A good head

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A good head

Postby admin » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:43 am

Somebody just sold me a Magnum Davis and Sanford tripod with a Davis and Sanford pan head that got damaged by UPS. I am now looking for a decent head for the tripod, if anyone knows of one. I use all Olympus equipment inlcuding an E-1 and an E-500. I have the 40- 200mm Olympus four third lens with a tripod collar around it.

Tim


Heather Forcier
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Re: A good head

Postby Heather Forcier » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:47 am

Personally, I like the Wimberley Sidekick - it is great for panning with action. I now use the full Wimberley Head, but that would be overkill for midrange telephotos.

Otherwise, I simply shoot off of a ballhead, but I don't like it. Really Right Stuff offers what is supposed to be a great ballhead, I think the BH-55. Maybe do a Google search and check out some reviews if interested.

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Re: A good head

Postby Andy » Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:36 pm

Like all "gear" discussions, you will find a variety and difference of opinion out there about "heads." This was just a topic of discussion on www.naturphotographers.net, which is a forum I frequent, recently and it was interesting to hear the different views and reasons for the views.

I think an important factor is what you are going to do with it. I use something similar to the Wimberly Head (not as good, but less $) made by Bogen/Manfrotto with my 300 f2.8 lens, which I tend to use mostly for either wildlife or sports type shots. But it is, as Heather suggests, "overkill" for any of my other lenses.

Seems like the most popular head is the "ball head." There are many manufacturers out there, including Kirk, Really Right Stuff, Gitzo, Manfrotto, Arca Swiss, etc. The range from around $100 to several hundred. I have a Manfrotto (don't have the model # handy) that is very lightweight and easy to use and is around $100. I use a Nikon D200 on it with the longest, heaviest lens being a 18-200 f3.5.5.6 zoom, which is relatively small and light. It is plenty sturdy and rigid and works well for lightweight travel. It is not really heavy enough for a bigger and longer lens. There you will probably have to go to one of the higher-end ball heads.

If I recall, your camera model and lenses are even smaller than the Nikon and Canon equipment and it would probably be suitable.

But I don't actually like the ball head very well for landscape work, because it is difficult to set, adjust and hold a horizon. My preferred head is the good old 3-way pan/tilt head for landscape work. Again, the Manfrotto (Bogen) is usually pretty easily available in shops (I am pretty sure there is a shop in Burlington which carries them) and reasonably priced (if a little klunky and heavy). You should be able to get one of these used for well under $100. I have had pretty good luck with KEH.com over the years for that kind of stuff.
Andy

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Re: A good head

Postby Andy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:48 am

Tim: Another thought came to mind on this topic. One of my "pet peeves" is that when you get your shot all framed up and you want to switch from Landscape to Portrait and v/v, there does not seem to be a head out there that doesn't change things, plus you have to go through all that horizon adjustment again (maybe the Wimberly?).

Last year, I bought a 90 degree "L" or "elbow" bracket. I believe they are available from Kirk and Really Right Stuff. Mine is from Bogen/Manfrotto, as I am currently "married" to that system. For landscape work, I love it. You simply release and re-orient the camera and the rest of the tripod setup stays the same. Virtually the same perspective and no need (usually) to re-adjust. I don't know what I did without it.
Andy

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