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Photography Question 
Kari L. 

Tripod: Pan Head Vs. Ball Head

I have the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and am looking to start up a photography studio in the future. I am starting to build up my equipment at the moment, while I learn about taking pictures. I need a good tripod but don't want to spend a fortune on one. There are a lot to choose from, and I have narrowed it down to a few that I have in mind. I would be using it for studio shooting mostly. Does anyone know about the Slik Pro 330DX Tripod w/3-way pan/tilt quick release head? It is about $90. That is within reason price for me.
Also, one of my questions is what is better, pan head or ball head, and what is the difference between the two when it comes to shooting? I keep seeing both of them but don't know about the difference and can't find any info on them to know. So any help would be much appreciated. I am a true beginner at all of this. Thank you!

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10/24/2004 8:24:36 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  A ball head is like the ball-and-socket joint of your shoulder. You loosen it and you can swivel in all directions.
A pan head is like what you might commonly expect a tripod to be. You have the two things to loosen to adjust the camera. You can loosen one thing, and only swivel up and down like nodding your head yes. Or loosen just the other, and swivel back and forth like nodding no.

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10/25/2004 1:10:20 AM

Kari L.    Gregory,
Thank you for clearing up the difference for me. What kind would you recommend I get for studio use and with the type of camera I have? I also have a telephoto lens (75-300mm) that I might use outside - also with the tripod.

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10/25/2004 8:13:12 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  A pan head will be fine. It's the most common, and if you go to a regular store to buy a tripod, that's what will be on it.

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10/25/2004 12:45:23 PM

Bill Boswell   I used a tripod with a pan head for years, but after switching to a ball head I now find it much easier to make the fine adjustments to point the lens exactly where I want to. Also, you have only one knob to tighten with a ball head rather than two on a pan head.

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10/26/2004 4:39:37 AM

Joe    I would go with the ball head simply because it is easier to move and adjust, in my opinion. Also worth considering is the pistol grip-type head, my preferred for use in the field. Manfrotto and Slik make one. For me, ANYTHING is better than the old one-two required from the pan head!
Joe in Norfolk

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10/26/2004 11:21:13 AM

Bill Lewis   You did not mention how big a lens you will be putting on your camera. It is important to take that into consideration. A ball head that is too weak to hold your lens and body is a poor investment.
Ball heads are best for me. I use a Bogen tripod that cost approximately $150.00 with a head. It was the best investment I have made.
I have some real good deals on $90.00 tripods that are not rigid enough for me.
Bill in Ashtabula

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10/26/2004 8:02:23 PM

Kari L.    I will be using up to a 75-300mm lens. So it is a bigger lens, and I want a tripod that will support that weight and forward heaviness of the camera. And thank you all so far for your replies. They are very welcome and a lot of help!

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10/26/2004 8:25:21 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  You will probably be happier with the support the standard pan-tilt head offers over the ball-head mount with your camera/lens combination. Unless you spend big bucks, the ball-head types will slip when used with heavier equipment ... especially when you go vertical. The pan-tilt styles may take longer to adjust, but they will support a heavy load more securely.

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10/27/2004 6:00:36 PM

Steve Mescha
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2002
  Gregory, FYI, the shoulder is not a ball and socket joint, and my toilet paper is going in the right direction.

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10/29/2004 5:01:36 PM

Kari L.    Thank you all very much for your information and help. I just purchased a bogen tripod with 3-way pan head with quick release and have played with it for a bit. It seems to be just what I needed. Your information was very useful in coming to this decision. I think I will be very happy with my choice. Thanks yet again!

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10/30/2004 8:11:08 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Sure you're not confusing shoulder with elbow.

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10/30/2004 9:42:41 PM

Shauna Linde
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/10/2004
  Hey there- I would recommend the pan type as well. I have always used them and although you do have to make two adjustments, I just feel like my adjustments are more secure using the pan head. And to be TOTALLY off the subject for a moment here, I agree the shoulder is a ball and socket joint. :)

Although I'd much rather just talk photography....

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10/30/2004 10:19:25 PM

Trevor Hollenback   Hello.. this is a very old thread, but I just thought I would clear it up once and for all... it is confirmed in Gray's Anatomy (not the TV shows for those of you who have never heard of the Reference book from which the show gets it's name).... and I quote

"Enarthrosis-Ball-and-socket joint; ... As in hip and shoulder joints"

Sorry, Steve

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5/16/2008 4:10:36 PM

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