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Take Picture-Perfect Shots With the Best Tripod Heads in 2021

The tripod is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a photographer's kit, second only to the camera itself. However, to perform optimally, it must be used in conjunction with a tripod head. Photography and videography are both diverse disciplines, but with a solidly built tripod head, you can easily execute professional gigs.

When looking for a tripod head, you should look for a product that can meet your needs in terms of height and angle of inclination. We've taken the liberty of researching and reviewing the top tripod heads on the market now. From our research, we've selected our top five tripod heads this year and broken down the benefits of each. Read on to figure out which one is right for you!

Our Five Favorite Tripod Heads

Pergear TH3 Pro DSLR Camera Tripod Head - Best Overall

The Pergear TH3 Pro Tripod Ball Head sports a high-grade aluminum alloy construction and has an anodized surface boosted by a CNC precision finish. This tripod head also has a U-shape groove that'll allow you to switch back and forth between horizontal and vertical shooting modes. In addition, this tripod head has a 360-degree swivel and a maximum loading capacity of 17.6 pounds. Its fine-tune damping feature will prevent your camera from plunging suddenly, and the index marking at the base provides advanced control.

  • Metal body makes it durable
  • Adjustments can be made with ease
  • Clamp may not work with all camera sizes

Neewer Professional Metal 360 Degree Rotating Panoramic Tripod Head - Runner Up

The Neewer Professional Panoramic Ball Head provides a blend between strength and comfort, mostly because it can accommodate camera setups as heavy as 17.6 pounds and has 3 knobs for adjustability. It also sports a bottom screw thread with a size of 3/8 inches and can easily be connected to your tripod. This tripod features a 360-degree swivel and a quick-release shoe plate with a size of 1/4 inches. It weighs just under a pound, allowing you to carry it around without adding much heft to your camera setup.

  • Bubble levels provide quick glance of perception
  • Prevents cameras from plunging
  • Panning can be difficult

EXMAX 360 Degree Aluminum Alloy Body Rotating Swivel Mini Tripod Head - Contender

The Exmax Mini Tripod Ball Head is a simple, effective product with a 360-degree range. It can also tilt at 90 degrees in opposite directions for panoramic shots. This tripod head has a 1/4 inch screw and an anti-scratch rubber pad. This small-sized Exmax tripod head barely weighs anything at just 0.2 pounds, and its impressive build features an aluminum alloy construction. Plus, if you purchase an extra adapter, you can use it with mobile phones and other devices.

  • Cheaper than most tripod heads
  • Adjustments are smooth and flexible
  • Can be carried easily
  • May not work with highly sophisticated cameras

Manfrotto XPRO 200PL Quick Release Plate Tripod Head - Also Consider

The Manfrotto XPRO Ball Head is a powerful product made for heavy-duty use. Its magnesium build allows it to hold weights up to 33 pounds while only weighing in at just over one pound! It has a triple block system that prevents vibrations and shocks during shots and is also equipped with a 200 PL plate, allowing it to function with a wide range of products. Because of its triple-locking system, you'll never have to worry about an unstable shot.

  • Compatible with many devices
  • Polymer rings provide maximum camera stability
  • Flexibility is slightly limited

Buyer's Guide

Photography, like many other fields, is becoming more complex as technology advances. As a result, different photographers, both professional and amateur, have different requirements and needs when it comes to setting up a camera to take photos or record an event.

One thing these photography or videography professionals have in common is assembling the ideal setup, and no setup is complete without a tripod. Aside from providing balance, one key feature of tripods is adjustability, which is only achievable with a tripod head. Tripod heads come in different forms to suit the needs of a wide range of professionals and trying to sift through them all to find the perfect fit can be quite challenging. To help pick out the right tripod head for you, we have highlighted the most important determinants of tripod head quality in this buying guide. But first, let's take a look at what tripod heads are.

What Are the Types of Tripod Heads?

There are various tripod heads made by various manufacturers to serve different purposes, and some of the most notable among them are explored below.

Tripod Ball Heads

If you have any photography experience, you have most likely used a tripod ball head at some point, as it is the most common type available. Ball heads are popular because they are often lightweight, simple to use, and meet most people's basic photography needs. And while they cannot be used for extremely complex photo ops, they are designed to rotate 360-degrees, making them incredibly versatile. Additionally, some excellent tripod ball heads can be used for both horizontal and vertical photography.

