The Arca-Swiss ball heads and the big ball Gitzo tripod heads will support 4x5 cameras with no problem, and I have used these medium sized tripod heads on occasion even with an 8x10 studio camera, but ideally, ball heads should be used mainly with 35mm and medium format (Rollei, Hasselblad, etc.).If you have a large format camera you really want a geared Manfrotto tripod head.

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The Manfrotto model 3263 tripod head has proven to work well on any tripod
for 4x5 and 8x10 cameras.

Gitzo camera

Gitzo camera on a tripod

While I was photographing in Munich several years ago, about every two weeks I visited the various professional camera stores to check out what new products were available. Someone showed me the Manfrotto head which had just been announced. I got the first one that was sold in Munich.

This particular Manfrotto head was so ideal that I immediately bought another one, even though they cost more than most entire cameras. This practical tripod head is the Manfrotto model 3263, also named the Bogen (the U.S. distributor for Manfrotto).

You can use a Manfrotto head on any tripod, I use them on Ries tripods or Gitzo tripods. The pictures here both show a Gitzo tripod. Gitzo's, being metal, survive tons of rough travel through the jungle.

gitzo tripod
Gitzo camera tripod

If Manfrotto tripods are as good as their light stands and tripod heads, these would be worth trying out. Manfrotto is the mother company back in Italy; Bogen is their distributor in the USA. I have seen Bogen/Manfrotto tripods that looked nice and stable but do not have hands-on experience with any of them. I believe it was a Bogen tripod that Michael Collette uses (Better Light) and thus the tripod that took the first rollout of a Maya vase in digital format (along with a Gitzo--the setup requires two tripods, one for the camera, another for the camera). All the tripods for training students in the photography program at Brevard Community College are Bogen tripods.

The FLAAR photography team goes all over the world, from Australia to Zurich. Camera equipment has to be tough to keep up with our crews. The Manfrotto head is built to last.

Bogen Imaging Inc., or Phone: 201-818-9500, Fax: 201-818-9177. Bogen Imaging Inc., 565 East Crescent Avenue, P.O. Box 506, Ramsey, NJ 07446-0506

more information and images

reviews by Nicholas Hellmuth, FLAAR Digital Imaging Technology Center

Additional information on Gitzo tripods, Manfrotto tripod heads, Elinchrome strobes, Metz flash equipment, and Bogen light stands is readily available from the distributor (Bogen Imaging Inc.)



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