TRIPOD HEAD.....What Works Best

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Tom Swaman, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    I have a small graphite Gitzo left over from my Nikon days. I need to get a good head that works optimally with M43 cameras. Please share what you have found to work best and not be a major over-kill. Thank you in advance.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  2. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    One more try, what tripod head have you found to work best with m43? I am used to large gear and I truly need some advice. Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Which body? You need a really small one for the GF1+45-200 combo
     
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    I use this one for all my cameras. I've tried everything from Arca Swiss ball heads to tiny 3 way heads and this is the one I always come back to. It's a joy to use. Probably too big for m4/3 but I have it on a set of carbon fibre legs and love it.

    Manfrotto Light Duty Grip Ball Head - Joystick

    Gordon
     
  5. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 20, 2011
    I'm using these: Trek-Tech MagMount Pro Ball Head with my E-PL2 and E-620.
     
  6. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Hi, Tom,

    I think you need to specify what gear you want to use.
    If you're adapting an MF 1000mm mirror lens to shoot the moon, you will need another system than when you're just using the 14-45 kitlens.

    C U,
    Rafael
     
  7. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    ~tc~,

    I am using a GH2H on a 1200 series Gitzo. I need the head in between. I do have an RRS L-bracket for the GH2 so I could use an Arca-style QR plate to go from vertical to horizontal camera orientation. Does this answer your question?

    Many thanks,
    Tom
     
  8. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    WJW59,

    Thanks for sharing. I have used the small mag-mount on the Trek-Tek folding tripod. I have always been scared of the mag-mounts as these will potentially wipe out code strips in credit cards, etc. I guess I am just overly careful or fearful. Your system looks like a great sixe for mft.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  9. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Rafael,

    Your point is well taken. I want to shoot with a GH2 and up to 2 Kg (4.4 lb) lens weight with a remote trigger. I am using all Panny or PL lenses including 20mm f/1.7, 25 mm f/1.4, 45mm f/2.8, 14 - 140mm f/4.0-5.8 and 100 -300 mm f/4.0 -5.6. In rare cases, I might use the FL-500 flash in the accessort shoe, but this will be very rare. I will mainly be using the tripod head for wildlife, dogs in action and macro and for an occassional portrait.

    So, Rafael, what tripod head do you recommend for this gear/usage?

    Thank you,
    Tom
     
  10. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    75
    Sep 17, 2010
    Florida
    This won't work for portrait shots, but if you shoot wildlife video, a relatively cheap option is Manfrotto 128RC QR Micro Fluid Head. You'd also want a quick leveler for the tripod too. The nice thing about this is the 357 quick release, there's a number of mounts for it.
     
  11. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    479
    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    Foba smallest ball head (M1) is quite sturdy: it does a good job even with the 500mm Zeiss Mirotar and :43: body, and it never jams. It is also very fast since the knob locks together the base pan + ball tilt.

    I replaced its top plate with a Novoflex Panorama=Q 6/8 pivoting Arca-style clamp: if you don't set it to its 6 or 8 clicks stops (pan stitching), it's smooth enough to be a makeshift "fluid head" for video or to pan with a long telephoto. Of course, it features a built-in spirit level and the ball+top-pan combination is the easiest way to quickly level a camera.

    E-P2_Foba.

    To balance the long lenses, but also for "nodal point" adjustment of pans and for manual focusing of close-up shots, I use a rail with built-in Arca-style clamp. The Arca-type L bracket nevers leaves the Pen: it provides two centered threads for a conventional tripod like the Leica table pod. Combined with the sliding rail, it's the best alternative to a long lens tripod collar, and proves more flexible for other lenses.
    E-P2_nodal.
    PS: this setup, complete with the Gitzo Series 1 carbon tripod is light enough for me to carry strapped to the backpack whenever I go shooting by foot or on my MTB. The motorcycle gets a Series 2 with gimbal head :biggrin:
     
  12. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Hi, Tom,

    up to 2 kg of lens weight, that's a lot !!!
    I'm not sure a ballhead will be a good solution, especially if you need to shoot wildlife and DIA (dogs in action). Could be OK for macro and portrait, though I would suggest to take a big one too.

