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05-22-2009, 09:08 AM   #1
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Gear head vs. 3-way pan tripod head

From what I gather, both basically accomplish the same thing. Besides price, what's the big difference between the 2? Why would I want to spend more on a gear head vs. a pan head?

I've currently got a ballhead, but I've found that it isn't quite as precise as I want it to be, especially when it comes to macro photography.

Thanks for any input you can give me.

Heather

05-22-2009, 10:28 AM   #2
jem
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Each allows control of the X/Y/Z position with a dedicated knob for each axis of rotation. The 3-way will have a smooth and fast (clutch assisted with the better heads) throw for each axis. The geared head will have a slower and more precise control via a geared knob for each axis. The geared head is great for precise tuning where an exact position in the frame is required.

Manfrotto has some good examples of each: 3-way and Geared.
05-22-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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Actually, I've been looking at Bogen Manfrotto since I have the 190XPROB legs. I'm specifically looking at the following models, any of which will fit into my budget:

Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 410 Junior Geared Head - | 410
Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 804RC2 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head | 804RC2
Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 808RC4 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head | 808RC4

For me, the question remains--is it really worth it to pay more to get the geared head? This would be a lot easier if I had a camera store nearby that carries the complete line of heads...sigh...

Heather
05-22-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
jem
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IMHO I would go with the geared head since you mentioned that your driving purpose is macro photography. That style of head along with a 2-axis micro-positioner will give you very precise control over pretty much every degree of freedom in camera orientation. This combination of hardware still works pretty well for me in my macro work - I have an older Bogen/Manfrotto geared head. I also have an older Bogen 3-way panhead - used it mostly for medium and large format photography years ago. Currently I've been trying to use it for my long telephoto lenses but I'm probably going to retire it for a Wimberley. Hope this helps.

Best,
John


Last edited by jem; 05-23-2009 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Typo
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