11

There are plenty of factors which must be considered: Maximum Load: All ball-heads are rated to support a maximum weight after which they do not hold so steadily. Normally I aim for something that can hold about twice my current maximum weight of camera and lens, just to be safe. Independent Panning Lock: Some ball heads have a single dial, some two and ...


11

A big reason is that it just makes getting the shot sequence consistent and accurate. In general, you're looking to keep the vertical plane level through the whole sequence and move along the horizontal plane in smooth, even, steps. A panoramic head is simply going to make that easier to do with less effort and risk of a muffed shot at all kinds of focal ...


11

I've taken pictures of documents recently. While in my case there was no requirement to have high quality pictures, I decided to try to aim for the most detailed and noise free pictures possible. To get the most detail, you should use the largest focal length available and take pictures from as close as possible, but such that you can still focus on the ...


10

There is no such thing as absolute safety. But you are probably fine doing this. A few things to consider: Some wildlife photographers say they are doing this (read this in a few blog posts, can't remember where). As well as a lot of sports photographers. But these guys also have equipment insurance and can be quite careless in what they do. I remember a ...


10

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 ...


10

There's a lot of overlap in terms of what can be used with each type of support. In general both tripods and monopods use a standard 3/8" bolt to connect to the heads attached to them. So pretty much any head that can be attached to a tripod can also be attached to a monopod and vice versa. But monopods and tripods tend to be used differently and thus the ...


8

This question actually inspired me to create an account, because I just recently went to the trouble to fabricate the exact thing you describe for my old Olympus XZ-1, which has a very similar situation on its underside. I made mine out of 0.25" ABS, which is available on eBay in sheets as small as 5x7", and is very easy to work with if you don't have a ...


7

Expensive bubble levels are quite accurate and display an independent level for each axis. While the cost is certainly low to manufacture, there is a higher cost to getting consistent quality control. The accuracy of cheap bubble levels is not very accurate. They sometimes do not even have the bubbles parallel to the base of the hot-shoe! It seems like such ...


7

The simplest is to buy a second quick release plate. Keep one on your long lens and one on the camera. It looks weird because the second release plate is attached but unused when you have a long lens in use but never got me in trouble. If you do not find that then you would would have to buy a dual use lens like the ones from Acratech. They are pricier than ...


7

Ball Heads Ball heads are probably the most popular type of tripod head. They are small, light weight, simple to use, and often come with a panning option. Most ball heads support a quick release mechanism, making it easy to mount and dismount the camera for changing out lenses and the like. For the majority of lenses, ball heads are quite ideal, and offer ...


7

The tripod mount receivers on many video cameras have an additional slot next to the 1/4-20 threaded hole. This hole is for an alignment pin that orients the camera in the right direction and also assists in preventing the camera from twisting on the plate. The holes in your Manfrotto 200PL quick release plate are for an alignment pin that fits into the ...


7

The quick release plate that was originally supplied with your tripod is the Manfrotto 200LT-PL plate. It's a variation of several slightly different plates made by Manfrotto that fit the RC2 (formerly called Q2) quick release system. The standard 200PL plate includes a removable "vhs" anti-twist pin for use with cameras, mostly video cameras but also some ...


6

Normally I would recommend a geared head for precision work, particularly for a heavy camera, but I assume $1000 is your total budget. So, instead, you should look at a Hydrostatic head. This will prevent shifting while tightening the ballhead but you still need to support the camera's weight while adjusting its position. Carbon Fiber legs are awesome but ...


6

First, there are quick release Arca Swiss clamps, I highly suggest Really Right Stuff products at reallyrightstuff.com, but there are others that use a lever to set and release very quickly. I have used the RC2 system for decades until recently when: I started using larger DSLR with battery grip and heavier, pro-grade, lenses Trying to shoot landscape, or ...


