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11-12-2015, 05:45 PM   #1
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Tripod head advice for consumer zooms (300mm) on K5/K3 & Q7...

OK... I currently shoot stills with a K5, K3 and Q7 with a variety of lenses, to 300mm (multiplied by crop factor, of course). I have a very decent Giottos tripod and ball head, and the latter works fine with my smaller/shorter lenses... however, I've a couple of physically longer and heavier lenses that make the ball head less than ideal for accurate positioning - the amount of movement at the business end of the lens, and the droop after locking the ball head in position, make it tricky at best to acquire my targets. Although I've never owned one, I believe (from what I've read) that a pan & tilt head would suit me better, and I've been looking at a budget "Velbon PH-157Q 3-Way Head" that seems to get decent reviews. Firstly, am I looking at the right *type* of head, for what I need, and is the Velbon PH-157Q a good choice at the budget end of the market? I don't spend a huge amount of time at longer focal lengths, so I'd prefer not to spend a large sum unless absolutely necessary (though I have some flexibility). If the Velbon isn't a good choice, what might work well? Thanks in advance

11-12-2015, 05:56 PM   #2
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Either a ball head or 3 way head.

I personally prefer a ball head but others prefer 3-way.

You get what you pay for.

---------- Post added 12-11-15 at 18:01 ----------

Here are three quick Google results that may help you:
Best Tripod Head | A Face Off: Ball Head vs. Pan Head
Tips for Choosing a Tripod Head
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/what-tripod-head-should-you-use--13626
11-12-2015, 06:06 PM   #3
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I have limited experience with different types, but my setup uses the Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head with RC2 Rapid Connect Plate. I have the RC2 also mounted on my Tammy 70-200mm and it works fine. I used this same setup when using my prior Canon 5D and Canon 70-200 L lens and it worked with it too. I have nothing heavier that would be mounted on it.
11-12-2015, 06:12 PM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Either a ball head or 3 way head.

I personally prefer a ball head but others prefer 3-way.

You get what you pay for.

---------- Post added 12-11-15 at 18:01 ----------

Here are three quick Google results that may help you:
Best Tripod Head | A Face Off: Ball Head vs. Pan Head
Tips for Choosing a Tripod Head
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/what-tripod-head-should-you-use--13626
> I have a very decent Giottos tripod and ball head

Bert, thanks... As I mentioned, I already have a ball head (a very decent one, actually), but for the physical length, weight and focal length of the lenses at max zoom, I don't find it stable enough - especially when using the Q7 with a long zoom lens (the weight distribution is all wrong). Hence why I was looking at pan & tilt...

11-12-2015, 06:17 PM   #5
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Oh, I see.
I'm not sure how well the Velbon head you mentioned will work with longer lenses. It might not be any better than your ball head
Out of interest, what ball head have you got?
11-12-2015, 06:24 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Oh, I see.
I'm not sure how well the Velbon head you mentioned will work with longer lenses. It might not be any better than your ball head
Out of interest, what ball head have you got?
It's a an older, heavy-duty Giottos... technically over-rated for the load I'm placing on it. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent head, and with my primes / shorter zooms, it's just great.... but with my longer zooms (the HD DA 55-300 and, for example, the Tamron Adaptall-2 23A SP 60-300mm), it is very tricky to acquire a target)...
11-12-2015, 06:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
It's a an older, heavy-duty Giottos... technically over-rated for the load I'm placing on it. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent head, and with my primes / shorter zooms, it's just great.... but with my longer zooms (the HD DA 55-300 and, for example, the Tamron Adaptall-2 23A SP 60-300mm), it is very tricky to acquire a target)...
I see.

I would have thought it would work fine with the 55-300.
But then the physics of leverage at play
Is there a tension control you could tighten so it is easier to adjust without the lens pulling it down?

11-12-2015, 06:29 PM   #8
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depending upon what you are shooting, have you considered a geared head?
11-12-2015, 06:43 PM   #9
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I have used three manfrotto heads with a variety of lenses up to Sigma 70-300 (lightweight consumer grade lens) up to Sigma 10-200 f2.8 (Good quality and reasonable heavy)

I do not have the model numbers handy but in general terms

Manfrotto Junior 3 way. Highly versatile unit able to get into all sorts of orientations. I found ok for light combinations but difficult to position with heavy lenses. It always seem to drop slightly after tightening. It also did not have quick release plate and camera base tended to slip slightly particularly in vertical orientation. Much improved with optional quick release plate attachment.
Manftotto pan and tilt I find ok for light combinations but difficult to position with heavy lenses.
Manfrotto Ball head by far the best

None of the above heads were the top of the range in their respective classes

For heavy or longer lenses I urge use of a lens collar to mount the rig with the best possible balance The 70-200 has a built in collar. 70-300 did not.
11-12-2015, 07:53 PM   #10
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I use a Manfrotto 293 lens support with my Manfrotto ball head when using my longer collarless telephoto. It balances them nicely and prevents lens sag.
11-12-2015, 08:43 PM   #11
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Evening, I use my Acratech GP (a ballhead) 80-90% of the time. However, there are situations where better control is needed - Astro. For those times, I picked up a Manfrotto 410 off of Craigslist. It does provide 3 axis fine positioning - which is really helpful. It does come in handy with my DA 60-250 - a relatively heavy lens, where fine pointing and framing is needed.

11-12-2015, 10:26 PM   #12
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I'm using the Manfrotto 410 gear head and an Sirui K20 ball head, both delivering very good results with Pentax 60-250, Sigma 80-200 and Sigma 50-500. With Surui there are two heavier Heads available. Most of the time I'm using the Manfrotto gear head.
Kameras is use K3/K5 both with battery grip.
11-13-2015, 02:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
depending upon what you are shooting, have you considered a geared head?
It sounds like a geared head may be what I need...

---------- Post added 11-13-2015 at 09:12 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Evening, I use my Acratech GP (a ballhead) 80-90% of the time. However, there are situations where better control is needed - Astro. For those times, I picked up a Manfrotto 410 off of Craigslist. It does provide 3 axis fine positioning - which is really helpful. It does come in handy with my DA 60-250 - a relatively heavy lens, where fine pointing and framing is needed.

One of the perfect examples where I'm having problems with target acquisition is higher magnification moon shots. Based on your reply and others here, the Manfrotto 410 seems like a good choice. A little more than I was hoping to pay, but... maybe after Christmas!
11-13-2015, 06:50 AM   #14
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keep an eye out for a used 410 - I bought mine from eBay for less than half the retail price....
11-13-2015, 07:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
It sounds like a geared head may be what I need...

One of the perfect examples where I'm having problems with target acquisition is higher magnification moon shots. Based on your reply and others here, the Manfrotto 410 seems like a good choice. A little more than I was hoping to pay, but... maybe after Christmas!
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
keep an eye out for a used 410 - I bought mine from eBay for less than half the retail price....
It took me about 6 months of looking, but I found one on Craigslist. A professional photographer had fully depreciated the head, picked up an Acra Swiss Cube ($1k) and was selling the 410 for $75. That was a wonderful deal. I could not send the funds fast enough...

In use you just dial in the framing / composure. It is big, heavy and clunky - just the opposite of the GP.

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