The most obvious reason for using either a panoramic tripod head or a shooting tripod head is to keep the camera steady while shooting still photography. It’s nearly impossible to get a perfectly stable shot in photography or film without a tripod head to help balance the weight of your camera. When researching tripod heads, you’ll likely come across the term “gimbal.” A gimbal stabilizer is used to keep video steady and is often handheld devices rather than stand-alone tripods. However, this is where the terminology can get a bit tricky; a gimbal tripod head is typically used in photography to stabilize a camera with a large lens.
While stabilization is often cited as the main purpose of a tripod, this accessory can also help you capture a number of other photography and video effects. Time lapses use tripod heads to keep the camera in the exact same position for long periods of time to show the movement or progress of the subject without the camera itself disrupting the image through unwanted movements. Long-exposure photography, which is often used to photograph waterfalls or the night sky, also requires the use of a tripod for the very same reason. And, it allows the photographer to sit back and adjust the photo settings to get the perfect final product.