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Author Topic: Tripod quick release clamp - recommendations?  (Read 3521 times)
Transformer
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« on: January 05, 2013, 08:31:47 PM »
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I'm in the market for a tripod quick release clamp for my Nikon D800E (for use in the studio and out in the field). I'm also prepared to purchase a tripod/ball head to go with it if necessary. Any recommendations?
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chandsa
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 09:46:52 PM »
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I have used the Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head with the quick release clamp very successfully for the last 6+ years. I believe its one of the best in the market and personally I would recommend it without any hesitation. RRS ball heads are very sturdy and they are designed to take quite a bit of abuse. In the last 6 years I've only even thought about sending them back in for service only one time and those folks are very good at supporting and standing behind their product. Take a look at their catalogue and you will find a plethora of choices.

Good luck!
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Martin Ranger
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 10:26:46 PM »
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I am a huge fan of the Arca-Swiss P1 ballhead with the built-in clamp. It is essentially a ballhead turned upside down. This allows you to stabilize the camera with two hands (one on the camera, one on the movable part of the head) at all times. Moreover, since it is tightened with a ring running around the entire head, there is not fumbling for the tightening screws. The only potential downside is it's limited range of movement
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Martin Ranger
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Scott O.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 12:47:17 AM »
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+1 for RRS BH-55 ball heads. There are other good ones, but this is one of the best. I also highly recommend the RRS lever clamp.
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k bennett
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 08:01:38 AM »
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I've been using the BH-55 with the lever release clamp for more than five years and it works very well for general photography. There are times that I would like a precision geared 3-way head for shooting architecture, but I haven't pursued that yet.

Depending on what lenses you'll mount on the D800, the RRS BH-40 might work.

For tripods, I've been happy with my Gitzo Series 3 Systematic. Not cheap, but well worth it. The Feisol seems decent, too. Just make sure it's tall enough without buying a center column (optional on many tripods.)

This article is dated but the general ideas still hold.
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elliot_n
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 11:10:07 AM »
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No-one ever has much to say about Manfrotto, but if you want a quick Quick Release, then Manfrotto (rectangular and hex plates) are the fastest - with their system you can replace the camera on the tripod with just one hand. That said, the QR systems from Kirk, RSS etc are better machined. Also Manfrotto's attempt at an L-plate system is crude compared to the custom L-plates from Kirk and RSS.
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 12:37:21 PM »
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Hi,
Another choice would Arcratech ( http://acratech.net/ ). I use their levelling base and their ballhead with a Gitzo tripod for my Canon 5d2. I recently purchased a base for my Leica from Really Right Stuff which works perfectly with the Acratech ballhead. It is the levelling base that drew me to purchase both items from Acratech  - the base is very light and lets me level the tripod quite quickly.
Jean-Michel
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Rand47
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 10:08:05 PM »
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+1 for RRS BH-55 ball heads. There are other good ones, but this is one of the best. I also highly recommend the RRS lever clamp.

+2  BH-55 w/ lever release clamp is the cat's jamas.  Combined w/ my TVC-33 tripod it is the best system I've ever used.  I've had Arca, Foba, Acratech.
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francois
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 04:37:35 AM »
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+2  BH-55 w/ lever release clamp is the cat's jamas.  Combined w/ my TVC-33 tripod it is the best system I've ever used.  I've had Arca, Foba, Acratech.

+3 on the RRS BH-55 with lever clamp. It's been through sand, dust, rain, sleet, snow, etc... and it still performs as new.
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Francois
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 12:24:13 PM »
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Many thanks for your feedback.

I'm considering the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead because it appears to have less restrictive movement for table top photography (which I do a lot of) and the Really Right Stuff BH-55 (simply because it appears to be a very solid, robust device that comes highly recommended by most of you).

I have found your comments very helpful and welcome any other feedback.

