I’ve used them all – the Acratech, Arca-Swiss, Kirk, Really Right Stuff, etc. Tongue and groove (Arca-Swiss-style) ballheads have been a part of my photography workflow since 1994. I’ve enjoyed using my old Acratech and Kirk ballheads for a long time. I switched to the Induro BHD-1 recently and love it. But when I saw the Induro PHQ 3-Way Panhead, I knew I had to have one.
I realized that one day my dedication to ballheads might come to an end and now it has – sort of. This is the first panning head I’ve considered using in a long time. But you can relax, it’s not really JUST a panning head. The PHQ series from Induro works like a hybrid. It has the best features of both a pan head and a ball head.
As far as I know, there’s nothing like the PHQ-3. I used it five straight days during the Palouse workshop I recently taught. It took a while to get used to. My traditional ballheads only adjust three places. This head adjusts in five places.
The construction is rock solid yet the head only weighs 2.2 pounds. It includes five – count em’ five bubble levels – viewable on all sides. There are also fully graduated scales and a built in variable direction Arca-Swiss style quick release clamp. The tripod comes with a nice tool kit and transport bag. Speaking of transport, the handles on the head fold in for easy transport.
I used and tested the PHQ3 in the field while teaching the Palouse workshop last week. I must say that it offers an amazing amount of precise control over the camera. I would caution that if you’re a traditional Arca-Swiss style ballhead user, this unit will take some getting used to. After the first morning shooting with it, I sort of had the hang of it and by the end of the first day the PHQ3 behaved like an old friend. It’s the fact that there are five adjustments instead of three that took getting used to. So in this case, it’s a matter of getting more not less.
If you need a tripod head that offers quintaxial positioning (and even if you don’t) you owe it to yourself to try out the new Induro PHQ-3. This is a very well-made, well-thought-out product that is superbly-constructed, rugged, stable and valuable for any serious photographer who needs precise positioning of a camera on his tripod. Highly recommended.
DISCLOSURE: The Induro PHQ is distributed by MAC Group, who sponsors the X-Rite ad you see here on Photofocus.com.