I don’t often write about the equipment I’m using but I have found that, in the case of a geared head, many new photographers are not familiar with this tool. When those new photographers begin to get serious about their images, and the equipment used to capture them, they will immediately turn to a tripod and ball head. A very good combination indeed.
A ball head seems to be today’s accepted standard for mounting your camera. It offers quick and easy adjustments for composing your image. I have a nice ball head and still use it on occasion. I have nothing against ball heads, but let me share some thoughts with you.
A number of years back, as I was working on some macro shots, I was struggling to get those precise, minute adjustments to my composition. I had a nice ball head but as hard as I tried I just struggled. As I set the composition and tightened things down there was always a very slight dip or movement of the camera when I let go. I know there are better ball heads than what I have, but they are quite pricey. I decided to give a geared head a try.
How did that work out? Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy. I know that’s a bit over the top, but it was truly a different world. Simply turn the knobs for super fine adjustments in any axis without touching the camera body. Be still my heart. Long story, short, I was soon using the head for macros, and still-life’s. Then it began to travel into the field with me for landscapes.
When I mentioned this to other photogs, I always got the comment “It’ll just slow you down, a ball head is faster”. Say What? I’m the one who, in my photo talks and presentations, is always saying slow down, take your time, get the shot you want. To be truthful, I have never seen where the geared head has slowed down my composing time at all. It’s all personal preference, but I’m a happy camper.
At any rate, I love my geared head. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a sports shooter or wildlife action shooter, but for the more immobile subject, in my opinion, it’s the cats meow. If you ever get the opportunity to work with one give it a try. I think you’ll be amazed at how precise you can be with little to no effort at all.
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