heads Tag

If you follow baseball you know that a batting average above .300 is considered a sterling achievement, and over .400 nearly impossible. Yet I know a photo firm that bats 1.000. Not every retailer, I hasten to say, nor yet every wholesaler. They do their best but sometimes strike out. I'm thinking of a manufacturer - a maker of studio and lighting equipment; Manfrotto. You can be as surprised at this as you like, but my experience with their goods has been uniformly...

I am not being rude to either you or Gitzo. When you give them money and they hand you a product it may be the last time you see each other. The things they supply are so well made that you would be hard pressed to break them in a lifetime. Their best bet for repeat business is to keep designing unique camera supports - you may never woear out the last thing you bought but you might be so pleased with it that you'll come back with more money. Thus the studio three-way head you see in the top image. The GHF 3W. Under a kilo weight. Supports 13 Kg. Arca/Swiss plate included. Three way fluid damped. Foldable levers. Horizontal/vertical option when tilted. Locking lever to keep camera on head even when you lose yours. Rotatable levelling bubble. The price is serious folding money but if you want a rock-solid head for your rock-solid Gitzo tripod here it is. I can't have one because I haven't finished my Gitzo Studex 5 and large format head yet. It's been holding studio cameras since 1990 and I still haven't chewed it up....

The object in the heading image is not a refugee from a Transformers movie. Nor is it  the main mast from a Japanese battleship. It is a European tripod head that is constructed in the grand tradition of trying too hard to go too far.Those of you who remember the advertisements for large format cameras made in Europe will recognise the principle. Make a piece of mechanics hinge upon itself in 14 different ways and then bend them all on for the publicity shot. Never mind that you only ever move the thing in very small increments in the studio or out in the field - it is a game of advertising excess to compete with other machine shops.Notwithstanding the above, this is a superb tripod head. It tilts, pans, swivels, and then twirls around for panoramic pictures. It clamps onto Arca mounts...

Manfrotto wish to make you an offer you can't refuse.The two heads that you see in this post are the answer to most of the landscape and studio worker's requests. They will handle the largest of cameras - up to the big 11 x 14 large format field cameras - and they will position them in the most precise way. You see each has a three-axis movement and there is a clutch mechanism on each movement that allows the camera to turn freely or to be swivelled in millimetres.The advantage of this is evident when you are trying to get a level horizon in a landscape shot. A ball head is the worst thing in this situation as it becomes all floppy as soon as you release it and every time you try to return it to level you are fighting the same battle again. The three-way head lets you get one axis perfect before tackling the next one.They feature bubble levels - which are window dressing in most situations - and quick release plates that are bigger than the average....