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Author Topic: Need to buy a Ball Head  (Read 19418 times)

bgbs

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2011, 01:03:58 pm »

You see, same thing can be said about your camera gear and lenses.
You buy your first D70, then you realize that it doesn't do things you wanted, so you upgrade to D700, and from D700 to D3x, you also encounter similar upgrade pattern for your lenses. But if you were smart and bought the D3x with Nikon Trinity lenses from the beginning, this shortest route would have saved you $5,000.

Sometimes a gradual upgrade process is good too as long as in between the upgrades you meet your expectations.



Just trying to save the OP money in the long run  ;)

http://www.bythom.com/support.htm


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brandtb

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2011, 09:06:07 am »

Answers to the $100 Ball Head Question.  I have used a Manfrotto 488 head (with an RCO QR) for about four years now - and have no complaints whatsoever about it's performance - which has been superb.  It has never been..."frustrating to use". So, is it the best ball head on the market, no.  Has it been perfectly dependable in the field, yes, absolutely.  As well, I happened to really love the RCO QR system too...as it works just as brilliantly as my Sachtler "Touch and Go" QR plate for my video tripod ( shoot motion as well).  If you've used a QR system like the Sachtler, you will understand how smart the Manfrotto RCO is.  I can't imagine ever using another QR plate either at this point.  I also have now the newer model ball head - the 498 - which replaces the 488.  It is not quite as smooth as the 488, but it has lever controls which I like a lot better, as I shoot in very cold conditions often with gloves on...and they work better for me.
Note again, these are answers to a "price range question" - not any other. 
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bretedge

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2011, 06:00:10 am »

Yes, I fully realize that you're not asking for opinions on ballheads in this price range but I thought I'd mention the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead in the event you've collected your change and can afford the $300 cost.  It weighs less than a pound but will hold 20 lbs. locked down tight and it'll withstand whatever abuse you can throw at it.  Frankly, it is THE best ballhead you can buy for outdoor photography.  If you're interested, you can read my thorough review of the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead.

AlastairMoore

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2011, 05:09:33 am »

Yes, I fully realize that you're not asking for opinions on ballheads in this price range but I thought I'd mention the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead in the event you've collected your change and can afford the $300 cost.  It weighs less than a pound but will hold 20 lbs. locked down tight and it'll withstand whatever abuse you can throw at it.  Frankly, it is THE best ballhead you can buy for outdoor photography.  If you're interested, you can read my thorough review of the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead.

I used to have the same ballhead. It was fantastic but when I used it with my large format camera (Sinar F2), I feared for the camera. It's not that the ballhead wasn't able to support the camera, it certainly could. However, the UBH doesn't have a friction knob to speak of and so it's either tight and locked in or the camera is flopping about.

The Acratech GV2 and GP heads have solved this problem. The second slight issue, which I suppose becomes a non-issue after a while is you don't have a full range of movement with the UBH. I found I would get into situations when I couldn't position the camera as I wanted to because of the construction of the head and so would have to losen the panoramic knob and literally spin the ballhead 180 degrees. I eventually got used to it but it was a slight, minor irritant.

While I don't have either of those ballheads (yet), I would probably say they are better ballheads than the UBH. The UBH is a great ball head though!

Policar

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2011, 07:54:45 pm »

Alastair, what ballheads would you recommend for a small 4x5 rig? 
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AlastairMoore

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2011, 09:02:41 pm »

Alastair, what ballheads would you recommend for a small 4x5 rig? 

I'm sure other people are probably better qualified to answer this but I guess all the usual suspects like Kirk, RRS, Arca-Swiss etc. will do you fine. I'm going to be trying my Sinar F2 with my new ballhead but so far it seems to be holding my D700 with prime lens and SB-800 perfectly solid without raising a sweat. Will report back to you on it though!

Jonathan Ratzlaff

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2011, 11:48:06 pm »

Every manfrotto tripod head I have used moved when tightened down.  The giottos I have doesn't and for $100 on sale it is a good tripod head.  No flex no movement; its all in the tripod now.
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WarrenRoos

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2011, 04:39:39 pm »

This will fit your budget and is a great ball head but not as small as today's leaders. Used them for years and still have one in the back room.

