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12-19-2016, 07:55 AM   #1
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What's the Best Tripod Head for Portraits?

What do you think is the best tripod head for shooting portraits? My priorities are: 1) Allows easy and precise switching between portrait and landscape. 2) Precise minor/micro adjustments, when necessary. 3) Stability.

I'm probably missing some stuff. I have a couple of tripod heads already: 1) Manfrotto 498RC2 2) Ravelli Pistol Grip (came with a cheap tripod I needed for something).

Thanks!

12-19-2016, 08:11 AM   #2
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Have you tried an L plate? That would solve number 1 on any quick release head.
12-19-2016, 08:34 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Have you tried an L plate? That would solve number 1 on any quick release head.


I actually hadn't. There seems to be a huge variety on them. Any you would recommend?
12-19-2016, 08:38 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
I actually hadn't. There seems to be a huge variety on them. Any you would recommend?
No - sorry I don't personally use them since quick changes like they support aren't important to me. I prefer keeping the weight down and taking the time.

12-19-2016, 10:18 AM   #5
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I use an L-Plate that is almost identical to what is listed below. The model is presumably MPU105, which you can find on ebay also with possibly free shipping. I have used it on my K-5IIS and K-3II. If you space it right on the left edge, it will allow you access to the camera battery chamber.

https://www.amazon.com/Fotasy-LPM-Universal-Release-Cleaning/dp/B00W995BM2/r...neewer+l+plate

---------- Post added 12-19-16 at 12:24 PM ----------

Sirui K-20X is the ball head I use on my Sirui EN-2004 along with the L-Plate type I mentioned. The setup allows switching between vertical and horizontal positioning of the camera easily.

Sirui K-20x Ball Head SUK20X B&H Photo Video

https://www.amazon.com/Sirui-EN-2004-Aluminum-Tripod-Monopod/dp/B00IKHRRFG/r...=sirui+en-2004

---------- Post added 12-19-16 at 12:36 PM ----------

The plate is inexpensive, but it is sturdy and it works. It has a D-Ring type screw on the bottom for attachment to the camera, and is padded. As with anything that is used with a camera, it has to be used carefully.

Last edited by C_Jones; 12-19-2016 at 10:38 AM.
12-19-2016, 11:54 AM   #6
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Ballhead (make sure it is beefy enough...most aren't) and L-plate.


Steve
12-19-2016, 11:58 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Have you tried an L plate? That would solve number 1 on any quick release head.
Love my 645 as it has a tripod socket on both the bottom and side of the camera, so I just need to buy a spare quick release plate. So if you go with the L plate option, consider a second quick release plate for quick switches.

For minor or micro adjustments, you canʻt beat a good geared head like the Manfrotto 410:

Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head - Supports 11 lbs (5kg) 410 B&H

I guess you could say a geared head is what a true gear head would buy

12-19-2016, 12:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Love my 645 as it has a tripod socket on both the bottom and side of the camera, so I just need to buy a spare quick release plate. So if you go with the L plate option, consider a second quick release plate for quick switches.

For minor or micro adjustments, you canʻt beat a good geared head like the Manfrotto 410:

Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head - Supports 11 lbs (5kg) 410 B&H

I guess you could say a geared head is what a true gear head would buy
The L-plates I am talking about are quick release plates - mostly Arca-Swiss style. So there is not normally a need to add any additional QR plates.
12-19-2016, 01:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
Sirui K-20X is the ball head I use
Well, your requirements are met by most good quality ballheads. Recommending one above the other quickly dissolves into fandom because we cannot be expected to have experience with all the heads (except for Panoguy maybe).

I know Sirui constantly gets recommended as better than their price tag. I can say I love my K10X, and even the C10X that came with my Sirui tripod was pretty good.

That being said, I also have a Vanguard head (discontinued model) which is every bit as good, so there you are.

