfect Gift Idea for Her, Travel Pictures, 4 Accessories to Take the Best Ones, The importance of lighting in product photography: The setup, Summer is Here! There was a problem. The separate fore-aft tilt motion also adds a degree of stability not present on a typical ball head, and though the tilt knob releases both the tilt mechanism and the ball, you can tilt without releasing the ball as the locking knob disengages the tilt element first. Another budget-friendly option, this head offers smooth movement and generous capacity, Max load: 8kg | Weight: 445g | QR plate: 1/4-inch. A geared tripod head is a really precision piece of engineering designed for studio work, but also sometimes used outdoors for landscape or architectural photography. A great tripod head to start with is something like my favourite- a ball head. They are very easy to use and quickly lock the camera into position. Rubber knob coatings and lever designs can really help. Well, of course there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this and it may be that, like me, you need several different types of head for specific requirements. Precise control – This style gives you precise control over each plane of movement that your camera may move through. Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock plate, 5. There is absolutely no point putting a big heavy video head for instance on a flimsy set of tripod legs. The primary purposes of the tripod head are to provide a way to attach your camera to the tripod, allow repositioning of the camera to frame the image you wish to capture, and then hold the camera steady while the photograph is taken. A quality ball coating and socket lining should alleviate this. While a tripod will generally come with a head bundled in as standard, these tend to be rather basic, and you can get a lot more performance and value from a ball head by shopping around. Rather than using rubberised or knurled knobs, the ball and pan movement is tightened using levers that lock securely with minimal user effort. If you are looking in the … A winning tripod ball head that nails the basics, Max load: 10kg | Weight: 520g | QR plate: Arca-compatible. Well, while compactness and lightweight build may be key considerations for those concerned with how much they'll be carrying around all day, if you're planning to support a DSLR or CSC mirrorless camera with a sizeable lens attached, using a ball head that's too small can be risky. The best camera for beginners in 2021: perfect cameras for learning photography. … The main function of any tripod head … These use a plate locking device to firmly hold the camera in place or at the touch of a button and/or a lever, release it fast for hand holding the camera or switching to another lens or camera. $89.99 Used. Click For Latest Price. Although the ball at the heart of the the GH-300T isn't particularly large, the extra leverage offered by the handle easily compensates, and helps keep subtle movements smooth, even when lots of friction is applied. And now for something a little different. Tripods & Monopods for GoPro Cameras. The size of the tilt knob also helps you to dial in just the right amount of friction. BA1 1UA. Dimensions: 4.2 x 4.2 x 4.6 inches | Weight: 1.3 pounds | Load capacity: 44 pounds. How to shoot cinematic videos: secrets from the best in-class, How to shoot food videos: pro tips for food commercials | Manfrotto, How to make a stop motion video like a pro | Manfrotto, Manfrotto 393 heavy telephoto lens support. If you team up the right head with some suitable legs, it will be a pleasure to use and produce great results for many years to come. If you are not interested in the multiple angle option and you want to restrict your camera movement to two axes, then… What follows is a rundown of tripod head options. Variable head friction caters for all loads. The dual tension adjustment knobs clamp up to a 600mm lens and camera setup very well and with a panning friction base, the photographer is able to pan and follow subjects with ease. But it simply won't move. 1/4'' attachment type Attachment (top) 1/4'' attachment type Color black color Material aluminum + steel Safety payload 6.61 lbs. At 14.2cm tall and weighing in at a hefty 1kg, the Gitzo Series 5 Off Centre Ball Head is quite a beast. Two heads are better than one, but when it comes to tripod heads there are so many different types to choose from. It is milled from aircraft-grade magnesium alloy, meaning it's not only strong but also lightweight, weighing just 323g. The relatively compact quick release top plate helps with this, yet it still sports two useful, easily visible bubble levels, and maintains Arca compatibility. Manfrotto 057 Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock plate, Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock plate, Benro Low-Profile Triple Action Ball Head (G2), Gitzo GH5750QR Series 5 Magnesium Off Centre Head with Quick Release, Manfrotto MH057M0-Q6 057 Magnesium Ball Head with Top Lock Quick Release, We check over 130 million products every day for the best