NPC PRO HEAD FOR TRIPOD

http://cgi.ebay.com/NPC-PRO-HEAD-TRIPOD-/260733725283?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cb4f0ea63#ht_715wt_1141
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NigelC

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2011, 05:31:17 pm »

For those who might be interested, this is the Giottos ball head I talked about above. It really is a lovely piece of equipment (out of the box and untested!). At the moment, I see no reason why this isn't as capable a tripod head as the more expensive Kirk or RRS heads but time will tell. So far, so good. I'll be trying it out in anger this weekend.



I have been using a Giotto ballhead (I think one down from the one in the picture) for about 18 months. It's OK, but it hasn't always held my 5D/5D2 with a heavy lens in portrait mode without slipping. Also the QR plate is not a masterpiece of design, even compared to asatandard Manfrotto hex plate.
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tim wolcott

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2011, 12:15:00 am »

If anyone is interested I have a BH55 ballhead that was used for one day and in the box.  Tim 9517411674
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AlastairMoore

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2011, 10:16:09 pm »

I have been using a Giotto ballhead (I think one down from the one in the picture) for about 18 months. It's OK, but it hasn't always held my 5D/5D2 with a heavy lens in portrait mode without slipping. Also the QR plate is not a masterpiece of design, even compared to asatandard Manfrotto hex plate.

I've got a moderately heavy lens (a Nikon 180mm f2.8) to try over the next couple of weeks so will be interesting to see how it fares. The specs say it should hold up to 12kg but we'll see. So far, with my fairly light prime lenses (20, 24mm nikkors), it's been absolutely rock solid. I got the arca-swiss compatible clamp and I can't see any issues with that. I'd be interested to see if it works with other non-giottos arca-swiss plates although I suspect it won't but I'm sure I can doctor the clamp to work somehow.

24x36

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2011, 08:10:03 pm »

I had a Giottos ball head, I think it was the next size down from that one. It was a perfectly nice ballhead with one tiny flaw: when tightening the main lock knob, the camera would move ever so slightly. Just enough to throw it out of level. Just enough to be totally and completely maddening.

I sincerely hope your larger version of the Giottos does not do this. My RRS BH55 does not.

Ah, the living proof of the old adage - "You get what you pay for." Better to find an old Arca-Swiss ball head (used) for the OP's price range than buy a new, cheap (as opposed to inexpensive) head that will probably aggravate in just the way you have foretold. Like you said, hopefully not, but...
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24x36

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2011, 06:40:12 pm »

This will fit your budget and is a great ball head but not as small as today's leaders. Used them for years and still have one in the back room.

NPC PRO HEAD FOR TRIPOD

http://cgi.ebay.com/NPC-PRO-HEAD-TRIPOD-/260733725283?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cb4f0ea63#ht_715wt_1141

That was a steal for whoever got it. The NPC Pro Head is my favorite, much better than any ball head IMO. I much prefer the two-axis approach of the NPC head (based on an artificial elbow joint) to the all-over-slop of any ball head. My other favorite is the Arca-Swiss B2/Z2, which is a ball-within-ball design with separate adjustments as opposed to conventional ball head action. Now if only someone would make a big enough leveling base to use with the Arca-Swiss, since it's the size of a soup can.  :o
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EinstStein

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Re: Need to buy a Ball Head
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2011, 10:10:11 pm »

People try to FUD you away do not know what they know.
Since you are not talking about 400mm or 600mm lens, you can find pretty good ball heads near your price, and some are less than $100.

Try KEH, A used Gitzo G1276 runs ~$150 (KEH), and the G1275 (similar to G1276 but without quick release) is ~ $90.
For brand new ball head, Benro BH2 is ~$80, it supports ~$15lbs, but it only has one knob. A better one, Benro B1, which has two knobs, is ~$150.

Benro (same company as Induro) is a new comer in tripod. But I found they products are pretty  good. In fact, I prefer Induro's AT seriers over Gitzo's Aluminum tripod. This based on my long time experience with Gitzo's tripod and not so long experience (but enough) with Induro.

When you are ready for 400mm or 600mm lens, that's another story. But I don't know any good ball head anyway. I have to settle with heavy tri-axis pan-and-tilt.
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