Go with the size you can accept (a too large head wouldn't have fit on my travel tripod for instance), the weight requirements, and shop for prices going on from there.
12-19-2016, 01:08 PM   #10
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All of my current ball heads offer a side slot to tilt the head over for portrait oriented shots but this of course moves the position and changes the shot. The L bracket is what a lot of people recommend when quick changes are needed - that or shooting in a square format like 6x6 or 1:1 on the K-1 and then cropping from there.
12-19-2016, 01:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
ball heads offer a side slot to tilt the head over for portrait oriented shots but this of course moves the position and changes the shot
+1 on this, but I tend to be in portrait mode before I line the shot up... so it's never been an issue for me.
12-19-2016, 02:35 PM   #12
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I love my Acratech gp-ss ballhead. It seems to do the job for both portraits and landscapes, and supports the D-FA* 70-200 well. You can use it like a regular ballhead, or like a gimbal head.

Last edited by lithedreamer; 12-19-2016 at 03:33 PM.
12-19-2016, 03:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
My priorities are: 1) Allows easy and precise switching between portrait and landscape. 2) Precise minor/micro adjustments, when necessary. 3) Stability.
I would like to add my support to the Manfrotto 410 recommendation from Alex 645.

A ballhead is of course quicker and less bulky, and I've not tried a pan/tilt head to compare. The pistol grip head I have is relatively cheap so whilst it's quick to move into position it's not so easy to do fine adjustments as it's just a ballhead without fine adjustment capability.

I'm not a portrait shooter, but I replaced my ballhead with the 410 Geared Head. The ballhead started to slip and locking it in without the head moving became more and more troublesome. It also lacked fine adjustment capability like some of the better ballheads have. The geared head is for me a better solution as the adjusters (there's three of these) unlock to rotate the camera quickly into place and each adjuster has a rotating section for fine adjustments. There are scales for each adjuster making it easy to return the camera into the same position each time after moving it. If micro adjustments, stability and accuracy are your priorities then a geared head is a worthy option for consideration.

Good luck with the decision.

Tas
12-19-2016, 03:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
I would like to add my support to the Manfrotto 410 recommendation from Alex 645.

A ballhead is of course quicker and less bulky, and I've not tried a pan/tilt head to compare. The pistol grip head I have is relatively cheap so whilst it's quick to move into position it's not so easy to do fine adjustments as it's just a ballhead without fine adjustment capability.

I'm not a portrait shooter, but I replaced my ballhead with the 410 Geared Head. The ballhead started to slip and locking it in without the head moving became more and more troublesome. It also lacked fine adjustment capability like some of the better ballheads have. The geared head is for me a better solution as the adjusters (there's three of these) unlock to rotate the camera quickly into place and each adjuster has a rotating section for fine adjustments. There are scales for each adjuster making it easy to return the camera into the same position each time after moving it. If micro adjustments, stability and accuracy are your priorities then a geared head is a worthy option for consideration.

Good luck with the decision.

Tas
Will this work with a K-1 & 24-70 or 70-200? I've always wanted one, but have never known if it's enough weight support.
12-19-2016, 04:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Will this work with a K-1 & 24-70 or 70-200? I've always wanted one, but have never known if it's enough weight support.
The 410 head supports up to 5kg/11lbs, so raw numbers say it's okay with the 24-70 and the 70-200.

K-1 w Battery Grip (1.35kg / 3lbs approx) + 24-70 (.787kg / 1.73lbs) = 2.14kg / 4.7
K-1 w Battery Grip (1.35kg / 3lbs approx) + 70-200 (1.755kg / 3.86lbs) = 3.1kg / 6.8lbs

I have used the 410 with the K-1 (with grip) and the 150-450 (2kg / 4.4lbs). Again the raw numbers identify that this combo is within the limits of the 410 however I found with the 150-450 that wind vibration became too much for the 410, so I also picked up a gimbal head for that lens. I do not recall vibration being an issue with the 70-200 however in windy conditions I think any telephoto is going to be problematic. Not a big issue in a studio I assume.

Tas

Last edited by Tas; 12-19-2016 at 06:00 PM.
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