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05-05-2020, 12:21 PM   #1
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geared head

It appears a geared head would eliminate some minor frustrations with drifting of the ball head as I am locking down for the perfect shot. I am looking at the Manfrotto 410 as it is supposed to do the job and is well within the weight, need, and price parameters. Any insights, warnings, opinions, recipes?

05-05-2020, 12:53 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
It appears a geared head would eliminate some minor frustrations with drifting of the ball head as I am locking down for the perfect shot. I am looking at the Manfrotto 410 as it is supposed to do the job and is well within the weight, need, and price parameters. Any insights, warnings, opinions, recipes?
I had it and switched to the one I have now, a Benro. What I didn't like about the Manfrotto I had was the bulk, the weight, and, the big deal, the stupid Manfrotto plate. I'm an Arca Swiss kinda guy.

The Benro is smaller, lighter, and is Arca Swiss compatible. It has one quirk I don't like, and that is that the quick movement gear interferes with getting one of my cameras on and off easily---I have to turn the gear slightly for the body to clear. Another less problematic quirk is a bit of a hiccup when switching from the quick turn gear to the fine ones, but that one annoys me less.

I think there are another couple to consider---both more expensive, though. In retrospect maybe I should have gone for one of those since it's professional use for me.

But if you don't specifically need what a geared head delivers, then maybe just get a better ball head. I use Acratech's, and think they are very good. FWIW, I'm using them and my geared hed with a 645Z and a K1(upgraded).
05-05-2020, 12:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
It appears a geared head would eliminate some minor frustrations with drifting of the ball head as I am locking down for the perfect shot. I am looking at the Manfrotto 410 as it is supposed to do the job and is well within the weight, need, and price parameters. Any insights, warnings, opinions, recipes?

Check this very recent video about geared heads.
05-05-2020, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
It appears a geared head would eliminate some minor frustrations with drifting of the ball head as I am locking down for the perfect shot. I am looking at the Manfrotto 410 as it is supposed to do the job and is well within the weight, need, and price parameters. Any insights, warnings, opinions, recipes?
A lot depends on your style of photography or subject matter. Geared heads can become quite frustrating if you need to recompose promptly, as it can involve a lot of knob twiddling to get to the other side.

Perhaps even a more robust ball head might also be worth looking into. For example I'm using the RRS BH-55 and have never experienced any "drifting", even with larger heavy glass.

Really Right Stuff BH-55 Pro with B2 Pro II Clamp reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

Hope this helps...

05-05-2020, 01:25 PM   #5
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I have a 410Jr head and love it..
05-05-2020, 01:39 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I own a Manfrotto 410. For me it has its uses, but also frustrations. Rotation along any axis also entails significant movement of the camera, hence change of viewpoint. That's because the optical center of camera/lens is well away from each of the three axes of rotation.

(I bought an Arca-Swiss conversion kit for the 410 from Hejnar Photo, who has an eBay shop.)

While I also own ball heads, currently my go-to rig is my own hacked-together version of a pan-tilt head: a leveling base, panning clamp, and monopod head. Because the monopod head itself has an Arca-Swiss base, I can quickly remove it when not needed (as when I put a view camera on it, or when doing stitched panoramas). For me this is easier and more versatile than a ball head, given that I nearly always want the camera to be level except for tilting up and down as needed.



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05-05-2020, 02:05 PM   #7
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I use the Manfrotto 229 3D super pro head, works well for my type of shooting. (slow) I also like the long handles.

Manfrotto 229 3-Way, Pan-and-Tilt Head with 030-14 Quick 229 B&H

Phil.
05-05-2020, 02:25 PM   #8
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I have the 410 with the Hejnar Extended Plate with F63 Clamp:
"Clamp center is located on Manfrotto 410 camera/lens mount axis and it is the same as the head panning base. When the head is panned both the head and camera/lens rotate around the same axis."

Extended Plate With F63 Clamp for 410 Gear Head
I mounted the 410 on a Platypod Max and used a K-1 with RRS L-bracket for the knick knacks up close contest picture.

05-05-2020, 03:28 PM   #9
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I have a Benro three way geared head, love it. Arca-Swiss compatible , well built. I use it more than my ball heads and I have a RRS BH-55 ball head which does not sag even under heavy loads.

Last edited by Roadboat24; 05-05-2020 at 03:34 PM.
05-05-2020, 04:01 PM   #10
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I find ball heads to be terrible for careful work, as the minute you get one axis right, it changes when you loosen it for another axis. The geared head or a regular three axis head works better in this scenario. If you have not tried a regular 3 axis head, it may be the answer to what you need. Less expensive, lighter, and likely just as able. With a very heavy camera, and/or very fine contro,l I would see the advantage of the geared head, but not typically.
05-05-2020, 05:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gavinhw Quote
Check this very recent video about geared heads.
gavinhw

It was that video that spurred my renewed interest.
05-06-2020, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I've got the Benro GD3WH and it has changed my life for astrophotography. I have had the 300* or 16-85 mounted on the k3ii, and the gearing is a dramatic improvement coming from a trigger grip. Keeping a subject in the center of the frame is now a matter of a little turn of the gear. Much less guess and check for faint targets like Andromeda or Bode's. It really allows me to be more attentive to improving the other aspects of astro technique. Each gear has a 'full release' knob that allows you to slew it along that gear's axis quickly.

I have used both full sized ARCA plates and Peak Design's little square quick release on the mount. The release knob on the head is a little finicky, but not a deal breaker for me.

Last edited by hoffm141; 05-06-2020 at 09:38 AM.
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