Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: donaldt on July 20, 2011, 11:41:50 PM

Title: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 20, 2011, 11:41:50 PM
Hello
I got a RRS L plate for my Hasselblad H
was originally getting a RRS ballhead as well
but since I can still choose
what is a decent Arca Swiss Based Ballhead besides of course Arca Swiss and RRS?

thanks
Donald
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Sheldon N on July 20, 2011, 11:44:35 PM
Markins makes a pretty nice ballhead, as do Kirk and Acratech.

I've personally settled on the Markins M20 as a good balance between light weight and very strong.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Rod.Klukas on July 21, 2011, 10:21:59 AM
Have you looked at an Arca-Swiss P0 with a classic QR.
About 10 ounces and can handle about 45lbs lever wt.
Very small and has top pan.
It will handle your slightly larger plate size fine.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 21, 2011, 10:56:56 AM
oh wow,
this one seems amazing for the size and not so expensive either
will look into it, any problems with it though?
and I just wonder who ever needs over 20kg loads?
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Rod.Klukas on July 21, 2011, 11:55:59 AM
The weight is a function of leverage.  A head could be rated to support say 12 lbs.  But the actual stress is much higher with a body and a fast lens such as a 70-200mm 2.8 etc.  so you want to have a higher weight rating than you might think.
Did you know, that a turntable for playing records with a setting of 1gm on the needle equals 66lbs per sq inch?

So one can't say well my camera and lens weighs , say, 8lbs. This head is rated for 12lbs so it should be fine...
Doesn't work that way.

Rod
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: JohnBrew on July 21, 2011, 02:00:20 PM
+1 for the Markins.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 21, 2011, 09:08:25 PM
oh thats true
never actually though of the leverage part

thanks for reminding

The weight is a function of leverage.  A head could be rated to support say 12 lbs.  But the actual stress is much higher with a body and a fast lens such as a 70-200mm 2.8 etc.  so you want to have a higher weight rating than you might think.
Did you know, that a turntable for playing records with a setting of 1gm on the needle equals 66lbs per sq inch?

So one can't say well my camera and lens weighs , say, 8lbs. This head is rated for 12lbs so it should be fine...
Doesn't work that way.

Rod
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: stever on July 22, 2011, 12:23:17 AM
there's a huge improvement in the performance of any ballhead at "normal" shooting angles (not using the notch) by balancing the camera/lens

i use a RRS L-Plate and nodal slide, adjusting the slide by feel for balance.  if you're using a heavy lens like a 70-200 f2.8, then you really need to use the tripod mount ring on the lens - i use a long-enough Arca-Swiss plate on the tripod mount so the camera/lens can be re-balanced if a 1.4x or 2x is added

Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 22, 2011, 09:24:08 PM
i realize that there are different types of quick release for Arca Swiss
will they all work with my RRS L plate?
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 23, 2011, 03:29:14 AM
what about photoclam?
I just saw one, and it has the faster clam style qucik release

looks like a cheaper alternative but is it any good?
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: David Watson on July 23, 2011, 04:30:39 AM
Hi

The best Arca Swiss head is the Cube but in my opinion their clamps do not work well with Kirk or RRS plates.  I would suggest replacing the Arca clamp with one of the screw replacement clamps from RRS.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Rod.Klukas on July 23, 2011, 10:35:28 AM
That is primarily because, though they are Arca-Swiss style, they are 1mm largerand you have to adjust.
The new head, the D4, with a classic clamp addresses that fine and actually allows use of classic Arca, New monoball fix, and third party Arca style plates
interchangeably.  It is also a bit lighter so you might consider it as well. info:  rodklukas.com

Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 23, 2011, 10:22:30 PM
good to know the clamp doesnt work well because I was thinking its faster and easier to use
how does the arca swiss P0 work on the number 2 Gitzo, and holding a Hasselblad H or Nikon D3 with lenses like 300/2.8?
its not easy to find Arca Swiss around my area so I might have to get it online

thanks
Donald
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Rod.Klukas on July 24, 2011, 12:53:55 PM
Donald a P0 would handle this fine, although one might consider a P1.
It is similar but larger ball.
I would get it with the classic QR.  And perhaps the Universal L Bracket for the camera.
If you go to rodklukas.com you can download the P series brochure.
There you will see it and can judge.  The leverage weight is high in some cases with the configuration so I
would recommend the P1 in stead.  Works the same though except doesn't do 90 degrees, But with a L bracket
no problem for the body, and the 300mm lens has a foot.
Rod
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: donaldt on July 25, 2011, 12:58:20 AM
classic QR meaning the knob one? not the clamp one?
I really thought the clamp was faster and better but seems like I am very wrong I guess
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on July 25, 2011, 03:09:52 AM
Hi,

In my view the RRS lever type quick releases work just fine, but they work only with plates having the right dimensions. The fliplock on my Arca D4 works fine with my RRS-plates, but I see benefits with RRS-QR, so I'm interested in replacing the "Fliplock" with "RRS lever type QR". The Fliplock is niceley made, but to flimsy in my mind. That said it works well with my 400/4.5 and 1.X extender.

