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Thread: what's a ball head tripod?

  1. #1

    Default what's a ball head tripod?

    Can someone explain what a ballhead tripod is as opposed to a regular one? kinda confused. Thanks for enligthening me.

  2. #2

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    There is no "regular" tripod.

    Welcome to Clubsnap!

    If you do a proper Google, you'd find out that there's actually not much information on the internet about tripods; so I'll try to give you a short writeup on tripods.

    Now - for tripods, most of the time what you pay is what you get; things you'd have to look out for would be stability and the amount of weight the legs and the head can take.

    For cheap tripods, you cannot change the head - it is permanently welded to the legs. For not-so-cheap to expensive tripods, you can change the head. There are many types of tripods.

    But anyways, to cut a long story short, there are two many types of heads for tripods - a pan-tilt head and a ballhead.

    A ballhead looks something like this



    Basically, you release a lever somewhere and you can rotate the platform according to how the ball can roll in its fixed position, hope you get what I mean.

    As opposed to:



    The head of the above tripod is a pan-tilt head; basically each time you can only adjust one dimension; vertically and horizontally movement is controlled by levers which you can unscrew/release and move the tripod along a fixed plane.

    Hope you have a better idea of what I mean, feel free to ask more if you're still not sure.

    Most people here prefer ball-heads; I've switched to ballhead recently but I still personally prefer pan-tilt head. Ball-heads would give you a faster adjustment speed, of course.. But I don't know, I like the longer time taken to adjust pan-tilt head; to me (this is a personal view) it allows me more time to possibly find a better composition since I do landscape photography primarily.

  3. #3

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    ah i've used a pan tilt one before but never a ball head so had no idea what it was. Is it better than the regular pan tilt ones?

  4. #4

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    ah i've used a pan tilt one before but never a ball head so had no idea what it was. Is it better than the regular pan tilt ones?
    Depends on your style.

    Try to loan ballhead from your friends if any of them have photography or something. Me, I prefer pan-tilt head.. =( I don't always need the speed to adjust angle, I guess.

  5. #5

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    No one i know has a ball head so i can't loan one. So i'm guessing a ballhead is harder to adjust but good for weird angles for creative shots?

  6. #6

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    No one i know has a ball head so i can't loan one. So i'm guessing a ballhead is harder to adjust but good for weird angles for creative shots?
    No, ballhead is easier to adjust.

    That's why more people use it.

    It's all about personal preference really;

    Here's a short write-up about tripod heads, click on link to read. Hope this helps you understand how each type of head works better.

  7. #7

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    yeah it helps alot, i've used a pan and tilt before and it used to cheese me off coz it'd start slanting downwards whenever i was finished composing the shot and pushing the snap button to take the shot. It sounds like the ball head isn't prone to doing that. Can you recommend a good brand for a reasonable price locally?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    yeah it helps alot, i've used a pan and tilt before and it used to cheese me off coz it'd start slanting downwards whenever i was finished composing the shot and pushing the snap button to take the shot. It sounds like the ball head isn't prone to doing that. Can you recommend a good brand for a reasonable price locally?
    How reasonable is reasonable?? Some people think $30 is too much for a ballhead. Some are willing to spend $300 and more. If you don't get the right ballhead that is able to support your camera, you'll still have movements in them like you had with the tilt head.

  9. #9

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    my budget is between 1-200...

  10. #10

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    yeah it helps alot, i've used a pan and tilt before and it used to cheese me off coz it'd start slanting downwards whenever i was finished composing the shot and pushing the snap button to take the shot. It sounds like the ball head isn't prone to doing that. Can you recommend a good brand for a reasonable price locally?
    Slanting downwards?

    You didn't tighten it tight enough. You get what you pay for, most of the time;

    Benro BH-00 costs a little upwards of $50, it's what I got and it has that problem, and there's nothing I can do about it. The QR plate that came with it doesn't work well either, I've screwed it on tightly with a screwdriver and it shifts now and then.

    The built-in head I got with my Slik Sprint Pro 3-way worked much better, but it got spoilt so.

    If price is a major issue, go down to MS Colour to test the PPCP ballhead, and make sure it can fit on your legs. At $30 from PPCP it seems like a bargain, though it does look a bit cheap to be honest. No issue if you're the pragmatic sort.

    If you're willing to pay, then get a more expensive ballhead if you think it'd work for you. Can always test at shops with no obligation to buy what. =)

  11. #11

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    my budget is between 1-200...
    At that budget you can probably get most decent ballheads. All around the $120-$200 range should be ok. The question would be - what sort of equipment are you using. Heavier equipment means you need a more expensive ballhead, usually.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    No one i know has a ball head so i can't loan one. So i'm guessing a ballhead is harder to adjust but good for weird angles for creative shots?
    If you know what you are doing, you can achieve any angle with any type of tripod head, its just a matter of speed and ease of adjustment. Speed vs precision.

  13. #13

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    I'm just using a Rebel Xt (350D) with a tamron 70-200mm lens. Thinking about getting the tamron 90mm marco with a tripod to do macro bug shots...i never really used tripods in my portrait work so i don't think i'll need the tripod for those genre but it never hurts i suppose.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    I'm just using a Rebel Xt (350D) with a tamron 70-200mm lens. Thinking about getting the tamron 90mm marco with a tripod to do macro bug shots...i never really used tripods in my portrait work so i don't think i'll need the tripod for those genre but it never hurts i suppose.
    tamron 70-200 is out... anyway I would suggest a manfrotto 488RC2 or higher end... 486 ain't really enough for lens that weight 1.5kg+/- at weird position...

  15. #15

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ View Post
    tamron 70-200 is out... anyway I would suggest a manfrotto 488RC2 or higher end... 486 ain't really enough for lens that weight 1.5kg+/- at weird position...
    huh what you mean out? How much does that tripod you suggested cost?

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    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    huh what you mean out? How much does that tripod you suggested cost?
    are you talking about 70-300 or 70-200? afaik tamron 70-200 is not even out yet... and also are you talking about ballhead or tripod now?

  17. #17

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    i bought mine in the us so they might have had it there first.

  18. #18

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ View Post
    are you talking about 70-300 or 70-200? afaik tamron 70-200 is not even out yet... and also are you talking about ballhead or tripod now?
    ballhead tripod

  19. #19
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    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    huh what you mean out? How much does that tripod you suggested cost?
    ... anyway 488 is about $150-200
    Quote Originally Posted by garou12 View Post
    ballhead tripod

  20. #20

    Default Re: what's a ball head tripod?

    sorry nightmare but i don't understand this bit about the ballhead:
    you release a lever somewhere and you can rotate the platform according to how the ball can roll in its fixed position, hope you get what I mean. Could you elaborate?

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