New Gear For 2007: PMA Report; Tripods And Heads Page 2

The Joby Gorillapod isn't new, but it's now available in multiple sizes, including one that will handle an SLR with zoom lens, up to 6.6 lbs.

Joby Gorillapod

In the same spirit of alternate support systems, Bogen has three Pods--rigid pads with camera mounts to support SLR or compact cameras on odd locations like rocks, the ground, or the hood of your car.

Bogen Pod

A tripod is only as good as the head that sits on top of it. Arguments over which type of head approach the Mac vs. Windows level of fervor at times, with ball head fans swearing that three-way panning heads can't touch them, and the reverse. Well, you've got plenty of choices no matter which way you go, but ball heads are clearly gaining in popularity with many more new options on display.

Novoflex MagicBall

Novoflex gets the award for the most innovative and cool-looking designs. Even more impressively, they work every bit as good as they look. The MagicBall takes the standard ball head and turns it upside down, with a fixed ball and moving mount; its handle has won praise from most everyone who has used it. In the new arena though, a couple of more traditional ball heads--the Ball 30 and Ball 40. The operation on these is extremely smooth with a nice, positive lock and support up to 22 lbs.

Although they had plenty of mounting plates, macro rails, panoramic attachments, and other goodies, I really liked their Survival Kit. Everything you need in a small zippered case--mini ball head, mini pod, and clamps. You can set up on your car, table, or whatever happens to be handy, and now there's no reason not to have something along with you to stabilize your camera--no more blurry shots.

Novoflex Survival Kit

Giottos has improved their ball heads with the new MH 1300 series. Panning and locking is smooth with good locking and bubble levels that are actually easy to see even with the camera mounted.

Giottos MH 1300

And, just so the panning head fans don't feel left out, Manfrotto offers a unit that is more compact than most panning heads I've used but still has a substantial feel and good control. It includes the Manfrotto quick-release plate setup for positive locking, as well as bubble levels and degree markings to help with positioning.

Manfrotto Panning Head

Finally, the Induro line-up has some excellent ball and panning heads to choose from. Although they have their own quick-release system, I tried mounting my camera with an Arca-Swiss style mounting plate and found the system worked well--your mileage may vary. Of all the products I looked at, the Induro line impressed me the most for quality and cost.

Induro Ball Head

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