Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: jeremyrh on October 24, 2018, 08:24:16 am

Title: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: jeremyrh on October 24, 2018, 08:24:16 am
I am looking to put together a kit for a hiking trip in the Alps. I'll potentially be taking my new Z7 (yay!!) and the 24-70 kit lens and 70-200 f/4 F mount lens.  I am wondering what is the lightest feasible ballhead I can get away with. The lightest I have right now is the Markins Emille which the website lists as 375g, though it feels like a solid lump of steel. My initial searches have not yielded anything substantially lighter - one candidate is the 3-legged-thing Airhead Neo at 295g, but it seems a bit daft to spend money to save 80g.

Thanks for any tips (apart from the "lose some weight off your belly" sort :-)  )
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: viewfinder on October 24, 2018, 12:45:41 pm
The best 'tip' is to reject the ballhead totally now as an outmoded device.......to do it's job it has to be a big lump of metal and is severly limited in it's functions.     I used to own several ballheads but have not used one in years, not since video heads got nifty, clever, cheaper and considerably lighter.....   In addition, a small video head allows scanning of the scene to determine composition and exposure etc which is not possible with most ballheads...also, should some video be required for panaramas etc then it's easily done.....

My favourite head is half the weight of the ballhead it replaced and is a Manfrotto item, can't remember model but it's a few years back now and I made the knobs smaller and better with the aid of a hacksaw......
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: RobertJ on October 24, 2018, 04:02:26 pm
I would suggest looking at the Arca Swiss P0 Hybrid.

However, I also don't prefer ballheads anymore.

I have an RRS BH55 that is over 10 years old and still going strong, but I now prefer the Manfrotto 229 3 way pan/tilt head with a Hejnar Arca conversion adapter ( http://www.hejnarphotostore.com/product-p/m229f63b.htm ). 

The Manfrotto 229 is now my workhorse.  It can handle anything, and is just as precise as any geared head.  Movements are smooth, and you can make adjustments slowly and precisely.  MUCH better than any ballhead.

I'll add that I also have an FLM 48F ballhead.  It is hands down the best ballhead in the world.  Better than RRS and Arca Swiss, without a doubt.  This has to do with the way the knob controls the friction.  It's just perfect, fun to use, and easy to control any heavy or lightweight camera, but I still prefer my 3 way pan/tilt head.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: MattBurt on October 24, 2018, 04:16:26 pm
For my travel (and sometimes hiking) setup I have a Manfrotto BeFree and Manfrotto 494RC2 ball head.
That head is about as small as I wanted to get for a medium sized dslr with a maximum capacity of 8.8 Lbs and a weight of 11.29 Oz (QR plate version) or 7.8 Oz with no QR plate. I have the QR plate version.

It works well enough with a 70-200 as long as I use the tripod collar on the lens to balance it.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Rand47 on October 24, 2018, 06:47:59 pm
Acratech.  Small, strong.

Rand
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: HSakols on October 24, 2018, 07:14:02 pm
I just used my Nikon Z7 with a Slik Standard Ball Head II, and it handled the load well even with my 70-200 F4 zoom.  It weighs 11.2 ounces.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Lee Roberts on October 24, 2018, 08:07:03 pm
Here is my lightest head, don't laugh....even lighter than my Oben BB-1 and def lighter than either the Markins Q20 or AS B1 that I use 99% of the time

It has a Kirk 2" clamp on top. The 2nd pic is a D3s and Tamron 15-30mm that this MH-1002 is holding
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Conner999 on October 26, 2018, 10:39:28 am
If you want light: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1383049-REG/really_right_stuff_14900_bpc_16_microball_with_panning.html

I've used and use it (w/o the panning head when the micro ball was sold solo) with an H5D-40 and it is SOLID. It's remarkably strong for it's size and very smooth.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: sbay on October 26, 2018, 01:13:59 pm
With electronic first shutter I think you can get away with a ridiculously light ballhead. Even the ballhead that comes with my gorilla pod is sufficient to hold my camera (a7r2). The main drawback is that smaller ballheads might creep, not operate that smoothly, and not be great in wind. Also I wouldn't recommend such a light ballhead if you do much multi-shot techniques.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: NancyP on October 26, 2018, 10:13:24 pm
My go-to light ball head is the Arca-Swiss p0, the original design, not the newer hybrid design. It has a Sunwayfoto same-diameter screw clamp  (I purchased the head used and clamp-less, from someone who wanted to keep the RRS clamp they used - Sunwayfoto clamp light, cheap, secure enough). I am generally using it for wide to 200 mm, on a Feisol CT3442 tripod where the legs fold 180 degrees - the head fits nicely within the legs. Total weight 1.46 kg.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Two23 on October 27, 2018, 10:29:04 am
I've been using the ArcaTech Ultimate for a dozen years now, and it's done everything I ask.  It weighs 0.9 pounds.  I use it for everything from a Nikon D800E with 300mm f2.8 to a 1925 Gundlach Korona 5x7 field camera.  I also use a Photo Clam BH30 on my Feisol 3441T tripod.  The BH30 will hold the Nikon or a Chamonix 4x5, but not the Korona 5x7. 