6

I've used a couple of older pistol grip heads (Slik 2100 and Manfrotto 3265), and I really like the idea behind them. Squeezing a handle to free the head for positioning seems like a great idea. The problem I kept running into, however, is that I needed three hands: right hand on the shutter, left hand on the lens zoom ring, and third hand on the pistol grip....


6

Most tripod heads have ratings for how much weight they are able to support. If you place 10 pounds of camera/lens on a head designed for four pounds, it doesn't matter how well made it is, it will eventually fail. The same is true of the tripod 'legs' themselves. They all have a maximum weight rating. From your question it is unclear if your camera fell ...


6

My 2 cents. 1) Use the longest focal range you can, the longest lens and/or the furthest distance you can setup. This is to reduce perspective distortion and chromatic aberrations. 2) You can construct a "table" made of MDF or something similar. You can set it at an angle so you can be far away with your camera but at the same time the document stays in ...


5

The 100-400 really isn't that big, heavy, or long. In my opinion you don't need special long-lens support, you need better all-around support. I think the 055 is a great tripod, and simply looking at the price of the 391RC2 head makes me say that's the weak point. Looking at the rated load capacity (11 lbs/ 5 kg), I would expect the 100-400 & body to be ...


5

I've bought and used two ball heads. I've decided that for me to be happy, it has to have two tension controls on the ball. One sets the basic drag and controls how fast the camera/head combo can move, and the second tightens down so that the camera is locked in position. The first ball head I bought had only a single tension, and when you loosened it so you ...


5

You need to choose a ballhead primarily by the weight you need to support. The load weight that manufacturers report is often difficult to use in making this judgment, though: the manufacturers assessment judges the weight to be perfectly balanced on the head, however depending upon your lens/body combination and how the head is positioned you may have a ...


5

Between the 468MGRC4 and 488RC4, the difference is notable. The tightening of the Hydrostatic head is very smooth and applies even pressure which makes the camera stay in the same exact position. With the standard head, there is a slight drift in the order of one or two degrees as you tighten. When I purchased my ballhead I got the standard and eventually ...


5

Manfrotto has L-plates: http://www.manfrotto.com/l-bracket-q2 (a few varieties).


5

What you're probably looking for is a Gimbal head. There are a few different manufacturers of these including Induro and the basic concept is quite popular with photographers using long lenses.


5

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 ...


5

add me as another person who was intrigued by the concept of the pistol grip, found them awkward and unwieldy in practice, and am now happily and probably permanently a ballhead user again. I talked to one of the guys at the local camera store about them as I was shopping for a replacement ballhead, and his comment was that he sold them to people when they ...


5

The gadget you're looking for is called an offset plate, but there's the legendary bad news and good news. The bad news is that I've never seen one small enough that it wouldn't interfere with the battery door on your camera. Most of them are designed for SLRs and other cameras with lots of room on the bottom. The good news is that the cost of material ...


5

It depends how the head is made. Most ball-heads move a little which is called drift. A millimeter or two is common but should not be more for anything reasonable. Otherwise it makes framing rather hard. Certain ball-heads are designed specifically to prevent this and are called non-drift heads. Manfrotto for example has a Hydrostatic series like that. The ...


5

A tripod for indoor, macro photography... So, first up, let's dispel the myth of the center column adding instability. A center column, lifted to it's maximum height, creates a precarious platform for the camera to rest on. At that point, you're essentially balancing the camera on a stick and there's not a ton of inherent rigidity to counteract vibrations. ...


4

Sure, I do this all the time. Here is a tip: Thread your camera strap through the tripod legs. This way its 1) out of the way, and 2) if for some reason the quick release fails, the camera will drop only as far as the strap will allow. Good for an OMG! moment, but no sickly metal/glass crash sound at the end. Honestly, this is really the only time I ...


4

Essentially the only long-exposure astro-photograph you can do on a normal tripod/head is star trails. This is usually done with a fairly wide angle lens, so it isn't very demanding about the tripod or head you use. For essentially any other astrophotography, you need something like a Newtonian mount with a clock drive. This is adjusted to your latitude, ...


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