Unless you’re in the market for a cheap all-in-one from the bargain rack at your local Jessops, chances are you’ll need to mix and match your choice of tripod and head.
All of the various tripod head designs have their advantages and disadvantages: geared three-way heads are exceptionally precise if a little fiddly, regular three-way pan and tilt heads are quick albeit unwieldy, and two-way heads are exceptionally smooth but lack the flexibility of being able to flip from landscape to portrait. Ball-head attachments, meanwhile, can be adjusted and locked exceptionally quickly, although they do also lack the precision of their peers.
The Gitzo GH2780FQR is a precision-engineered magnesium ball-head from Gitzo’s outdoors-orientated Safari range. Being a Series 2 (which, ultimately, just means it’s more robust than the Series 1 model) model it’s an ideal match for the GT2540FT tripod we’ve also reviewed. In fact, it’s the very same head we had attached while we were out and about testing that particular tripod.
Weighing in at 518 grams the ball-head element of the GH2780FQR offers a 360-degree panoramic rotation, alongside 95-degrees of lateral tilt. This is allied to a separate 360-degree panoramic movement at the base of the unit that acts independently of the ball-head part and which can also be locked independently.
Having this independent control over panoramic movement is really helpful because it enables you to use a mounted camera in either landscape or portrait orientation with complete freedom of movement. In addition, three built-in spirit levels can be used to ensure level horizons before you start shooting.