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05-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
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Manfrotto Junior Geared Head or better ball head?

I've used only a ball head on my one tripod for years now, but I can't stand how it's so difficult to make micro-adjustments without throwing everything else out of whack, esp. with macro. For example, trying to center an object or make it symmetrical, or to make a landscape level. So I've been intrigued for a while now by the Manfrotto 410, which I've seen and actually fiddled around with, and absolutely love its solid precision, but I'm concerned about the extra size; obviously the ball head is far more compact and lightweight.

So should I just get a better quality ball head - and if so, which one - or is the Manfrotto 410 a better bet?

05-03-2012, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I too have used a ballhead for almost 20 years,[ a Manfrotto ] I just went thru the same dilema myself, to go geared or a new ballhead. I went with the Manfrotto 468 MGRCO ballhead and have been amazed at the smothness of movement compared to my old head. I was also influenced by the fact I already used those type of quick release plates and have them on everything. So I decided against replacing all my plates. But the new ballhead is just perfect, tension can be set and very smooth to move it around. It has 2 levels on it and a panoramic base,
I can't say enough good about it. I use a Pentax Macro rail for very minor adjustments
This all probably doesn't help you much, but I all I can say is Good Luck.
05-03-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Old Man Quote
This all probably doesn't help you much, ...
Actually, this is very good information. Thank you! The more info, the better.
05-03-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
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I'm really very anti-ball head. It gives you few options for control, but my interest is with extreme long glass. Years ago I spent time time in Ft. Sill Oklahoma
in Artillary school. If you want to hit something, you level up the gun, and then have two adjustments... Azimuth and deflection, or direction and elevation
if you will. You need to get your equpment balanced, and then you can close in on it----either by panning or adjusting the elevation. If you choose a pan head
you can leave the pan loose if you want while adjusting, or if you use a gimbalhead (which have lately become affordable) you can leave them both loose until
you get where you want... and then tighten them without the system taking a header. I suppose if one is using shorter glass the discipline of either up or down or right or left is excessive.

05-03-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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I do use a ball head for my macro, but I do use a macro rail that brings the body of the camera backwards from the pivot point of the ball so adjustments are easier, That said, if Macro is your main reason, I think the micro adjustments of a geared head would make life so much easier, and better for shooting in the long run.

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05-03-2012, 05:27 PM   #6
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I use both Manfrotto ball heads and 410s. If I'm doing architectural photography or anything that requires careful adjustments, the 410 gives the precision of adjustments which a ball head cannot provide. However, it is heavier and slower to use. My carry-around tripods have ball heads on them, although the 410 can replace them if required.
05-03-2012, 06:03 PM   #7
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I've used gear heads for years with a view camera, if that's the speed you shoot at micro adjusting then yes a gear head in your case would be better, if not then try a better ball head find one with separate controls for rotation, (ball locking) *ball friction and ball orientation* like one of Manfrotto's Hydrostat Ball Head

05-03-2012, 08:23 PM   #8
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I use both a ball head (Manfrotto 468MG) and a geared head (Manfrotto 410).

What cpk said sums it up well for me also. I use the ball head when down by the river shooting wildlife, and use the geared head when shooting flowers/closeups.

While I have a couple tripods, I have only one that I consider a quality one - the 055XPROB. I like to use that tripod exclusively, so I came up with a solution to accommodate both heads - I bought an extra center stem for the tripod, and mounted the ball head on one and the geared head on the other. Now it takes a matter of 1 button push - slide the center column out, and slide the other in.

I feel I have the best of both worlds with this setup - but I use all my equipment at home 99% of the time so weight/bulk isn't an issue.

To the OP - my answer obviously is to have both and use both!
05-04-2012, 08:13 AM   #9
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I have the 410 but use it exclusively for landscapes for which it is superb, for birding and other mobile activities I use a Gimbal - fantastic on a monopod, and for macro a Velbon macro rail.
05-04-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
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Thanks so much for the input, everyone. I'll definitely be checking out the Manfrotto 468MGRC series the next time I make it to my favorite camera store. Then I will decide between that and the 410. Wish I could get both, but maybe in the future.
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