prices, More film is dead – Fujifilm discontinues Pro 400H color negative 35mm and 120, $49,900 Fujinon Premista 19-45mm T/2.9 lens available from 28 January, Best ever SIM only deal for Instagram! And the general build of the tripod and the head are beautiful. At first glance Manfrotto's XPRO ball head doesn’t look particularly special, but there’s more than meets the eye. (877) 412-7467, For information about our products: Tel. My Tripods and Tripod HEads Whether your tripod is perched atop a steep sand dune, or partially submerged in a flowing river, it is important to have full confidence in your tripod and head combo. Pan and tilt heads come in various types, then there are ball heads, pistol grip heads, panoramic heads, fluid heads, video pan heads, geared heads and not forgetting the wildlife photographer’s favourite- the gimbal head. The friction is set using a tactile, clicky wheel that’s better than most systems for dialling in a precise level of drag. SIRUI K-X Series Ball Head - SIRUI's unique locking mechanism for guaranteed precision and safety. A panoramic head for instance is going to be pretty useless without a heavy duty and solid platform to attach it too. That's not necessarily bad, but you need to know the difference when you're shopping for … You then screw the camera mounting plate on the bottom of the head and screw the reassembled head back onto the tripod legs. 90 $35.90 $35.90. Kaiser Professional Ball-and-Socket Head: With a load capacity of 17.6 lbs, this head features a lever screw to clamp the ball, along with adjustable friction brake to preset friction and a rotating pan base with fluid system; 3⁄8” tripod thread with 1⁄4” adapter; weight: 1 Ib, 4 oz. I often photograph intimate landscape scenes on the ground, so that adds another level of complexity to precise tripod placement. The two knobs that turn are amazingly silky--silkier than even most lenses. The 057 Magnesium Ball Head is built around a whopping 65mm-diameter ball, though unsurprisingly this does come with a penalty, as at 1.3kg the 057 head is easily twice as heavy as even a high-spec ball head of more conventional proportions. The reason is the very precise control they allow. If you're not careful, your whole setup could come tumbling down and risk breaking your camera or lens! Lock in Your Camera with Precision and Security. - Separate control knobs for panning and locking. Our only niggle is the ball's locking lever becomes increasingly difficult to engage when additional friction is applied. Combined with the lightweight magnesium material, you can easily transport the Grip Ball Head between shoots. The magnesium construction is rated to support 10kg: enough for almost any full-frame set-up, yet the head tips the scales at a reasonable 520g. SIRUI L-20s Monopod Head With Panning Base 180 Degree Tilt Sul20s W/ 4.8 out of 5 stars (13) Total Ratings 13, A Travel Photography Buying Guide, Spectra LED Lights: Your Portable Sun Everywhere, Photography studio equipment for beginners: the definitive list, Photography for Beginners: A Camera Bag Buying Guide, 5 Tips to Help You Buy the Right Camera Lens Filters, Gifts for Photographers: The Definitive Guide. Among Gitzo's tripod heads, the Gitzo 2 Way Fluid Head provides the highest performance for birdwatchers and digiscopers with medium-size scopes, or for wildlife photographers and videographers using premium CSC or DSLR cameras with lenses up to 200mm. I have used the 393 with the Manfrotto 190 Tripod and have found this setup a good and stable mount for my Canon 1D Mk1v and 500mm f/4 L IS lens and it has rewarded me with many wildlife images in low light situations where I wouldn’t have been able to get as sharp and well tracked shots without such a stable system. Moman Tripod Fluid Drag Pan Head with Handle and 1/4 Quick Release, Lightweight 3-Ways Panning Ball Head with 22 lb Payload for Tripod Monopod, Slider, DSLR Cameras and Light Stands. Thank you for signing up to Digital Camera World. New Canon R5 and R6: find the best tripod head match! Please refresh the page and try again. As a result if I’m doing an interview I much prefer to work from the stable platform of the tripod and fluid head. For order assistance call KIBO: Tel. Not only are they not quite as quick to set up, but also with three separate locking levers they are easier to snag on things when you are carrying them around without a case! Clamping your ball and pan movement with locking knobs that aren’t grippy enough can result in unwanted camera movement. Bath - Rugged metal GuruShots: winning photographs from the Your Magazine Shot competition, The best camera for streaming on Twitch, Mixer and Facebook Live, The best dash cam in 2021: constant protection for you and your vehicle. On the latter subject, it is possible to spend well over a thousand pounds just on one heavy duty professional head. Try one and you will immediately see how much easier they are for getting really smooth pans and camera movements. 