Tripod head - which do you use?

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Tom Smith

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Ok, I've found out the hard way. It's impossible screwing a monorail straight onto a tripod without struggling forever just to get it to sit right. Although I can correct the horizontal and shift the front standard, it still isn't easy so I'm looking for a tripod head.

I've seen a lot of people use ball-heads, but for something like a monorail, it must cost a fortune. Be interested to see what the forum users make do with. I quite like pan-and-tilt heads with smaller cameras,. and feel tempted to get one for the monorail.

No idea what's out there on the market. Suggestions? Recommendations?
 
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Tom Smith

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Hi Bmac,

I couldn't find an image of the Ries JR it on your ebay store. Is there any other name it might be known by overseas?
 

glbeas

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Bogen Manfrotto makes some very good ball heads and pan heads. I have a ball head on one tripod that I use with the Anba 4x5 and a pan head for the heavy duty tripod for the monorail Calumet 45NX. They both take the same quick release plate, a hexagon about 2 1/2 inches wide. I simply bought enough plates to leave one on any camera that gets used with a tripod. It saves a bunch of time setting up, flip a lever, line up the plate with the hole and drop it on. All the MF and 35mm cameras get the same treatment.
 

jovo

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I agree with Gary. The Bogen/Manfrotto heads are excellent. I use the 3047 pan-tilt head with a quick release plate and keep another plate on my P67 so I just need the one tripod (a 3021 I think it is). If I had the funds though, the large geared Bogen head is really sweet. You can release it to make large adjustments, and then engage it to make smaller, and very precise adjustments with the gear drive. But...it's that time of year to pay school and property taxes....no toys for me!
 

mark

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I recommend the pan tilt head. my ball head is a bit troublesome and damned irritating at times. But that could just be me.
 

jim kirk jr.

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The Bogen/Manfrotto users have it(at least for me)I bring my Bogen/Manfrotto tripod with 3030 pan-tilt head and never have any problems.I always bring two plates(as I always bring two cameras)screw them in before I even go out the door.Then I can switch(especially if using two different films)with ease.Go to your nearest store and play around with the displays-see what's right for you and have fun.

Jim
 

Shmoo

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One more for the Bogen 3047 pan/tilt head on a 3021 tripod...works great.
 

david b

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I currently use a Kirk BH-3 for my Mamiya 7II and Hasselblad 503cw. I have used a BH-1 with my 4x5 mono rail and it worked perfectly. I highly recommend them.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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I also use I currently use a Kirk BH-3 ballhead for my MF cameras.
I use a Kirk BH-1 ballhead and an Arca-Swiss B1 ballhead with my 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 view cameras and they both work perfectly.

I highly recommend both the Kirk and Arca-Swiss ballheads.
 

Magic Rat

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I also use the B/M 3221 wilderness legs and the geared 410 Pan/Tilt head. Got'em on Ebay together. The head is really great for getting horizons spot on. I'm sure there are better heads but the price really goes up from here. I was going to get the 3030 head but couldn't pass up this deal. The head exceeded all my expectations.
Good luck,
The Rat
 

luvmydogs

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I use the Arca Swiss B1 with QR plate for both my Nikon 35mm cameras and my Mamiya 7II, and it works great. Love the ballhead.
 

roteague

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Bogen Manfrotto tripod with a pan head, and bubble scale. Living on the ocean, I found quite quickly that the horizon must be absolutely straight or you might as well throw the image away.
 

Ed Sukach

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I've been using a NPC head for some time. It is not a "ball and socket" design ... to tell the truth, I have *no* idea how it does work, but it is secure and smooth... with provisions for "pre-setting" tension to minimize the danger of the falling camera when adjusting the thing.
 

Ole

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I use a Uniloc ball head with all my cameras, both monorail, field, and smaller formats. I find it much easier to level the head thal to level the entire tripod - especially in a country with hardly any flat ground.
 
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Tom Smith

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Hi there,

Thanks everyone. It's really helpful putting tripod ball-head or pan-and-tilt in context with camera and user. Am I correct in thinking that 35mm and medium format users with ballheads use these for flexibilty during composition, rather than geared or slower movements?

One thing I've noticed is that the Bogen don't exist in England - I think it is marketed as Manfrotto in England. I can't find any store that deals with the JR tripod head system although having browsed through a warehouse internet store, the Kirk system seems to be highly lauded. The Arca Swiss - this must be in a class of its own. It's a ballhead to make every viking envious, but it's way out of my league ;-)

One of my worse fears about ballheads is loosening the slack, and then finding the whole camera set up crashes down at 90 degrees, risking damage to something, or snipping off a finger or two. Does this happen to anyone with larger medium format or large format cameras?

I do like oversized levers which scream out: "hello - I'm a lever - turn me". I used a cheap ballhead briefly and found that I had to use my nose to support the camera. Once with a 35mm camera, it poked out a contact lens because of its sudden movement when the tension was released - that wasn't too bad. But the same experience with a large format .....?!!
 

Ole

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Tom Smith said:
Hi there,
One of my worse fears about ballheads is loosening the slack, and then finding the whole camera set up crashes down at 90 degrees, risking damage to something, or snipping off a finger or two. Does this happen to anyone with larger medium format or large format cameras?
<snip>
I do like oversized levers which scream out: "hello - I'm a lever - turn me". I used a cheap ballhead briefly and found that I had to use my nose to support the camera. Once with a 35mm camera, it poked out a contact lens because of its sudden movement when the tension was released - that wasn't too bad. But the same experience with a large format .....?!!

Doesn't happen with mine. There's a picture (d*gital, I'm afraid) of the head holding 8kg of Technika III 5x7" and Xenar 300mm/4.5 to a Stabil Macro tripod here:Dead Link Removed .
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I prefer 3-way pan/tilt heads for most purposes. The Gitzo low profile heads are very solid. I use a G1570M (the magnesium alloy version) up to 11x14", but if you're shooting 4x5", you can use the next size down (probably G1370M). I bought mine from www.robertwhite.co.uk.
 

Lee Shively

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I have a massive Bogen/Manfrotto 3038 ballhead mounted on my very old and beat-up Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 tripod (AKA 055 tripod). It has that big lever that says, "Turn me." But it's a pretty good head for the price and pretty stable given its size. I haven't used it much in the last few years, having bought a Gitzo 1340 tripod. I use the Gitzo 1377M magnesium ballhead on this tripod. I've changed out the platform to add a Bogen/Manfrotto quick release adapter that takes the big hex plate. I've used the hex plates for about 20 years and, although they are huge, I like them a lot. I've never been a big fan of the pan/tilt heads.
 

Mark H

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I've used the Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 tripod/3047 pan-tilt head for 35mm, MF, and 4x5...it works beautifully and is solidly built. One quirk, though. It does seem to get heavier each year!
 

mwtroxell

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I'm using a wooden tripod with a 3047 head for 8x10. I've used the 3047 for years with a 4x5 but just started using it with an 8x10. It still works good but every time I pick the 8x10 up the 3047 head makes me very nervous.
 

bobfowler

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I use a Bogen 3036 tripod with a 3047 head for large format work and most medium format shooting. My lightweight 35mm tripod/head is a Bogen 3001 with a 3025 3-way head. Somewhere, I have a Bogen 3021 with a 3047 head, but I haven't used it in a while.
 

James Bleifus

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I use the Ries J100 tripod with the J200 head and love it. Ries tripods are expensive but I was one the side of some sandstone last week and my camera didn't flinch. My last tripod would shudder any time I looked over a ravine.

Cheers,

James
 
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