UK Landscapes - Camera Equipment
Specification (in order of importance to me)
Head type: Geared
Front tilt: -30/+90 degrees
Lateral tilt: -90/+30 degrees
Rotation: 360 degrees
The Manfrotto Junior Geared head goes against all my work saving weight in my photography kit, accounting for half the weight of my tripod assembly. However, the ease of setting up & composing with it makes up for the extra effort needed to haul it up the mountainside. It's also very stable.
There are two ways to control movement of the camera platform. The small rubber covered knobs rotate each axis via a worm drive. The worm drive is held in mesh under spring pressure through an eccentric spindle arrangement which forms the bearing of the worm gear. This bearing can be rotated by turning the larger thumbwheel against the spring, causing the gears to separate. As the gears are no longer engaged, that axis is free to rotate, so allowing quick rough positioning. Releasing the thumbwheel re-engages the worm drive allowing precise geared final adjustments to be made.
The spring pressure is a bit of a compromise in
needs to be strong enough to keep the gears together, but not so strong
they can't be turned due to excessive friction. This means there
is a certain amount of play in the system which can be felt as a slight
rocking movement on each axis. Nothing that would cause much
concern, but enough to allow your precise positioning to move
slightly if slight pressure is applied. The simple fix is, once
the required positioning has
been established, turn the thumbwheels slightly by hand to manually
mesh the gears more closely. This effectively removes all free
movement & the head is now solid. That said, it's only really
an issue if making multiple exposures & adjusting the camera
When used on my Benro tripod, a spacer is needed to prevent the rotation adjustment thumbwheel from fouling the top casting. I modified the spacer by fitting the keyring, which allows me to hang my backpack from the tripod using a climbers carabina. This helps stabilise the whole setup from vibration & keeps my gear off the ground & out of water & mud.
Due to it's weight, this head has since been
replaced in my hiking kit by the lighter Arca Swiss D4 geared head.
Rather than selling the Manfrotto
head, it's been re-allocated for duty on my Gitzo G506 Aluminium
tripod. This is a large tripod that rarely leaves the
house due to it's weight, but comes into it's own when extra stability
control is required, such as for testing lenses, or at the roadside on
a windy day shooting long exposures.