Induro PHQ3 Panning Head – Mini Review

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. If you’re interested in panoramic photography, you need to check this out.

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. By the end of the week I was thankful for the additional adjustments.

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 both these facts make this head perfect for shooting serious panoramas. The head is turn key. It has a built in variable direction Arca-Swiss style quick release clamp. The head comes with a nice tool kit and transport bag. Speaking of transport, the handles on the head fold in for easy transport.

In my tests, the PHQ3 offered 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.

Want a much better idea of how the head works? Then check out this video from Induro.

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.

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This post sponsored by Adorama – More than a camera store

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Professional photographer. Author. Speaker.

Posted on May 4, 2011, in Gear and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Scott,

    I shoot a lot of HDR panoramics and interior real estate. I bought one of these the first day B&H had them in stock. I was hoping it would resolve the problem I had with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead where I would get almost all setup and need to adjust the camera just a degree or two on one axis. What would happen of course is that you would loosen the ball and the camera would flop on all axes making matters worse. So I gave the PHQ-3 a shot. It mostly worked for me. It worked exactly as described and was decent build quality, though not quite up to RRS quality (or price to be fair!). I liked the abundance of levels. It is very precise when trying to get an exact level for architecture. I tried it for a couple months, but just could not get used to it. I just couldn’t get the speed and flexibility I was used to from the ballhead. In the end, I found a solution that worked better for my needs: I went back to my RRS BH-40 ballhead (I also use their Ultimate-Pro Omni-Pivot Package for panoramics), but I put an EZ Leveler II (from Nodal Ninja) under the ballhead. This gives me the speed and creative flexibility I wanted for quick framing, but the precision I needed to fine tweak the level in any axis. I couldn’t be happier. It takes a solid tripod since you are adding height, but I get great results. Just thought I’d pass the tip along for any of your readers facing the same dilemma.

    Love your new site—and your old ones!
    Aaron