If you’re passionate about wildlife photography, you know the importance of stability in capturing those breathtaking shots. Finding the best tripod head for wildlife photography can make all the difference, providing the balance and flexibility needed to get the perfect angle.
With numerous options on the market, choosing the best one can be a bit of a challenge. This guide features 5 tripod heads we recommend you consider adding to your travel photography gear for taking pictures of wildlife.
A gimbal head is a must-have for any wildlife photographer using a long lens. Telephoto lenses are big, heavy, and not easy to move around.
If you mount a heavy lens to a ball head, it will inevitably move even when the head is locked in place. The design of a gimbal head balances the lens at its center of gravity. This allows you to freely move the lens and it stays locked in any position.
Here’s a list of 5 top-rated tripod heads for wildlife photography we recommend based on our years of experience photographing bald eagles, bears, moose, wolves, and wild horses.
Be sure to grab your free copy of our Photography Checklists by clicking the image below. You’ll get a packing list, settings list, and composition tips list that includes the top basic photography techniques to capture amazing photos!
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Where Should I Buy Camera Equipment?
We get all our Camera Equipment at B&H Photo! They are a reputable company that’s been in business for over 45 years. Their customer service and knowledge about photography equipment gives us peace of mind when spending money on higher ticket items like cameras, tripods and lenses.
We also use B&H Photo to buy our camera accessories like filters, memory cards, cleaning kits, portable hard drives, and more!
Wildlife Photography Cameras and Tripods
If you’re looking for a new camera for wildlife photography, here are the features you need to look for:
- Good burst mode
- Decent buffer depth
- Fast and efficient autofocus
- Lens or lens range
When looking at tripods for wildlife photography, tripod size and weight are important to note if you’ll carry it while traveling or hiking. Also make sure the load capacity of the tripod can hold your heaviest camera and lens combination.
Check out the 2 reviews below of our favorite lens and travel tripod for wildlife photography!
Best Tripod Heads for Wildlife Photography
When it comes to selecting a tripod head for wildlife photography, there are several factors to consider. Durability and portability are two of the most important, as you don’t want a head that will break down in inclement weather or prove too heavy and cumbersome to carry with you during your treks.
Another key factor is adjustability; look for heads with easy-to-use knobs and levers that allow you to quickly and accurately adjust the angle of your shots for maximum control.
Finally, consider the type of mount your camera requires — there are several types available so make sure you select the right one for your specific model.
Wimberley WH-200 Wimberley Gimbal Head II
The Gimbal is the best tripod head for wildlife photography. In our experience Gimbal Heads provide greater performance and versatility when photographing wildlife and birds.
The Wimberly WH-200 is the head that we use and the best that we have experienced. It is easy to balance and sturdy enough to lock down the heaviest telephoto lenses.
This tripod head is easily and quickly adjusted in the field providing a versatile and stable platform for photographing constantly changing subjects.
- Gimbal-Type Tripod Head
- Supports Wide, Medium & Telephoto Lenses
- Arca-Type Compatible Quick Release Base
- Required QR Plate Available Separately
- Weighs 3.15 lb
ProMediaGear Katana Professional Gimbal Tripod Head
This lightweight, aluminum gimbal head is designed with the nature photographer in mind. The head’s fluid joints use sealed ball bearing cases to help resist corrosion or malfunction due to moisture, dirt, and debris.
The ProMediaGear Katana provides fluid movement on both the 360° panning axis and the floating tilt. Both axes may also be locked separately via large aluminum control knobs which are easy to grip even when wearing gloves.
Being able to adjust the gimbal head while wearing photographer gloves is a bonus when out in cold conditions!
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 150 lb
- Arca-Swiss Type Compatible Mount
- Smooth Pan, Stable Balance, Tight Lock
- Separate Adjustment & Locking Mechanisms
- Hard Anodized 6061 Aluminum Alloy Build
- Sealed Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Repositionable Oversized Knobs
- 3/8″-16 Thread Tripod Mount
- Built-In Level
- Made in U.S.A.
Benro GH5C Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head with PL100LW Plate
Use this gimbal head when photographing with lenses that are hard to manage because of their large size. The 9.7″ gimbal head can support equipment up to 66 lb, making it easier to track a fast-moving subject such as in sports or wildlife photography.
The Benro GH5C Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head can also be used as a spotting scope for wildlife viewing due to the seamless and fluid movement. You won’t experience the wobble or lose track of the wildlife!
- Load Capacity: 66 lb
- Height: 9.7″
- Weight: 2.4 lb
- Arca-Type Compatible
- Height-Adjustable Platform
- 360° Rotation with Independent Pan Lock
- Tension Knob Controls the Tilt’s Drag
- Carbon Fiber and Aluminum Construction
- Vertical and Panoramic Scales
- Includes PL100LW Quick Release Plate
Benro Mini Gimbal Head Carbon Fiber P/100N Plate
This Gimbal is robust, yet lightweight for travel. The Benro GH5C mini features a hollow-designed Arca-type quick release plate, allowing for quick attachment and release of your camera.
For wildlife photographers that hike with equipment, weight and portability are important. The Benro Mini Gimbal is made with lightweight carbon fiber construction and weighs only 2.4 pounds!
- Load Capacity: 66 lb
- Includes PL100N Plate
- Arca-Type Compatible
- Weighs only 2.4 lb.
- Vertical and panoramic scale
Sirui PH-30 Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head
This gimbal head is easy to put together with just two pieces and a base.
The Sirui PH-30 works great on a tripod, monopod or car door adapter. In the field it’s very smooth when used with medium-large and large lenses.
One neat feature of this gimbal head are the different scales so it can perfectly adjust to your camera and is always ready for use again.
- Load Capacity: 55.1 lb
- Height: 9.8″
- Weight: 3.1 lb
- Arca-Type Compatible
- Titls -60° to +150°
- 360° Pan with Independent Pan Lock
- 90° Height-Adjustable Platform
- Locking Knobs for Both Tilt and Rotation
- 8-Layer Carbon Fiber & Aluminum Build
- 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16 Screws on QR Plate
Nikon 500mm f5.6 Lens Review
Looking for an affordable lens for wildlife? Check out our review and why we LOVE the Nikon 500mm f5.6 lens for nature photography!
Peak Design Travel Tripod Review
We love our Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod. It is ideal for hiking due to a very compact fold-down design that allows it to fit nicely into our camera backpack. It’s strong and sturdy despite its lightweight structure, and will handle all but the heaviest telephoto lenses. This tripod stabilizes my Nikon D850 and Nikon 500mm F5.6 lens very well – it’s a terrific tripod for wildlife photography.