The Fliplock can be adjusted for different widths of plates. My feeling is that the clamping force is less than on RRS and the RRS stuff has more heft. It's like American...

Best regards
Erik


classic QR meaning the knob one? not the clamp one?
I really thought the clamp was faster and better but seems like I am very wrong I guess
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: hassiman on August 31, 2011, 07:01:34 PM
I have a P0 and I love it.  I bought the standard "Classic" Arca Swiss clamp and attached that.  It works great for my Hasselblad...  It would handle a 300 3.8 no problem.  Very easy to use and 1/2 the size of the B1 I sold.  Rock solid.  Buy from Bob Watkins at Precision Camera repair.  Great fellow and he really know Arca Swiss stuff.  My setup works great with my RRS L brackets... and adjusts and locks with one hand... NO knobs to deal with.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Ellis Vener on September 01, 2011, 09:53:11 AM
'The best Arca Swiss head is the Cube"
Neither the Arca-Swiss Cube or the D4 are ball heads.

For a modern ball head  I'll second the recommendation of the Arca-Swiss p0. I am kind of a fanatic about tripod heads and the p0 is the best ballhead for the money and definitely in that size /weight class. For overseas travel work I've even used it to support the full Really Right Stuff Ultimate Omni-Pivot panoramic rig carrying a Canon EOS-1Ds MArk III + 50mm f/1.4 combination to make multi-row cityscape pans. Normally I'd prefer to use my Foba ASMIA or a MAnfrotto leveling base as a head for that kind of work. 
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on September 25, 2011, 10:50:23 PM
the P0 looks like a great ballhead but i'm confused about several of the comments re the clamping system.

it looks to me as though the head is offered in two configurations

1) with a screw stud

2) with an arca QR that requires use of camera plates that are different from the "standard" arca plates sold by kirk, rrs, etc.  arca refers to this as the "slidefix" QS system

how does one go about setting the P0 up so that it works with the older style plates?
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Ellis Vener on September 26, 2011, 10:57:07 AM
the P0 looks like a great ballhead but i'm confused about several of the comments re the clamping system.

it looks to me as though the head is offered in two configurations

1) with a screw stud

2) with an arca QR that requires use of camera plates that are different from the "standard" arca plates sold by kirk, rrs, etc.  arca refers to this as the "slidefix" QS system

how does one go about setting the P0 up so that it works with the older style plates?
Actually there are three options:
The third one is to replace the SlideFix clamp with one that uses a clamp with the older wider and taller specifications. I have done this with mine, replacing the SlideFix system (which works very well BTW - unless you have lots of plates already based on the wider and slightly taller Arca-Swiss design) clamp with a Really Right Stuff PCL-1 panning clamp. I prefer the PCL-1 over the built in and very smooth panning capabilities of the p0 as it demarcates angles of rotation. I have used the p0 = PCL-1 combination in conjunction with RRS' Ultimate Omni pro panorama kit and a Canon EOS1Ds MArk III to shoot three row, 25 frame per row panoramas without a problem. The p0 is very, very strong and really does support a lot of weight.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on September 28, 2011, 10:35:02 AM
ellis thanks very much for your help!

wouldn't the most cost effective solution (for using old style plates) be to buy the version of the P0 with the screw stud and then add the RRS PCL-1, or a "plain" clamp from kirk etc.? 

just to be sure let me ask, the old style plates simply won't fit in the slidefix clamp, correct?  it would be nice if i could use both the slidefix and the older plates interchangeably.

again, thanks for the info.  i've been curious about the P0 for a while but have had trouble getting info on it.

also, i'm curious about what software you use to make your panorama images as once i'm equipped i'll be experimenting.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: theguywitha645d on September 29, 2011, 10:36:57 AM
Just to chime in with the praises of the P0, I love mine. It is very light and compact and handles my Pentax 645D well. I also use it for panos by just mounting a Manfrotto macro rail to it. I use Photoshop to stitch the panos.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Ellis Vener on September 29, 2011, 04:47:07 PM
@tm3

"just to be sure let me ask, the old style plates simply won't fit in the slidefix clamp, correct?  it would be nice if i could use both the slidefix and the older plates interchangeably."