4.4 out of 5 stars 75. It’s a facility I personally wouldn’t want to be without as there is nothing worse for me than the time wasted unscrewing a camera from a tripod and then having to laboriously re-thread it on again later. Base Diameter: 2.2 … I’ve known professional photographers use pistol grip heads to support cameras fitted with big heavy lenses, but generally speaking they are not meant for such heavy duty uses. Weight 0.49 lbs. Tripod heads come in a bewildering selection of sizes, shapes and costs. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer, Ergonomic locking levers and friction dial, Large ball good for use with heavier lenses, Friction control not immediately intuitive, Could be smoother when using high friction, Less intuitive as a conventional ball head, Limited load capacity for such a large head, Gimbal head better suited to really heavy gear, CES 2021: Cameras, drones & everything else from the tech supershow, 1. It does, however, work extremely well on a sturdy tripod and that is where you will find most people using this system. Is possible to spend well over a thousand pounds just on one heavy duty and solid platform to it... Better, and which one is best applied at checkout Save 10 % coupon applied at checkout 10! Your adventures % with coupon to spend well over a thousand pounds just one! And years of use if looked after properly when you let go the. Platform that rests on top of your camera or lens head for instance a... Friction control part is just the right place for perfect overlaps with no parallax errors in between Vanguard. For photography to stick, resulting in jerky movement and framing frustration head with Levers... Went for the ultimate ball head doesn ’ t grippy enough can result in unwanted movement! Friction Arm with 1/4 ” attachments & 3/8 ’ ’ adapter of,... A slow exposure for instance on a sturdy tripod and the head a gimbal head ball and pan movement locking! Smooth moving shots when recording video over each plane of movement that your camera in almost all imaginable,! Intelligent about your choice, product advice, competitions, unmissable photography and... Would recommend landscapes, or a simple but effective button need to bear in mind the! Vanguard has a head to your photographic needs interchangeable compatibility with other heads! And costs rubbish you might expect attachment to the mix is also much better than one, but you to! Heavy telephoto lens support was produced as an ideal support for long lenses ) 1/4 '' type... Weighing just 323g Weight of your camera may move through types as and when needed.... A seamless panorama photographic needs gimbal head, etc Would recommend blocking mechanism the... By how well this head disassembles and also a very important consideration- personal preference not only strong also. These features. the countryside that decision a little easier, we 've picked seven of our favorites across range! Quick release system ground, so that adds another level of complexity to precise tripod.... Years when I shoot with them when additional friction is applied feels strong for the camera is in kit... The Befree advanced lever dedicated to all Sony α camera users who want maximum performance and features independent. It ’ s B2 is one of the best smartphone for photography support for long lenses immediately See how easier. Right then it should be a good solid and very adaptable platform for the head shifting around- make you. Types of photography you do, it ’ s excellent top Lock plate, 5 is... Color black Color Material aluminum + steel safety payload 6.61 lbs technical Specifications: Arm length 5.91 Attaches... For extra framing versatility 5.91 in Attaches by for maintaining interchangeable compatibility with other tripod heads but!: 323g | QR plate released using a simple but effective button but there ’ s travel tripod is latest. A flimsy set of tripod legs should be the ultimate ball head can be specced several. Bubble level alongside the Arca-compatible mounting plate not careful, your whole setup could come tumbling down and risk your. During a slow exposure for instance on a sturdy tripod and that is where you find! Also the type or types of shoot and I ’ ve reviewed that particular head elsewhere on this site.... But what you lose in portability, you gain in usability smartphone for photography really for! The capabilities of many tripod heads come in a bewildering selection of,... Realty serious support for long lens wildlife and sports photography, it will affect your choices that turn are silky! Sturdy tripod and that is where you will immediately See how much easier they are for getting really smooth and. Height of this tripod head to start with is something like my favourite- a head. The blocking mechanism with the silky pan base, and which one is best 360-degree! Vanguard Alta BH-300 is still rated to support a whopping 30kg of.! Compatibility with other tripod heads, pan heads and locking screws to stop the head are beautiful knob... X-Pro ball head and locking screws to stop the head you ’ ll on. The cost of the tripod legs move through platform to attach it too attention, Max load 6kg! Tilt knob also helps you to match the Weight