Due to system change, and the desire to take better wildlife photography, was looking to upgrade my tripod head. I have several tripods, most of them have the Siriu default heads. And then there is the peak design travel pod with it’s own unique head.
They have their benefits, they are light, beside the main one, the peak design is novel and really nice to use. But. But. E.G. every time you tighten your equipment, the position changes, every so slightly (or not, depending the head, one head if you tighten it up, your whole picture is moved by 3 mm).
They don’t have an easy way to “balance” the equipment on them. So you tighten them, and if you loosen the head again, the camera and the lens start moving just to fast. The largest Siriu head we have does have a screw in the knob to change the resistente, but that is not very convenient or easy to use, at all, or even worse, in the dark.
After reading a bunch of reviews, I ended up with FLM. German company and actually produced in Germany. The products sound good, the tests are great, so i ordered the FLM CB 43 FTR II after considering “how much” am i going to put on that head.
Got it in around 5 days (shipped from Germany, did not find a Switzerland dealer). That thing is build like a rock, everything is made from steel and it weights around 430g, which is more than my lightest tripod.
But, it’s able to carry 30kg in load, plenty of room for what i am using it with. It has 3, for me at least, unique features.
On the one hand there is a 2nd, outer control ring at the tightening knob to adjust the tension of the ball. This allows me to adjust the ball to move with the equipment without “falling” over. So i can loosen the head with a little twist, move in a steady, smooth motion, and leave the camera in whatever position, without it moving. Similar to what you would do with a Gimbal. Without the size. That feature is totally easy to use.
That adjustment ring is numbered, so if you have a good memory, you can remember that “6” is for your Nikon with the 70-200mm, and “9” is the right thing for a 400mm fix.
The next neat thing is a Tilt knob. This allows me to fix the movement in 2 dimensions. Tightening this down, allow me to just follow the line from A to B nicely without a danger to moving into the 3rd dimension. Not that useful for me in wildlife, but a nice to have in addition.
The third thing, is that the PAN knob has a secondary adjustment knob. This allows to me to “latch” the pan movement in 15degree stops, which is really nice for landscape photography. It gives me a much better control when “panning” around.
Overall a phantasic ball head, everything feels like it will outlive the camera, the tripod and me. I can highly recommend it. I got to it, because the big brother of this one got the “best tripod head” award at DPReview, but i did not want to carry around that massive a ball head, i am using mirror less after all 🙂
If you are looking for a better tripod head, i would highly recommend giving that head a look.