A big tripod HEAD thread

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by game, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. game

    game Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I have been searching lately for tripods. I bought several. And know now what I will keep. My main tripod will be the FOBA Alfea/alfae. That's a rock solid tripod with the highest possible quality. It will be perfectly capable of Lf as well. So that's a keeper. I might keep a gitzo studex 3 as back up.

    Right know I still use the bogen head from my 144b tripod. My camera is a pentax 67 (heavy and big) and will be a smaller monorail or linhof technika in the future. The bogen head is too small and the camera is too heavy.

    So I want to get a new head. I searched this forum but could not find any definitive threads on this subject. I hope for suggestions and information on what head to buy. Some of my thoughts:

    It must be a top quality thing. A piece of equipment that does not demand my attention because it is well thought trough.
    It must carry the pentax 67 easily.
    I want it to be SMOOOOOOOTH...
    It would be nice that I can also use it for a LF in the near future.
    It could be a 3way head, but if everyone here sais a ballhead is easily recommended over a 3way, than I am open for tat as well.
    Off course I have seen the gitzo series like the 1570M. Is that the logical choise. Or has Bogen an alternative that's easily as good? Or are there other brands that are even more desirable?
    I used to have a bogen 144b as stated before. I bought a gitzo studex3 after that, but I must confess that, thuogh everyione seems to agree on gitzo superiority over bogen, that I was somewhat disappointed with it. The bogen seemed better build and thought trough... Can I expect the same for their heads?

    So, gimme some thoughts!!

    THANKS :smile:

    game
     
  2. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    If you are considering a Ball head, I have recently purchased a Markins M20 which is the larger of the larger Markins ball heads. The smaller and lighter head is the M10. These South Korean heads are well finished with smooth panning and tilting capabilities with rather small size and weight with tremendous holding capabilities. The smaller head has a holding capability of 88 pounds and the larger has a holding capability of 99 pounds. The larger head is perhaps 2/3 the size of my Arca B1 Ball. Both heads are available with and without the Arca Type QR and are available in the R (regular version like the Arca B1) and the L (left which I purchased) version. I purchased the M20 (without the Arca type QR and purchased a Kirk 2 1/2" Arca Type QR with bullseye bubble level) but could have also used the M10 for my backpacking tripod to support my Linhof Technikardan 45S. This head is easily strong enough to support any of my lenses and Linhof Technikardan 45S or even any Leica R series camera and even the Modular Apo Telyt system up to and including the 800mm f 5.6 (had used this set-up on my Arca B1 and the M20 is supposed to be even stronger).

    Both heads have been well reviewed. You can read a review at Nikonians at:

    http://www.nikonians.org/html/resou...kins/index.html

    These heads can be purchased from Nikonians or from Markins America in British Columbia, Canada.

    If you need more information let me know.

    Rich
     
  3. game

    game Member

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    thanks naturephoto!

    I think you are a nature photographer :smile:. I assume you work slow. I work slow as well. Is a 3way not better for slow work?
    It is not that I consider either one of the two types. I just want to one that will suit me the best. Problem is that their is no big photostore around, so I can not test it myself.

    How does a big magnesium 3way head by gitzi (or a different brand??) stand against a good quality big ballhead like the markins suggested or a arca or foba?

    THANKS game
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you're only shooting 4x5" and 6x7, the Gitzo G1570M might be overkill (I have one), unless you are using very long lenses or long extensions for macro work. The G1370M should be plenty and the smaller platform will be more compatible with various types of QR plates, if that is of interest to you. An overly large platform can interfere with some camera/lens combinations.

    If you want the strength and compact design of a ballhead and the precision of a pan-tilt head, consider the Arca-Swiss B2.

    If you have money coming out of your ears, consider the Arca Swiss Cube.

    If you don't mind carrying something kind of heavy, the venerable Majestic head is a great value and is rock solid, and fairly affordable on the used market. If you get one that has a clamp-on base, you can get an adapter for a standard 3/8"-16 tripod head mounting screw. The platform is interchangeable.
     
  5. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I use a Manfrotto 3047, which easily handles my Kiev 60, 88CM, 4x5 Speed Graphic, or 5x7 Century. So it should handle the Pentax fine. I prefer to be able to work in one dimension at a time when setting up a shot on a tripod, so have never acquired a ball head. Leveling with a ball head seems too hard. If I need to work faster I go hand held or use a prop or a monopod.
     
