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Author Topic: Ballheads - a verification  (Read 9105 times)
Craddosk
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« on: October 30, 2009, 11:53:58 PM »
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So, after disassembling my current tripod (a Propod style, old and heavy), I'm looking towards upgrading the head. After hearing the numerous rave reviews about the RRS BH-55, I thought I would look at Real Right Stuff's gear.
So, the camera system in question is a Nikon D40x, with the current heaviest lens being the 55-200mm VR, weighing in around 335 grams. There is no 70-200 f/2.8 in my near (next 5 years) future. Likely future lenses will be a wide angle and maybe another prime.

As to the topic at hand, the gear I'm looking at is:
RRS BH-25 ball head with their B2mAS clamp system. This is not the quick release clamp, rather the screw based on. This was done with pricepoint in mind. Those that have used both the screw and quick release, what are your thoughts on this?

Multi-camera plate for Nikon D40/D40x. This is considered as a result of the pricepoint, I'm thinking that the L-plate will not receive enough usage to warrant the extra $70. Thoughts? I realize that for a portrait shot, I would have to put the camera over, potentially destabilizing the tripod and having the recompose the shot.

Total cost for all this is $200 American dollars. This is before shipping to Canada.

What are your thoughts on this system? Will it last for many years, and will the ballhead, with it's pull out adjustment only, suffice for most shots? At this moment in time I'm shooting landscapes, but that could change with time. Would it be worth the extra $130 and step up to the BH-30 or even the BH-40?

In addition, is there Canadian retailers for RRS gear or is it strictly available from their website? My research is by no means complete, as I'm visiting local camera stores for further opinions tomorrow morning. If you have suggestions, I welcome them.

Thanks.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 03:17:25 AM »
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Hi!

I appreciate your consideration for the price point, many posters just ignore this.

I have three heads right now, for the tripod that is. In addition I have a neck mounted device. The tripod heads I have are:

The Acratech Ultimate Ballhead
The RRS BH-40
The RRS BH-55

I much prefer lever type QR, especially as I have found myself often fiddling with the QR release screw on the Acratech instead of the "pan knob". On the Acratech these knobs are pretty similar. The BH-55 is new to me. I bought it for practical reasons, the BH40 is to small for my latest tripod.

I'd suggest that the equipment you mention is OK, especially with regard to your price point. I'd regard an L-plate to be essential, especially when shooting stitched images. On the other hand, generic plates are always useful, so if you decide to upgrade to an L-plate the universal plate is still useful. I have not used the RRS BH-25 ball head, but I would assume it's OK, as RRS stuff used to be OK.

Regarding the  B2mAS I think I have it. Nothing wrong with it but I guess my preference is with heavier stuff, both regarding plates and cameras

In general I don't think RRS is selling trough retailers.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Craddosk
So, after disassembling my current tripod (a Propod style, old and heavy), I'm looking towards upgrading the head. After hearing the numerous rave reviews about the RRS BH-55, I thought I would look at Real Right Stuff's gear.
So, the camera system in question is a Nikon D40x, with the current heaviest lens being the 55-200mm VR, weighing in around 335 grams. There is no 70-200 f/2.8 in my near (next 5 years) future. Likely future lenses will be a wide angle and maybe another prime.

As to the topic at hand, the gear I'm looking at is:
RRS BH-25 ball head with their B2mAS clamp system. This is not the quick release clamp, rather the screw based on. This was done with pricepoint in mind. Those that have used both the screw and quick release, what are your thoughts on this?

Multi-camera plate for Nikon D40/D40x. This is considered as a result of the pricepoint, I'm thinking that the L-plate will not receive enough usage to warrant the extra $70. Thoughts? I realize that for a portrait shot, I would have to put the camera over, potentially destabilizing the tripod and having the recompose the shot.

Total cost for all this is $200 American dollars. This is before shipping to Canada.

What are your thoughts on this system? Will it last for many years, and will the ballhead, with it's pull out adjustment only, suffice for most shots? At this moment in time I'm shooting landscapes, but that could change with time. Would it be worth the extra $130 and step up to the BH-30 or even the BH-40?

In addition, is there Canadian retailers for RRS gear or is it strictly available from their website? My research is by no means complete, as I'm visiting local camera stores for further opinions tomorrow morning. If you have suggestions, I welcome them.

