Ball Head for Medium Format

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by sanking, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I am interested in acquiring a ball head for my Gitzo 2220. This would be for use with medium format equipment. Looking for a sturdy and functional unit in the mid-price range.

    Any suggestions?

    Sandy
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hey Sandy,

    Take a look at some of the Arca Swiss gear, nice stuff and they have a few that will handle Medium format gear.

    Hope things are well

    Dave
     
  3. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    These may be a bit more than you may like, but you may want to look at the Markins M10 and the Markins M20 Ball heads. These can be ordered from Nikonians or also from Markins America (in British Columbia, CA). These are very strong, well reviewed and thought of, very well made, smooth operating Heads. They can be purchased with or without an Arca type QR. They are also the only ball heads that I know of available in both a left (L) handed or regular (R -right handed) version for operation.

    R
     
  4. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I have an ARCA, and it's nice; but if I we're in the market, I'd seriously look at a Really Right Stuff head. Paul Butzi has a nice review on his site: www.butzi.net
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have an Arca Swiss Ball Head (and Really Right Stuff Mounting Plates) which I use with my MF and LF cameras (including my Wehman 8x10).

    I like my Arca Swiss Ball Head a lot, but I am looking with Lust at the new Really Right Stuff Ball Head.
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Look at a Gitzo 12-series ball head- they have them in traditional and off-center ball configurations. I have one (the 1245 I think is the model #) with the off-center ball, and the quick-release. I have used it for my Hasselblad system as well as my Shen-Hao 4x5, and it has been more than up to the job. It's one of the magnesium-alloy ones, so it is quite light, and I'm pretty sure I paid less than $250 for it. Look at what Henry's has for sale on Ebay- they sell off a lot of good Gitzo gear for very reasonable prices - most of it new in box, or in-store demo stuff, so not too badly used, and frequently cheaper than B&H.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'm using Manfrotto 484 ball head with my Hassy. Works just fine and was quite affordable.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm using a Giotto head for "smaller" cameras (up to 645 and light 4x5"), and a big UniLock head for 645 SLR and big cameras (4x5" to 12x16").

    Both relatively low cost, but really nice to work with.
     
  9. John Simmons

    John Simmons Member

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    Sandy, by far the best I have used for medium format is the acratech. Weights less than a pound and supports up to 25 lbs.

    http://acratech.net/
     
  10. PaulButzi

    PaulButzi Member

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    As Peter pointed out, I'm a big fan of the Really Right Stuff heads. I bought the larger BH-55, and when it arrived I liked it so much that I immediately bought a BH-40 as well.

    The BH-40 is small, light, and at $375 probably qualifies as mid-price range. I like the little BH-40 far better than the Acratech; it's smoother in use, locks down as securely, and has a much nicer clamp. The controls are far easier to use with cold/stiff fingers. It is only marginally heavier than the Acratech. It is, however, about $100 more expensive.

    My review of the BH-40 is at http://www.butzi.net/reviews/rrsbh40.htm

    My review of the Acratech Ultimate is at http://www.butzi.net/reviews/acratech%20ultimate.htm
     
  11. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Paul,

    I read your reviews and found them very interesting, and I am sure the Really Right Stuff RH-40 is a great ball head. But $400 is not exactly the kind of price I had in mind for mid-price range for a small ball head!! I thought mid-price for this would be something below $100 with a couple of quick release plates included?

    Sandy
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Ya but Sandy, your idea of medium format is 8x10 LOL!
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you're looking for at or around $100, Bogen/Manfrotto makes a decent ballhead with Q/R plate in that price range. The downside is that it is a single control knob for both the ball tension and the pan control for the head, so forget about doing multi-frame panoramics with it, or anything that requires horizontal panning. I used to use one with my Shen Hao until I tried to shoot a two-frame panoramic, and the head popped loose and the camera flopped all over the place, so my frames didn't line up anymore, and I had no starting point to return to.
     
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  15. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I have a Bogen, um, 55 I think. It's a ballhead that cost around $50 10 years ago. It's either locked, or loose; and it uses those awkward bogen hex plate quick releases. So it's no ARCA, but it does hold firmly once locked down, and the quick release does work, but it's bulky and you have to be quite careful to make sure that it's seated properly. I think I still have mine somewhere.
     
