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TRIPOD HEAD VARIETIES

  Outdoor Photography Guide

Outdoor Photography Guide

There are an infinite amount of tripods out there, and a variety of tripod heads. For this reason, it can be very confusing when it comes to choosing the right one. Here are the main tripod heads and what they are each best suited for.

Ball Heads

Ball heads are the most popular tripod head for photography. The rotating ball lets you position the camera in almost any way you can think of. It features a locking screw letting you lock the ball in position. It also gives you the most flexibility in how it interacts with the camera but can be difficult to make minor adjustments in position.

Pistol Grip Heads

A pistol grip head is very similar to a ball head. Instead of having to use a knob to loosen the ball, you use a pistol grip. The appeal of this head is how quick and easy it is to reposition the camera without fumbling. However, some prefer bullheads over pistol grips because they can loosen over time, unlike a traditional ball head.

Pan & Tilt Heads

These tripod heads are fixed to a set of axises, this allows you to pan or tilt the camera in two locations. To move the pan & tilt head, you have to twist to unlock the movement making it really easy to get your camera in position. They take up more space than a ball head, but it is much easier to make minor adjustments.

Fluid Heads

A fluid head is very similar to a pan & tilt head, but it's specially designed to better suit video work. You can lock or unlock the pan and tilt just like the fluid head, but the fluid head has an additional feature referred to as drag. It controls how much friction there is when panning or tilting. This makes it easy to shoot smooth movements when recording.