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Author Topic: Using a ball head upside down - input needed  (Read 13662 times)

LarsHansen

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Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« on: September 27, 2010, 10:35:47 am »

Hi,

I need some tweaking input - I think it would be nice to be able to use a ball head upside down so that it can act as a levelling base for the pan rotator.

I've decided to buy a tripod that has a (fixed) 3/8 mounting screw, but the ball head I'm concidering has a 1/4 thread if I remove the QR clamp... does anyone know of a good quality converter that has a 3/8 thread and a 1/4 screw? Or am I missing to see some other obvious solution...  :-[

I have the option of mounting a QR clamp on the pod and then a QR plate on the ball .. but it's getting more expensive and maybe a bit awkward..

/Lars
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marcmccalmont

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 09:14:51 pm »

The Novoflex magicball is an inverted ball head
http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/camera-support-systems/ball-heads/magicball/
My preference is a leveling tripod and a ball head with a panning base. I find that I can tilt the camera up or down (down when at the top of a cliff/mountain or up when at the base of a cliff/mountain) and then pan across the horizon using the leveled panning base
Marc
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 10:11:34 pm by marcmccalmont »
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Marc McCalmont

elf

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 01:18:23 am »

Take a look at this one: http://www.indurogear.com/products_catalog_PHQ-Series-PanHeads.html  I haven't seen any real reviews of it yet, but the concept looks good.

I built an adaptor for my ball head that replaced the quick release mechanism and bolts directly to the ball.  The pano head is bolted directly to the panning side of the ballhead and the quick release is on the camera arm of the pano head.  I don't see any need to remove the pano head from the tripod since it allows you to use it like a pan and tilt head as well as using the ball head.
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 04:06:45 pm »

Thanks Marc and Elf,

maybe I should just get a panning base to mount on top of the ball head after removing the QR clamp and get on with my life  ;)


Marc - I know the MagicBall and it's a good option though a bit pricey for me. Also, I read a german review that wasn't in the MagicBall's favour compared to several other and cheaper ball heads. I hope to be able to achieve almost the same with a traditional ball head upside down which can also be used in normal position... I would also like a standardised QR clamp like Arca.
If your german is ok, take a look at this review: http://www.traumflieger.de/desktop/ballhead/ballheads4.php#novoflex

What do you mean with a "leveling tripod"? - I find it tricky to level a tripod. Thats why I believe an upside down ball head (or a ball head like MagicBall) will make things easier.


Elf - that head looks very interresting - it's probably quick to get the panbase leveled. Unfortunately, for me it has two drawbacks - the price and the size+weight. Still - I think I would be able to achieve somewhat same functionality by using a ball head upside down.
I'm not sure I understand the configuration you're explaining - is it a ball head you use? As far as understand you have done what I'm planning to do c.f. "I built an adaptor for my ball head that replaced the quick release mechanism and bolts directly to the ball."

I only plan to remove the QR clamp so that I have a thread to mount the head upside down on the tripod screw. The panning base of the ball head will then be the platform I mount a QR clamp .. and then the camera on top. I will then be able to level the panbase/camera and perform panning levelled.

/Lars
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elf

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 10:02:30 pm »

Here's a few images of the upside down ballhead.


The configuration works well and can be used inverted for macros:



There really isn't any reason the upside down ball head has to be perfectly centered on the tripod.  One of my first adaptors was just a disk of 3/8" aluminum with 3/8" and 1/4" tapped holes.
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Sheldon N

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2010, 12:57:34 am »

Have you considered the leveling bases from Acratech?

http://acratech.net/home.php?cat=2
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Sheldon Nalos
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marcmccalmont

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2010, 09:39:44 am »

The most important point is you want to pan at the base of the ball head not at the clamp if you pan at the clamp you cannot tilt the camera up or down to cover the scene you want to capture
the following is a leveling tripod: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/568862-REG/Gitzo_GT2540LLVL_GT2540LLVL_Leveling_6X_Carbon.html there are cheaper options
I would not suggest a magic ball but a proper ball head with a panning base one of my favorites is the RRS BH-55 but its expensive, on a budget I like the Linhof Profi II, used on ebay less than $200 I've bought 2 that way
http://www.amazon.com/Linhof-Profi-Ballhead-II-Tripod-head/dp/B000B8NQU2
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

vandevanterSH

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2010, 12:22:13 pm »

I only plan to remove the QR clamp so that I have a thread to mount the head upside down on the tripod screw. The panning base of the ball head will then be the platform I mount a QR clamp .. and then the camera on top. I will then be able to level the panbase/camera and perform panning levelled.
******
I am a bit confused.  Why a ballhead on  a leveling base, seems to be adds complexity for no benefit.  I got a leveling base so that I could eliminate the ball head, which is very tedious to level.

Steve
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 12:34:00 pm »

Elf - thats a versatile head you've build!

I'm considering to go for a german multirow pan head, but what I'm reading around here is that I might not need it if I'm not making panos of close objects - here is the pano head: http://www.panorama-hardware.com/

So, for now I just need more control to avoid too much cropping when shooting panos - which the upside down head would give.

I can see on your pics that you've made the "interface" I need betweeen the tripod and the ball of the ball head.
I found this alternative, but I think the narrow surface smells of potential shaking: http://www.filmtools.com/adapter.html
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 12:48:29 pm »

Sheldon - yes and no. I've considered the Acratech GP-s ball head which has the option of upside down as part of the design (as I understand).

