Best Tripod Head For Landscape Photography

By | 29/10/2022

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You lot may be thinking that you don’t need to spend $200+ on a tripod head. You may exist ok with your current legs and head – and now y’all’re just browsing effectually out of curiosity considering your current setup is practiced enough… But is it, actually?

The truth is if you’re serious near real manor photography –
and I mean really serious
– like, yous want to make information technology into a career and your ain business – well, you lot’ll want the best-geared tripod head. Why? Considering it volition allow y’all to create higher quality photos much more consistently and ultimately save you time and coin. Well, time is money, then…

Be certain to head over to, Best Tripods For Existent Estate Photography and Geared Head vs. Brawl Caput: Full Comparing, where I talk over many of the same topics I do here, just near the tripod aspect instead.

If learning what the best-geared tripod head
is, how it can work for you to make you more coin (and take meliorate photos more consistently) – and so stick around. You’ll learn everything y’all need to make your next buy with confidence. In addition, every geared caput mentioned will have an informative video attached at the bottom of its section.

Permit’s get started

Geared Tripod Head Comparison

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I Want To Make A Couple Things Very Clear

Please read this article with confidence, knowing that the information given to you is accurate. I am a photographer and have shot real estate photography for years before moving out to San Diego.

I say this because I don’t want yous thinking that these recommendations were pulled out of a hat. If they’re being recommended, I have either used it myself or I know someone personally who uses it on a daily basis.
And then read with confidence knowing that what I’1000 telling you is true
and you can make an educated decision based on what you read in this article.

They’re Non ‘Inexpensive’

I but want to warn you now that if you lot’re looking for tripod heads that are inexpensive or you desire a geared head that’due south cheap, yous are reading the incorrect article.

Generally speaking, the best of anything relates to quality and reliability. The all-time quality and reliability comes with a price tag. That price tag is usually much college than something made with budgetary concerns in mind.

I want you to not worry most the cost while reading this article. Instead, you lot need to consider the price as an investment and and so how that investment volition improve your workflow and ultimately make you more money.

Trust me; a cheap gearhead can cost you far more time and coin in the long run than the upfront price of a quality geared tripod caput.

Stick around to hear about those who chose the cheaper cheap road.

The Real Benefits Of A Geared Tripod Caput

I’chiliad not questioning your intelligence regarding gear tripod heads, but I thought it would only be fitting to include this department for those who might non know as much as you exercise.

Geared tripod heads offer the most control in terms of precision. Through the use of knobs that control gears along rails, yous were able to control the X, Y, and the rotational centrality of your camera, all independently.

This allows you to work with one centrality, lock in that centrality, and then move on to the side by side. Or even better, you may only need to accommodate one axis and this allows you to do that independently from the other two.

This is very unlike from the traditional pan and ball head – where you can go the ball head aligned relatively easily just just as hands lose that position while tightening it downwardly.

This is a major problem when verticals are disquisitional in architectural work or compositions such as landscapes.

Rinse And Repeat

In that location are some types of photography that require very repetitive and very similar results.

Let’s take product photography for instance. You were photographing couches for a client. This client produces many couches of different shapes sizes and colors – just they desire six images taken from the same position and angle on every couch. While each burrow is dissimilar, this keeps the catalog of their inventory very uniform.

At present, you tin can get all 6 images with the same lens. A geared head would allow you to lock in the position of the camera in relation to the bending, and at present you lot never demand to movement that position going forward.

If you did need to move it you can easily record your original position with the markings on the head, move precisely to the new position, so dorsum.

What Blazon Of Photography Tin Benefit Greatly From A Geared Caput?

While RE photography is just one type of photography that benefits from it, here are a few other types that do good but equally much ( if not more than). These types include:

  • Macro
  • Architectural (large metropolis buildings – like to residential RE, but a totally unlike animate being)
  • Landscapes
  • Product
  • Anything that involves precision or requires the shot to be exact (still life is an example).

The Benefits To Macro – Specifically

I feel the demand to explain the incredible benefits of using a geared head when shooting macro photography.

Every bit most of yous know, macro photography is a magnified version of photography. It can literally make the tiniest things look admittedly ginormous – or amend yet, to meet things we would never see with the naked heart.

Forth with that, I’m sure yous all know how difficult it is to achieve focus using a macro lens. It gets increasingly harder the college the magnification. There are some manual focus macro lenses with a ratio of 5 to ane. That’s essentially a 5X magnification. The amount of lite required and razor-sparse depth of field makes information technology one of the most hard types of photography to get sharp focus.

