View Full Version : Tripod head : which one ?????

16-Jun-2009, 12:41

Here is my situation :

I have a manfrotto 055 aluminium tripod with a 138 ball head. This combination was bought years ago when I was using only 35mm cameras.
Today, I have a Chamonix 45N and a Hasselblad. The tripod is efficient but a little heavy. The ball head not really convenient and not pleasant to use.

I would like to buy first a new head (no ball head) and after a carbon fiber tripod.
The linhof three axes is great, light, small and... expensive.
I've seen some manfrotto heads : the 460MG and the 410.
The 410 looks great but is maybe a little bit heavy and big.
The 460MG is light and small but doesn't support a high load (3kg).

Can anyone help me to do the right choice ?

Obviously, I'm looking for something small, pleasant, convenient, efficient and inexpensive :)


16-Jun-2009, 12:51
There is a group of 410 adapts here, I am one of them.

A Field beggs for a geared head: they have very presize movements so it is easy to level your camera.
Forget about the size of the 410: it is sturdy and after working with it for a while you will love it. When I got mine I thought O my GOD, what did I order ?
Now I don't want anything else for my Shen Hao and smaller.

The 410 is a once in a life time buy: it will last that long.
And yes: I use it on a 055.


Kirk Gittings
16-Jun-2009, 13:05
410? Me too for my lightweight 4x5 and DSLR.

Peter De Smidt
16-Jun-2009, 13:06
I agree. The 410 is a great head for a lightweight 4x5. It's bulkier than a ball head, sure, but it's a lot easier to use with LF. And it doesn't have those annoyingly long handles that many 3-way heads have that seem to catch on everything.

16-Jun-2009, 13:54
I would go with an Arca ball head, like a Z1. It is reasonably light weight and will support much more weight than the Manfrotto. When adjusted properly it is capable of very fine adjustments without the "flop" to which some ball heads are prone. If needed, it can be much quicker to operate than a 3-axis geared head as well.

Roger Thoms
16-Jun-2009, 14:52
I'm very pleased with my 410, it's not the lightest, but it is compact and very precise.

16-Jun-2009, 14:56
410 is the best head I've ever owned or seen for either my Zone VI, my Cambo SCX and Hassy and Nikon gear. Extremely precise and reliable for well over twenty years. Just bought a second one so I don't have to interchange between leg sets. I doubt you will notice the weight once you experience the benefits.


16-Jun-2009, 22:48
Thank you all for your answers !

I didn't know that so many people appriciate the 410


Richard Wasserman
16-Jun-2009, 23:39
You can add me to the 410 list. I've tried several other heads and it's the best- I use it with a Canham DLC..

17-Jun-2009, 03:38
A geared head lets you set-up and level your camera fast and presize.
The 410 is the smallest Manfrotto makes....., but it can be used for a heavy RB67 and any 4x5" Field camera.
You don't fasten it in a position: it stays by friction, if you need a tad more you give it a tad more, just looking at your GG and fine-tune.

I guess you have to experience it before you apreciate it.


17-Jun-2009, 03:51

I've tried one in a shop without any camera on it.
I agree, it was very pleasant to use it but I don't know how it is on the field,
That's why I've posted this question.

For me it's not a detail, the head is quite a part of the pleasure to make photos.

Thank you Peter for your message.


17-Jun-2009, 04:05
I have been using it in the field photographing my projects here in Brazil and love it.
I had a 804RCII 3 way head first and that one is a lot more cumbersome to use.
A ball-head and leveling does not work, not for me any way, than a 3 way head would be even better.

Forget about the weight and size, you will get used to it in no time and it will give you the feeling that your camera will be safe !


Carsten Wolff
17-Jun-2009, 06:16
I'm still using an older Manfrotto 115 3-way head for anything up to 5x7 even with very long bellows extensions outdoors on my 055.
Not necessarily THE best possible head, but it is sturdy enough, was cheap, is versatile, relatively light, quite fast, simple and reliable - and I like working with it.
Expanding (and possibly moving away from) your question a bit, and meant as an additional comment: Any head is, after all, basically a single point-of-contact. I see the camera as a sail that creates its own harmonics no matter how well it is dampened in that single spot. So almost any view camera would benefit (to a higher degree than from just a super solid head, I would think), esp. for long bellows extensions and on windy days, from a "long lens support", such as a e.g. a Manfrotto 359, or similar. An additional brace such as this is to me a must with basically ANY head/tripod. (Mine has its heavy Super-clamp replaced with the equally good, but light Mini-clamp and is barely noticeable tucked away on the side of an upper leg section of my tripod).
Apologies for rambling :)