  6. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I work slowly when appropriate. I work quickly when needed. With the Markins heads or an Arca B1 Ball or similar tripod, once the tension is set adjustment is generally not an issue. I even use my Linhof Technikardan 45S and can align and keep lines parallel. The Technikardan does have 4 levels however, and I also align by the grid lines on the ground glass.

    I can not really comment about the Gitzo Magnesium heads, though I have seen them, I have never worked with them before.

    It is a matter of preference as to which type of head that one prefers. I have worked with an older Gitzo 3 way head. But, I have personally found that I prefer using a good strong ball. I have and have used 5 ball heads. A good strong ball head is generally quicker to operate and lighter than a 3 way head of similar holding power.

    Rich
     
  7. game

    game Member

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    thanks everyone,
    It's good to have seen the bogen alternative to the gitzo heads. Does anyone has experience wirth the magnesium gitzo heads like the 1570M or maybe better 1370M?? Are to sturdy and smooth? Simply put, are they good?

    I have a gitzo no2 head and a big one that is low profile, I dont like bith of them, The don't move smooth and the 'sticks' to operate tilts and pan are way too long. the arca swiss B2 seems intersting being a sort of hybrid if I understand correctly. More enthousiasts on the b2?
    I get the impression most people preferre a ballhead. Is a ballhead handy for 4x5 too? (not weight wise but operating wise)

    For pan tilts I see"the bogen 3047, the gitzo 3710M. and no others... Are there more that are recommended?

    For ballheads there have been several suggestions. I assume all of them are fine.

    Hope to get some more anwers on the questions I bruoght up in this post.
    Thanks game
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The 1570M is a little stiff if you don't have a big enough camera on it. It's great with a 35mm camera and a 600mm lens, or the 11x14" flatbed, but it can be hard to make fine adjustments with the left to right tilt with a small camera.
     
  9. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I use my B2 for 8x10. And Really Right Stuff (RRS) makes a perfect adapter plate for the Pentax 67. After having used the B2, I would never go back to a 3-way head.
     
  10. game

    game Member

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    The B2 is quite expensive isn't it?
    Is it indeed some hybrid?
     
  11. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Yes the B2 is expensive. I have never seen or handled one, but as far as I know it basically operates so that each "ball" operates separately for adjusting front/back and side to side movement.

    Rich
     
  12. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    The B2 has 2 concentric balls, with 2 separate controls for independent 2 axis control. I have found the single axis control ball heads to be difficult to use with heavy cameras. I've seen them on the used market in the $300 range.
     
  13. Capocheny

    Capocheny Member

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    I tend to agree with you... personally speaking, I've never been a big fan of them either.

    My suggestion is for you to take a peek at the Manfrotto 400 geared head. I use this head with 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. It's sure not the lightest head in the sky... but certainly a GREAT head!

    Alternatively, as David has already mentioned, take a look at the Arca Swiss Cube! It's a work of art! :smile:

    Cheers
     
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  15. game

    game Member

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    too expensive dudes...:smile:

    What about the 'normal' ballheads? Or a bogen 410?
     
  16. game

    game Member

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    arca SWISS cube is toooooo much for me...
    maybe I forgot to metion I am a student... Nevertheless i am devoted And don't mind to invest what I have. but the cube goes over my head...

    I do like those hybrid solutions. What about the bogen 405 410?

    game
     
  17. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Sam,

    Look at my first post in this thread for the review of the Markins heads at Nikonians. No they are not inexpensive as an option. But, they can be ordered from Nikonians in Europe as an option.

    Rich
     
  18. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    This is really a very personal decision. I use an Arca B1 with quick release plates from Really Right Stuff for my 35mm and medium format equipment. This works very well. The movements are smooth, the head is extremely strong, and the mounting plates are well made. (I like the L-shaped ones which means that you don't have to drop the ball down into a slot on the head to do verticals.).

