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What qualities should be looked for in a ball head before purchasing one?

I recently purchased a tripod, however I didn't realize that it didn't come with a ball head. I am (very) new to photography and want to make sure that it fits both with my camera and my tripod.

My camera is a Panasonic G3 (I don't know the thread of the tripod receptacle if that's what is needed) and a Manfrotto 190xPROB with a 3/8 inch thread.

If there is any ball head that is recommended or are they all roughly the same; my price bracket is at most $100, but ideally around (or below) the $50 mark.


Yes, they should not come with a ballhead. That lets you choose the ideal one for your needs.

You need to calculate the weight of your camera and lens and multiply by two for good measure. Then lookup one that supports at least that weight. You will usually have a choice of direct attachment or quick-release plates.

Your camera is small, so I would go with a small plate. This model should be good and even has an independent pan control which is good if you shoot panoramas or even videos. Still, look at a few more. If you pay more you can get something that holds more weight should you have big lenses and still should not go much more than $100 for something basic.

  • Sorry if this is a stupid question, but the ball head you linked to, will it fit my camera (I gather it fits on to the tripod as it has the same 'thread'?)? – New-to-photography Jan 18 '13 at 6:47
  • Yes, it will fit. They pretty much all fit! Most tripods have 3/8" threads which matches the base of the ball-head. Most heads have 1/4" threads which matches the base of 99% of cameras. Some cameras have a 3/8" thread like the tripod which is why most ballheads adapt, sometimes with a tiny adaptor, sometimes by reversing the screw and sometimes with a spring-loaded 3/8" threaded sleeve over a 1/4" threaded screw. – Itai Jan 18 '13 at 15:16

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