Focus stacking aside, a geared caput is an excellent way to combat the focusing difficulty. Seeing as the depth of field is so shallow even the most minute movement can throw your subject completely out of focus. That’southward where the geared caput comes in seeing as you can make very precise and minute changes in position.

You tin can set the magnification and then get the lens “around” where it needs to be. And then, using the gears, yous can slowly and imprecisely lean the lens forrad or backward to attain perfect focus. Of class, the same can be achieved on a slider, but it’s not about as precise.

The Best Geared Tripod Head In 2021 Goes To…

Arca Swiss D4

Arca Swiss D4

The Arca Swiss D4 is the pinnacle of geared tripod heads.

Information technology is regarded as 1 of the best-geared heads made at its price betoken. Withal, its appeal to the full general public comes downwards to the build quality and the size.

Coming in at about 5 inches tall, weighing 2.6 pounds, and accepting a quick release plate at only 40 millimeters… This affair is a perfect fit for those wanting to continue a minimal footprint.

It May Be Small… That Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Tough!

I know real estate photographers take been using the same D4 head for over five years without any issues at all. These are real manor photographers who photograph v homes per day minimum with peaks of eight-10 with an boilerplate of 800 homes per year.

I asked them (earlier I purchased one myself) – was there anything that they would change about the head at all. They only wish they had gotten it sooner.

Withal There Are Negatives Associated With The D4

Every bit nosotros all know, there’s nothing perfect in this earth. That would include the Arca Swiss D4.

At that place are two main negatives that I wanted to touch on. Those include:

  • Cost
  • No Plate Included

I know I stated at the beginning of the commodity that you lot need to pay for quality, which is entirely true in this case.
Coming in at only shy of $1200, you are definitely going to be paying for quality. I did list this as a con – seeing as well-nigh photographers, regardless of type,
exist OK spending this kind of coin for a geared caput.

Remainder bodacious though while it is expensive and once again, you will be paying for quality, it is worth every single penny.

A negative in my volume, peculiarly at this price point, is that information technology does non comprise a plate. That’s right; y’all will have to purchase the plate separately. I’ll put money on the fact that you don’t have the right size either. Not just that, if you weren’t reading up to this bespeak in the article, you’d have no idea what size plate you lot need. Don’t worry; I got you covered.

The width of the plate is twoscore mm. The recommended length is 60 mm, but this is totally up to you lot – seeing as the length can extend past the caput itself. Although it’s not recommended to use anything over 70 mm, you do you.

Not Everyone Can Take The Best Of The All-time

You know nosotros all take our ain responsibilities in this world. Some of the states have a large family, while others have other obligations. Non anybody out here is going to have the best of the best. Believe me; I get information technology.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve had to replace and so many things that were subpar just to save initial money, I wouldn’t have purchased something like this myself. I definitely could take saved the money.

Again, don’t worry, I’ve got y’all covered. I take 4 more recommendations, each of them have their pros and cons, yet one of them may piece of work ameliorate for you in terms of cost than the Arca Swiss D4.

The goal here today is to give you an thought of what y’all need, why you lot need it, and how much yous’re going to have to spend to go it. So, stick around; nosotros’re moving on to the adjacent ane.

Benro GD3WH

Benro GD3WH

Now the Benro GD3WH is closer to the other end of the spectrum.

It’south much more affordable, relatively reliable, and is a cracking entry-level geared head for someone looking to endeavour out a geared caput in their workflow.

The welcomed differences between the Benroand Arca Swiss are weight and toll.

This trade-off comes at a price.
And while that toll is not actual dollars, in that location is a reliability cost involved. Allow’southward discuss the features of the Benro geared head and what makes it such a good production.

Much like the other geared heads on this list, you have a 3-manner contained movement. This movement, of course, is controlled by knobs for precise motility. You could also release the private sections for larger camera movements for average positioning and then apply the knobs for more precise positioning after that. There are as well chimera levels for each section. Likewise, weighing in at only 1.9 pounds is one of the lighter geared heads on this list. The obvious benefit of a lighter loadout is a plus.

Y’all go all of this with an average price only north of $200. Non bad right?…

Well let’s talk about the negatives of the Benro geared head and see if that tradeoff is worth information technology to y’all.

Much similar the other geared heads on this list, you have a three-mode independent movement. This motility, of grade, is controlled by knobs for precise move. You could also release the private sections for larger camera movements for average positioning so use the knobs for more precise positioning afterwards that. There are besides bubble levels for each section. As well, weighing in at only 1.nine pounds is one of the lighter geared heads on this list. The obvious do good of a lighter loadout is a plus.