Thanks.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 08:31:18 AM »
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I have no idea about the ballhead you're looking at.  You might try this ...

http://www.birdsasart.com/giottos.htm

... if you are looking for cheap.
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KeithR
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 10:28:25 AM »
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Quote from: Craddosk
So, after disassembling my current tripod (a Propod style, old and heavy), I'm looking towards upgrading the head. After hearing the numerous rave reviews about the RRS BH-55, I thought I would look at Real Right Stuff's gear.
So, the camera system in question is a Nikon D40x, with the current heaviest lens being the 55-200mm VR, weighing in around 335 grams. There is no 70-200 f/2.8 in my near (next 5 years) future. Likely future lenses will be a wide angle and maybe another prime.

As to the topic at hand, the gear I'm looking at is:
RRS BH-25 ball head with their B2mAS clamp system. This is not the quick release clamp, rather the screw based on. This was done with pricepoint in mind. Those that have used both the screw and quick release, what are your thoughts on this?

Multi-camera plate for Nikon D40/D40x. This is considered as a result of the pricepoint, I'm thinking that the L-plate will not receive enough usage to warrant the extra $70. Thoughts? I realize that for a portrait shot, I would have to put the camera over, potentially destabilizing the tripod and having the recompose the shot.

Total cost for all this is $200 American dollars. This is before shipping to Canada.

What are your thoughts on this system? Will it last for many years, and will the ballhead, with it's pull out adjustment only, suffice for most shots? At this moment in time I'm shooting landscapes, but that could change with time. Would it be worth the extra $130 and step up to the BH-30 or even the BH-40?

In addition, is there Canadian retailers for RRS gear or is it strictly available from their website? My research is by no means complete, as I'm visiting local camera stores for further opinions tomorrow morning. If you have suggestions, I welcome them.

Thanks.
I have the BH-55(as well as thier MH-01 monopod head)and it is a fine ballhead, but given your equipment on hand, I think you should look at the BH-40 instead of the -25. A ballhead that can handle heavier loads in the future only costs you once. If you get the lighter rated head and somewhere down the line you do get something bigger, well then you'll pay again for anouther ballhead. I would also highly recommend(as others have) investing in an L plate. It just makes things easier in the field. As to the choice of a QR style, I'm inclined to use the lever style. In the years of use that I've had them, I've never once had a failure of the lever(and I use very heavy lenses). I don't believe RRS has any outside retailers they work through, so your only way to order is through them. They are a very good company to work with and their product is of very high quality.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 10:29:50 AM by KeithR » Logged

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Craddosk
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2009, 05:55:15 PM »
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So after more research, it appears that RRS is only available from their website. Can't seem to find a distributor that I can allow to actually try using the ball head before I purchase it.

Stopped in at a local camera store, and they recommend the Manfrotto 488RC. They're bringing one in from one of their other stores so that I can get my hands dirty with it. Reviews that I've read say that it's a fairly good tripod. What are your thoughts on it? They're advertising it at $134 CAN, so significantly cheaper than the BH-30 and the BH-25 from RRS. From my lookings, it has the panoramic style rotation, in addition to the ballhead. Holds 8 pounds. Thoughts on longevity from this product, and ability to actually perform?
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Craddosk
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2009, 06:49:59 PM »
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After some more looking, the Manfrotto is not to the level of quality that I'm looking for. However, The Markins Q3 is looking promising.

What are your thoughts on the Markin's Q3? It's a bit over my price range, but I've been reading that its better than the Kirk BH-3, and compares/exceeds the RRS BH-40. Thoughts? Could I put a L bracket into it's clamping system? Would that works?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2009, 09:11:14 PM »
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Quote from: Craddosk
After some more looking, the Manfrotto is not to the level of quality that I'm looking for. However, The Markins Q3 is looking promising.

What are your thoughts on the Markin's Q3? It's a bit over my price range, but I've been reading that its better than the Kirk BH-3, and compares/exceeds the RRS BH-40. Thoughts? Could I put a L bracket into it's clamping system? Would that works?

I like my BH-3 more than the BH-40.

