When selecting a head, one wants to pair the legs with a head that will not compromise the stiffness of the system as a whole. On the other hand, a head that is too big adds diminishing performance increases and just adds weight.
Below is the optimization result for selecting a ball head. This chart plots the stiffness to weight ratio for this tripod and each ball head that I have tested in blue dots versus the stiffness of those heads. The red line is a generalized model for a strong performing ball head. The higher up on the this graph the higher stiffness/weight performance of the system. More information on this analysis can be found in the ball head choice optimization page.
This chart is telling us that we want to use a head of roughly 4000 Nm/rad of stiffness or more in order to maximize the performance of these legs.
The TVC-24 is a reasonable set of legs for a moderate sized geared or pan tilt head as well. The problem here is that such heads don’t tend to be very stiff, and so will be the limiting factor. Choose a good one such as the Arca-Swiss D4.
Note that these recommendations are limited to the tripod heads I have tested. The more general discussion above should provide adequate guidance if your head of choice is not listed.
RRS BH-40 – The BH-40 is the head RRS designed to pair with their 2-series legs. It is no surprise then that it is an excellent match for these legs. I would have preferred to see a slightly larger head in this role as the BH-40 feels a little small compared to the size of the apex. This is a quibble though. The short height of the BH-40 does help keep the overall folded package compact.
Acratech GP – In terms of size, the GP is a perfect match for the TVC-24. In terms of stiffness though, it leaves a little bit to be desired. At roughly 3500 Nm/rad in stiffness, it is a little below what we really want. It isn’t bad though, and if you need the unique dirt and sand resistance capabilities of the Arcatech it is very much worth the slight loss in performance in exchange for reliability.
Sirui K-30X – The Sirui is an excellent performer but leaves a little bit to be desired in terms of build quality compared to the other heads on this list. Its hard to complain about the price though, and works very well. If you are buying the TVC-24 though, chances are you aren’t that concerned about the cost of the head.
Markins Q-20i – The Markins has excellent performance and build quality. Fundamentally, it feels very similar to the Sirui though and it is reasonable to wonder what that extra money is getting you.
Acratech Panoramic – The Acratech Panoramic head has no roll movement but is very stiff for a pan-tilt head because of it. When paired with the RRS leveling base though, this makes for an interesting option with a very different set of ergonomics and workflow than one finds in a ball head.
The table below shows the estimated combined stiffness of this tripod with each head I have tested to date. The plot above is simply a visual representation of the last two columns in this table. The recommended heads are loosely based off this list but take into account other subjective factors of ergonomics, build quality, and value.
|Head||Yaw Stiffness||Pitch Stiffness||Mean Stiffness||Stiffness per Weight|
|Manfrotto 410 Junior||616.||1032||772.||287.|
|Manfrotto 482 Micro||191.||306.||235.||142.|
|Manfrotto MH494-BH 200PL||323.||570.||412.||222.|
|RRS BH-55 Screw||950.||2364||1356||563.|
|RRS BH-55 Lever||942.||2288||1335||551.|
|Arca Swiss Monoball Z1||915.||2104||1275||588.|
|Arca Swiss P0||690.||1111||852.||460.|
|Arca Swiss d4||786.||1213||954.||379.|
|Arca Swiss Cube||836.||1302||1018||394.|
|Colorado Tripod Co Highline Aluminum||710.||1261||908.||446.|
|3 Legged Thing Airhead Switch||726.||1273||925.||509.|