I use the Outdoorsman's Pan Head. It is smooth and easy to use in any direction and you can keep just enough tension on it while moving so it will stay where you want it to without to many movements. I also think that what ever you have, if you use it enough you will get used to how it functions relatively quickly and be comfortable with it.
In regards to the outdoorsman pan head or even the Jim white head.... I have a Slik Mini tripod, which is a ball head. I have learned to use it and have become comfotable with it. However, I would like to upgrade to a more user friendly head for this season and for seasons to come. Will the Outdoorsman Pan head fit on my tripod? If so, are any other parts needed or can I just buy the head for the 389$ listed on the website?? Basically what I am asking is what do I all need to make it functional with my Slik Mini?
I would take a close look at the benefits before dropping that kind of coin on a pan head. Really Right Stuff makes a great ultralight ballhead at a fraction of the price(also made in the USA). It has a panning base and after some use with your gear it is easy to achieve the proper tension. Im a hunter and a photographer but chose this head with weight as top priority for my hunting gear and small lens DSLR use, I own other products from Really Right Stuff so I knew it was going to serve and operate properly. It's my choice for pursuits where it could be 20 miles to the hunting grounds.
I have no experience with the outdoorsman tripod heads but am guessing by looking at the construction and price tag that you'll be paying more for a heavier head. Your priorities may be different but I thought I would post in case you might find it useful.
I'll add that the BH-25 is 5.2 oz with the platform (which requires you to screw your spotter on...3 turns). A little more for the quick release clamp but the weight wasnt worth it to me.
The folks at RRS are great to work with, and they will make sure you have what you need to mount you head to your Slik which will probably require a larger diameter stud. Mine is mounted to a Slik pro624CF with the lower leg sections temporarily removed for hunting.
Ok first off I've only dealt with one or two different heads. First pan head I messed with was a no name brand with the handle that u used to pan, tighten and loosen the movement of the spotter. This head drifted every time after trying to lock it onto an object.
The other head that I've used for a trip was the vortex high country tripod with their factory ball head. I HATED not having a handle to scan with while glassing. It was also difficult to lock it on to an object with one hand tightening the clamp with the other hand trying to hold the spotter on target.
Anybody else have these issues? I think a ball head with a handle attachment would be the best of both worlds. Anything like this out there??
I say try the ball head that is on your new tripod this year then decide if you want to update. I think the ball head works good. I use one hand to lock in on and the other to tighten it down. Not going to lie, have thought about having a machine shop make a handle that I can rotate to tighten the ball head down.