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Old Feb 26, 2003, 7:20 PM   #1
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Default Tripod Head Questions

Greetings,

I'm in the market for a tripod and head for my SLR and digital SLR (Sony D770.) It's a bit heavy and I'm planning to use it not just for regular photos but for panoramic photo stitching and QTVR (QuickTimeVirtualReality) files.

My question is what are the relative advantages/disadvantages of a ball head vs. a 3-way head. The tripod will likely be a Bogen-Manfrotto 3021Pro.

Yes, I know about Panoramic heads, but have already built a homemade version for the D770. Still, it's got to mount on something sturdy.

Any suggestions on this?

Cheers,

reader
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 11:46 PM   #2
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The ballheads are way easier and more precise to rotate as the release comes from one point of contact. They are also smaller.
The best one I have tried is the manfrotto 222, which has a trigger grip and it is amazingly strong. You may want to try it at a store.
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Old Feb 27, 2003, 12:37 PM   #3
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While we're are on the subject of tripods. My cheapo tripod has a detacheable head where the camera screws onto.

My question is: are these a standard fit and therefore could I buy a ball head and put it on mine????
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Old Feb 27, 2003, 2:34 PM   #4
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the base socket is generally one of two sizes. 3/8-16 coarse or 1/4-20 coarse(adapter available to 3/8-16). the adapter is usually stainlesss steel or brass and costs about $5US. on most ball heads it's the larger of the two.

i own a 3021 pro with a arca-swiss QR ball
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Old Mar 1, 2003, 6:33 AM   #5
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Steve6, it's not a good investment to try to add a $75-$200 ball head to a $40 tripod. What you're talking about is the "Quick Release Plate" that is meant to hold the camera onto the tripod and easily detach.

A ball head is supposed to mount to the tripod base itself. What you would be doing is mounting a ball head on top of a pan/tilt head.

If you mounted a 2lb. head onto the quick release plate and then added a camera on top of that, your plastic (you said it was cheap!) tripod head would bend under the weight of the additional head and camera, most likely. That's what mine did when I tried to mount the panorama head on it. Couldn't get "level" at gunpoint.

I'll keep my "cheapo" tripod to hold things like a webcam, but its plastic mountings are incapable of holding the kind of weight (even less than 4 lbs.!) I'm going to put on it.

FYI, I went ahead and got the Bogen/Manfrotto 3021Pro tripod and the midi-ball head from same. Glad to see someone else selected that same tripod. Adding a large quick release plate with 3/8" screw to attach the panorama head.

I'll let you know how it works when it gets here. One of the things I don't like about the ball heads is that you don't have a panning handle, which comes in quite handy when making PANoramas!

Still, as has been noted here, it will be much faster to level the head. This model ball head can lock the pan and tilt separately, which is what I need.

It says it's rated for more than 17 pounds, but still looks a bit small.

If anyone's interested, here's a link to how you go about making a custom panorama head for QuickTime Virtual Reality (.mov) files that give you 360 degree images that can be rotated using the cursor.

http://www.creativepro.com/printerfr...ory/12727.html

It's not quite as easy as it looks. You need a drill press, table saw and other tools to get any degree of real accuracy. You COULD do this project with hand tools, but you would have to be one helluva exacting woodworker!

reader

PS -- here's a good site for viewing what QTVR files look like on a web page

http://www.americansouthwest.net/index.shtml
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Old Mar 1, 2003, 10:33 AM   #6
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Reader, you're right. It is cheap and plasticky. The only good thing about it, is it's light.
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