A ballhead that won't break the bank

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Digidurst, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Hi all! I am currently using a Bogen 3047 head with my Horseman LE and it's great but rather bulky. Since I am adding a Shen-Hao to my arsenal, I would like to get a ball head that I can mount on my 'traveling' pod that I can also get QR plates to use with my Mamiya 330f and my Canon 20D. Again, the Horseman will stay on the Bogen so I don't need a ballhead to handle it, just the other three cameras.

    So I'd love to hear what you folks are successfully using; maybe even pros and cons (as I've never used a ballhead before).

    p.s. Money is an issue so don't tell me how much you love your $300+ ArcaSwiss (or whatever) 'cause that ain't gonna happen and I'll only be jealous :wink:
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I use a ballhead that I got from Canon with my field camera, it was around $100.00 has a good holding system and seems to be quite steady, it was not a QR model, so I added a QR mount that I picked up on Ebay for about $25.00 that works with the standard arca sized QR plates, the ball is about 1.5 inches in diameter and it is made out of magnisium, so not overly heavy.

    Dave
     
  3. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I use a Manfrotto 468RC (Bogen code: 3435QR). I have had it for a number of years and don't recall what I paid for it.
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Why a ballhead if you've never used one before? I much prefer a pan-tilt head with my LF camera. You may want to look into one of the low profile pan-tilt heads which are much smaller than the admittedly large 3047 (which I have). Another option would be to buy a new tripod from Berlebach which has a built-in tilt head, this option is, I believe, cheaper than buying the Arca-Swiss.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree with Jeremy. It can be very tricky to level the camera with a ballhead. Try one to be sure that it won't just cause frustration. Those expensive double ball heads offer more control--more like a pan-tilt head--which is why they are expensive.
     
  6. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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  7. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    If I read Ellen's original post correctly, she's looking for a ballhead for everything else not for her LF.
     
  8. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I never really like ballheads until I bought an older heavy duty Linhof ball head which I mounted on some 3021 sticks (I use it with the RC0 QR adapter). That head made me a ball head convert! I also use an older Manfrotto Pro Ball model 168 (the one that uses the hex shaped QR plates) on a set of 3001 sticks, but only for 35mm and some 6X6. My third head is a 3047 3-way head which stays on my 3036 sticks. I considered putting a "real" head on my Berlebach 2042 wood tripod, but the built-in leveling ball woks so well, I just haven't bothered.
     
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Can only agree with the 3047, Bogen/Manfrotto did have a ball head that worked with the same QR mounts (sorry, don't recall the model) and they had one that was rather tall, but had a grip of sorts that made positioning easier.

    One question, understand the Horseman will stay on the 3047, and the Mamiya and Canon will be on the 'new' head, but what do you plan to mount the Shen-Hao on?
     
  10. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    That rather tall, grip action Bogen is a dream! I know because I use one with my 20D and my 330f. So I guess technically, I lied about never having used a ballhead - I should have specified 'traditional' ballhead. Anyway, I love the grip action job but I don't believe it'll stand the weight of the Shen-Hao. Hence my question - I want one that will easily handle all three cameras. Bogen makes a horizontal version but I wonder how that will do with the bed of the Shen-Hao?
     
  11. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Just bought one (new) last week. $86 CDN. Holds a max wieght of 6kg (or 13 lbs).
     
  12. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Do you like it?
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    I really, really do not like my Ball head with my LF equipment, too awkward, and a PIA to maneuver(sp) and level with the cameras. The only reason I would use one again with my LF cameras is if I could afford a geared one. Which ain't gonna happen anytime soon.
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use Uniloc's biggest ballhead, and haven't felt the need to look for another head. It easily handles everything from the 0.6kg VAG 6.5x9cm to the 7kg Technika 5x7" and the slightly lighter 18x24cm plate camera.
     
  15. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Hmmm... maybe I just need stop being a weenie and keep using my 3047. Like I said, I like it except for it's bulk.

