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Bogen - Manfrotto 3263 Deluxe Geared Head with Quick Release Supports - 22.1 lbs(#3263) image
(based on 2 ratings)
Brand: Bogen Imaging
Located in: Tripods, Tripod Heads, Pan/Tilt Heads
Bogen - Manfrotto 3263 Deluxe Geared Head with Quick Release Supports - 22.1 lbs(#3263)
Review Snapshot®
Avg. Customer Rating:
5 stars
(based on 2 reviews)
Manfrotto 400 (replaces 3263)
By TaosenoVerified Reviewer from Taos, NM on 11/24/2010
Describe Yourself:
Pro Photographer
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Bogen Imaging Bogen - Manfrotto 3263 Deluxe Geared Head with Quick Release Supports - 22.1 lbs(#3263):

I have the older Manfrotto 3263 deluxe geared tripod head, now replaced by the 400, which appears to be identical; the elegant Arca-Swiss C1 cube head, the Wimberley tripod head version 2; the Mongoose M 2.3; a couple of relatively high-end ball heads, the Novoflex Classic Ball 5, the Gitzo G1576M, and the Manfrotto 322RC2 joy-stick ball head; the Manfrotto 128RC video fluid head, and the Manfrotto 303SPH panorama head. Each of these are mounted on Manfrotto 394 quick release tripod plates to provide easy interchangeability of the heads across four different tripods, ranging from the very heavy and solid Gitzo Systematic Series V with a geared column, to the suitcase-compatible Gitzo G1258LVL. In addition, I have several smaller ball heads, including the venerable Leitz tall ball head equipped with a Novoflex Q-mount (great when used with Leitz tabletop tripod, as a chest pod), a Gitzo G1177M (good for use on a monopod), and an ultra-small Manfrotto 482, mounted on a Manfrotto 243 window clamp.

All of these heads are equipped with Kirk Enterprises, Wimberley, or Novoflex Arca-Swiss style quick release clamps that are compatible with the Arca-Swiss mounting system, or else they include such a mounting system built-in.

Cameras and lenses used include the Canon 30D, 5D, 5D Mk II (each with a battery pack), 1D Mk III, and 1D Mk IV. Lenses range from a 15 mm fisheye up through a 600mm f/4 non-IS, sometimes used with a 1.4X or 2.0X teleconverter, or even both teleconverters, providing the equivalent of a 2688mm f/11 lens on the APS-C 30D! Each of these cameras is equipped with a Really Right Stuff L-bracket, so I can easily switch from a horizontal to a vertical shot, without having to adjust the tripod head or recompose. Of course the larger lenses have a tripod collar and a Wimberley base plate, so they can be rotated for horizontal or vertical compositions.

Each of these ten different tripod heads has their own strengths and weaknesses. I typically use the Wimberley with the 600mm and the 1D Mk IV, especially if I am photographing a moving subject, because it balances so beautifully and handles very rapidly. If I'm photographing birds, or balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, with a second camera/lens, I generally mount the 300 F/2.8 or my 100-400 on the Mongoose M 2.3 for use with the 1D Mk III. And If I'm taking video shots, I would generally mount the 5D Mk II with a 28-300 or 100-400 on the Manfrotto 128RC video head, to allow smooth panning.

At my age, with my increasingly arthritic knees and hips, I'm not too likely to take many pictures more than a few hundred yards from my car. But if I did, and didn't want to carry anything more than my 24-105, or the awesome 70-300 DO, I would probably opt for the Leitz ball head and tabletop tripod, pressed up against my chest, or a tree, or a rock.

Although ball heads have their place, especially if you are traveling and can only carry one, I generally find them quite exasperating to use, primarily because you cannot adjust the vertical without the risk of losing the tilt adjustment, and especially when you are using a big, top-heavy lens.

