For quick framing and stability, you need a good tripod head. We test six to see which is the best tripod head in terms of features, capability and value for money
Even the best tripods can go weak at the knees without a decent head attached, spoiling your shots. The smart solution is to buy the tripod legs and head separately, so that you can get the best combination to suit your needs.
Even if you’ve bought an all-in-one kit, it can make sense to upgrade the head to a more versatile and stable model. What’s more, new heads are usually easy to fit.
Unlike video tripod heads, which only offer pan and tilt adjustments, photographic heads need to enable triple-axis movement.
This is so you can shoot in portrait (upright) orientation as well as landscape (horizontal). This ability to pan, tilt and swivel is the reason conventional photographic heads are called three-way heads.
The more popular option is a ball-and-socket head, but you can also buy a pistol or joystick variety. Both are variations on the ball-head theme. But which is best tripod head type for you? We find out…
Best Tripod Heads: Benro BH2
Price: £55, $72
Buy it: www.kenro.co.uk
Benro’s ball head is a basic affair, with a single locking screw, no additional, adjustable friction-damper and no pan-only lock.
However, releasing the locking screw by about half a turn enables smooth and easy adjustment while maintaining fairly high friction. Undoing it a full turn facilitates free movement.
The scissor-action quick-release lock is easy to use and offers good security against accidental loosening. A bubble level on the camera platform makes for easy levelling, too.
Our only complaint is with the mounting surface that connects to the camera. It relies on two narrow rubber strips, which make the connection feel quite spongy, especially with heavier camera and lens combinations.
The BH2 is compact and light. Its size bodes well for storage, and the ball head deals with movement efficiently, making it easy to adjust position.
Max Height: 9.7cm
Max Load: 8kg
Pan-only Lock: No
WE SAY… Simple but performs well. The rubber strips on the mounting are our only niggle.
PAGE 1: Benro BH2
PAGE 2: Giottos MH 1311-652
PAGE 3: Manfrotto 494RC2
PAGE 4: Manfrotto 496RC2
PAGE 5: Manfrotto 324RC2
PAGE 6: Vanguard SBH-100
PAGE 7: Five things to look for when choosing the best tripod head