Thinking, thinking, thinking ...
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 12:44:32 PM »
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Clamp alone for adding  to an existing head : Really Right Stuff PCL-1  http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=PCL-1&type=0&eq=&desc=PCL-1%3a-Panning-Clamp&key=it
Once you have worked with  a panning clamp at the top as well of the bottom of a tripod head  you understand why it makes so much sense especially for table top work. 

Arca-Swiss B1 Monoball or the RRS BH-55 - either one with a Really Right Stuff PCL-1 panning clamp in place of the stock clamp.

The Arca-Swiss p1 is terrific and so is the p0 but although they have a panning camera platform  they don't have a panning joint at their base.

Rational (two way tilt heads):

I suggest you look at the  Arca-Swiss D4 and C1 especially as you are asking about table top product work. Being able to control fore/aft and lateral tilts separately can make still life work easier and both of these heads have panning platforms at the top as wel las the bottom of the head. For a much heavier duty solution I use the Foba ASMIA http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/247458-REG/Foba_31_0118_ASMIA_Double_Pan_Tilt.html  with a PCL-1 on top.

An ASMIA has a range of movement (even a ballhead) that no other tripod head  can hand will hold even a big DSLR (Phase One , Hasselblad H, Canon EOS 1D/1Ds , Nikon D3x, etc.) very securely at that angle. Why? It was designed to support 8x10 Sinar P2 cameras. ASMIA heads show up on eBay from time to time and that is where I bought mine.
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Ellis Vener
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NancyP
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 12:18:13 PM »
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Find yourself a generic Arca-Swiss-type L bracket. (A-S company has switched to a much narrower gauge).
If you want a cheap geared head solution, you can get the Manfrotto 410 Jr, and replace the Manfrotto QR system with the Hejnar 405/410 adapter/clamp (www.hejnarphoto.com). It isn't as glorious as the fabled Cube, but it is a lot more affordable -  ~$350 new, including the adapter.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2013, 12:50:16 PM »
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Nancy P wrote: A-S company has switched to a much narrower gauge

That's not true. Arca-Swiss added a narrow width QR system called the SlideFix - based on the width of the monorail for Arca-Swiss view cameras, but they have not discontinued making products with the "classic" width clamps, plates and rails.
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Ellis Vener
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 12:17:55 AM »
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Hi,

I also much like the Arca Swiss D4. It's a pleasure to work with. I use it with a leveling base. The Arca D4 has rotation on both the base and on the top. Rotation on the base does not cause tilt if the base is level, that is a good thing for panos.

I didn't really like the Arca Swiss fliplock so I replaced it by an RRS lever type QR (it's very easy but you need a 3.5mm hex key, it's standard but not commonly used). I moved the fliplock to my video head, so it has found a nice reuse

Ellis like the screw type QRs from RRS and I prefer the lever type, but all my plates work well with lever type QR.

Before going to RRS I used Acratech, they also make good stuff and have a nice looking QR. The Acratech screw type QR actually works very well, but I had problems on my Acratech head that I could mix up QR and pan knobs, which quite often lead to a camera sitting loose in the QR. That is the main reason I switched to lever type.

The camera I use is about 2.5 kg with lens. Working on a RRS BH55 head for a couple of days I got pain in my wrists, with the D4 I can shoot for a week with no problems. I'm persnickety with composition and getting it exactly right with a ball head is not easy, and a ball head has always a tendency to shift when fixing the ball.

The D4 has only gears on two axis, I would prefer gears on three axes, but horisontal locking precision is very good, so I'm quite happy.

Best regards
Erik


Clamp alone for adding  to an existing head : Really Right Stuff PCL-1  http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=PCL-1&type=0&eq=&desc=PCL-1%3a-Panning-Clamp&key=it
Once you have worked with  a panning clamp at the top as well of the bottom of a tripod head  you understand why it makes so much sense especially for table top work. 

