Tag Archives: Sirui

What makes your head turn?

On today’s Blog we talk about what makes your head turn.

A tripod is always a great start to a sturdy work foundation for your end product. But what allows the creative part is the head that you place on top of the tripod that counts. Again many people in the beginning stages of photography like to keep the cost down so they buy inexpensive parts like the head. Well let’s put this into a easy term so you can understand what a head is and does. The tripod is like your body, it supports your weight and carries you throughout the day. But the head is just like your head or neck except it can’t think hehe ­čśë It’s purpose is to move in all directions to allow your eyes to see more.

Many different styles of heads are out there for you to use for photography, it’s just what one is Best for your application?. Let’s talk about what we have to choose from and give some pros and cons from what I have found in the field. We have Ball heads, 2 way heads, 3 way heads and Gimbal heads. All of these serve a different purpose but I guess in the end can somewhat be used for the same thing “taking pictures”.

46387131_0First lets talk about Ball heads, Ball heads can be used in many applications for photography but for the most part they are a great easy to use weapon for shooting landscapes. My go to head for landscapes has been a Ball head for quite a while now as I love just how easy it is to move around in every direction 360 degrees. Ball heads come in many forms for there adjustment or locking mechanism, from geared to hydrostatic to a simple locking lever. I use a Sirui K30x and just love it!!. It has three knobs to adjust different parts. One is to adjust the pan feature so the base moves around 360 degrees which is a great choice for doing panoramic photography. Second is the locking gear for the ball head, now the ball head can move 360 degrees as well as up and down 180 degrees. This allows a huge range for your choice of positioning. The second knob also has an adjustment screw for how much tension can be put on the ball head when its loose. Now some people may think well why is this even a selling feature? To me its a big deal cause it helps insure me that if I have a heavy lens on my tripod and I loosen that adjustment knob if I don’t have a good hold on my camera its not going to slam down onto my tripod leg (Always think about tomorrow not today!) Third knob is for the Arca-swiss plate that holds my camera to the head. Again it keeps tension on the side of the plate to help keep it locked into place. One added piece about Sirui is they have a little button you need to press to allow the plate to slide off the head. Let me tell you that this is a big feature on this head cause if you forget to lock you plate in the camera will not slide out of the grooved holder and hit the ground.

Picture 064Next I will talk about 2 way and three way heads. Basically a two way and a three way head will almost do the same thing as a ball head but can be a little more limited in a portrait position due to the arms getting in the way on some models. I shot with a 3 way for a year and although I got use to it after time, I still felt it was a cluster to always be turning one knob or another to change your positioning. A two way is the same but with one or1019202 two knobs or leavers for adjustment. Most companies sell a two way for a inexpensive price but I find the quality is usually lacking in the design somehow. In my opinion these were once the tripod head that cornered the market for years for photographers. The design was created more for video applications and is very basic but over time the three way design took the more advanced approach for photographers.

682023 As for Gimbal heads well I have a bias opinion about them. Working as an instructor for North of 49 Photography I am sponsored by a company called Jobu. Jobu has provided us with all there models of gimbal heads to promote the use and help get them in the hands of other people. But the perks are I get to keep one :) Yay me! The main use of a gimbal head is for large lenses to rest on for sports, wildlife or possibly landscape photography. So let’s talk about how it works, on the base of the head it has a knob that can control the side to side movement. This allows the hole unit to be rotated 360 degrees. At the top of the arm you will see another knob, this one is used for the arm. The arm is attached to the base plate of the head making it work in a motion just like a swing would. And last is the knurled knob to remove the base plate that’s attached to your lens.1544347_10153724224450301_2029136590_n Most large lenses 300mm to 800mm can be hand held but only for a short period of time. That’s why the gimbal was created to allow people comfort while using a large lens. All large lenses have a arm or collar that is attached to the lens, this is what you would put the base plate on, not the camera. This arm will have an adjusting screw that clamps around the body of the lens. Basically once you attach the lens to the gimbal head you would loosen this adjusting screw to aid in your side to side movement. Now you have free flowing movement to follow and track your moving subject. Also this allows you to use lower shutter speeds in some cases due to the stability.

So let’s do a quick re cap on why we need a good head for our tripod. The head allows a range of motion for our camera, this motion is imperative to getting the proper angle of your view. Another key element is the size of the head that matters the most. Almost every model of head comes in different sizes and the reason for that is supporting weight. If you put a 20lb lens and camera on a 15lb supporting weight head you are likely to find the unit will have complete failure one day or ware out a lot faster then expected. Again think about lugging this head around on your tripod for trips or hiking. The key is to having something that is light weight but yet being able to provide the job or task as needed. If you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask as I will always give you my honest answer. Below are some links to the gear I use, thanks for reading today’s blog!

