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  1. #1
    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    OK - Another dumb newbie question

    Ball head, or pan & tilt?

    Can you use a ball head with a 4X5 LF cameras, or are pan & tilt heads preferable? The reason I'm asking is that I only have a ball head for my tripod.

    Hmm ...

  2. #2

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    Some people use ball heads with their LF cameras. I don't like them for 4x5 or any smaller camera with a prism finder. But a tripod with a ball head is better than no tripod at all! Just make sure that your ball head is capable of holding your camera without slipping.

  3. #3
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    I used ball heads and eventually switched for pan/tilt. For me it was better.

  4. #4

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    Can your tripod take the weight of your LF camera? Can the ball head? How does it behave in wind, or when the shutter fires - does it bounce around or is it steady? As long as it's sturdy enough and you're comfortable with it, go for it.

    When I bought a tripod for 4x5 (which I also use with a Canon SLR & long lenses) I went with a big sturdy Bogen 3021 with 3047 head (3-arm). The downside is lugging that beast around with me.

    Dan
    Last edited by Fotoguy20d; 03-27-2009 at 02:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    naeroscatu's Avatar
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    When I bought my tripod I asked myself the same question. Since I have 35mm, MF and LF cameras but one tripod only I figured I should not take any chances and go with the most stable head that in my mind is the pan & tilt.
    Think of what works better for your equipment.
    Mihai Costea

    "There's more to the picture
    Than meets the eye." - Neil Young

    Galleries:My PN & My APUG

  6. #6

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    Pan-tilt head for my Sinar P2 8x10 inch, it is the heaviest 3 way head Linhof ever made and has been in production for 2 years only.
    For a lighter LF like a Chaminix or Shen Hoa the Manfrotto 410 geared head is even better, it is my standard head for light LF, MF and 35mm.

    Peter

  7. #7
    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    I currently have a Manfrotto 488RC4 Midi ball head rated at 17.6 lbs., sitting on a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod rated at 15.4 lbs. I also have a Berlebach Uni tripod thats rated at over 100lbs used for astronomical observing with a 90mm refractor. So, I think I'm ok in the support department. Sounds like I may want to consider a pan/tilt head for LF use at some point.

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Pan-tilt is preferable to ball head because it has a greater contact patch between camera and head, and head and tripod. I have a pan-tilt head on my main tripod legset which works with every format I have smaller than 6.5 x 8.5. The bigger contact patch between camera and tripod means better stability, and pan-tilts are also more precisely controllable.

  9. #9
    winger's Avatar
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    I'd have to look to check (and that tripod is in my car's trunk right now), but I think that's the same head I have. It was sorta ok if it were exactly up and down, but it does not hold my 4x5 monorail if it's the least bit off center. It would depend on what type of LF camera you have - I'd guess that a press camera might be ok on it.
    I got a 2nd tripod just for the 4x5 (Berlebach with a pan/tilt head) and leave the other for the MF and 35mm. I really don't like using the pan tilt type heads with the smaller formats, so I figured 2 tripods was fine.

  10. #10
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    Another option which I use is a gear head. I use a Manfrotto 410 with my Sinar Alpina and also with my smaller cameras. I like the gear head because it allows me to level my camera quickly and very accurately. This may or may not be important to you depending on your subject matter and the look you are trying to achieve. I answer to your question yes you call use a ball head for large format and since you already have one that I would recommend that you start out with it. You call away buy a different type of head if you don't like the ball head.

    Roger

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