The older style plates are too wide -roughly 2x too wide- to fit in a SlideFix only clamp. Arca-Swiss does make a clamp that works with both SlideFix and the wider older QR plates but unless you want / need to use both systems I think your idea to "buy the version of the P0 with the screw stud and then add the RRS PCL-1, or a "plain" clamp from kirk etc.?  " is indeed the more affordable option.

"also, i'm curious about what software you use to make your panorama images as once i'm equipped i'll be experimenting."

I use PTGui Pro, the latest version. I don't know if you can see it without being on google plus, but this : https://plus.google.com/109729682469414639106/posts  is a three row pan shot with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark 3 in an Really Right Stuff Ultimate-Pro Omni-Pivot package (http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=Ult-Pro-OPP&type=3&eq=&desc=Ultimate-Pro-Omni-Pivot-Package&key=it) on top of an Arca-Swiss p0 head mounted on a carbon fiber Induro legset. The full resolution version is 7,259 x 20,331 pixels.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on September 30, 2011, 02:44:57 PM
great stuff, all, and thanks.

when i get to a better computer i'll try to pull that image up and take a look.

thanks again!
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Rod.Klukas on October 04, 2011, 08:09:19 PM
I'm not sure if what you say about buying a P0 with a screw top is correct or not viv-a-vis price.  The most useful one, in my opinion, is a P0 with
a classic(new style) QR.  It will handle any classic plate and the new Monoball Fix plates as well.  If you go with RRS or others they are 1 or 2mm wider and you can't easily use
a mixed set of plates as each manufacturer is some what different.

Also the compact Monoball Fix plates are anti twist in some cases and far more compact and light than most classic plates.  Monoball Fix system also has universal L Brackets which can switch cameras, so you don't have to purchase a new L'Bracket when you change bodies.  And the brackets are anti-twist or incoroporate a Monoball Fix QR taht takes anti-twist plates as well.

this setup will still be extremely compact and quick to use and incorporates a level in the top as well.  No level in the screw top as you couldn't see it anyway
with a QR installed.
Rod
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on October 10, 2011, 06:07:53 PM
thanks rod what you describe (P0 + classic QR) is what i would prefer, giving the option if i understand you correctly of using either kirk/RRS plates or the new monoball plates.  with that option any new plates that i would buy would be arca, but still able to use my old kirk plates.

your description of the L bracket is an added bonus.  the universal L brackets from other vendors are relatively cumbersome.

however, there are two problems and i would love it if you (or anyone else) can help me out.

1) i don't see the P0 offered with "classic QR."  BH and adorama have the option of slidefix QR, or screw stud.  where does one find a P0 with the classic QR you describe?

2) today i received a P0 that i ordered last week online from BH, and with the following observations 

A the ballhead mechanism is very stiff, requiring quite a push to get the ballhead to 90 degrees.  other high quality ballheads that i have used in the past (arca, RRS, photoclam, etc.) have been quite loose when the tightening mechanism is released, with some gradation if partially tightened.  this P0 locks and unlocks with a short turn, and goes from locked to a fair amount of stiffness.

B the panning mechanism does not seem to work.  when i loosen the small lever, no rotation is possible with reasonable force.  further turning of the lever screws it off.

C when i turn the locking ring to unlock the ballhead, the base tends to unscrew from the tripod.  is it necessary to locktite the base to the tripod?

i am assuming that this particular P0 is defective.  is that correct or is there some adjustment that i am unaware of?

i would really like to be able to make this work especially with the universal L bracket you describe.

thanks!
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Ellis Vener on October 10, 2011, 10:00:43 PM
Not Rod but here goes:
Did  you  have a camera or lens mounted on the head when you tried 2A, B & C ? If not that could be the problem.
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on October 11, 2011, 01:50:26 PM
thanks, ellis.  mounting a camera on the head decreases the amount of force required for sure.  however, the ballhead action is still pretty stiff and jerky, with a fair amount of force needed to move into the drop slot for portrait mode.

i'm not sure if there is something out of adjustment with this particular head or if it needs to "wear in" for a while to smoothen up (i heard that can be the case with RRS ballheads).
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: Ellis Vener on October 11, 2011, 02:17:24 PM
Frankly I've been using mine long enough to not remember how smooth the action was at first  but I believe I was impressed with the smoothness of the movements. You might want to return it and purchase from another vendor. How large a camera/lens combo are you using? I am generally working with reasonably large cameras like 1Ds series bodies and lenses up to 70-200mm and down to the 17mm TS-E ( Nikon equivs: D3 series and 14-24mm f/2.8G) .
Title: Re: What is a decent Arca Swiss based Ball Head?
Post by: tm3 on October 12, 2011, 09:20:38 AM
i am using light equipment, relatively speaking (D40 and small zooms, moving into micro 4/3).

might be worth trying another sample, as i like the concept and the locking ring instead of a knob.