I assume that the available heads differ somehow, but don't understand what those differences might be and if they're functional, personal preference or a bit of both.

  • 2
    possible duplicate of What should one consider when choosing a style of tripod head?
    – dpollitt
    Dec 2, 2011 at 0:09
  • Randy - Thank you for the question, but I do not see how your question is different then the one listed above in my comment. Please edit your question if it is different so we can answer it here.
    – dpollitt
    Dec 2, 2011 at 0:11
  • To answer the title of your question - they are sold without the head because people(especially pros) like to mix and match different heads with different tripod legs. It is kind of like buying a desktop computer without a monitor, you can do it either way, but the pros prefer to select specialized equipment so they buy each part separate. Along with the fact that many have multiple heads that they regularly use.
    – dpollitt
    Dec 2, 2011 at 0:13
  • Your correct, didn't come across that question in my search before asking my question. Guess I was looking at it from a different point of view. Thanks for the pointer.
    – Randy K
    Dec 2, 2011 at 4:04
  • Having duplicate questions on the site which reflect a different "angle" into the same question isn't such a bad thing. The software has functionality to mark them as duplicates so that people searching with one particular mindset are directed to the canonical answer. It all helps build a better Q&A site in the long run.
    – mattdm
    Dec 16, 2011 at 19:26

5 Answers 5


Most tripods are sold without a head so that you can decide independently on each part.

They both have to match in terms of capacity but otherwise you are free to choose the right set of legs and heads according to your requirements. If they were bundled together you may not find the right combination for you.

Particularly there are way more variety of heads than legs. They vary in precision, speed, motion control, balance, etc.


Probably for the same reason high end bodies don't come with a lens.

This gives you more flexibility with what head you purchase, and to allow for the professionals that already have one or more heads.


Choice for one size does not fit all. For some situations a 3 way pan/tilt would be fine but for others a ball head is a must.

Manufacturers offer a variety of possibilities to match the conditions under which the head will be used.

At last, it depends on your taste, subject matter and ease of use.


It has possibly been said already in the answers above, but the answer is, different needs, different heads.

Video needs a head that can be moved smoothly for example. Many people like ball heads because they are quick to set up, BUT they are hard to use when shooting for example a panorama, a more "classic" design is better suited to that.

By selling tripods without heads, it is possible to offer maximum flexibility with few products, plus you can mix and match heads and legs between manufacturers as well.


Also, something reasonably expensive that comes in two separately available parts will be preferred by many customers (especially the serious amateur or semi-pro that doesn't want to deal with insuring their gear), when sold at the same price as something that doesn't, because there is less risk of total loss from breakage or wear.

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