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Need a new tripod head...


LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 5:52PM
I have a manfrotto 055xprob with a manfrotto 804rc2 head, which I've had for less than a year. The tripod is stable, but rather heavy when walking far, and the head I find ok - stable, but a little bit stiff to make tiny adjustments to get levels right.

Josh has just broken his second cheap tripod/head combination, so he's getting my manfrotto, and I've just got a carbon fibre giottos mtl 8361b (based a lot on the group test review on here a couple of months ago). I do have a cheap ball head that he was going to use on the manfrotto, but it turns out it has a small thread attachment which won't fit the manfrotto 3/8" thread :-(

But, that means either a cheap new head for him, or an upgrade for me - which sounds like the better option to me.

SO... the question is, which head to get. I've seen lots of positive reviews for the manfrotto 322RC2, but I see it doesn't have a lock for panning/panoramas, which I do very little of, but may well in the near future. And it only says it supports up to 5kg, again, which would do for my 5d+24-105 now, but will it be future-proof?
The other choice is a giottos ball head - maybe the MH1302-652 Series II which has the pan lock and supports up to 8kg (or the 1301 which supports up to 12kg), but doesn't have the cool trigger action of the 322RC2.

Hmm, decisions - I haven't found nearly so many reviews of the Giottos, so does anyone here have advice or experience? Or any other recommendations? Thanks.

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Overread e2
6 3.9k 18 England
2 Jun 2009 5:55PM
The cool triggor of the 322 is great for light lenses and setups - its quick to use and position, but one hand off the camera means that you only have one hand on camera. That means no hand free to do manual focusing nor zooming on a zoom lens. Also the 322 lacks a pressure off lock - that is if you want to move the setup you have to keep your hand on the handel at all times - which is not always ideal.

It;s a good generalist head, but I would say a regular ballhead would have advanages over the 322.
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 6:17PM
Thanks Alex, so does anyone have experience of Giottos ball heads?
Ska88 e2
5 1
2 Jun 2009 9:30PM
I have the Giottos MH1302-652. I've used it a few times now and find it ideal. The friction adjustment sold it for me and it's proved to be as useful as I thought it would be. By adjusting it you can fine tune the movement in the head and this has helped when lining up horizons etc. It means the movement is smooth and totally under your control. The panning adjustment was also on the tick list and again I've found this very useful. All in all this head has everything I wanted, is well made and when I was struggling to get one due to this models popularity I found Giottos' customer service to be excellent.
Kris_Dutson e2
12 8.2k 1 England
2 Jun 2009 9:40PM
I use the 322RC2 with a 5D and 24-105 and find it absolutely fine. It's also perfectly happy with the 100-400 on too. I find it intuitive to use and couldn't imagine going back to a normal ball head.

And I use it for panos too. TBH with modern software you don't have to be as accurate with the positioning as some people would have you believe. As long as it stays reasonably level and you overlap a 1/3 for each shot, you'll be fine. Oh, and shooting portrait format helps avoid them being to 'thin'.

I've also swapped mine over (dead easy to do) so that the head grip is in my left hand. This leaves my right finger poised over the shutter button, and the rest of my hand on the camera grip which makes it easier to move and steadier.
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 9:42PM
Ah, thankyou so much, Ska88. Any other suggestions from anyone before I jump in for a Giottos?

Sorry, will read your post, Kris, crossed posts. Looks like I ought to get my hands on them to try them out first really. Cheers.
Kris_Dutson e2
12 8.2k 1 England
2 Jun 2009 9:44PM
Have I suddenly become invisible?

Cue the, 'Who said that?' comments.

Wink
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 9:46PM
Oops, see above, Kris. Your input is definitely much appreciated.

Must sign off for an hour just now though. Smile
Kris_Dutson e2
12 8.2k 1 England
2 Jun 2009 9:51PM
Lol, I hate quick editors.... Wink
discreetphoton e2
10 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
2 Jun 2009 10:23PM
If you decide not to get one yet, there's always one of these.
Metalhead
7 1.9k 2 England
2 Jun 2009 10:26PM
I've got the Giottos MH1302-652 Series II too and agree completely with Ska88's comments above. I haven't got as much weight on it as you will be having, but it's a great head and very flexible.

Have a look at www.collegecameras.co.uk if you want the best price! I got the tripod from there too, next day delivery as well.
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 11:07PM
Thanks for the link, but I must admit that adaptor isn't what I wanted to see really, as I've got the bit between my teeth looking for a new head!

I can get the MH1301-652 series II for the same price as the lower spec one from college cameras if I wait for amazon's 2-3 week delivery. Maybe that's the thing to do. But I would like to go to my local shop and try the 322RC as well...
martyn05 e2
7 363 England
2 Jun 2009 11:36PM
The wife and I both have a 055PRO with 322RC2 heads and would'nt change them at all, most happy with them.
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
2 Jun 2009 11:54PM
Thanks Martyn. I've already changed the 055pro though. Another recommendation for the 322RC2 head, though. Thanks.
LeighRebecca e2
7 267 10 England
3 Jun 2009 3:45PM
Well, the deed is done, and I went to my local shop (RGB tech - great shop that does online orders too) and got the MH1301-652 series II for slightly less than I could get it anywhere else. Smile I was able to play with the 322RC2 as well, but I liked the way I can set friction and move the camera with both hands on the camera with the giottos ball head.

Thanks so much to everyone for the advice.

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