Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tripod Heads.

I was reminded about this again by a discussion over at Luminous Landscape. Over the years I have tried allot of tripod/head combinations for shooting architecture. After being introduced to the Bogen 410 head by some large format friends, I tried it and was sold-even for DSLRs. I never looked back, putting it on all my tripods. That was a few years ago now and I still consider them top notch. FWIW I also know some top national APs who swear by them too.

It allows for both quick gross adjustments and really fine adjustments. The quick release plate is rock solid and the whole unit can be found new for like $210-225! Yes there are better lighter heads from Arca, like the Cube, but LOOK at the price $1700!

Over time, the adjustments get a little sloppy, but the slack can easily be taken out by removing the caps and adjusting the set screw.

I love reasonably priced photo gear that gets the job done.

Late addition:

Ed has pointed out one problem with this design. You cannot point the camera straight up. This is rarely a problem for me, but Ed likes to shoot church ceilings. My solutions are to reverse the orientation of the quick release plate on the camera, effectively mounting the camera backwards on the head. This works perfectly but requires that you have a heavy duty screw driver or something with you to remove the plate and tighten it back down again. I like to keep my plates super tight. The other option is my preferred method. I carry a Manfrotto 394 Low Profile Quick Release Adapter with 410PL Plate (46.50 from B&H). With this I can quickly reverse the mounting position of the camera. It is set up permanently in the reverse position.


  1. (I like to shoot church ceilings and have wondered if I could do it with a 410.)

  2. Ed yes, but let me get back to you, I am putting together a proposal for a museum exhibit. Thanks.

  3. Very elegant solution! I use a Gitzo 3-way low profile head and I also have to reverse the camera. I use Arca-Swiss plates so it is easy to rotate the camera 180 degrees. I prefer the Arca-Swiss because I the RRS plates on my 35mm cameras and share the tripod with them.

    I have recently started using a Gitzo leveling tripod, which I find is really fast and easy to get level. The tripod head suddenly stays locked in the same place unless I am doing a ceiling shoot.


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