Working from the ground up

On today’s Blog I would like to talk about tripods.

Sirui M3204 M Series Tripod LegsTripods for photographers can be one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment they own. Most people when they are starting out decide that spending over 200 dollars on a tripod is expensive. Well I would have to admit that this is a very true point for most cases and you will realize fast you made a big mistake. In the profession of photography mistakes can lead to very poor financial and/or business decisions. So let’s go over why you should spend a few more dollars then you expected to on that tripod.

For most of us the big issue is the cost of what we are willing to pay as aProducts10137-1300x1300-418683 beginner. Knowing very little about photography at this time of purchase can be overwhelming. Like really you want me to spend 500 dollars on just a tripod and I can’t even put my camera on it until I buy a head?? “Go pound salt buddy!” What’s the difference between this 99 dollar tripod and that 500 dollar one? They both have 3 legs? The 99 dollar one has a head already attached? No brainier here I will spend my hard earned money on this the 99 dollar one! Wrong!
You grab that camera you just spent a thousand dollars on or even more and go out hunting for that great scene to capture. During this time you have some issues trying to set up your camera as the legs are a little wonky and the head wont really stay still or falls forward cause the weight of the camera is to heavy for it. Then you think I must be doing this wrong but I will learn as I go.

Manfrotto-MT190XPRO4-Tripod-Compared-to-MT190CVPRO4Let’s go over a few more scenarios of what you are about to encounter. So your photography starts to advance now and you decide I’m getting better so lets try all this creative stuff people do with filters. So you buy yourself a 10 stop filter or something of that nature and again it likely cost more then your tripod. You take this filter down to the lake so you can get that great glass look like everybody gets. You set your tripod up and the filter on your lens and your camera starts slowly moving down or to the side and you don’t realize it until you get a few pictures into your session. As I would do, just prop it back up and keep going. You start to feel the wind pick up and realize wow I can see the thin legs on my tripod shaking in the wind. Oh well lets keep on shooting! You get back to check out your images and you realize not only did I get this cool glass effect but all my pictures are blurry I wonder why?. If you think that’s bad the most famous that I see on almost every workshop I teach would be the plastic plate that clips into your tripod keeps loosening off your camera. Or even worse and yes I have seen this happen at least 10 times now, the piece that retains that plate loosens off and your camera hits the ground. Now lets think about your camera and lens, what are these pieces made of? A camera is made up circuitry components with a sensitive sensor and a precision aligned mirror. Your tough weather proof lens that is indestructible so they say is made up of concave and convex pieces of precision placed and crafted glass. So tell me something, what are the odds of a camera and lens dropping on the ground and not having any consequences what so ever?

IMG_3420_900px_Border-620x586This is what I would suggest to all of you when looking for that perfect tripod. 1, do I need to travel with this tripod cause weight and size can become a big concern. 2, What will my primary use be for this tripod? Am I just using it for landscapes with small lenses or do I think my wife will let me buy a 600 F4 to put on this one day? Fat chance! 3, Point of view, do I want a tripod that can get me inches off the ground? 4, Do I want to carbon fiber so I don’t have to lug a heavy monster around while hiking hills. 5, Do I want to spend 500 dollars now rather then spending 100-200 dollars now and then spend 500 down the road?

images The tripod to the left and at the top of the page is what I use daily for my world of photography. It’s a Sirui M3204 bought from my local camera store BJ Photo Labs. I bought this tripod for many reasons that catered to lenses and my style of photography. First selling feature is this thing is very strong carbon fiber and is so light to carry around with me. Second is how low it can get to the ground and how high I can put it up to at full extension. Third is a great selling feature to me, one of the legs can screw off and turn into a mono pod within seconds. Fourth is the retractable stainless steel spikes at the bottom of each leg to aid in grip. Fifth is the easy to use twist lock system for the legs to extend and retract. And the last selling feature for me was the price, I got this unit for under 500 tax included. I love this tripod!

Tripods are a personal thing for photographers, kind of like clothes we all like something different. So don’t impulse buy your first or next tripod, ask people what there experiences are. Social media is a powerful tool for consumers so ask around. Search different camera stores or E-bay or Amazon and look at product reviews. Just please make an informed decision rather then some sales guy selling you what makes him the most profit.

Stay tuned for my next blog on heads for tripods

Thanks for viewing today’s Blog!

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