The Negatives

Benro GD3WH

The biggest complaint is the reliability after extended use. From the information that I’ve gathered and from personal experience from those that I know, the lifespan of this geared head is virtually ane twelvemonth or 1000 homes.

The trouble that presents itself after about 1000 homes is the sloppy play in the gears. You’ll notice over time that the gears aren’t nearly as precise or concord their position nearly also. This is an obvious problem seeing as the just reason I accept a geared caput is for that very reason. This leads to two major bug those being not being able to maintain verticals or a static position of the camera – in not being able to go along the camera level.

Another result that presents itself to some and not to others…
This leads me to believe that the quality control between two different geared heads is very questionable. This issue is that the
bubbles for leveling never actually level the photographic camera correctly. In that location’s nothing worse than non beingness able to trust your equipment. Now, as I said before it it’s an issue for some and not for others. This could come up down to bad luck, damage while aircraft, or just terrible quality control.

  • To combat the issue just mentioned, it’s highly recommended to purchase a separate quick-release clamp with its own chimera.
    This will ensure that at least the plane that your camera is sitting on is level. I know it’southward some other investment; I mean, this was supposed to save you lot money, right? Keep in heed this isn’t needed for everybody merely for those having the event either initially or a few months down the road when the return policy or warranty expires.

And so, all in all, this is even so a pretty solid geared head, specially for those who wanna try it out and meet if it’s gonna work for them. Aye, you can get a year 2 or three out of it depending on how many homes or properties yous shoot every year (or anything else for that matter). Only know that later down the road, you will virtually likely have to supervene upon this or upgrade to something ameliorate, depending on how frequent that may be.

Sunwayfoto GH-Pro Ii

You lot may have never heard of this brand before, but don’t allow that to discourage you from considering it.

This is a very professional level geared caput at a fraction of the cost.

Coming in just north of $200 ($225), you become quite a few crawly features for the price range.

For starters, the unabridged thing is metal, including the knobs. No need to worry about cheap plastic knobs on this one. Besides, those knobs have a little flip-out handle.

They become a creepo-style handle which is a plus if you’d rather take that than turn the knobs with your fingers. Too, a overnice bag along with a plate and other tools included. This is a nice touch for something at this toll point. Those I’ve talked to who have used it go on to use it even years later later on purchasing.

The negatives at this toll point I’one thousand sure, are expected.

While the unabridged design may be metallic (aluminum) – the actual gears themselves aren’t as precisely machined equally something at a higher price. Meaning, you’ll become more than precise movements out of a geared head of higher quality because of the throw of the knobs or less. The more teeth in the shorter the throw, the more than precise your turns can exist.

Also, in that location is no geared panning. Meaning, in that location are no gear adjustments when panning from left to right. While there are 2 separate panning plates (very bottom and very top), these aren’t geared and are free-spinning. This can be a con for some while others don’t care – personally, I could care less most panning since I’thousand non taking panoramic shots.

The toll divergence betwixt this and the Benro is about $xx with this model being more expensive. The $xx added expense will give you full metallic construction along with nearly zero durability and longevity complaints.

Coupled with slap-up tripod legs, yous could have a beast of a setup that could terminal you for years to come.

Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head With Quick Release

Manfrotto 410 Junior

Manfrotto is an absolute tyrant in the film and photography accessory section.

I don’t think anyone has been in the photography scene for any more than six months that hasn’t heard of the make.

Needless to say, they have huge brand awareness and, with that, trust.

Merely much similar other brands, the ones at the height seem to forget where they came from…


3 Year Express (viii year extension eligible)

The biggest positive about the junior geared caput is the overall look and experience. This thing is friggin solid. It’s got that cast iron-looking feel to it, which adds to the overall look being super rugged.

It has three independent axis much similar all the other heads mentioned in this article. What you will not see is two independent panning sections like you saw in the head mentioned to a higher place. Not a big deal for most but if it is, well, you may desire to look elsewhere. Although y’all do take take chimera levels on each centrality that work really well.

A quick-release plate is included in the purchase, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing that separately.

For The Negatives…

What I meant earlier almost them forgetting where they came from… Comes downward to quality command.

Every bit a company gets larger and more well-known – if they aren’t careful, they can presume that their success will go along regardless of the quality of the product. This may just be the case with Manfrotto.

Y’all see, about 15 years ago Manfrotto made top of the line camera accessories. There really wasn’t much else on the marketplace at the price point and quality. This is the principal factor and reason why they’re so pop today. Merely as years have gone on and their need increased their quality decreased.

This is the principal reason I practice not recommend or use a single Manfrotto product other than this. At present heed you, I have owned many of their tripods, monopods, lite stands, and everything in between. When I commencement entered photography, I knew I needed practiced equipment, followed the crowd and cost indicate, and assumed that Manfrotto fabricated top-tier products. This actually isn’t the case anymore today.

