Home How-To Tip Of The Week Geared Tripod Heads - 2/18/08
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Geared Tripod Heads - 2/18/08

When you’re choosing your next tripod, don’t overlook this insanely great feature

This Article Features Photo Zoom

tripodIf I ever had a three-legged dog, I would obviously name him "Tripod." But I don't. Instead I've named my tripod "Three-Legged Dog." TLD and I have been through a lot together, and I've always been able to count on him for a rock-solid foundation. But TLD's best attribute is in his head. Not your everyday tripod head; this one's got gears. We've had a few great years, and there's one thing I'll say for sure: I will never again own a tripod without a geared head. Maybe that sounds like a strong statement, but this thing really is a work of art. It makes fine adjustments of a composition super simple and effective. Instead of freeing up an entire axis-or even the entire head, as happens with a ballhead-a geared head doesn't free up any axis. Instead it makes microscopic movements-perfect for fine-tuning without losing your whole composition. Big movements are easy too, since with the flip of a switch you can free up the entire axis to make wholesale changes. The only problem with geared heads is that there aren't that many of them available. Apparently I'm in the small minority of photographers who cherish this feature enough to pay a premium for it. Why doesn't everyone rush out to demand geared heads? Am I just wrong? Are there other features of tripods and heads that I'm just not seeing in all their splendor? Which one's your favorite?

Photo courtesy of Manfrotto

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