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Thread: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

  1. #1

    Default Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Im looking for a tripod for panorama shots. The shops recommended pan head as it allows you to pan easily by just rotating the head.
    However after further thought i felt the ball head might be a better choice, as I want something that is quick to set up with the least hassle.

    For pan head, I would have to adjust to ensure the tripod is level so plane of rotation is level/horizontal. This would involve adjusting leg height etc until perfect. With a ball head, it doesnt matter that the tripod is not level, just adjust the head till camera is level will do

    Am I right to say so?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by sid8888 View Post
    Im looking for a tripod for panorama shots. The shops recommended pan head as it allows you to pan easily by just rotating the head.
    However after further thought i felt the ball head might be a better choice, as I want something that is quick to set up with the least hassle.

    For pan head, I would have to adjust to ensure the tripod is level so plane of rotation is level/horizontal. This would involve adjusting leg height etc until perfect. With a ball head, it doesnt matter that the tripod is not level, just adjust the head till camera is level will do

    Am I right to say so?
    Ballheads allow for faster framing/composition but not as precise as geared or 3-way pan heads. Nowadays ballheads all have panning features too but levelling is still a rule of thumb for panning shots.
    Canon EOS 5D, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 50 f/1.2 L, 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS, 600EX-RT. Sigma 12-24 f/4.5-5.6 EX.

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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    If you mean just one shot for the "panorama" that you're talking about and level the shot etc in pp, then sure, a ballhead will be easier for your "panorama".

    It gets a lot more complex when you try to stitch images together though.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Yes,I intend to stitch.

    All it takes is a spirit level attached to the camera, after u snap just rotate n level it.
    Of course with over lapping areas so stitching can be done

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by sid8888 View Post
    Im looking for a tripod for panorama shots.
    I assume head.

    A 3-way pan head is far easier to align precisely, but can be slower for general photography. A geared head is even more precise, and easier to use than a 3-way, but generally slower.

    A ballhead ... the rotation can be as precise, but getting the basic precise leveling can be hell.

    For pan head, I would have to adjust to ensure the tripod is level so plane of rotation is level/horizontal. This would involve adjusting leg height etc until perfect. With a ball head, it doesnt matter that the tripod is not level, just adjust the head till camera is level will do
    Doesn't matter what head one uses. If the legs are not leveled, nothing else will be once you rotate be it with a ballhead, 3-way or geared because the body of the head will have to be off-set (to compensate for the non-leveled legs). Whichever way you look at it, good panos requires patience and discipline, and is generally not a maggie mee affair.

    If you're really seriously into panos, you won't be moving the head at all, but will be using a dedicated pano attachment like this:

    http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/...system-pro-ii/

    Even then, the head needs to be leveled properly for it to work effectively and with a ballhead, it may just be that much more difficult.

    Eventually, it's your call.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    3 way heads with spirit level + spirit level on the base or on legs you pair it with will be faster for pano photography.

    comes at the cost of speed of deployment. but who rushes when taking landscapes? not me.

  7. #7
    Member dingaroo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Maybe you can give http://www.tripodballhead.com/2009/0...d-head_23.html a look.

    Cheers!
    A picture a day keeps the blues away!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I assume head.

    A 3-way pan head is far easier to align precisely, but can be slower for general photography. A geared head is even more precise, and easier to use than a 3-way, but generally slower.

    A ballhead ... the rotation can be as precise, but getting the basic precise leveling can be hell.



    Doesn't matter what head one uses. If the legs are not leveled, nothing else will be once you rotate be it with a ballhead, 3-way or geared because the body of the head will have to be off-set (to compensate for the non-leveled legs). Whichever way you look at it, good panos requires patience and discipline, and is generally not a maggie mee affair.

    If you're really seriously into panos, you won't be moving the head at all, but will be using a dedicated pano attachment like this:

    http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/...system-pro-ii/

    Even then, the head needs to be leveled properly for it to work effectively and with a ballhead, it may just be that much more difficult.

    Eventually, it's your call.
    interesting VR system pro. Have you used such attachment? Pano pic will be a pleasure to take?

    to sum it up.
    1. Ball Head
    2. 3 or 2 way Head
    3. VR head
    4. Gear head.

    TS have you done your homework properly? There are 2 more head that are way more suitable for taking panoramic photos. Check out the heads from manfrotto

  9. #9
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    hi ts

    you may want to read this :

    Basic guidelines on selection of tripod and tripod head
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=384016
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by coolthought View Post
    interesting VR system pro. Have you used such attachment? Pano pic will be a pleasure to take?

    to sum it up.
    1. Ball Head
    2. 3 or 2 way Head
    3. VR head
    4. Gear head.

    TS have you done your homework properly? There are 2 more head that are way more suitable for taking panoramic photos. Check out the heads from manfrotto
    A friend who was an Archi and Industrial photographer used it, and I got to try it once.