Manfrotto has a great manner of presenting you with a not bad product when you receive it. That production may last yous quite some time. Simply every bit the product starts to wear and you have note in taking the steps to absorb a return or a warranty claim, y’all’ll find that either has expired.

The main negative most this is between the three and five-year mark. the teeth on the gears will be worn to the point where it’southward merely besides sloppy to use. Don’t look to send information technology in get it fixed and go it dorsum in a timely manner because you won’t.

This may lead to you buying a 2nd one, which may lead to that second one being a failure to begin with. This is due to the fact that the quality control of private geared heads isn’t where it should exist for a company of this quotient. I currently have two of them which I do non apply and take not used in the last twelvemonth and a half. They were peachy up to yr iii.

With that beingness said, this is the heaviest geared head on this list, coming in at 2.7 pounds.

It Isn’t The Worst Geared Head Out In that location…

I know I was bashing on Manfrotto at that place quite a fleck. I apologize if it came over strongly as such.

With that being said it isn’t the worst geared head on the marketplace. Information technology volition pay itself off very apace seeing as the cost point is slightly north of $300. Information technology isn’t a lot to pay for something that should last yous no less than iii years.

If you’re OK with knowing that y’all’ll have to supplant information technology within the next 3 to 5 years and that’due south not a large deal for yous I say become for it. The likelihood of yous receiving a dud is pretty low compared to other companies and I wouldn’t make that a determining factor going frontwards.

Leofoto G2 + NP-sixty

The Leofoto G2 is the most affordable geared head on this list.

Leo photo is a solid brand that makes excellent tripod legs in various other camera accessories. They are pretty well known in the space and evangelize excellent products for their age and price.

With that beingness said, for a geared head priced exactly at $200, you’d expect to have some pros and some cons, so let’s go over both of those. When information technology’southward all said and done, the Leofoto G2 may be the perfect fit for yous.

Affordable, Lightweight And Minor

One of the biggest attractive factors of the G2 is the price. For the build quality in the options on the G2, it really is a swell buy for those who don’t need all the other bells and whistles that yous get on something more expensive similar the Arca Swiss D4.

Another great point is the size and weight. Coming in at less than a pound and less than 4 inches tall is definitely for those who want to keep a low profile and footprint.

What keeps it so small, is the weight of the plate shift or left to correct depending on your settings, and then come up dorsum together when you wanna store it or put it abroad. Y’all don’t have to worry about arms sticking or protruding left or right they all stack affluent on top of each other. Once more swell for depression contour.

It as well comes with an NP60 plate – and so you don’t have to worry virtually purchasing that additionally.
Once more all of this is but shy of $200.

Not The Most Precise

At present with something so inexpensive that offers and so much, at that place has to be a grab, right? Well, of course!

With that being said, something so pocket-size every bit the G2 isn’t as precise as something larger and has larger gears and more teeth for more precision. I tested this geared head in early 2020 before COVID, and I enjoyed it. I’ve told other existent estate photographers that I’ve had to transport theirs back due to the gears beingness too loose. There was entirely too much play right out of the box, so they had to send it back.

For This Price Indicate, There Really Isn’t Anything Better

Like the title of this mentioned, in that location really isn’t another geared head that is better at this price point. So if you find yourself simply getting started either in existent estate architectural work or what have you, and you want to try out a geared tripod head, this would exist an excellent place to start.

That About Does It!

Damn, that was a long-winded commodity, right? Yeah, indefinitely was, but I really hope that it helped you empathise what a geared head is, what you’re able to use information technology for, and how information technology can brand you more than money in the long run.

A geared tripod head is an excellent investment for those who tin benefit from it. Not every photographer needs i at all – but for those that know they exercise it’s highly recommended to accept one to speed upward your workflow ultimately making you more money.

To recap – here are the 5 geared tripod heads in order from all-time to worst (worst pregnant least favorable, but yet very acceptable).

  • Arca Swiss D4
  • Sunwayfoto GH-Pro II
  • Leofoto G2 + NP-60
  • Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head with Quick Release
  • Benro GD3WH

Suppose you oasis’t already, be sure to bank check out the article,
All-time Tripods For Real Estate Photography, where you’ll find all the information y’all need for deciding on your next tripod purchase. It’s very similar to this article. It’s but most tripods instead of tripod heads.

If you have any questions, concerns, or requests, please get out those in the comments below, and I will get back to them as soon as I tin can.

Until next fourth dimension, stay prophylactic and continue creating!