Arca-Swiss B1 Monoball or the RRS BH-55 - either one with a Really Right Stuff PCL-1 panning clamp in place of the stock clamp.

The Arca-Swiss p1 is terrific and so is the p0 but although they have a panning camera platform  they don't have a panning joint at their base.

Rational (two way tilt heads):

I suggest you look at the  Arca-Swiss D4 and C1 especially as you are asking about table top product work. Being able to control fore/aft and lateral tilts separately can make still life work easier and both of these heads have panning platforms at the top as wel las the bottom of the head. For a much heavier duty solution I use the Foba ASMIA http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/247458-REG/Foba_31_0118_ASMIA_Double_Pan_Tilt.html  with a PCL-1 on top.

An ASMIA has a range of movement (even a ballhead) that no other tripod head  can hand will hold even a big DSLR (Phase One , Hasselblad H, Canon EOS 1D/1Ds , Nikon D3x, etc.) very securely at that angle. Why? It was designed to support 8x10 Sinar P2 cameras. ASMIA heads show up on eBay from time to time and that is where I bought mine.
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NancyP
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 05:44:08 PM »
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Eliot is right. I should have clarified, the Arca-Swiss brand clamps have two levels, a lower narrow-gauge level for the view camera rails and for the same-gauge "Slide fix" for non-view-camera plates, and an upper wide-gauge level for the industry-wide "Arca style" plates. I am a happy user of the Z1sp, with the Arca-Swiss brand lever clamp (adjustable* for slightly different width plates, unlike the RRS lever clamp which fits only the RRS plates).

asterisk: don't adjust clamp width too briskly or in the field, or you will have a pile of tiny washers, spring, jaw, etc which can take a few minutes to reassemble, @%^^$@*! Wink. I adjusted it, indoors on a carpeted surface, and don't fiddle with adjustment now.)
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photoshutter
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2013, 11:25:38 PM »
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Slik af2100 pistol grip, strong, very fast in operation with one hand. My Arca B1 and Foba ASMIO is collecting dust after this Slik.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 11:31:05 PM by photoshutter » Logged
francois
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2013, 05:51:32 AM »
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Many thanks for your feedback.

I'm considering the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead because it appears to have less restrictive movement for table top photography (which I do a lot of) and the Really Right Stuff BH-55 (simply because it appears to be a very solid, robust device that comes highly recommended by most of you).

I have found your comments very helpful and welcome any other feedback.

Thinking, thinking, thinking ...

In addition to my BH-55, I also have the Acratech UBH. I'm not doing tabletop photography (or not that much) but for "normal" photography, I find the BH-55 much easier to work with. It's also a lot heavier than the Acratech.
You should definitely try the Acratech, it's a bit different vs the BH-55 or similar Arca Swiss BHs.
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Francois
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2013, 06:49:46 AM »
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Again, thanks to everyone for their recommendations. Choosing a ball head has been the most difficult photographic challenge I've experienced in a long time.

Has anyone had any experience with the VANGUARD BBH-300?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/843323-REG/Vanguard_BBH_300_BBH_300_Ballhead.html

(There is a local distributor of VANGUARD products who swears his stock is genuine plus the price is very enticing!)

Then there's the Sunwayfoto XB-52 Low Profile Ball Head ... Looks like the 'Sunwayfoto PANORAMIC HEAD KIT 3' will do it all!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/899242-REG/Sunwayfoto_PANO_3_PANORAMIC_HEAD_KIT_3.html

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k bennett
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2013, 08:14:40 AM »
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A panoramic kit is a pretty specialized setup for shooting multi-image panoramics. I would not want to use it for general photography.

There are plenty of ball heads out there, priced all over the map. I've owned half a dozen, starting with several cheap Bogens, through the mid-priced Giottos, finally ending with the BH-55. There's a reason why so many photographers recommend it, and I suspect most of them got there the same way I did.

Depending on your needs, of course, you may be perfectly happy with the Vanguard.
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