Kent in SD
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: KLaban on October 27, 2018, 12:24:50 pm
The Arca-Swiss p0 is the only tripod head I have and need.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Aram Hăvărneanu on October 27, 2018, 12:38:17 pm
What tripod to do you use, KLaban?
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: KLaban on October 27, 2018, 12:59:27 pm
What tripod to do you use, KLaban?

Gitzo GT2531EX 6X Carbon Fiber Explorer.

The combination of the Gitzo and the Arca-Swiss p0 head is just so adaptable and a joy to use.

Caveat, I don't hike in the mountains.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: muntanela on October 27, 2018, 04:11:33 pm
I hike (or hiked..., but hope is still alive) in the mountains with D800E, Gitzo mountaineer GT2540 and Arca swiss P0 (not hybrid), it works fine, even if not so smoothly and precisely as the Gitzo GH2780QR (but, on the other hand, it never jammed like the Gitzo). Avoid the clamp monoball fix like the plague. I use it also for shots at RR 1:1

with 70-200 F/2.8 at 190mm http://www1.nital.it/uploads/ori/201305/p17r6qafqt2i56ns1u4t41i14l35.jpg

with 100 macro at RR1:1 https://www.nikonclub.it/forum/uploads/ori/201607/48071ec6222892bc7777e015b73bc80d.jpg
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: armand on October 27, 2018, 10:55:29 pm
For something lighter you can try this: http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/BC-18-Micro-Ball-Clamp
or these Sirui:
https://www.siruiusa.com/store.html?p=177524
https://www.siruiusa.com/store.html?p=49769

I have the first and the third and they should be ok with what you want within reason. They are also significantly lighter than your Markins which was my first lighter tripod head.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: TonyVentourisPhotography on October 28, 2018, 09:30:29 am
I hike with a rrs bh55 and itís getting silly.  To heavy for Mirrorless.  The bh40 is half the way weight roughly.  Honestly for that kit, you can get away with the bh30 if you really are trying to save on weight.  I would potentially get a nodal slide and balance the entire camera setup over the center of the ballhead.  This will allow for better stability too and you can make a quick adjustment and shoot panoramas if so inclined. 

Iíve used a dslr and 70-200 with the bh25 and a nodal slide and it was just fine. 

With ballheads Iíve stuck to rrs because Iíve had other brands fail or break on me. 
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: armand on October 29, 2018, 02:52:56 pm
A little update on what I said earlier.

Today I went for a walk with the Z7 with the 24-70S and the 70-200 F4 with the FTZ adapter. I had a flimsier tripod which I use for hiking, a version of T-025 from which I cut down the fixed center column (the new version makes it detachable)  with the tripod head that came with it which is an earlier version of the C-10S.

There was minimal wind. With the 24-70 the combo works ok, even when carefully pressing directly the shutter button with no delay.
With the 70-200 pressing directly is a no go, maybe if the lens is pointed downwards. When using a delay of 2 sec it works fine but keep in mind, no wind. Now the tripod legs had something to do with this too. There was also a definite sag after tightening the ballhead but you get used to and plan accordingly; it will make very precise framing difficult.

In conclusion if you need rock steady the 70-200 will not work with the Sirui, and if it's windy it might not work regardless if you use the delay. If the exposure time is not that long you might get away with keeping the IBIS/OIS on though I didn't specifically test this today.

I might try with the Markins head but that is attached to much heftier legs, a Gitzo GT1541T. I occasionally take this combo when traveling with a distinct photo purpose but very rarely when hiking.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: brianrybolt on October 30, 2018, 08:09:40 am
I would definitely check out:  Uniqball UBH35X Ball Head.  It weighs 504 gr. and is very robust.  I've owned mine for over 2 years.  It's been to Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Cuba, Deserts in Arizona and California and elsewhere.

It was reviewed here about 2-4 years ago.

Good luck,
Brian

Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: David Good on October 30, 2018, 09:36:25 am
Maybe take a look at a leveling base. They are light, small, and stable but with less angle of movement so depends on intended usage.
Title: Re: Lightest reasonable ballhead (for mountain hiking)
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on October 30, 2018, 10:03:16 am
When I go hiking I take my old Series 1 Gitzo tripod, which at the time came with its own ballhead. I don't know what the model is, probably they have something similar now. The ballhead is small but has no problem with the type of lenses you mention.

My sturdy tripod now is also a Gitzo I got on promotion, one of their recent anniversary releases. I think it's the GK2545T model that comes with the 82QD ballhead. It is actually quite nice for hiking, as the legs do the reverse thing and the whole thing ends up packing small.