1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Just curious

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Stephen Rundle, May 22, 2020.

  1. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I have never been able to get on with a B and S head, I prefer a gimbal, then again I don't do landscapes, always been carp at them, when I do I use a video head.

    What do others use and "why"

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If I use a tripod it is mostly for birding with a big telephoto so I use a gimbal to take the weight and allow free movement. Rarely I use a tripod for landscape/architeture in which case I use a medium duty ball head but I have often wondered about getting a good geared head to enable fine adjustments. With quick release these are probably as easy to set up as a ball head. The ball head I have is a pain to micro-adjust as the tension is hard to get right, I think the newer ones are more easily adjusted. I have an ancient and basic 3 -way head which is an absolute pain to use - came with my Manfrotto 055. No interest in video so I've never used a video head.

    My favourite tripod accessory is a right angle finder for the camera. Much easier to look down into the viewfinder with the camera low and stable than mess about trying to find a comfortable height. If I did macro then I'd also get a focussing rail.
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    They are rather an acquired taste. I have a couple on my Benbo 1 and find them better than a Pan and Tilt head but then tripods are pretty useless with birds, well the ones I photograph anyway, I find hand holding works best for me. That does limit my choice of lenses because weight becomes a problem. I think I would go for a gimbal if I were to revisit my tripod heads.
  4. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I used to have an original Unilok :)
  5. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Hard to hand hold the 150-600 Sport :(

    Really just curious to know who uses what and for what :)
  6. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Same idea, I think Benbo were around first but that isn’t important, the problem is that they have to be really tight to stop vibration otherwise they aren’t much good.
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Which is why my lens choice is limited. I generally use 70-200 with a TC17 but a 200-400 would be nice.
  8. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I am sure the chap from BenBo set up on his own and produced UniLok
  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Then a Gimbal is the way to go. I use the cheapest* one I could find which is the Manfrotto 393 - it is actually sold as a monopod head. I just looked it up - it seems to have more than doubled in price. I think I paid just over 100€ for mine 10 years ago. https://www.manfrotto.com/uk-en/long-lens-monopod-bracket-393/ I don't know why they show the lens hanging from the mount in the advertising shot, that is just stupid, you'd never use it as shown.

    The best gimbal is the Wimberley but that is very expensive.

    *there are some very cheap ones around but I wouldn't risk my gear.
  10. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I have a tripod. Used it a couple of times in 8 years. I have no problem hand-holding a Canon 100-400L with 1.4x tc attached.
  11. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I have the Wimberley WH200 on a Gitzo and it will last my lifetime, I also have a couple of Giottos tripods I would never change

    But I would disagree, I think Wimberley are great, you have to try it to see why BUT, not the best if you compare cost with spec. I had one of these and it was also very very good


    IF I had to buy again it would be Wimberley "for the name" but Benro Carbon for the quality and finish, though it would never last as long as my Wimberley
  12. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I use my ball head for landscape, no issues, I suppose it is what you are used to. I have a gimbal for birding but it is rarely used as I either hand hold or use the ball head.
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  13. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Fine but remember there are many many different people who need a tripod
  14. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've found that a monopod with a ball and socket head is a good support for long lenses if I slacken off the head's lock screw. Works well with image stabilisation because there's just enough vibration left to activate the system properly.
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    With a monopod I use a tilt-head, easier than a ball-head. https://www.wexphotovideo.com/manfrotto-234rc-monopod-tilt-head-with-quick-release-11019/. Good for telephoto and telephoto zooms with a tripod mount.
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  16. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If you take a quick look on Amazon you will find that the cheapest tripod head is a ball and socket, around £6, which may explain their apparent popularity. Then comes the Pan and Tilt head at £15 followed by the fluid damped head at slightly more, the Gimbal heads are much more expensive starting around £55. None of which in any way denigrates any of them, each has its uses and disadvantages. Personally I would chose a ball and socket over a pan and tilt with a wide angle lens or for portraits but, never having used a gimbal head, I haven't found any head suitable for the range of movement necessary for birds flying directly overhead.

    Any camera support is really only any good within its design parameters, if your requirements are within them then great, if not you'll need to think again.
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    BIF with a gimbal is not very practical unless the direction of flight is across the field of view. They work best with a near horizontal view, you have to be very acrobatic to stay with it and tilt because the camera moves a lot. The main advantage is that the whole weight of the camera and lens is taken by the gimbal and, unlike other mounts, the camera is not fixed in position so that it can be panned and tilted (a bit) freely. Some friction has to be applied else the wind swings the lens around and you can get a nasty clout.

    This shortie in flight is a near 100% crop with a 500 F4 + 1.4 converter on a tripod with gimbal. 1Div has a x1.3 crop factor. It was taken when panning.

    [​IMG]BV9R0681.jpg by Pete, on Flickr
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  18. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    The most common in flight subjects around here are either flying a Standard Instrument Departure or a Red Kite. The former is entirely predictable the latter far less so. The thing about Kites is that they circle, sometimes an observer will be inside the circle others not, but the circle drifts meaning that the bird may appear from behind trees and be almost directly overhead even if on the last pass it was offset by some distance. Trying to cover an elevation from horizontal to vertical whilst also pivoting on the spot isn't something easily achieved with either a tripod or a monopod.

    I get the impression that a gimbal head is fine with azimuth movement but limited in pitch, which is a pain! If I want to keep shooting Kites I'll have to manage without a camera support and restrict my choice to shorter lenses. Thanks for the information. Great picture by the way.
    Stephen Rundle likes this.
  19. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I can not get on with monopods, not for sports they are terrible for panning, but walking, countryside as a pole ready to use I agree for that
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Mine is more limited than the single axis supports but I'd guess it is good for +/- 45 degrees. The main problem is that you set it up for eye height but to tilt up you have to crouch down to look through the camera. If it is, say 1' between the centre of mass and the eyepiece then for 45 degree tilt your eye needs to go down 1' and your neck bend back so that you can see. This is when you kick the tripod.

Share This Page