TRIPOD PHOTOGRAPHY HEAD
The choice of a tripod head will probably be a very subjective choice in all circumstances, but certainly also greatly influenced by its primary use. During the whole time, I tried almost all types of solutions. I started with a classic ball head, which was later replaced by a fluid video head. Due to the transition to longer and heavier glasses, the ball head has become quite clumsy and unsuitable for long glasses. Honestly, the classic ball head did not grow to my heart even for the studio, landscape, and macro photography. Thanks to the fact that I started to shoot a lot of videos, the choice fell on the video head. Over time, I began to think about change again. The video head was replaced by Gimbal's head, which seemed more prompt to me. Although the movement was not so fluid, on the other hand, the speed with which I was able to target completely overshadowed the video head. When I thought that this was the end of my search for the perfect head for me, I saw Flexshooter head.
Honestly, you will not find a tripod head designed in this way from any other manufacturer. FlexShooter is made by a small Hungarian company producing tripod heads and accessories for them.
I liked the idea of trying the original head from the designer and photographer in one person, - from Csaba Karai. Support creative people who can translate their visions into a finished and functional product. Stand out from the crowd and combine practicality and functionality into a small universal tripod head.
(More information on his website: https://ballhead.com/)
For my needs and thanks to the fact that I do not use heavy lenses, I opted for the FlexShooter Mini Arca. A very compact tripod head with a weight of only 440g offers a load capacity of up to 9.5Kg. There are also 2 other variants with a load capacity of up to 60 kg with a total head weight of 1.1 kg. The technical solution of the heads is the same for everyone. The only difference is the load capacity and thus the size of the head. It looks like a ball head in size, but with functions that only Gimbal and video heads offer you. Tripod heads, which with similar load capacity are 2x and bulkier and heavier.
I knew that just the size and weight, wouldn't convince me to invest in FlexShooter. Resp. investing a fairly large amount just for weight seemed like too much luxury to me. But this head defended its price with me with its technical solution and comfortable use.
+ Implemented horizontal base
The FlexShooter offers one extra ball, which is part of the base for adjusting the horizontal level. It is part of the head and works very well. Adjusting the tripod to a horizontal position is often impossible in the field. Adjusting the horizontal level on the tripod head ensures that the camera remains horizontal in any situation. The only way I knew how to do this with Gimbal was to use a special base, or a video hemisphere on the video head.
+ Locking accuracy
+ Locking speed
- Limiting locking in both axes at the same time
Another indisputable advantage is the locking of the head with only one screw without the so-called Image creep effect. As a result, there is no unwanted movement when tightened, and you can be sure that the image does not move while the screw is locked. Unfortunately, I had to deal with this phenomenon with both Gimbal's head and the video head. When locking, the lens moves slightly. I always had to think about that when using long lenses. Locking the Gimbal with the need to lock the position with two screws was even longer and inaccurate. Flexshooter works absolutely great. It has the advantage of speed and accuracy, but it is redeemed by the fact that it is not possible to lock only one axis. Honestly, for me, speed and accuracy of locking are more important, but it doesn't have to be that way for everyone.
+ Fluid motion
+ Great balance
- Smaller range
The fluidity of the head is at a high level. Personally, resistance works great and I have nothing to complain about. The resistance correction goes very smoothly and the head does not show any side effects. Balancing the camera with the lens works without any problems. Compared to Gimbal, the head has a smaller vertical range, which is perhaps the only thing I would point out. But because I don't take photos at least, or rather not at all, at the angles where this head won't allow me to go, I don't register this limit when taking photos.
+ Arca Swiss X
The Arca swiss X plate is the perfect solution for using the camera mount with both the lens foot and Lplate. This way I can use the FlexShooter as a replacement for the Gimbal head as well as the ball head. For shooting wildlife, landscapes, or macro with shorter glasses without a tripod collar, when it is necessary to attach it on the camera body. This way I only have one head for all possible uses. Fastening to the head is similar to any other with the arca swiss system with one tightening screw.
+ Size and weight
The head will replace the ball and the Gimbal head. I can use it for photographing wildlife and video recording as well as for landscapes or shooting in the studio. It is small and light so it does not bother me on trips. It's worse with the price. It is set quite high, and although FlexShooter will certainly defend it thanks to the advantages I have described, it is up to each individual to evaluate whether such an investment will be beneficial for him.
Comparison with other types of heads
For an idea and clear advantages and disadvantages of the head, I created a table. For the variant of other heads I used the most used. I'm not at all interested in comparing brands, but rather in parameters that are + - the same for a given type of head.
* You will reach higher values with the help of leveling ball base
** Technically true data, but when using longer glasses the range will be reduced.
** FlexShooter has a Spring Balance Tilt mechanism that creates resistance to the weight of the camera and works quite well.