Ball Head or Pan/tild head for spotter

squeekieslayer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,240
Location
Great Falls, MT
Hey guys, I have a ball head on my slik mini right now. It is light and works pretty well, but i recently upgraded to the zeiss 85mm scope and I feel that the tripod i have now is a bit undergunned. I am looking to get a new set up and was wondering yall's opinion on what you like.

it seems that the ball is lighter and simpler, but that the pan heads would be easier to use to really search an area in a grid pattern.

Joe
 

Jordan Budd

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
2,543
Location
NW Nebraska
I'd personally go with a pan head. I've used a ball head filming before and drove me nuts. Pan heads are easier to handle with that big scope I think.
 

Nick Muche

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
3,635
Location
Alaska
I have the same tripod, used the ball head for the past two years, just picked up an Outdoorsman head, I am very happy... Much better for gridding out an area and use of the spotter in general.
 

aron

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
513
Location
North Dakota
The ballhead on my slik sprint mini tripod got replaced before it was even given a chance to get used. Pan head seems much easier.
 

luke moffat

Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
22
I rarely if ever "pan" with my spotter, suppose I should though, but I much prefer to find the animals with my binos and then use the spotter to zoom in once I've located an animal. Thus, I prefer the lighter and more compact ballheads.
 
OP
S

squeekieslayer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,240
Location
Great Falls, MT
I tend to do the same luke, are all ball heads esentially equal? Are some better than the slik one? It loks down nice and holds even my heavy scope
 

Yellowknife

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,725
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
Hey guys, I have a ball head on my slik mini right now. It is light and works pretty well, but i recently upgraded to the zeiss 85mm scope and I feel that the tripod i have now is a bit undergunned. I am looking to get a new set up and was wondering yall's opinion on what you like.

it seems that the ball is lighter and simpler, but that the pan heads would be easier to use to really search an area in a grid pattern.

Joe


Don't compare the Slik mini "ball head" to a real one. That little thing is totally out matched by your 85mm. Good quality ball heads are solid, and will easily handle the weight, but as you mentioned, it does limit your grid pattern capabilities. I've never cared, since like Luke, I am usually just zooming in on areas of interest.

Both Luke and I use Manfrotto 494RC2, which is considered a compact ball head by DSLR camera standards, but is still much larger than the slik head. NOT all ball heads are created equal. A "full size" camera ball head is actually too big and heavy in my estimation, while the little Slik is tough to adjust and will allow far to much vibration at higher powers.

There lots of high quality ball heads out there, thanks too the DSLR camera industry. I like to see one with a relatively short stem above the ball, and separate tension and locking levers. I also like a solid QR connection, which the Slik mini does not have IMO. I DON'T care of a panning feature on a ball head, which some have, as the one I used didn't function all that well.

Yk
 

Solitude

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
337
Location
Northern CA
I have the same tripod as you, but am running a Leupold GR 12-40x60mm off it.

I love the minimal weight and how compact the ball head is. You can still pan horizontal pretty darn good in my opinion. Vertical....that is where it falls short.

I have a larger tripod with fluid pan head (Manfrotto) that I use close to the truck, but anytime the pack is on my back the Slick Mini II is with me.

Now.....if I was running the big 85mm glass and wanted to grid out distant country I would more than likely upgrade the head as weight is not the determining factor at that point.
 

Yellowknife

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,725
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
I have the same tripod as you, but am running a Leupold GR 12-40x60mm off it.

I love the minimal weight and how compact the ball head is. You can still pan horizontal pretty darn good in my opinion. Vertical....that is where it falls short.

I have a larger tripod with fluid pan head (Manfrotto) that I use close to the truck, but anytime the pack is on my back the Slick Mini II is with me.

Now.....if I was running the big 85mm glass and wanted to grid out distant country I would more than likely upgrade the head as weight is not the determining factor at that point.

The compact size of the GR, will certainly help make that Slik more useable. I used it with a Minox 62 for a year, and it was functional in that roll. The lighter, and even more compact Leupold can only be better and if it works for you then you certainly can't complain about the weight. It's the long and heavy scopes where it starts to get miserable fast. Although I made it through hunting season with my 85 mounted too it, I certainly didn't have fun doing it.

After two years though, I had pretty well worn out the QR mechanism and was resorting to duct tape "shims" to tighten it up. Seeing any sign of that with yours? I like the legs, so kept them, but swapped the head out a few months ago and am far happier.

Yk
 

seand

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2012
Messages
71
Location
Tigard, Oregon
I like the slik mini ball head, but I dont pan with it, and its a good match for my 50mm

For a light pan head, check out the slik pro-ez it is a bigger /heavier duty tripod than the mini, and the included pan head is actually pretty good. Its still pretty light weight. I dont have a 85mm spotter to try, but the pro-ez is definatly stouter than the mini.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/507998-REG/Slik_611_845_Sprint_Pro_EZ_Tripod.html
 

seand

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2012
Messages
71
Location
Tigard, Oregon
To add, I packed the pro-ez into idaho last year and it worked great but still found I didnt pan much with it so I'm going to stick with the mini for my pack tripod. I was pretty much spotting with my binos and using the spotter to look closer.
 
OP
S

squeekieslayer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,240
Location
Great Falls, MT
thanks yellowknife, are you guys still running the slik legs with the manfrotto head? I feel like with my large scope the legs are outmatched as much or more than the ball is

Joe
 

Yellowknife

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,725
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
thanks yellowknife, are you guys still running the slik legs with the manfrotto head? I feel like with my large scope the legs are outmatched as much or more than the ball is

Joe

I'm still running Slik legs. Luke has something else. Vanguards I think. He has an article about it in the optics section somewhere.

I'm using it sitting down, and have no issues with the legs as is. I don't use the center column though, as I think that would be marginal. In fact, I just ended taking the center column off altogether when I went to 85mm. If you are using it at maxed out height, then yeah, I supposed it would start to get outmatched, but I've had no issues thus far from my normal low positions.

Yk
 

luke moffat

Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
22
I'm using a velbon Ultra maxi M tripod legs and Velbon 510PH or some such model ball head...its 6.5 oz and can support 6.6 pounds. Seems to be doing just fine with my 85mm Zeiss so far so good. Much lighter tripod head than the Manfrotto 700 RC2 I ran last year that weighed 18 oz. I still have the 494 head from Manfrotto that YK mentioned, but I had this velbon laying around so I'm gonna give it a whirl some more and see how it works this summer before I commit to taking it over the 494 for sheep hunting.
 

Yellowknife

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,725
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
I should mention that the only reason I use a Manfrotto is because my wife has a small fortune tied up in Manfrotto gear and all her DSLR cameras are equipped with RC2 quick release plates. I figured commonality was good, and the quality was a known quantity. I believe there are lots of other good heads out there, and some are likely lighter.

Luke,

Dang man, that 700 is a beast. I looked at one, but no way I'd want to pack it. I'm not familiar with that Vanguard model, but with those specs it sure looks good. The critical test for me is if I can glass up a subject, center it, then lock the head without any subsequent sag or movement. With an 85, that's pretty tough for lots of heads.


Yk
 
OP
S

squeekieslayer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,240
Location
Great Falls, MT
I take the center column out and dont even know if I have it any more. I guess I may try and get a better head and see it that does it. If not then I can look for legs.

Joe
 
Top