    With large format, though, I don't like ballheads. (I haven't tried the ARCA B2, which is a hybrid.) I don't like them because I find it harder to get precise alignment. (This isn't a problem with the medium format and smaller cameras, although it might be the case if you do a lot of macro.) For large format, I much prefer pan/tilt heads. I used a Gitzo Rational Series 5 for flatbeds and a Sinar pan/tilt for my Sinar. (If you have a Sinar, I highly recommend their head. I don't really recommend the Sinar head for use with other cameras, as in that case you can do just as well for a lot less.)

    So I recommend getting a ballhead for your Pentax. Then if you get a larger format camera, you can try it on that. You might like it. If not, get another head. You can pick up an older Gitzo Rational Series 5 for very little money. Mine is 30 years old, and it works great.

    Ok. Regarding ballheads, I really like the Arca B1, but there are a lot of other options. In particular the new heads from Really Right Stuff look very well made. My advice is to find someone who stocks and Arca and try it out. Then try out some others and pick what you are most confortable with.

    Good luck!
     
  19. game

    game Member

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    Thanks! great post!
    I wil try an d see if my school has any good ballheads. (I think if you want to test serieously you need a good one) Maybe I instantly like them. I have quite some suggestions in the ballhead leque. someone catually offerd me a bilora for 75 dollar. Is that any good? if not I have plenty off more suggestions, thanks.
    for a 3way head I might want some more feedback :smile:, so if anyone has some more to say, thanks in advance.

    As stated in previous posts. I have a bogen 141RC I think it's ok for 35mm. But it's not to special And comes short for my current and future camera's. I have thought about a gitzo 1370M. Or mayeb a bogen 410 or 405. Any thought?


    [edit]
    the l bracket comment was very usefull Since I always thought one had to aim the ball trough the one gap. but what is a lbracjet exactly?
    And does someone knows the benro arca imitations?

    [edit]

    game
     
  20. Capocheny

    Capocheny Member

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    In that case... the 410 would most likely be sufficient. This is the head I currently use with my 4x5 and I quite like it over the large Manfrotto ball head I previously owned. But, Peter is right... it's a personal decision.

    The 405 will hold more weight than the 410 but it'll cost you more too! :smile: BTW, on "that auction site," the 410 is selling regularly for a little under the $200 mark and the 405 for about $275 and up.

    If I were in your shoes (and speaking from my experience) I'd go with a 410. :smile:

    Cheers
     
  21. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Bilora makes decent products. As I recall, I had a Bilora Ball head at one time. But, they are not the equivalent to the Arca B1, Kirk, Really Right Stuff, or Markins heads.

    You could probably mount an Arca type QR onto the Bilora if you wanted QR type of operation and move the QR to another head once you got a better one.

    Rich
     
  22. game

    game Member

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    thanks folks! I off course want QR, can't imagine life without it.
    Bilora, well kind off out of picture. Seems there are better alternatives.
    I will still try out a ballhead as I said before at my school. But for now I feel the most for a bogen 410. Rating 180 dollar new here. Including QR.

    I will think about this some more, and undoubtly will come up with questiones... :smile:

    thanks Game
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    for such a small body... i have a big head too. the one i use to hold cameras is a 3047 and i use it for similar cameras, except the 5x7 century - i have a 4x5 cambo. for smaller camera (6x6) i'm starting to prefer the ball head because it is very quick to set up.

    oh... all of my heads are equiped with QR... can't (won't) live without it!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2006
  24. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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  25. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Both Really Right Stuff and Kirk Photo offer a large supply of Arca type QR systems, camera plates, and L brackets. I have products from both manufactures; both are very good and each has special products, some may have better application for your needs.

    Check this for the Kirk L bracket link:
    http://www.kirkphoto.com/lbrackets.html

    This is the general link for Kirk Photo:
    http://www.kirkphoto.com/

    Rich
     
  26. Campbell

    Campbell Member

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    I used an Arca Swiss B1 ball head with my Pentax 67 system and also with a Linhof Master Technika (though that was in emergencies, I prefer a geared head for 4x5). I think the Arca Swiss is a great head. I don't offhand know why you would want the B2 instead of the B1 though. The B2 has a 150 lb rated capacity, weighs almost three times as much as the B1, and costs close to twice as much. The B1, with its 90 lb rated capacity, should do fine with the cameras you mention but perhaps there's some feature the B2 has that I don't know about.