Ball heads are one of the most popular styles of tripod heads, particularly for landscape photographers. A ball head consists of a rotating ball housed within a body containing a tightening knob, generally with a second knob that allows for a 360˚ swivel rotation at the base of the tripod head. Ball heads allow for very quick and precise adjustment to the position of the camera mounted to it, with a full range of movement being available through any axis.
Used in combination with a standard Arca-Swiss mount L-bracket the attached camera can be quickly mounted to the quick release plate, and easily positioned to shoot either landscape or portrait orientation images, providing flexibility when choosing compositions. Panoramic images can be shot when using a ball head with the easy rotation of the ball through the socket. Leveling base plates can also be used to assist in shooting panoramic images with reduced distortion, allowing for larger resolution images to be produced.
Our range of Explorer ball heads are able to support load capacities up to 5kg (with more models coming very soon). The control knobs of Explorer ball heads have adjustable friction controls allowing for more precise control when aligning the position of the head.
Here are a few advantages to using a ball head for landscape photography.
Ball heads smoothly move the camera through any axis
When using a ball head the camera mounted to it will be able to smoothly and accurately be rotated to any position, and tightened into place using the friction knob to provide a stable platform to shoot from. There will be slots in the side of the ball head to allow for the camera to be positioned upright in portrait orientation (we recommend using an L-bracket instead to keep the tripod balanced), or rotated on the horizontal axis to position and create compositions with the camera in landscape orientation.
Ball heads are quick to set up and use
Ball heads are extremely quick and easy to set up and use, which makes them extremely convenient to use when you are out shooting landscapes. The faster you can set up, quite often the more likely it is that you will capture the shot you want! All of our Explorer ball heads come with quick release plates that make mounting a camera fitted with an Arca-Swiss compatible bracket extremely quick and simple. The 3/4” screw threads on the bottom our ball heads quickly and securely rotate into place to keep them fitted to the top of any compatible tripods. The friction knobs and smooth action of the back and socket make positioning your camera equipment very easy!
Ball heads are easier to pack and carry than other types of tripod heads
Ball heads tend to be more compact and lighter than other popular tripod heads such as tilt or 4 way heads. The are no protruding arms on ball heads which allows them to either be easily packed away in your photography bag or left on the tripod when travelling, hiking or moving between locations. Their size and weight makes them one of the most compact and easy to store types of tripod heads on the market. When you are out in the landscape trying to capture your images every bit of weight and size savings you can have while not compromising on the ability for your gear to do its job will help.
Ball heads are great for panning and tracking animals and other objects
While this is not specific to “landscape” photography as such, when using a ball head objects can easily be tracked as they are moving. This can help with wildlife or sports photography. So if you are outdoors immersing yourself in nature and see an interesting animal moving through your landscape, a ball head may be beneficial to track and capture sharp images. Why limit yourself in the types of images you can capture? The flexibility offered by a ball head may have you coming home with an award winning image you didn’t ever plan to capture!