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Guide to the best tripods and tripod heads for wildlife photography
Reading time: 10 minutes - December 12, 2023 - by Markus Igel

The best tripods and tripod heads for wildlife photography

Anyone who is active in wildlife photography knows that it can quickly become difficult with a camera and a long telephoto lens without having the right tripod to hand. Whether monopod or tripod, video head or gimbal head. We want to take a differentiated approach to these questions here and offer you the best possible equipment for your way of working.

Monopod or tripod?

There is no general answer to this question, as many photographers who photograph wild animals in nature are more likely to use a tripod, as this provides a stable stand at any working height. A monopod is best suited to photographers who work on the edge of the pitch, i.e. in sports photography, or in zoos, where the photographer usually has to straddle the fence and is more on the move.

What should a tripod have

A tripod now comes with many functions that support the photographer in their work, but what does a tripod need specifically for wildlife photography?

A good working height, but it is more important that your tripod has a very good minimum working height. You need this to adjust your tripod to the eye level of the various animals, but also to maintain your camouflage.

Another practical feature here is the option of locking the tripod head via the half-shell, so that the head can be aligned straight again, which is particularly important when using a gimbal or video head.

Last but not least, you should be aware of the weight of your equipment in the heaviest possible combination in order to configure the load capacity of the tripod appropriately with sufficient reserve.

Sirui 2in1 tripod CT-3204 Camouflage with 15? leveling base 150 cm Carbo

  • with 15? leveling base 150 cm high - AR series
  • Stabilizing hook and leveling bubble
  • lower leg segment with adjustment scale
  • Rubber feet and metal spikes
  • Tripod leg material: carbon fiber

Benro tripod Tortoise 35C + GX35 Kit Carbo

  • compact ideal for traveling and easy storage
  • Aluminum ball head
  • with Arca-Swiss style quick-release plate
  • 5 leg segments
  • automatic leg angle adjustment
  • Leg angle adjustable at the touch of a button
 

Rollei Lion Rock 25 Mark II incl. tripod head

  • extremely resilient (load capacity up to 25 kg) and made of 100% carbon fiber
  • robust and strong - in any location, even in sand and salt water
  • 3 spirit levels
  • Mounting plate with 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch mount
  • with central column with a length of 38 cm
  • incl. Lion Rock 25 ball head

Leofoto Tripod Ranger LS-364C

  • ideal travel tripod
  • light, compact and super stable
  • Load capacity up to 25 kg
  • 4 leg segments

Video head or gimbal head?

Let's start by asking ourselves whether the gimbal head or a video head is the right tripod head for you. If you not only take photos, but also record videos occasionally , the video head is much better, as it allows you to move the camera with the lens more smoothly without jerking or other disturbing factors that have a negative impact on video recording.

All video heads

The gimbal head is suitable for photographers who want to pan at different heights, for example to photograph a bird as well as a deer. Especially if you are photographing an animal on a hill or a little lower down, you can also set the head to the perfect angle. The head cannot be moved as smoothly as a video head, as these work with a fluid (lubricant) as resistance to slow down movements, especially in the higher quality models.

All gimbal heads

Why not a ball head?

A ball head is great for landscape photography, but not really useful for adjustments or movements for wildlife photography. This system will move as soon as you try to pull the camera along, because the ball in the head cannot really be adjusted at all angles. You can certainly loosen one or the other head in the panorama axis and fix the ball, but often you also need to be able to adjust the tilt flexibly.

The best tripod heads for wildlife photography

In the following, we present the various best heads according to type!

The best gimbal heads

Benro GH5C MINI Carbon Gimbal Head
  • Diameter of the base attachment: 60 mm
  • Shell size: 22.3 mm
  • Quick release type: Arca-Swiss
  • Load capacity of 30 kg

Benro Gimbal head GH2N incl. interchangeable plate

  • incl. interchangeable plate
  • ideal for long and heavy lenses
  • Load capacity up to 25 kg
  • integrated tension control for stability and operating control

Benro GH5C Gimbal Head Carbon

  • made of carbon
  • Scaled sliding track
  • Rotate and swivel 360 degrees
  • 30Kg load capacity

Benro Gimbal Head Magnesium GH2 incl. PL100 plate

  • Material aluminum
  • with PL100 interchangeable plate
  • Load capacity 23Kg

Benro GH2F Gimbal head foldable incl. interchangeable plate PL10

  • foldable
  • ideal for telephoto lenses and spotting scopes
  • Load capacity 10 kg
  • incl. Benro PL100 interchangeable plate

B.I.G. GIM-S Gimbal tripod head

  • Load capacity 7kg
  • Tripod connection 3/8 inch thread
  • 360? degree panorama

Rollei Lion Rock gimbal head

  • ideal for nature, animal and sports photography
  • indispensable for bird photography and observation
  • smooth camera movements and jerk-free panning
  • complete all-round view thanks to 360? panorama function
  • pan, lock, tilt
  • ideal for long focal lengths due to the load capacity of 30 kg
  • Arca Swiss quick-release plate and Arca-Swiss mount

Leofoto PG-1 Gimbal head

  • Made of aluminum
  • up to 25KG load capacity
  • Traction control
  • Weight-optimized design
  • 360? rotatable
  • Arca Swiss mount

Manfrotto 502 Pro fluid video panhead

  • ideal for nature, animal and sports photography
  • indispensable for bird photography and observation
  • smooth camera movements and jerk-free panning
  • complete all-round view thanks to 360? panorama function
  • pan, lock, tilt
  • ideal for long focal lengths due to the load capacity of 30 kg
  • Arca Swiss quick-release plate and Arca-Swiss mount

Sirui Fluid 75mm Half Ball BCH-20

  • 3-stage friction adjustment for panning, plus 0-position without friction
  • 3-stage friction adjustment for tilting, plus 0-position without friction
  • Safety Lock System - prevents the plate from slipping
  • 1 leveling bubble at the top, 1 leveling bubble at the bottom (illuminated)
  • 2 rubberized swivel arms - extendable from 30-47cm
  • 7 levels of counterweight compensation adjustable from 3-10kg
  • Tripod connection: 75mm hemisphere
  • Interchangeable plate BP-125 movable with scale on the head
  • Load capacity: 10kg
 

Manfrotto Nitrotech 612 fluid video head

  • stepless counterbalance system
  • Control and precision: counterbalance system up to 12 kg
  • Cinestyle footage: variable continuous fluid system
  • simple attachment: quick side locking mechanism
  • Accessory compatibility: 3/8 inch Easy Link connection for attachment
  • Load capacity: 12 kg

Benro S8PRO video panhead up to 8kg

  • 1/4 inch screw
  • 75 mm video head
  • Pan and tilt lock
  • stepless pan and tilt tracking
  • 8-stage weight compensation (0-7)
  • max. carrying weight 8 kg

Our conclusion

If you are interested in wildlife photography in depth, there is no getting around a good tripod, but today it is no longer so relevant which tripod you take, but rather the choice of tripod head. This is particularly relevant for your final result! What you should pay attention to when buying a tripod is of course the load capacity and the working height.

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