Photography News issue 24

55 Accessories test

Photography News Issue 24

VELBON PHD-64Q 3-Way head £115

INDURO PHQ1 5-Way head £180

Type: Three-way Height: 133mm Weight: 850g Max load: 10.4kg

Type: Five-way Height: 100mm Weight: 900kg Max load: 11.5kg



BENRO V0E ball head £110

Type: Ball Height: 94mm Weight: 370kg Max load: 8kg


SYRP Genie Mini motion-control head £249

Type: Motion control Height: 40mm Weight: 230kg Max load: 8kg


NEST NT-301 Pistol Grip head £35

Induro PHQ1 5-Way head £180

Syrp GenieMini motion- control head £249

Velbon PHD-64Q 3-Way head £115

8 Benro V0E ball head £115 Many photographers use ball heads due to the speed and freedom of movement they give, and because they’re more streamlined than three- way models. All those things are true of the Benro V0E ball head, but it also has some neat additions. For starters there’s a separate pan control at the base, which has scale markers for exact results letting you turn the whole unit without compromising the position locked in at the top. The anodised, polished ball section offers smooth movement, and is controlled by a large lock. There’s also a friction-control wheel to set the tension of the movement to a comfortable level. Likemost ball heads, there’s alsoa vertical notch for switching to a portrait framing, and the separate panning control makes this easier to use than on heads without. The V0E ball head (and others in the V Series, of which the V0E is the smallest) uses a universal Arca-Swiss type release plate (a Benro PU50 plate is included), and to prevent any accidental release of this, there’s a pull-and-twist safety lock. A bubble level is included to ensure the camera is horizontal and the head supports loads of up to 8kg, weighing only 370g itself.





The NT-301H combines a regular ball action with a specialised locking lever to make operation faster and easier, especially when shooting in gloves, which can be very difficult and fiddly when using smaller mechanisms. You simply squeeze the grip to unlock the ball mechanism, adjust the composition, then release it to lock again. The pistol grip format also works well when shooting from a monopod or where one- handed operation is required because you don’t need to support the camera after slackening the lock as you do on a regular ball head. Made from high-grade aluminium alloy and supporting loads up to 5kg, the head is perfectly suitable for small to medium sized DSLR and also features a built-in bubble level for fine alignment and making sure you’re shooting on the level. As well as the ball positioning, it features a separate 360º panning function at the top, just below the included quick-release plate with safety lock. The fluidity of the head can be controlled using a separate lock and with a standard 1/4in attachment screw it can be used on any tripod or monopod.

Adding an unprecedented level of control to your shooting, the Induro PHQ1 features adjustment over five separate axes. These adjustments are possible, thanks to its dual tilt, base and top plate rotation controls, and together, they should allow any shooting position to be covered, particularly as rotation can be applied to both the base and the tilting head individually. The tilt and the panning controls are each fully lockable so you can make precise adjustments to one without affecting the others, making the head an excellent choice for macro or architectural work, and there are bubble levels on each to help set a horizontal plane. Each axis, also has graded scales, allowing, along with optional accessories, a lens’s nodal point to be set so you can use the head for improved panoramas. The PHQ1 is strong as well as precise, taking loads of up to 11.5kg, so even heavy bodies and lenses canbe accommodated, and for further stability it uses a dovetail style, Arca-Swiss compatible quick- release system. The tilt handles are of a folding design, allowing them to be tucked into the head when not in use.

Modern DSLRs can shoot a lot more than just stills, and time-lapse photography is a great example of that. The simplest time-lapse effects shoot long sequences of images from the same position, but for a little extra flare, the camera can be moved between shots; that’s where motion-control heads come in, allowing you to automate the process, and one of the most compact and easy to use is the new Syrp Genie Mini, which turns to give a smooth panning time-lapse effect. Sitting on top of a regular tripod via a standard 3/8in thread, the Mini’s pocket-sized form supports anything from camera phones to large DSLRs, connecting via a simple accessory cable and being remotely controlled via the Syrp Genie App; beginner friendly, the App has lots of presets allowing you to shoot straight away. Capable of over 40 hours of time-lapse shooting and over five hours of video, the motion of the Genie allows perfectly smooth panning movies and it also has a neat ‘ease in, ease out’ feature allowing you to accelerate the motion at the beginning of a sequence and slow it at the end, which adds to the professional look.

Three-way models are one of the most popular types of tripod head and with good reason; they let you position the camera with great precision as each movement can be controlled independently. They also allow one- handed operation if required and, with a panning control that ball heads usually lack, you can use them for moving video as well as stills. This versatile Velbon PHD-64Q 3-Way head will support heavy loads, up to 10.4kg, making it suitable for large DSLRs and lenses, but it weighs only 850g, so it won’t slow you down on a hike. Its sturdy build comes, in part, from a magnesium alloy construction and the head offers full 360º panning as well as forward and lateral tilt, each controllable separately. It comes with a large QB-635L quick- release plate, but also supports the smaller Velbon QB-157 if you have those already in your kit, while the lateral tilt handle and panning lock can be swapped over to accommodate right- and left- handed users. The lateral levers can also be retracted for easier transport and there are no less than three spirit levels so you can get shots perfectly level.

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