Ball Head VS Pan Head

camera mounted on tripod

What is the difference between a ball head and a pan head?

Ball heads and pan heads are two types of tripod heads. The name refers to the shape of the camera mount plate. Ball heads have a circular plate that allows the user to turn it in any direction and keep it level, whereas tripod pans only allow movement in a horizontal axis.

The main difference between ball head and pan head is their design so that you can always keep your camera level when photographing from different angles, even if you need to use your camera on an angle where the horizon isn’t parallel with your surface (e.g. when lying down). All tripod heads are designed for that purpose, the main difference is that ball head features a ball and socket joint which allows the photographer to move the camera in 3 axes.

What Is A Pan Head Tripod Mount?

A pan head tripod mount is a commonly available type of tripod mount. It allows rotation on a horizontal plane only. Generally constructed from aluminum alloy or magnesium, it is designed to provide a sturdy base for cameras, binoculars and telescopes.

What Is A Ball Head Tripod Mount?

A ball head is actually a better and more versatile option if you need to take high-end pictures with a DSLR camera. It allows all 3 axes (pitch, yaw and roll) of movement. With a ball head, you can easily change the orientation of your camera to make your shots more interesting and creative.

Which Is Better?

Generally speaking, a ball head mount will provide more freedom and versatility. If you’re not sure which tripod head to choose, consider these factors:

How much weight will the ball head handle? The answer depends on the material used in its construction.

Will you use your DSLR camera with the tripod mount?

If you usually shoot outdoors, a ball head is better than a pan head at allowing you to adjust your camera’s orientation.

If you often shoot photos from a low angle, a ball head allows you to move the camera in 3 axes, which is more convenient than with a pan head.

Bottom Line

Ball heads and pan heads are two types of tripod heads. The name refers to the shape of the camera mount plate. Ball heads have a circular plate that allows the user to turn it in any direction and keep it level, whereas tripod pans only allow movement in a horizontal axis.