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What do you think of Pistol Grip Handle tripods?

Steven Brener , Apr 20, 2011; 01:47 p.m.

I need a better tripod, and found a good deal on a pistol grip handle one. I was wondering if the pistol grip is a good option and is very convenient to use. I can tell you from experience, the standard cheapo ones which require you to set multiple levers are inconvenient and slow. Does anyone know if the pistol grip compares with a ball head in flexibility and ease of use?



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Ellis Vener , Apr 20, 2011; 01:56 p.m.

hate 'em. The ball is too small and they use grease lubricants and wet lubricants trap grit.

Maury Cohen , Apr 20, 2011; 02:27 p.m.

I don't care for them. I see no advantage over a ballhead and they add more complexity, bulk and weight.

David Wagle , Apr 20, 2011; 02:34 p.m.

I liked mine just fine, until I picked up a Giottos ball head, and now I'll never use it again.

John H. , Apr 20, 2011; 03:31 p.m.

I don't see any benefit in carrying around extra bulk and weight when a good quality ball head does the trick.

Tom Mann , Apr 20, 2011; 03:43 p.m.

I have one permanently mounted on my monopod for sports and some event work where speed is important. I love it when used that way, but wouldn't dream of using one on a real tripod.

Tom M

Asim Raza Khan , Apr 20, 2011; 04:12 p.m.

I don't like them either... though I should say that I've never used one.

You should note the following which has not been mentioned yet. If you have a heavy camera and lens on the tripod, and you decide to take a vertical photo, you would have to swing the whole system over so that it is off center from the center of gravity. There are two problems with this:

1. You have suddenly moved the weight of the camera, lens, and pistol grip so much over to the side that one of the tripod legs is carrying much more weight than the others. So much so that it could cause the tripod to fall over in windy conditions.

2. Another annoying problem with pistol grips is that when you swing the whole system over into the vertical orientation, you've suddenly moved the eye of the lens over so much that you've recomposed in a way that you are looking at the scene from a different angle. You will have to pick up the whole tripod and move it a few inches to the right so that the camera is back in its original position. This would be especially be annoying for studio work or any close up work. And it would even be annoying for landscape work if composition were a critical thing for you.

And this is a review of pistol grips from someone that has never used one.

Steven Brener , Apr 20, 2011; 05:04 p.m.

Thanks...all very interesting point...guess I'll go for a ball head instead.

Tom Mann , Apr 20, 2011; 06:00 p.m.

Asim's two points are right on the mark, and are among the reasons why I only use a pistol grip on monopods:

a) You are already holding the monopod, so that moderate redistribution of the weight when you go from vert to horizontal (or visa versa) is no big deal; and,

b) recomposition by horizontal movement is trivial to do with a monopod -- you just swing it over a bit.

Tom M

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 20, 2011; 06:07 p.m.

I have a Manfrotto 222 - it's the older one -- not a pistol grip as such, but a squeeze grip. Works beautifully, especially with a monopod, but also well on a tripod. Nothing to twiddle about with, just put it where you want and release to set it in place. Obviously, as with any head, you have to not overload it.
Such ball heads as I have used work fine also except that you really need three hands.

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