I know nothing of Markins other than a lot of people like them.  If it claims an arca swiss clamp you should be good with an L bracket.
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NikosR
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 01:07:50 AM »
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Markins use bog standard Arca Swiss type clamps so you will be able to use any good quality Arca Swiss type plate or L barcket. I own the larger of their 3 ballheads and the quality is excellent. I have no experience with the small Q3. I believe the Markins products are very good value for money.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 01:09:13 AM by NikosR » Logged

Nikos
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 07:07:52 AM »
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The BH40 is a bit small and the BH55 is a bit to large for your equipment, a used Linhof profi II would be just right. You can find them for less than $200 in excellent shape on ebay
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Craddosk
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2009, 10:17:55 AM »
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Thanks for the advice Marc, but I have a bit of a thing of avoiding Ebay, simply because I can't afford to risk losing the money into the scam and still afford to purchase another ballhead. So, I'm going to go with brand new, and get the warranty in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

But just to summarize what I'm seeing here is that both the Markin's Q3 and the RRS BH-30/40/55 are of extremely high quality, and will likely suffice for my needs for an extended period of time. Further, they take the same style of quick mount system, permitting for an L bracket that's Arca swiss type style to mount to any quick release plate.

Keep the comments coming, even new suggestions are very much appreciated.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2009, 06:13:55 PM »
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I have a big Arca Swiss ballhead and I am about to get myself an RRS ballhead with lever. The Arca Swiss has knobs. One reason I'm replacing it is that it tends to stick when not used for a while, and it takes much pushing and shoving to get it loose. My impression of RRS is that their stuff is really top quality (I have used their L brackets on a few cameras).

As for lever vs. knob: Just a few days ago I was out for a local hike in the woods, carrying my Gitzo with Arca Swiss in one hand and with my Canon 5D hanging around my neck. I had shot a couple of "warmup" shots hand-held and was looking for something worth putting the tripod up for. And there it was, a log with a shaft of sunlight hitting it just so nicely! So I set up the tripod (maybe 8 seconds), put the L bracket into the quick release (2 seconds), and started cranking the knob to close the quick release (10-15 seconds   ). By the time I was ready to shoot, the shaft of sunlight had moved off the log, so I missed the shot.

Even with a tripod speed is sometimes important. Such as for a quick switch between portrait and landscape format. So I want the lever on my next ballhead and quick release.

Eric

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francois
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2009, 04:28:08 AM »
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Quote from: EricM
I have a big Arca Swiss ballhead and I am about to get myself an RRS ballhead with lever. The Arca Swiss has knobs. One reason I'm replacing it is that it tends to stick when not used for a while, and it takes much pushing and shoving to get it loose. My impression of RRS is that their stuff is really top quality (I have used their L brackets on a few cameras).

I had the same experience with my Arca Swiss ballhead. After a few years of use, it started to stick when the atmosphere was damp and I lost quite a few shots! I've sold it and replaced with an RRS ballhead.
After more than four years of use, the RRS ballheadd works as if it was new.

[!--quoteo(post=0:date=:name=EricM)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE (EricM)[div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]As for lever vs. knob: Just a few days ago I was out for a local hike in the woods, carrying my Gitzo with Arca Swiss in one hand and with my Canon 5D hanging around my neck. I had shot a couple of "warmup" shots hand-held and was looking for something worth putting the tripod up for. And there it was, a log with a shaft of sunlight hitting it just so nicely! So I set up the tripod (maybe 8 seconds), put the L bracket into the quick release (2 seconds), and started cranking the knob to close the quick release (10-15 seconds   ). By the time I was ready to shoot, the shaft of sunlight had moved off the log, so I missed the shot.

Even with a tripod speed is sometimes important. Such as for a quick switch between portrait and landscape format. So I want the lever on my next ballhead and quick release.

Eric[/quote]
The lever clamp is the way to go… It's very easy on fingers, quick to operate, can be used with gloves and works well with heavy loads.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 04:28:37 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2009, 08:14:06 AM »
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Quote from: francois
I had the same experience with my Arca Swiss ballhead. After a few years of use, it started to stick when the atmosphere was damp and I lost quite a few shots! I've sold it and replaced with an RRS ballhead.
After more than four years of use, the RRS ballheadd works as if it was new.


The lever clamp is the way to go… It's very easy on fingers, quick to operate, can be used with gloves and works well with heavy loads.
Thanks! That reassures me that I'm not crazy to give up on my Arca Swiss. 

Anyone want to make an offer? It does work pretty well if I spend a few minutes on "warm-up exercises" (twisting it through all possible movements several times) before I go out with it each day. But I look forward to having a ballhead that works right away.


Eric

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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2009, 06:39:45 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
Thanks! That reassures me that I'm not crazy to give up on my Arca Swiss. 

