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Camera Tripod Heads

Camera tripods are the second most important piece of photography equipment after the camera itself. They are essential for photographers who want to capture high quality images. Most tripods come equipped with their own tripod heads; however, these heads may not necessarily meet the needs of a particular photographer. This is the main reason why a photographer may result to finding a different tripod head that matches their purpose and photography style.

What factors should you consider when buying a tripod head?

Just like with other equipment, due to the different makes available, there are certain things that you should take into consideration before buying a camera tripod. These factors include:

  • Weight limit- The weight limit determines how much weight a tripod head can hold without breaking. Keep in mind that if you use long lenses, such as telephoto lenses, choosing a head with a high weight limit will better suit you.
  • Ease of adjusting- A good tripod head should allow the photographer to easily adjust the pan, tension and lock. Pan allows the camera to move back and forth from left to right without adjusting the tilt. Maintaining tension prevents your camera equipment from flopping around. Locking allows you to point the camera in a particular direction and keep it there.
  • Quick release plate- this is a feature that not only improves stability and security but also makes it fast to mount the camera to the tripod.

Other important factors to consider include weight and compatibility of the tripod head with your current tripod.

What are the various types of tripod heads?

Fortunately for photographers a wide selection of tripod heads are available on eBay. These types include:

  • Ball heads- Ball head tripods allow manoeuvrability of the camera into a wide range of positions and are a solution to the problem of pointing the camera in the preferred direction without much effort.
  • Pan/Tilt heads- Pan head tripods have three controllers that control panning, fore-aft tilting and vertical/horizontal tilting.
  • Video heads- These are similar to pan/tilt heads with the exception that they do not allow portrait format rotation. Their oil-filled plates allow fluid rotation of the camera, which is critical in video production.
  • Some other specialised heads you might consider would be a gimbal head, fluid head, motorised head, panoramic head or pistol head.
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