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Author Topic: Tripod Ballhead  (Read 3722 times)
martin.beek
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« on: November 29, 2005, 06:10:50 AM »
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Hello -

I have purcased a Gitzo G1298 (Basalt) tripod, and I'm after some advice regarding a choice of ball head. Ideally i would like one with a quick release plate and panning base but that remains light weight. The tripod is limited to a load of 5.5kg, and i doubt i'll have a need to go over 3-4 (8-9lbs), so i do not need too heavy-duty a head. The head certainly needn't be a gitzo. What do you recommend i look into? Money is definitely a concern (around the 175-250$ mark, or less), but i'd prefer to buy something that is well designed and works well, rather than cut costs and get a head which is frustrating and hence will see little use! Any comments or suggestions would be useful.

Many thanks!
Martin.
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jani
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2005, 09:45:35 AM »
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Have a look at Really Right Stuff's BH-25 models here:

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/ballheads/

The BH-25 LR (lever release) is USD 175 plus shipping, and can take up to 4 kg.
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Jan
jd1566
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2005, 09:56:13 AM »
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Hi there,
As your budget is quite contained, I won't rattle off the interminable list of high-end ball-heads.  What I will say is that the most amazing invention since Arca Swiss came up with a standard dovetail plate design is RRS's lever clamp.  It can be purchased separately and added to existing ballheads.  My suggestion therefore is the following:

Giottos MH-1000 ballhead (a Linhoff copy - I am very happy with Giottos quality though, own both a CF tripod and AL monopod and both are excellent quality for a reasonable price).  $109 at B&H, currently

RRS lever clamp at $120

Total $229 + S/H  Though slightly above your budget, it is still way cheaper than the RRS ballheads, or any other Kirk, Markins, Acratech etc.  


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller...oughType=search
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B&W photographer - Still lifes, Portraits, Urban scenes, Landscapes, Abstract images.
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2005, 11:06:03 AM »
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Give the feisol head a try and report back.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2005, 01:16:05 PM »
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I also have been in the tripod and head search the past few weeks, and just finally made the purchase. I ended up buying a set of the new Feisol 3 section carbon fiber legs (w/ just a mounting plate - no center column for better stability) for $170 and a Kirk BH-3 for $255.

The three main ballheads I looked at were all universally recommended as excellent, and stood out from the crowd.

Markins M10 - Seems to be the nicest of the bunch, almost as good as the Arca Swiss B1. However, it was over $300, so that scratched it off my list.

Acratech Ultimate Ballhead - at $270-290 new it was a little above my price range. There is a guy on Ebay who sells factory seconds (fully functional and warranteed, minor cosmetic defect). These typically go for $240-250, and there's usually one per week. The downside with the Acratech is that the design is a little unique and some people did not like having to use the panning base to reorient the ballhead to access certain positions. Otherwise it's a great ballhead and well liked.

The Kirk BH-3 is also highly recommended, and is just a couple ounces heavier than the other two heads. The reason I chose the Kirk was primarily because it was the cheapest price (new) and it also came with a free generic plate. Since the plates can cost $40-50, this is a significant savings.

I'd recommend stretching to the upper half of your budget and trying either the Kirk or Acratech ballheads.

Sheldon
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matt4626
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2005, 02:59:38 PM »
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I have been using Kirk heads for several years in all kinds of adverse conditions and they have always worked perfectly. I would buy a Kirk again if I need another ballhead.
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2005, 05:42:23 PM »
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I have sereral Velbon ballheads. Two large heavy heads for a View camera and one Mag head for medium-format. I find them very good and I like the fact they have opposing notches so the head can be tiled forward and back (or left and right) easily. It does not have a pan base, but adding a pan base may be a more economical solution than buying a higher end head that has everything.

If you are getting the pan feature for panoramic photos, think of adding a leveling head.
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2005, 01:53:28 AM »
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The only ball-head I used is the 322RC2. As I like using the handle, I like it a lot. HTH.
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.
martin.beek
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2005, 05:00:33 AM »
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Thanks for your quick replies and helpful suggestions. I've heard nothing but good things about Kirk balls - they're just too expensive here - i'm in the UK. The cheapest BH-3 i've found locally costs 325$ w/o shipping, and though there are plenty of US stores happy to ship things to Europe, the 19% tax and customs duties which are payable negate most of the benefits. Acratechs cost nearly 400$.

Does anyone happen to know of any good UK stores which might stock splates by RRS for example? warehouseexpress.com is our B&H equivalent, but don't stock them.

I'll have a look if i can find someone stocking feisol heads.

Thanks for the help!
Martin.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2005, 10:27:17 AM »
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Only RRS sell their plates and although the duty is 'only' 17.5% you have to add the parcel force 10 handling fee. Do you know anyone living in the states who could send one on with a far smaller value declared? I have an Aunt in the US who is doing the same for me with a 5D 'L' bracket. I can't admit to any qualms whatsoever as far as the tax man is concerned, not when the price doubles after shipping, tax and handling
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