Anyone want to make an offer? It does work pretty well if I spend a few minutes on "warm-up exercises" (twisting it through all possible movements several times) before I go out with it each day. But I look forward to having a ballhead that works right away.


Eric

The real problem with RRS ballheads is that for SLR users the BH40 is too small and the BH55 is too big/heavy so if you are reading this please make a RRS BH 47.5 for those who will not mount a MF or LF camera on it! Oh the other nit is RRS changed from a military black anodized finish to a matt black finish that I don't care for, just a nit.
Marc
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2009, 07:22:33 PM »
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Quote from: marcmccalmont
The real problem with RRS ballheads is that for SLR users the BH40 is too small and the BH55 is too big/heavy so if you are reading this please make a RRS BH 47.5 for those who will not mount a MF or LF camera on it! Oh the other nit is RRS changed from a military black anodized finish to a matt black finish that I don't care for, just a nit.
Marc
I wonder if the BH40 will do for me, as I very seldom use a lens bigger than my 24-105. I might keep the Arca Swiss for the occasional longer lens shot, or maybe I should shave a BH55 down to BH47.5 size.   

Eric


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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2009, 08:04:07 PM »
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Hi,

I have used the BH40 with lenses up to 800 mm and it works fine. I have bought an BH-55 but the jury is still out. The issue I had with the BH-40 that the lock lever goes below the mounting plate. Now, my new Gitzo Systematic tripod has a wide mounting plate so it interferes with the mounting plate on the tripod. I would probably not see this problem with the center column.

Because the distance between the center of the ball and the center of mass of the camera/lens is larger on the BH-55 i felt that the BH-55 may be rougher on the hands than the BH-40, but I may be wrong. I only had the BH-55 on one shoot so far.

Erik


Quote from: EricM
I wonder if the BH40 will do for me, as I very seldom use a lens bigger than my 24-105. I might keep the Arca Swiss for the occasional longer lens shot, or maybe I should shave a BH55 down to BH47.5 size.   

Eric
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 11:19:27 PM »
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Thanks for the info, Erik.

I'm probably OK with the BH40, since my Gitzo does have a center column, so lots of room for the lever to swing.

Eric

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francois
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2009, 04:00:35 AM »
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Quote from: EricM
Thanks for the info, Erik.

I'm probably OK with the BH40, since my Gitzo does have a center column, so lots of room for the lever to swing.

Eric
The BH40 should OK for your combo. IIRC, you can return the product after a few days of test if you're not satisfied. The folks at RRS are very friendly and can help you in your choice.
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Francois
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2009, 10:45:12 AM »
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I have all three RRS ballheads:

BH-25LR on a Gitzo 1128
BH-40LR on a Gitzo 1348
BH-55LR on a Gitzo 5530S

My most-used tripod/head combination is the BH-40LR on the Gitzo 1348. My primary gear is a Canon 1Ds Mark III with L plate and typically 24-105/4 or 70-200/2.8 lens. The BH-40LR is as much as you almost ever need and almost a full pound lighter than the BH-55LR and 65 USD cheaper. There is the issue of the lever hitting the plate on the 1348 legs, but the lever is adjustable - just pull it out and move it to a different detent. Once set I've never had to move mine, though it would take, oh, almost a whole second. I actually prefer it to the knob on the BH-55LR.

The BH-25LR is great IF you need absolutely minimum weight. I would not want it to be my only or primary ballhead. The BH-40LR is much better at that role and only a half pound heavier. Come on... half a pound is what, a multi-tool ... or maybe a few packets of Gu or energy bars. I haven't used the BH-25LR on the 1128 legs since I bought my original Canon 5D years ago. But I keep it for casual use with smaller cameras.

The BH-55LR on 5530S legs is a fairly heavy combination: 7.8 pounds versus 5.8 for the BH-40LR & 1348 combo, plus much wider at the leg junction. For working out of a van it's fantastic, but only once did I carry it up a mountain. Ever since it doesn't stray more than a couple of miles from the van. For maximum vibration control, though, it's fantastic.
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kikashi
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2009, 01:38:32 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
I wonder if the BH40 will do for me, as I very seldom use a lens bigger than my 24-105. I might keep the Arca Swiss for the occasional longer lens shot, or maybe I should shave a BH55 down to BH47.5 size.   

Eric
I've just received my BH40/LR2. It's quite lovely!

Jeremy
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