    Basically, you dial in and lock all your settings for a particular lens, and after establishing a central point on location and leveling your tripod and head, it's a click-shift-click-shift-click-shift... affair to get the required frames for a 360 multi-row spherical composite, a bit longer if you have to compensate for exposure differences. It's really fast because there are detents for all your settings.

    It's not a magic wand though. One still has to examine the location and make certain decisions before shooting ... besides leveling the tripod and head.
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 22nd May 2010 at 02:10 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by dingaroo View Post
    wah .. this one looks heavy sia .. so many machanism
    D3s, N24-70, N70-200 VR2, 85 1.4G, SB700, SB910

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    A German friend who was an Archi and Industrial photographer used it, and I got to try it once.

    Basically, you dial in and lock all your settings for a particular lens, and after establishing a central point on location and leveling your tripod and head, it's a click-shift-click-shift-click-shift... affair to get the required frames for a 360 multi-row spherical composite, a bit longer if you have to compensate for exposure differences. It's really fast because there are detents for all your settings.

    It's not a magic wand though. One still has to examine the location and make certain decisions before shooting ... besides leveling the tripod and head.
    hmmm.... wah...so good... seems like with a system like this and a bit effort to make sure everything is right....stitching the photos will be a blast.... thank you for explaining.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by wuminlee View Post
    wah .. this one looks heavy sia .. so many machanism
    this gearhead makes leveling and getting the horizontal and vertical a blast.... expensive though....

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by coolthought View Post
    hmmm.... wah...so good... seems like with a system like this and a bit effort to make sure everything is right....stitching the photos will be a blast.... thank you for explaining.
    I dunno ... my friend actually took a short course in it.

    But in action, it's very fast to operate.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    A leveled head is very important otherwise any tilt will cause your pano to result in an arc after stitching instead of a straight strip. The greater the tilt, the worse the arc and the more you had to crop out, leaving little usable bits.

    If your tripod happens to have a removable center column by unscrewing, then you can try double it up as a free "pan head". Loosen the column a bit and raise it until you can rotate the upper section while the lower section is tightened to the rest of the tripod body. That's what I did (using ballhead, btw). Not perfect but I'm not arguing with free. Alternatively, you can purchase dedicated pano equipment like nodel ninja. I remember seeing it at OP, selling NN5 model for like $500 or $600, NN3 was like $400 or something.

    Hope this helps.

  16. #16
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by sid8888 View Post
    With a ball head, it doesnt matter that the tripod is not level, just adjust the head till camera is level will do

    Am I right to say so?
    1) NOPE. the tripod is not levelled, and the rotation and hence the resultant pano will not be horizontal

    2) but YES. if the ballhead has a pan just below the base of the camera
    like the arca swiss dual pan ballheads

    I have a friend who has one, and i can imagine it to be a breeze to use.

    ryan

  17. #17

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    hi,

    actually we can just turn the whole machine head or whatever u call it, just above the ring (bottom) it can turn also and allows u to do panorama, just that it doenst have that so called stick that pan head usually have lol. but then again, there are also markings on the ring, and u turn the whole head, the whole big thingy which i call the machine head lol.

    individual choice i guess.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    1) NOPE. the tripod is not levelled, and the rotation and hence the resultant pano will not be horizontal

    2) but YES. if the ballhead has a pan just below the base of the camera
    like the arca swiss dual pan ballheads

    I have a friend who has one, and i can imagine it to be a breeze to use.

    ryan
    That's just plain WICKED looking Ryan!

    But how strong is the second lock on the upper pan plate and is it easy to use/see the markings with a DSLR on top of it?

  19. #19
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    That's just plain WICKED looking Ryan!

    But how strong is the second lock on the upper pan plate and is it easy to use/see the markings with a DSLR on top of it?
    dunno, never did have a chance to borrow to try, but arca swiss quality should not be too far off. many a times on uneven terrain i often wish for such a dual pan to simplify pano rotation

  20. #20
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripods : Pan vs Ball Head

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny888 View Post
    hi,

    actually we can just turn the whole machine head or whatever u call it, just above the ring (bottom) it can turn also and allows u to do panorama, just that it doenst have that so called stick that pan head usually have lol. but then again, there are also markings on the ring, and u turn the whole head, the whole big thingy which i call the machine head lol.

    individual choice i guess.
    If you want to use that particular pan to do panaroma, you have to make sure that:

    1. The ball head base/ tripod is level.
    2. Camera is also level.

    With those 2 conditions satisfied, you can use the pan at the base of the ball head. I mean, if you want to do a proper pana.

    Thing is, to strictly properly do pana, you need a pana bracket to make sure the center of the turning axis is at the sensor (on many models, you can see the marking for that on your camera if you look closely).

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