    For wildlife and DIA, I would suggest you take a look at Gimbal Heads.

    A good read :
    Wimberley

    Is Gimbal Head or sidekick much better than Ball head? - Photo.net Nature Forum

    This is no doubt the Rolls Royce of gimbal heads :

    Wimberley Professional Photo Gear - The Wimberley Head

    C U,
    Rafael
     
  13. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jimboh,

    Thanks for your comments. I had a couple of levelers, but what I had are just too big, heavy and awkward for this MFT gear. Also, I shoot only still photos as I am an old-fashioned print devotee.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  14. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Rafael,

    I have used both Wimberley and King Cobra. I do not like the Sidekick even though others swear by this. I have also used both a Kirk and an Arda Swiss ball heas. You are probably correct in your recommendation, I just am hoping ther is a lighter weight, less cumbersome solution.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  15. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Pan Korop,

    Thanks for your great post. Your setup is very impressive. I use the same L-bracket as do you and it is good for use on the tripod, but it does not allow my camera to sit level on a table top, etc. I have used these brackets, typically from Kirk rather than the RRs brackets for over 20 years and this is the first one I have left on my camera that will not permit the camera to sit level. By the way, I do not believe that Kork is offering an L-bracket for the GH-2. The RRS bracket is a bit steep at $120 or $125 U.S. when the others were all $80 U.S.

    Your setup has helped me tremendously and your efforts are very much appreciated.

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  16. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Tom,

    I suppose you know it, but still, I think it's useful to remember that the mount of all micro4/3 cameras is specified 1 kg.

    If you mount your heavy lenses, you must use the lens tripod mount, otherwise you will for sure damage your camera mount !!!!

    So, Pan Korop's very nice setup will not be possible with your big lenses !!!

    Stay safe,
    Rafael
     
  17. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    479
    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    All dedicated lenses. I reckon if a Lumix lens breaks the G camera mount, it's mainly Panasonic's problem, not only Tom's :wink:

    Tom asked also for something which wouldn't be overkill. Usual gimbal heads are. IMO, they're not even smooth enough (esp. the vertical movement) for our lightweight cameras.

    Now, I did mention that on the motorbike (or in car) I do carry a Gitzo series 2 setup with a--sorta--gimbal head. The Gitzo is the "Levelling" model, with built-in ball for its center column. Very convenient. On top, we find one panning head, one Arca style L rail, a second pan head on the upright, and a "nodal slide" on it. It does for me the "cubic" pan shots, but also a compact, sturdy, smooth gimbal head. I never needed another head (ball type) on this setup. I simply unlock the L-rail and re-clamp the whole rig "head down" over the tripod for compactness in transport.

    I did post a partial view of this rig... There it is:
    MirotarMutar.

    Most components I use here are from Benro (China RRS look-alike). For the same sake of value for money, I could have used a wooden Berlebach with built-in levelling like their Report 3042. See Products Listing Report from Berlebach ® Tripods. They're all a great value. It may be heavier than the Gitzo, but you can repair it anywhere, it never sticks from grit, sand or frost, and the ball to level its column is stronger than Gitzo's with a whopping 30° tilt. Finally, anyone with woodworking skills can repair it, or shorten its legs to customize it.
     
  18. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    Indeed, Pan Korop, I expect no problem with any of the native micro4/3 lenses. They are all lightweight.

    I'm a daily user of Berlebach's 2042 tripod. Exceptional gear this is, not expensive, VERY beautiful, and nice to carry around especially in winter, wood being an excellent thermal isolator. Combining them with heavy lenses like Nikkor 300/2.8 + TC-300 (3050 gr), Tele-Ennalyt 400/4.5 (2185 gr) or long focal distance macrolenses like Micro-Nikkor 200/4, is a pure delight.

    I'm using a 540 panoramic head with the 2042. I'm not shooting wildlife or birds in flight, or other action like motorsports. For that I would certainly opt for a Wimberley Gimbal (not the sidekick, but the WH-200 version II). I once balanced the set of the Nikkor 300/2.8 and the G1 in a shop, and found it really a pleasure to operate. But, I don't need it right now.

    C U,
    Rafael