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Is There a Tripod Head That Will Work Great for both Stills and Video?

Published: 05/10/2017
By: larry

Shawn asked:

I'm looking for a tripod head that will work great for stills but will still pan well for video. Any suggestions?

I am new to video but I am looking to do more. I plan on purchasing a video stabilizer for walkthrough video but some spaces work better with a simple pan. I was hoping to avoid switching heads for still and video and then there is the hassle quick releases and matching plates.

A fluid head like the Manfrotto XPRO Fluid Head will certainly work for both stills and video but I wouldn't characterize it as "great for interior stills". After using a geared head for interiors, I wouldn't give up my geared head for shooting interiors for anything!

Another consideration is that if you are going to be getting a video stabilizer for walkthrough video I'm skeptical that you would also need a fluid head. If you are going to shoot walkthrough video, use a stabilizer. If you are going to shoot cinematic property video, you'll be needing much more than just a fluid head.

7 comments on “Is There a Tripod Head That Will Work Great for both Stills and Video?”

  1. Totally agree with Larry. There's no way I could do a still shoot without my geared head! Believe it or not, you can still use it to pan though. It's literally a "pain" to do, but I did an interior video recently by depressing the yaw axis and just holding it through the shot. It flows pretty smoothly, but it's hard to keep the spring-loaded lever all the way down for the long shots. You've also got to be sure and level the TRIPOD as well as the head though or your verticals are likely to not hold throughout the shot. I just bought a Freefly Movi-M5 stabilizer for my Canon DSLR and unpacked it yesterday. I'm going to get serious about doing walk-throughs, so I'm not planning on using the tripod for the pans anymore.

  2. Shawn, if you want to save some serious dollars and get a a truly stellar tripod which includes a wonderful fluid head (great for videos and stills as you requested), please look up the Davis & Sanford PROVISTA 7518B Pro Video Tripod with V18 Fluid Head, quick release mount and two quick release plates included for about 150USD. I have had mine since 2013 and use it almost every day in both clean and rough environments. In my humble opinion, it is worth about 3x the asking price.

    Is it better than Manfrotto - No, but I would say it is very comparable (I have two big Manfrottos and another one branded "3 Legged Thing," and prefer to use the Davis and Sanford - blasphemy!). Check the reviews on YouTube. Good luck.

  3. I use Gitzo carbon series 5 Systematic tripods. They can easily be fitted with fluid video heads, or extendible center columns with geared heads.
    These are top of the line, & not cheap, but I use them daily to earn a great living...

    Money well spent imo!

  4. I just wanted to add my 2 cents in regard of tripod head.

    I bought a few years ago a Manfrotto Geared Head (410; $280 at B&H). This was based on the advice within this blog (I cannot be thankful enough for this blog, I learned so much here!!!!).
    Along with a Manfrotto Tripod- This was one of the best decision I could have made in this regard. Very rarely do I have to correct the verticals in post prod. This has been a huge time saver and helped me to focus on composition as well. I love my geared head for RE stills and would not change it.
    I use it to make short video clips with my DSLR as well (180-360 type). Not the most "fluid" but it works well enough.

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