    Say, I'm curious about something... what happens (aside from falling off) when you put heavier than specified equipment on a head? Do they shake/vibrate? I wonder because I read some the specs for heads and they say the will handle 25+ pounds... Who carries a camera that weighs 25 pounds?

    Thanks for the input everyone :smile:
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They don't necessarily shake, they just sag.

    I have a tripod that's great for TF (35mm), useless for MF SLR, and fair for LF. That's where vibrations come into it.

    My Linhof weighed 7kg, the 300mm Xenar another kg. 8kg is about 16 pounds. I wouldn't care to carry something heavier than that, but I recently saw a 500kg 30x40" repro camera on that auction site :wink:
     
  17. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I had a Bogen 488 with the hex plate system and it work great for the Shen-Hao and it was light. I sold it because I need to go to an Arca-Swiss style clamp system when I added the Mamiya7 so I got an Acra-Tech which is also very nice (but out of your price range from the sounds of it). The Bogen 488 held just as well, but it does weigh more. I would get another, but without the quick release sytem and add a Kirk clamp. Should cost you about $150 with one plate.
     
  18. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Ellen,

    Check out the FLM ballheads at B&H. Nye and Jerry are both presently using the 38mm head for 4x5 and "spy camera" respectively. Nye said it's rated to hold 20 lbs and the model they have will lock side-to-side while allowing a fore-aft tilt (I think I have that right).

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=288445&is=REG

    Currently, I'm using the Acratech ballhead because it's light and will hold the 8x10 too. It's a bit pricier but seems very well made. I haven't tipped that 8x10 over too much yet, but it's rated to hold 25 lbs at any angle and the camera's only 10.

    http://acratech.net/ultimate_ballhead.html

    Steve
     
  19. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Takes a little getting used to. I had a cheapo light weight tripod with built in panhead(?). Couldn't handle the weight. The head would sag and I could watch the legs bend.
    The 468RC has no problem even with the 250mm on my Mamiya RB67. The biggest drawback (already mentioned) is the leveling. Also if you have a front (or back) heavy camera, loosening the ball too quickly could cause adernaline surges. I almost s**t myself the first time my camera took a nose dive when I wasn't holding it right when loosening the ball. Luckily the tripod (Manfrotto 055CL) didn't budge and no damage except to my nerves.
    Took my a bit to find a head I liked as most were too $$$! or couldn't handle the weight. The 468RC is the best compromise I could find in the stores around my area.
     
  20. harleygsb

    harleygsb Member

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    I have an Acratech ballhead. When tightened down, it holds my Arca 4x5 with no slip at all. I can even hike around with the tripod and camera over my shoulder and not worry about slippage. It is a great, lightweight ballhead at a reasonable price. Call the factory and ask if they have any seconds available. I got mine that way, a few bucks off and heck if I can find the defect.
     
  21. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Hey everybody! Just thought I'd post an update with some good news. MyBogen grip action head that I love ever so much works just beautifully with my Shen-Hao. No sag or anything. Now is this set up going to work in a wind storm? Of course not! But I'm not going to be using it under such conditions anyway. So I'm happy :smile:

    Regardless, I sure appreciate everyones input on my ball head issues. Thanks!
     
  22. nikonf

    nikonf Member

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    Look at the Bogen 405 or 410 Micro-Gear heads

    These beat any monoball I have ever used.
    No camparison.
    Mike
     
  23. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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  24. Capocheny

    Capocheny Member

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    Look at the Bogen 405 or 410 Micro-Gear heads

    Mike, I fully concur with you... I use to use a big Manfrotto ballhead with my 4x5 camera but hated having to work with the "finicky-ness" of the thing. So, I ended up getting rid of it and buying a 410. This model supports up to approximately 11 lbs.

    When I go 8x10 I'll also pick up a 405 (supports up to approximately 15 lbs I believe) as a companion to the 410.

    But, I agree... there's NO comparison! :smile:

    Cheers