Even if when I started to take photographs I loved the ball heads, now that my job is getting more and more demanding I almost totally shifted to three way heads. I am mostly a still life, interior and furniture photographer, who loves to shoot at twilight and night, so I use a tripod almost all the time. It is very important to me to have a very reliable and sturdy system carrying my camera, especially because most of my work is meant to be printed. So the head I use needs to be precise, and to be easy and quick to set. Sharpness and definition in my work depend mostly on this tool. That’s why I choose this particular Manfrotto product. And since when I had used it for the first time I was aware I had finally what I needed with no compromise.
I chose the XPRO 3-WAY Head as my main tripod head because its weight / performance ratio is probably the best in the whole Manfrotto range. Very light and super sturdy. And since I travel and move a lot during my shootings this is a winning detail. In addition to this, the fact that it works with the very popular PL200 plate makes it also a nice addition to my collection of Manfrotto products, because I don’t need to change the plates under my cameras, if I need to work with other heads. Which could be annoying sometimes.
I took the chance of this furniture work I was doing last week, to then test this head for Manfrotto. I currently use it on top of a Carbon Fiber new 055 Tripod. My main camera is a Fujifilm X-T1, but occasionally I also use a Canon 5D MKIII, especially for works where I need very wide or very long lenses (16-35 f2.8 II, or 70-200 f2.8 in particular). So I have quite a range of weight to be supported… and this specific work was perfect. A three day-work in a very tough location, the warehouse of the client, where two different sets were created. So I had to keep swapping from one set to another, and lightness and handiness where a sweet gift.
Technically speaking, what really makes it a different head, and what I really appreciate, is the presence of friction controls on the tilt and portrait axes. This feature is amazing because it balances the weight of the camera, and helps me making fine final adjustments to my framing with little effort, little time and great precision. And this is what makes my job easier. Being troubled by turning levers to the right point in order to make this fine adjustments with the old 804 or 808 heads, made sometimes me crazy. Oh well, I could have bought a geared head of course, but its weight would have been impossible. I also was lifted up on a crane, and then again the system weight has helped a lot.
A final note, the head is quite compact, which is good of course for traveling and packing, but I find it perfect also when I operate the levers. I can keep my hands close to both friction controls and camera controls without staying too much away from the axes controls, so I don’t need to look at the head every time I have to make an adjustment.
So far I do love this great Manfrotto tool!