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09-11-2020, 12:46 PM   #1
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Tripod heads for Landscapes

Hi all,

I have been preparing for a camping & photography trip to the Boscastle/Tintagel area in Cornwall (UK). Last night when I was going over my camera gear and refreshing stuff in my mind, I managed to crack the head for my tripod (pictured). I do have a basic ball head, but I find that's not so good for landscapes. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a reasonable replacement head (ideally not much more than 50)? I have been looking at 3 way pan & tilt heads with the arca-swiss fitting.

Thanks

Lisa

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09-11-2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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I have the following ball head (please see shortcut below) on my small Sirui tripod. It does very well with my Pentax 16-85 and Pentax K-3 II combination. You may want to look at the specs before possibly buying it, but as I said it does work well. It costs a little bit under 40 dollars.

Sirui C-10S Ball Head C10S B&H Photo Video
09-11-2020, 12:55 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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I'd go for a used head

50 pounds is not much...you could get a much better head going used for that money. All the new ones I would rcommend are a multiple of that number.


Never cheap out on a head---your camera and lens are on it!
09-11-2020, 01:06 PM   #4
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Lisa, I can't speak for arca-swiss, but in the Manfrotto would I've got through a few heads. I think you're wise to go for a 3-way head, but I'd have a concern about you're price target. Obviously it depends on the gear weight, but I've used heads priced around 50-75 and they've all had one flaw, which is that at some time one of the levers has not been tightened up fully and the camera/lens flops with a sickening thud. Going up to the next price bracket has bought me some resistance/security and the mechanism has been easier and safer to lock.

Getting very precise control, ie with a geared head, comes with a price in weight and cost. For me ball heads are just so prone to letting the gear flop. 3-way heads are slower, but safer. They may be a little heavier and bulkier, but for me, security is important - the resistance being a key feature.

09-11-2020, 01:11 PM   #5
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I may be able to spend a bit more, I've got most of the gear for my trip now. I'll spend more in the long term, just wanting something sturdy and serviceable for this trip.

09-11-2020, 02:34 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WondringLisa Quote
I may be able to spend a bit more, I've got most of the gear for my trip now. I'll spend more in the long term, just wanting something sturdy and serviceable for this trip.
I understand , especially in current times, that choices have to made carefully with regard to expenditure on "luxury" items.

Having said that , some advice I was given long ago was this with regards to tripods..... " buy the best you can afford, and if you cannot afford it borrow. A good tripod will last a lifetime ".

I ignored it and the first two tripods I bought were not up to the task. I simply wasted money on the two cheaper ones.
09-11-2020, 03:12 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I'll agree with the sentiment above, the tripod is not the place to cut corners. That said, there are lots of good used ones that go for far less than new. Find something you like that is too expensive new and see if you can find it used.

I use an Acratech GP which I thought was ridiculously expensive when I bought it but it will outlast me. If it got stolen I would buy a new one without even thinking, its that good. My wife uses a Benro B3 that I got for her used for around $50 (about 1/3 of new)

And I firmly believe that Arca-Swiss is the way to go. You are not stuck with a proprietary mount and some Pentax lenses actually have an A/S compatible foot. Tons of A/S accessories available at reasonable prices.

09-11-2020, 04:43 PM   #8
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I guess if your ballhead is not good for landscapes it's not good at all. A ballhead has served me well for landscapes, and they are very quick to use. I haven't used a pan head much since my days of shooting video at work, panhead was designed for that type of use. But get what you feel most comfortable with and echoing the others, don't go cheap, I also recommend arca swiss type.
09-11-2020, 05:58 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I guess if your ballhead is not good for landscapes it's not good at all.
+100
Cheap ball head = misery
Good ball head = bliss

I used several cheap inexpensive ball heads early on and was firmly convinced that ALL ball heads were horrible and unsafe for my gear. Until I actually used a good one. I was quite shocked to find how wonderful it is to work with a tool that lives up to its name rather than something that is called a ball head but in reality is just a ball head shaped object.

I've found this to be true on a lot of things from screwdrivers to drills to tripods. Just because it looks like something doesn't mean it actually works correctly.
09-11-2020, 06:42 PM   #10
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Any of the basic pan and tilt 3 way heads could work. Used on eBay there are a lot of choices. What criteria do you value?
09-11-2020, 06:54 PM   #11
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The best pan and tilt tripod heads in 2020 | Digital Camera World

The benro might be available in your price range. The manfrotto is good but isn't arca swiss.
09-11-2020, 09:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The best pan and tilt tripod heads in 2020 | Digital Camera World

The benro might be available in your price range. The manfrotto is good but isn't arca swiss.
I have that Manfrotto head and love it. Very smooth to use and the friction dials could save you if you forget to tighten the main levers. I personally couldn't care less about being Arca Swiss mounting, as it's my only head and don't need a universal mounting plate.
09-12-2020, 01:39 AM   #13
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I use this Gitzo ball head. It is expensive, but I will never need another, and paired with a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod makes for a very solid base for my camera. I would look for second hand rather than new if I were the OP, and look for older models as they will be cheaper.

Also make sure what you buy is sufficiently strong for your kit including what you may upgrade to in future
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09-12-2020, 05:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mooncatt Quote
I have that Manfrotto head and love it. Very smooth to use and the friction dials could save you if you forget to tighten the main levers. I personally couldn't care less about being Arca Swiss mounting, as it's my only head and don't need a universal mounting plate.
Similarly, I have that Manfrotto head (in fact I have two). It's a nice balance between weight, security, size etc. I've got other Manfrotto gear and several of their quick release plates distributed around my gear. I suppose there might be advantages with arca-swiss - if it were a standard, which it isn't - compared with the Manfrotto system. Can't see too many disadvantages using Manfrotto and their many brands - perfectly good enough for me and thousands of others ...
09-12-2020, 08:03 AM   #15
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I've had a lot of heads over the years, starting with the 3-way pan tilt Bogen (Manfrotto) in the '80's. Was too inexperienced with tripods at the time to realize how much I disliked it. Since then there have been a few ball and gear heads.

I have 2 different Acratech---both great in terms of grip-load-weight ratios. Not cheap. Some other ball heads were just ok by comparison. A decent ball head should have a separate tensioner, IMO, such that you avoid the deadly "flop".

If you aren't in a hurry, are doing precise work, and don't mind a bit of extra weight, then geared heads are great. Had a Manfrotto, always annoyed me, especially the proprietary plate(so stupid). Now have the Benro. One caution about it is that with my K1mkII the top quick change knob interferes with the camera when putting it on or taking it off---so I assume that would be the case with other cameras (no problem with my Z, though). No issues once the camera is installed.

All-in -all, I'd recommend a ball head with a separate tensioner for travel---in fact a 3 knob ball head---Arca Swiss compatible. So many on the market, lots of used ones, lots of sizes.
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