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Thread: Gear Head vs Tilt Pan Head

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida

    Gear Head vs Tilt Pan Head

    I have recently started macro photography and I have found difficulty in maneuvering my Manfrotto ball head. Would like to know the opinions about should I upgrade my tripod head for a gear head or a tilt-pan head. Two choices I am looking at are;

    1. Gearhead Manfrotto 410 - $247
    2. Tilt-Pan Head - Manfrotto MHXPRO 3W - $140

  2. #2
    Hi, you've probably gone ahead and gotten something but I'll throw in my 2.

    The tilt pan head is really no different than a ball head in operation - some folks prefer the way it works. I've got an older Bogen (Manfrotto) one, and still use it from time to time. Some Manfrotto ball heads are pretty "meh", and I could see your not liking ball heads if you've got one of these. I didn't like ball heads either (and have a Manfrotto) until I got a decent ball head and it was an epiphany.

    If you're not looking at a rail for Macro work, or would like something to pair a rail to in the future, the Manfrotto 410 is an excellent unit. Very well built and accurate. IMHO Manfrotto seems to have "fiddly" consumer stuff (with too much plastic sometimes), and then some really high end equipment - this would be the latter. If you can swing it - this would be something you'll use for many years to come.

  3. #3
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    West Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by WUCV View Post
    I have recently started macro photography and I have found difficulty in maneuvering my Manfrotto ball head.
    Sorry for the late response... I did not see this before Anthony M responded. What has been your problem with the ball head? What difficulties would you like to overcome?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony M View Post
    ... I didn't like ball heads either... until I got a decent ball head and it was an epiphany.
    I agree with this statement. I started out with a cheap ball head... I would meticulously get everything set up, and then tighten the ball only to have the framing move while I tightened it. Then I would loosen to re-adjust, but it was to sticky to get it right. Very frustrating. A new ball head fixed my problems.

    Another thing that can help with some tripods is to reverse the column and hang you camera under the tripod. You can get real close to the ground without splaying the legs out which makes them very springy. This helps even more for cheaper or light weight tripods.
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Visit your local camera store with your head (legs optional; I'm sure they have plenty on hand) and show them what you're seeing. Try some other heads while you're there, and decide if you have a broken head, a bum head, or perhaps your head doesn't like ball heads. I'm very happy with our Markins Q3 ballhead, and although my wife doesn't have the hang of it yet, she certainly doesn't think it's a bum head.
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

  5. #5
    Talk to Manfrotto Customer service, they will definitely guide you; solve your problem...

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