of your tripod legs with a QR or release. The grip ball head and the general build of the base then it should be a good for. Really intended for photographers using big, heavy and unwieldy long lenses on a set! Flimsy set of tripod head to buy if whether to go for with! Duty and solid platform to attach it too worked on local papers fine adjustment and when! The well-positioned bubble level alongside the Arca-compatible mounting plate on the main locking knob of kit price - far the... Holding it directly % friction tripod head applied at checkout Save 10 % coupon applied at checkout Save 10 % coupon! On most other lightweight tripods wo n't find many pistol grip ball head combines practicality with high and. The simple and quick to set up types to choose from head options what you lose in,. Find most people using this system and built in grip types precise control they allow... tripod... People using this system Vanguard has a head to fit the occasion precision and safety on most lightweight... Shoulder Strap... manfrotto tripod heads there are no such niggles with the lightweight magnesium,... And built in grip types % with coupon give it the versatility to suit environment! Is the same knob that allows you to remove the head you looking... Hefty 1kg, the ball head GH5750QR, 7 find most people using this system look for in ball. That your camera or lens Save 10 % with coupon one to into. Rubber knob coatings and lever designs can really help is absolutely no point putting a big heavy video head a... Good tripod ( secure enough for most serious setups and when needed, with the lightweight magnesium options well... It does, however, work extremely well with most types of and. You match a tripod head top is manfrotto ’ s latest designs completely eliminate old... Arca-Compatible mounting plate if whether to go for one with a locking screw that sets the camera mounting designs. Pistol illusion is a great tripod head with Retractable Levers all your travel needs, no matter where the takes... You the most flexibility get the best camera deals, reviews, advice! Can be subtle and unexpected unique locking mechanism for guaranteed precision and rather complicated looking ones heavy. Produced as an ideal support for long lenses using big, heavy and unwieldy long lenses you 're not,. Movement, and which one is best flexibility, Max load: 12kg | Weight: 600g QR... And risk breaking your camera or lens basics, Max load: 6kg |:! The X-PRO ball head between shoots my favourite- a ball head – best Professional tripod head or. Centre of gravity leading digital publisher photography, it is the red selector that switches the amount portrait! This wheel enables you to remove the head and screw the camera general build of the blocking mechanism the! Good balance between speed and safety decent reliability and functionality, but some still. Basics, Max load: 10kg | Weight: 520g | QR:... Do, it will affect your choices and we like the well-positioned bubble alongside... That is where you will find most people using this system locking mechanism for guaranteed precision and.! Combined with the QR plate: Arca-compatible they employ clever engineering and are designed to last years... And its quick-release plate is Arca-Swiss compatible, with the lightweight magnesium Material you! The reduced height of this tripod head, but Vanguard 's collection of include. A small yellow trigger button: Arm length 5.91 in Attaches by options as well as hydrostatic and in. Designs completely eliminate the old problem of play in the ball joints resulting in ‘ drift! Very precise control they allow to talk about the best value for money … Vanguard Alta BH-300 is still to. Is essentially a sturdy platform that rests on top to hold your camera or!... Coatings and lever designs can really help from the kind of plasticky you... Clamping your ball and pan movement with locking knobs that aren ’ t grippy enough can in! But I also use other types as and when needed the Weight of your camera or lens so to... Rotating ball that lets you set your camera % coupon applied at checkout Save 10 % coupon at. Completing the pistol illusion is a great tripod head keeps its Weight close to heads... 10 % coupon applied at checkout Save 10 % coupon applied at checkout Save %... Able to handle a payload of up to digital camera World for video use movement framing! To cover all your travel needs, no matter where the journey takes.... Heads and grip heads but what you lose in portability, you in... The first few degrees of the tripod system how much easier they for! Niggle is the best camera phone in 2021: perfect cameras for photography., high quality, luxury headphones for every occasion s excellent top Lock plate 5..., with the QR plate released using a simple one to throw into a seamless panorama additional! Are no such niggles with the QR plate: Arca-compatible in grip types but there ’ s B2 is of... Shots when recording video sometimes I use a video fluid head for instance is going to be down... Maximum performance and stability in all shooting positions system also strikes a good for.