So far I've deselected a leveling base because I think a ball head can do what I need.     
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 01:10:12 pm »

OK Marc - now I get it. The center column can be leveled.

I'm considering a Feisol tripod which has a similar option - they just call it a leveling base. You just remove the center column and add a leveling base like the one Steve (vandevanterSH) posted in this thread. I guess the Gitzo is more versatile, but my budget is not for Gitzo. I'm trying to make a "shortcut"  ;)

"The most important point is you want to pan at the base of the ball head not at the clamp if you pan at the clamp you cannot tilt the camera up or down to cover the scene you want to capture"

Sorry, maybe my English-skills is unsufficient. I would like both options - a "classic" ball head with the panning rotator at the bottom - AND the option of turning it upside down so that I have the pan rotator at the top so that I can level the panning rotator using the ball as a kind of "leveling base" for the pan rotator. Does that make sense?
I'm not sure I understand why I can't tilt the camera? - I know it means that the pan rotator then will be un-leveled.

Yes - I've also looked at the Linhof as an option. 

 
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 01:28:06 pm »

I am a bit confused.  Why a ballhead on  a leveling base, seems to be adds complexity for no benefit.  I got a leveling base so that I could eliminate the ball head, which is very tedious to level.

Steve - my session was timed out when I posted my answer to you and was lost... bugger. I'll get back to you. I understand your confusion - I'm not planning to use a leveling base below a ball head.
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vandevanterSH

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2010, 02:17:05 pm »

So, for now I just need more control to avoid too much cropping when shooting panos ..
******
I have a complete Manfrotto system with a Manfrotto leveling base.....it sits in the closet and was rarely used.  Reason: complex, heavy, and time consuming to set up.  If you have a Gitzo series 3 or RRS tripod, the RRS single row pano is easy to level, light weight and the bits and pieces can be used for other purposes.  It is also expandable if you decide, in the future, to do multi-row.  I don't think that this system is unique but the high tolerances of their CNC machining means that all of the parts, even though not made as a set, level perfectly.

Or I may be totally missing what you want to do. :>)

Steve
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vandevanterSH

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2010, 02:18:14 pm »

oops...the single row set-up didn't post

Steve
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marcmccalmont

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 04:38:51 pm »

with your set up you can't tilt the camera and pan across the horizon with a leveling base and a panning ball head you can shoot other than straight ahead!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2010, 04:53:09 pm »

Steve - very nice setup  :)
 
"Or I may be totally missing what you want to do. :>)"
First of all I would like to make best use of my equipment - being able to use a ball head "both ways" gives me more oppertunities.

Yes - single row panos. I would like to get better control when shooting single row panos and from what I understand after reading some long posts here, I get the impression that a simple solution is a ball head upside down for leveling of the pan rotator on the base of the ball head - just like the Acratech GP ball head or the Arca-Swiss Monoball P1. Should also mean less need for cropping which I often need when I shoot panos hand held. I'd also like to do panos using longer exposure time.

What I don't wan't to do is ;)
"I have a complete Manfrotto system with a Manfrotto leveling base.....it sits in the closet and was rarely used.  Reason: complex, heavy, and time consuming to set up. "

I wouldn't mind to get my hands on precision stuff from RRS, but my budget isn't for that. For now I'll try to see how far I can get with a simple ball head ... just need to find a 3/8 to 1/4 converter that looks more right for the setup. Actually, Feisol has a monopod with 1/4 to 3/8 reversible mounting screw - that would have been nice on the tripod.
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vandevanterSH

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2010, 05:02:50 pm »

with your set up you can't tilt the camera and pan across the horizon with a leveling base and a panning ball head you can shoot other than straight ahead!
Marc

The RRS leveling base is based on a standard 75mm bowl and will elevate or depress ~15 degrees from horizontal.  I will have to experiment but I have a hard time visualizing panning a straight line across the horizon when the base is tilted.  Is a ball head any different?

Steve
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LarsHansen

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2010, 05:02:59 pm »

Marc
OK - I think I'm getting the point. Wouldn't I get same effect with a multi-row pan head?
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vandevanterSH

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2010, 05:22:23 pm »

I wouldn't mind to get my hands on precision stuff from RRS, but my budget isn't for that. For now I'll try to see how far I can get with a simple ball head ... just need to find a 3/8 to 1/4 converter that looks more right for the setup. Actually, Feisol has a monopod with 1/4 to 3/8 reversible mounting screw - that would have been nice on the tripod.
*******
What support equipment do you have now?  I guess my bias is based on having several boxes full of incompatible tripod parts that were dead ends when it came to expanding my needs.  I am far from an expert on support systems or pano but I now try and base purchases on versatility.   The buy right, buy once philosophy of which I have been a poor example.  The obvious modifier is budget.  The starting point for a pano set up would be standard ball head with clamp and an "L" clamp for the camera.  If parallax is an issue add a rail.  My final thought is that if you are just beginning to build a tripod support system, begin by standardizing on Arca-Swiss compatible clamps and plates, with the understanding that "compatibility is a relative term". :>) 

Steve
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marcmccalmont

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Re: Using a ball head upside down - input needed
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2010, 06:50:07 pm »

Marc
OK - I think I'm getting the point. Wouldn't I get same effect with a multi-row pan head?

yes but now you have to carry extra gear my simple solution that I take with me every time is a leveling tripod and a ball head with a panning base nothing more is needed!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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