Ball vs fluid head tripods
I just spent an hour Sat 3-20 in the local photo store looking at heads. I've got a tripod that is solid enough that you could pull a truck engine with it, but cannot find a camera plate to fit it. Gold Coast GT-500. Finally gave up googling it, I got tired of looking at Mustangs. Also have a much lighter tripod that I can carry strapped to the bottom of my camera bag and hardly notice it.
For a little over (or under) $100 I can buy a Manfrotto head. I picked out the 222, but when you go from horizontal to vertical with the camera it swings a big arc and winds up 9-10" away from where it was to start with. The 322RC2 is similar, but the handle is flat, with the camera a lot closer to the ball. It goes RH, LH, or vertical like the 222. Both of these models rely on spring tension to clamp the ball tight. There is a fine adjustment wheel built into the handle, but in time it will have to have some parts replaced/work done to it.
The 488RC4 is a very compact "classic" ball unit that allows you to keep your right hand on the camera all the time and tighten the clamp with your left. It is held tight with your tightening pressure and does not rely on spring pressure to hold the ball tight. My choice. All 3 go vertical by swinging 90 deg. on the ball. All 3 have removable camera plates.
Also played with a Slik fluid head with a handle that had a VERY nice feel to it. Salesman pointed out to me that standard mounts are 3/8-16 tripod to head, and 1/4-20 head to camera. Said that Slik uses 1/4-20 top and bottom both in an effort to make people but their tripods. Looked to me that the bottom plate could be drilled and re-threaded to 3/8 easily. Goes vertical by tilting the mount plate up 90 deg. Disadvantage: 3 adjustments to loosen/tighten rather than one. Probably better for video, though.
All 4 between $85 and $140.
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