Pan/Tilt Tripod Heads

These tripod heads are a bit more complex than ball heads because they are built to execute more precise adjustments. They are sometimes called three-way tripod heads and are the preferred choice for media house photography.

Pan/Tilt tripod heads grant you a higher level of control since you can easily adjust individual controls for side tilt, and for up and down tilt. They are a perfect choice if you need to make small adjustments that ball heads cannot pull off.

Pistol Grip Tripod Heads

The action of a pistol grip head is quite similar to that of a ball head because they have the same wide motion range. However, pistol grip heads are a bit more complex and provide a higher level of control than ball heads. For example, while ball heads have a knob that you turn to allow adjustments, pistol grip heads have a grip that you squeeze. By pressing down on this grip, you can free up the camera and adjust it.

Gimbal Tripod Heads

A gimbal head may be your best bet if you want to connect a heavy-duty camera. These tripod heads are designed to hold large cameras that are too large for most tripod heads. Gimbal heads accomplish this by keeping your camera balanced at its natural center of gravity, preventing it from tipping over.

Gimbal heads are extremely heavy, but this sturdiness is required for heavy-duty use. In fact, they are the preferred choice for wildlife photographers because they provide balance and stability for large wildlife cameras.

Fluid Heads

Fluid heads, as the name implies, contain fluids. They work on the hydraulics principle, with adjustments made via a sealed liquid system. As technology has developed, fluid heads have become more and more popular.

They are also ideal for recording people or objects in motion because they can be adjusted slowly and steadily. The best fluid heads frequently have knobs to adjust their friction level, allowing you to increase or decrease the speed of adjustment.

What Should I Note When Choosing a Tripod Head?

There are several characteristics and factors that you need to keep in mind when searching for a great tripod head. Some of them are highlighted below.

Tripod Legs

Before buying a tripod head, you need to first consider the type of tripod legs that you own or intend to buy. This is an important factor because you need a tripod stand that can accommodate the type and weight of the tripod head you have. In other words, heavy tripod heads and cameras cannot be used with light-duty tripod legs and vice versa.

Tripod Head Type

The type of tripod head you buy is the most vital point to note. As listed above, there are a lot of different tripod heads designed for various functions. Hopefully, our breakdown of the different types of tripod heads should help you to pick out the right one for your needs.

Material

Weight and durability are all affected by the material used to make your tripod head. And it is vital to look for a tripod head that isn't too heavy while still being strong. Steel and aluminum are notable materials that make excellent tripod heads because they provide much-needed durability. They are also lighter than most other metals, making them extremely portable.

Size

The size specifications of your tripod head should not be taken lightly. The best tripod heads can be adjusted to fit cameras and tripods of various sizes and you should ensure that your intended purchase checks this requirement.

Some Buyers Also Wonder

Amateur and professional photographers often have questions regarding their tripod heads, and here are a few of those common inquiries.

Q: Are tripod heads universal?

A: Yes, but not all of them.

There are so many types of cameras and tripods, so finding a single tripod head that can accommodate all products is nearly impossible. However, the best tripod heads are designed to be used with products from the most notable photography brands.

Q: Can you pan with a tripod ball head?

A: Yes, you can.

Ball heads are designed to allow for simple 360-degree rotation. However, panning is a bit more complicated and only a few ball heads can pull it off. Pan/Tilt tripod heads, which are specifically designed for panning and tilting, are a better option for the best results.

Q: Can I use a fluid head for still photography?

A: Yes, fluid heads can be used for taking still photos. However, due to their smooth action, fluid heads are more commonly used for videos, tracking moving people, or objects.

Q: What are motorized tripod heads?

A: Motorized tripod heads are similar to other tripod heads, but they have the added benefit of being electronically controlled. Some motorized tripod heads can rotate 360 degrees and are commonly used for professional photography.

Q: What is the price of tripod heads?

A: There is a wide range of prices of tripod heads depending on the type, quality, and brand. You can get a tripod head anywhere from $7 to $200.

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