I have a Gitzo tripod with an extendable arm that I use to photograph flat artworks from overhead. My whole setup (see image) works perfectly except for one thing: Because I set it up and take it down as I need it (no dedicated space) I am constantly having to fiddle with it to level the camera to the surface. I am doing this with a hand-held level and adjusting a little this way and that. The current head is a little stiff, and ideally what I'd like is a head that can make fine adjustments with a dial, instead of un-tightening, nudging, tightening all the time.

Something like the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1124273-REG/manfrotto_mhxpro_3wg_xpro_geared_3_way.html

The question is, will that fit my tripod and can it be attached at the end of the tripod arm (where I've drawn a red arrow in the photo)?

Advice or suggestions?

Thank you.

tripod setup

  • \$\begingroup\$ Check the specs of your tripod, it needs to have a 3/8" screw so that it matches the thread on the head (it's in the specs you linked to). It's pretty standard though and there are adapters from the other standard size. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Dec 7, 2016 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rather than using a hand-held level, it might make more sense to adjust such that the work is centered in the live view, and all edges of the work (or reference marks) are parallel to edges of the screen. More accurate, and maybe less fiddly. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2016 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, thank you Itai! I can't seem to mark how yours is the right answer but it is. In fact, it seems obvious now, so thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Marian
    Dec 8, 2016 at 23:32

4 Answers 4


You're fighting a losing battle with the laws of physics. Here's an idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMWu5W8b_yg

If you're really wedded to the idea of a cantilevered rig like the one you've shown in the picture, a geared head might help - a Manfrotto 405 is what I've got with an ArcaSwiss adapter that eliminates the silly QR that Manfrotto used.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for you; I use a Manfrotto 410 geared head switched to ArcaSwiss and it holds up well even under a 4x5, and can be pushed to hold an 8x10 without extreme tilts. Best thing ever when combined with an ArcaSwiss rail to get closeup shots framed properly without constantly jiggling the whole tripod around! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2019 at 17:44

I just bought the MHXPRO-3WG for studio, landscape and astro use. It works nice for studio and landscape with a wide angle or moderate telephoto lens. It should fit your purpose perfectly. It fits 3/8" tripod screws, or 1/4"-20 with an adapter.

But when putting the MHXPRO-3WG on my tripod, the Star Adventurer Mini (rotation device) in between and a ball head on top for astro photo, it becomes less sturdy than I was hoping for. OK for wide angle astro (Milky way etc) but not for longer lenses.


I have the same tripod and use it for marcro work (with a 100mm lens) and I also need to make fine adjustments. A geared head is very useful for this. I went all in and bought a geared head made by Arca Swiss, the D4. It is very expensive but it really helps a lot.

See https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/966722-REG/arca_swiss_870105_d4_monoball_fix.html

See also this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnuAv-pknyU

The MHXPRO-3WG would also do the trick but in my opinion the usability of the D4 is better, and it isn't as big (wide) but quite compact.


Tripods and heads have a standardized screw size.

The tripod attaches to the tripod head using a 3/8" screw. The tripod is the one having the screw, and the head has screw threads.

The tripod head / quick release plate attaches to the camera using a 1/4" screw. The tripod head / quick release plate is the one having the screw, and the camera has screw threads.

I think you'll find that nearly any tripod head will work on your tripod because of the standardized screw size.

Where there is lack of standardization is quick release plates: each manufacturer has their own standard for quick release plates.


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