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07-15-2009, 06:04 PM   #1
Junior Member

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Virginia (USA)
Posts: 48
How to use tripod / ballhead effectively?

I know and read quite often that a tripod is essential.

I have recently purchased a decent tripod and a very nice ballhead (Acratech ultimate ballhead) but I have to admit, I feel a bit overwhelmed and constrained on how to actually use them effectively. (My longest lens is a much used and loved Tamron 70-300mm).

I am particularly interested in understanding/learning how to use this combo to improve my bird & macro shots. For macros, I kinda get it since these are generally stationary objects but birds don't exactly sit still for long.

I also seem to have a droop issue in my feeble attempts to use the set up. I guess I'm not really tightening the ballhead as securely as I should? I was under the impression a better quality ballhead like Acratech wouldn't droop and my lens isn't that heavy so I'm sure it is user error, right?

Any advice, no matter how "obvious" it may seem would be GREATLY appreciated.


07-16-2009, 12:51 PM   #2
Forum Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Denver
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 92
There's no way you should be getting droop with that lens & ballhead. My much lower spec ballhead has no problems with a similar setup. I would guess it's not tightened enough, but I have no experience with Acratech heads so I couldn't tell you exactly what to do. Maybe check that you are in fact tightening the head and not the panning lock (if the head has one). You may want to check the manual.

I don't do birding, but if I was going to I would probably try setting the head to have a little resistance, but not be totally locked down. That should get you some stabilization while still being able to point the camera.


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