Confused about Pistol Grip Ball Heads

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by brian_micheals, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. I need opinions for/against the use of pistol grip ball heads and which type/brands are the best. I am a photo enthusiast shooting with a Canon 7D and using multiple lenses. I use a Fancier carbon fiber tripod with a Marumi ball head that works really well and is very stable. I want to get a quick release ball head for when I am on the move and need to tilt/pan the camera real fast. I want something that is easy to operate, offers a wide range of movement and will lock in tight when the grip is released. Finding this under $100 would be an added benefit. I don't mind clones either. I have been doing some research but keep coming up more confused than when I started. Suggestions and opinions are greatly appreciated!
  2. I have an older Manfrotto 222, which is still offered. It's a vertical, grip type, but works very well, even with heavy lenses.
    The newer Manfrotto 322 is supposed to be very good, and I am told it can be mounted vertically as well as horizontally.
  3. I use a Chinese clone and find it works really well with my 7D + grip with Sigma 105 & 150, as well as Sigma 10-20 - but it does need tightening fairly often (but it's easy enough to keep the Allen key attached for adjustments)
  4. My main objections to grip type heads is that they don't hold very well, especially tilted to one side. When shooting in a vertical (portrait) mode, they are way off to one side. When shooting, you have to keep one hand on the grip and shoot with the other hand. You have to release tension completely or lock it - there's no in between.
    A ball head is just as fast if you have one that will work under partial tension, without any slip-stick action. You can keep both hands on the camera, point it where you will and shoot without removing your hands or locking the ball. The only time you need to lock such a head is when shooting hands-free for long exposures.
    Finally, the QR on a grip head is pretty wimpy. Arca-type QR is the best, and only found on better ball heads.
  5. I also have and use the Bogen 3265 (222) rc2. It's awkward at best when used in "portrait" but there are ways to adapt an L bracket (Bogen makes one or one can get an adapter to add Arca Swiss compatibility at some added cost). Mine seems to be sensitive at times to adjustment but that seems common over time. If used close to vertical it's quite fast and stable as well. Especially compared to a typical pan/tilt head. It probably doesn't compete favorably with ball heads costing $400 more (if that's a surprise?).
  6. I used to have the Slik, but as Edward notes, when you want to put the camera in vertical orientation, it has to flop w-a-y over. Also, I felt the tall design added vibration.

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