I recently broke my tripod head off my 22 year old tripod while I had it in my rifle holder
on the back of my atv. I fixed it but now I want to buy a new tripod and head.
I am looking at pan heads, ball heads and a pistol grip ball heads. I had a pan head. I want to
get something that I can later use with a DSLR. So heavier built. Right now I would use it
with my Nikon camera for still pictures and some videos.
What head would be best suited for catching birds in flight? Like in a situation where the
bird flies out of view and then you try to quickly reacquire it again. I like the movement of a ball
head but probably need some kind of handle. Or to get used to not using a handle?
For birds in flight a ball head can work but a gimbal head (like a Wimberly) would be best. I have not tried it but I would think a pistol grip would be annoying for capturing birds in flight and pan heads are worse. Just my personal opinions of course.
Thanks for the reply.
Originally Posted by Jim Strutz
I have only had cheaper tripods with pan style heads. So I wanted to get something that would allow me to be more creative.
A gimbal head would probably be ideal but the most expensive. I'll look at the Wimberly models. The pistol grip I was looking at is a Vanguard model which is basically a ball head with pistol grip. I think the handle rotates to the sides. So it wouldn't be pointed down which could limit movement when pointing the camera up. Maybe I should get legs from one company and a head from another. I don't really like Vanguards package deals. We tried to speak to a sales person and some young guy was completely rude to my wife. So that will push me towards other tripod brands.
This is just a follow up. I ended up purchasing a Vanguard Abeo Pro 283 AGH with a GH-300T Pistol grip head. The positive is now I can add any style head. The negative is that the pistol grip with basically a ball head has limited movement. I have to raise the center post of the tripod and then angle it so I can point the head upwards to have the camera point up. The center post does pivot so that helps. I am still looking at Gimbal heads.
I recently took my son out to take pictures of nesting herons. We were out the day before but the lighting was not the greatest. But the birds were active. The second day the lighting was better but the birds were not as active. So anyway, here's a little video from the second day.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVSaipmZwVE I caught some flying birds. The ball head with basically notches limited smooth movement while following the birds.
I have an older Manfotto tripod that I replaced the pan head with a newer ball head.
I love the ball head, but for action shots like birds in flight I think you would be better off with a mono pod.
I just work free hand for my action shots.
I use my tripod for landscape and portrait type shots.
The ball head is much nicer than the pan head for this type of use.
The pan head is much better for video. IMHO