But when I am photographing a still life subject, whether it be an impromptu panorama of the Sangre de Christo mountains in New Mexico at sunrise, or a coin or other small object with a 100mm macro or 180mm macro, or an ultra closeup with the 65mm MP-E, then I invariably reach for the heaviest tripod and tripod head in my arsenal, the Gitzo plus the Manfrotto 3263, which is fully capable of holding even the 1D Mk IV and the monster 600mm; or else the Arca-Swiss C1. With both of these heads, once you crank the lens around to where you want it, it stays there, period -- it doesn't ever sag.

I only recently acquired the Arca-Swiss C1 head, which is made like a Swiss watch. The Manfrotto 3263, on the other hand, is built like a drawbridge. Both of these heads have knobs to adjust tilt and azimuth, and the Manfrotto has a third knob for panning. The Manfrotto comes with three different quick-change heads of different heights, to which I have mounted a Kirk Arca-Swiss rapid adapter. The varying heights could be useful with a very wide-angle lens.

The Arca-Swiss knobs allow a +/ - 28 degree tilt or elevation. However, the manual base tilt allows a 0 to 62 degree tilt, plus the 28 degree tilt under the knob control, thereby allowing a 90 degree vertical. The Manfrotto will allow a elevation adjustment of -90 to +30 degrees, or vice versa, depending on how you mounted the camera. When adjusted to the vertical position, the tilt knob allows approximately 10 degrees of swing either way (I didn't actually measure it).

The Arca-Swiss head has TWO panning adjustments, which are not geared but can be locked. The bottom one is intended for panning the head itself to a convenient orientation to the user, after which the top panning device (with degree markings) could be used for panoramas. However, if the base tilt adjustment is used to position the camera/lens nearly vertical, then the bottom panning adjustment can be used to pan horizontally, while the top panning adjustment would allow the camera/lens to swing left and right, like an elephant's trunk. This could be especially convenient when photographing flowers, for example.

One significant drawback to the Arca-Swiss is the so-called "rapid" release. This is too short and hard to reach, and in addition it requires a awkward thumb and first finger pull on a tiny button to release the locking arm, and then another funky movement to release it from the sliding position to the fully open. In addition, it requires a finicky adjustment to make sure that it locks securely when the level is closed, and yet doesn't allow the camera/lens to fall out when it is in the sliding position. If I can figure out how to do it, I will remove this plate and replace it with a Really Right Stuff or Wimberley base plate. Otherwise, I may mount a RRS or Wimberley quick release plate on an Arca-Swiss base plate, and then mount that combination on the Arca-Swiss release plate.

Generally speaking, if I am going to use a long, heavy lens, such as the 300 f/2.8, or the 600 f/4, I would probably use the Manfrotto. On the other hand, if were taking a macro shot with the 100mm or 180mm macro, I would probably gravitate to the Arca-Swiss.

I'm currently in the process of advising a local hospital what kind of photographic equipment to acquire for their Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. They will probably acquire a studio stand with a geared cross arm that also rotates, so that they can easily photograph a gynecological exam. In order to help them decide which head to use, we went through nearly all of the larger tripod heads listed above. From their perspective, the most important feature was that the camera stay put once it is adjusted, because they may have to use both hands to position the patient, and perhaps a speculum, and then use a foot pedal to trigger the camera. The unanimous choice of five nurses in this applications was the Manfrotto 3263/400.

In summary, all of these various heads have their place, and I wouldn't get rid of any of them (except perhaps the Gitzo G1576M). I wouldn't suggest putting a 7 pound tripod head on a flimsy, light-weight tripod, nor would I want to carry it very far. But if you need something that is absolutely rock solid, even with a very heavy lens, and very easy (if somewhat slow) to adjust, the Manfrotto 3263 is the king of them all.

[1 of 1 customers found this review helpful]

Great head for long lenses
By MF digital shooterVerified Reviewer from Salinas, CA on 4/1/2007
Attaches Firmly
Best Uses:
Describe Yourself:
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Bogen Imaging Bogen - Manfrotto 3263 Deluxe Geared Head with Quick Release Supports - 22.1 lbs(#3263):

This is the best head for long lenses, it will help reduce vibrations and movements

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