Monopod heads and tripod heads are essentially the same in at least one way. They give the photographer flexibility in changing the angle between the camera and the monopod or tripod legs.
Some are more suitable for monopods and some are better for use with tripods.
Ball heads are by far the most popular and most widely used type of head for monopods when shooting still photos. Fluid heads are more popular for shooting video.
A ball head is made up of a ball and socket that allow rotation in all directions. Generally smaller and lighter than tilt heads, they use small knobs to tighten the left-right turning and rotational camera movements.
I linked to a video below showing the camera movements you gain by adding a ball head to your monopod or tripod. The gentleman in the video is endorsing a very well made high-end monopod great for the serious amateur or professional photographer.
There is a huge range of ball heads ranging from the one featured in the video for a few hundred dollars to the cheap mini ball heads for point and shoot cameras for less than $20.
I really like using a small ball head on my monopod because it keeps the whole set-up very light in weight. I also like using a small ball head on my Rocketfish carbon fiber tripod when doing travel photography, again because of the weight and size advantages of packing and carrying.
For use on my larger Bogen-Manfrotto tripod, I wouldn't want to be without my Manfrotto 222 Action ball Head, sold in the US as the Bogen 3265.
The pistol grip ball head is just a variation of the traditional ball head.
It gives you a large handle to grab instead of the small knob of a traditional ball head.
This Opteka pistol grip has a side handle that simply squeezes to loosen the camera position and tightens upon your release after you've made your adjustment.
I always use a pistol grip ball head when shooting with my tripod, without exception. It is so fast to make minor adjustments when I am shooting portrait photography.
I prefer the upright grip, which is centered underneath of my camera. This makes it quite easy to pick up and move my tripod by using only one hand.
Get reviews and more information on ball heads for monopods and tripods here:Camera Ball Heads - Reviews from Customers
Tilt and pan heads are almost never used on tradition monopods. I have seen some photographers use pan/tilt heads for monopods when they have the feet attached, primarily while shooting videos.
Fluid heads with one long handle are popular for video photographers.
They make it easier to make small gradual movements of your video camera.
I used fluid tilt-pan heads for about 30 years with a variety of tripods, usually when I was doing still life or nature photography.
The disadvantage is that you have to the adjustments of left-right, forward-back and clockwise-counter-clockwise separately.
In photography school most of the heads we used had screw driver handles both for rotating, panning and tilting our cameras.
They are more appropriate to use when your camera and subject are going to remain stationary while shooting your video or photography.
The Manfrotto swivel and tilt head on the left is very stable for the heavier loads associated with bigger cameras and lenses.
I call this accessory the Double Bubble Camera Level.
This is a great accessory for a monopod or tripod when you want to make sure your camera is level.
It's a must for architectural photographers to get level photographs as well a when you are shooting panoramic photos.
It could also be useful if you’re shooting a water horizon such as with beach photography.
Of course, if you like to spend extra time retouching your photos you can adjust the horizon when editing and cropping.
In one of my searches for more information when I was writing this article I came across this accessory for making the finest, measurable adjustments to your camera position. What an impressive piece of equipment.
This is a ball head with measured railings - The ultimate toy for macro photography.
I've been a shooting pro photographer for over 30 years and I still get a kick out of surprises in the world of photography. I get new ideas for photos to take as well as how a new piece of photography gear or an accessory will make my job easier.
I know, for many of you this may seem to be no big deal, but I am frequently inspired when I come across a new photography niche or new piece of specialized equipment.
Whether it's a new manufacturer of monopod heads, an accessory to mount your iPhone on a tripod or monopod or even a new digital camera that has a new record for the number of megapixels squeezed onto a sensor, the only constant is change.For reviews and more related opinions of photographers on both on tripod and monopod heads, read the written comments giving feedback on these accessories on Amazon: Monopod Heads
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