Zenelli CarbonZX & Arca Swiss B2
It’s a common question of late, “What head do you use for your long lens?” With all the options available these days, it’s a great question. Personally, I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice but there is most definitely a better or worse answer for YOUR photography! These heads are not inexpensive and support some of our most precious gear giving it the stability needed for our storytelling. Selection should not be taken lightly and definitely not on the cheap! All to often I’ve had to help a photographer who “heard” that this light tripod and/or head was the way to go as we pick their gear up off the ground. Let’s be practical for just a moment here. Going on the cheap when you attaching thousands of dollars of gear to a tripod/head makes no sense folks. Buy the best you can afford and do it right, the first and last time. This brings me to the two heads pictured above.
These are the best heads as far as I am concerned for my long lens photography, the best! Long lens for me is the Nikkor 800mm and the Nikkor 180-400VR (not like the 500PF or Z70-200, I use smaller heads for those lenses). The Zenelli CarbonZX is a physically light weight but incredibly stable and flexible long lens gimbal head. You can buy this brand new and you’ll never need another. The Arca Swiss B2 is an old studio rational-ball head made for 8×10 cameras (no longer available new). It weighs three times that of the Zenilli but is rock steady. Both of these heads are a solid platform for the big glass while providing free movement to follow any subject (both being outfitted with RRS Quick Release Clamps). They are never locked tight but when I take my hand off my gear, it stays where I left it. They are the key to the sharpness in my images. Why, if they do the same thing do I have two? See the size comparison of the two above, when I’m working in a more confined space say like a blind, I prefer the B2. If working space around the tripod is not limited, the Zenelli for sure. It’s that simple for me and my long lens photography.