Tristan Piat Wants to Know Which Tripod Head for Action

Posted May. 29th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

Hi Dan,

I just had my first serious weekend of shooting Australian wildlife, in particular, kangaroos and a range of birds with a gx8 + Leica 100400. When filming I used my uncle’s tripod which was difficult to swivel easily and struggled with holding still under the weight of the big lens. Do you have recommendations on the type of tripod to work with when filming fast-paced shots such as birds in flight? I also do a bit of surf photography so something that works with both types of subjects.

Secondly, what video recording settings do you use when filming wildlife movement?

Many thanks in advance.



For birds in flight with the 100-400mm I no longer use a tripod with ay of the Lumix cameras I use that lens with. With DualIS the days are gone for needing a tripod in my opinion. By getting off tripod you can follow action much more freely. The key to great action technique is to use as fast of shutter speed as possible. If you really feel you want to use a tripod I would recommend the Kirk B1 which I have used for many years. It’s a ball head and moves very smoothly for action, but like I said, I have one of these heads and almost never use it any longer.

This photo shows me shooting the new Leica 100-400mm with the Lumix GX8 on birds. I shot the entire advertising campaign for this lens handheld, almost all subjects were birds in flight.

As far as video settings, that’s a long answer depending on what you want to accomplish. Are you wanting to produce high-quality video for actual video use or are you wanting to pull stills from that video? If you can give me more info on what you plan to do with the video I can be more specific.

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There are 4 comments on this post…
  1. TristanOn May. 29th, 2017

    Thanks Daniel.

  2. TristanOn May. 29th, 2017

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. I guess for me in using the tripod is I found myself in a densely vegetated setting so minimal natural light. Even so, I feel at the longer range of the lens I m hand shake is interfering. The video is more for video sake than to pull the stills. So you recommend ball over fluid?


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 29th, 2017

      Ok, with that info in mind, especially for video, I would recommend a fluid head. I currently use the Manfrotto 503 and 504HD heads. These heads also work great for stills.

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