  16. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    I don't know of any good small/medium ball head in that price range with an Arca Swiss type QR and a couple of QR plates. I think you may have to rethink your cost estimate or go with something very cheap and questionable for it's holding power and functional nature.

    Rich
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Well, I see a number of Bogen/Manfrotto, Velbon and Giotto ball heads that are rated for up to about 13 lbs for under $100 that look like they might serve my needs, which is to use on my Gitzo G-2220 for air travel and use with light weight Fuji 645 and 690 rangefinder cameras. I already have a really nice pan and tilt head for this tripod, which is the one I would use around home from the car with heavier medium format SLR or my 5X7 (or even 7X17 in calm conditions).

    I also want a head with separate levels for measuring level front and back and sideways and I see a rather inexpensive Giotto that has that feature.

    And thanks to everyone for all of the good information. I checked out every one of the suggestions offered and learned a lot in doing so.

    Sandy King
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2006
  19. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    Markins has a new Ball head that is available for $269.99 from Nikonians- the Q3 Emille Ball Head It may be adequate. In includes the Arca Swiss type QR. You may again think that this is too expensive. But, it is less expensive than the M10 or M20. It weighs 13.6 oz with a load capacity of 65 lbs. Here is the link from Nikonians:

    https://www.photoproshop.com/usa/pr...d/371?osCsid=135133db9069d5798c32257369cbaa2e

    Rich
     
  20. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Ohhhhh,

    $100 bucks is a bit below mid range now a days for a good ball head, I would suggest looking at some of the bogen stuff, I did pick up a Canon ball head a few years ago, that gets alot of use, but it was still about $150...

    Dave
     
  21. sanking

    sanking Member

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  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, I don't have a quick release plate on mine...

    For a few years Giotto has had a rather poor reputation, as their ball heads tended to "seize up" at the wrong moment. Giotto now claim to have rectified this problem, and judging from the performance of the head I have they're right. It's exceptionally smooth-working, yet locking easily in place at whatever angle you might want to shoot. Yet with a slight loosenig of the locking knob it is also capable if infinitesimal adjustments.

    Ant that's all I really ask of a ball head: That it moves when I want it to move, it moves exactly as much as I want it to move, and it stays put when I want it too.
     
  23. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    None of those are the one that I have. Actually, I have quite a number of ball heads including the original Arca Swiss Monoball, the Arca Swiss B1, Linhof Profi II and the Markins M20. I was debating getting the M10 earlier in the year but I got the M20 instead. I wanted it for my Linhof Technikardan 45S for Backpacking. I decided for the small amount of weight difference to get the stronger head that would be smoother under the load.

    I probably like my Markins head the best of all that I have. I did purchase it as a Left version without their Arca type QR. Instead, I purchased a Kirk QR. I learned using the L version which is on my original Arca Swiss Monoball and my Linhof Profi II. The Arca Swiss B1 is an R version and I never felt as comfortable with this orientation. That is why I purchased the L version for the Markins M20. The photo of the new Markins Q3 Emille shows the L version.

    When I purchased my new head, the Q3 Emille Ball Head was not available and has only been available for a very short time.

    As Dave says though for a a good Ball head even $150 is even a bit on the low end, especially if you want an Arca type QR. No way getting around it but the Arca type QR has become the pro's choice for QR. It is expensive and even the cheapest clamps still run about $50 to $100. The Markins head includes their new clamp for the price listed in my previous post.

    Rich
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Member

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  25. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Eric,

    OK, it is true that I have some fairly big cameras, but pan and tilt heads are all I use for them. Those little ball heads just don't have the balls for the really big boys.

    The ball head I want to buy is for two *small* boys, a Fuji GW 690III and a GSW 690III, and for a midget, the Fujifilm GA 645Zi.

    Sandy





    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2006
  26. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy,

    Inexpensive but I hope good head. Hope things work well for you and you like their QR system. It is a bit heavy for its holding power. My substantially stronger Markins M20 only weighs 20.4 oz with the Kirk Arca Type QR with 99 lb holding power. The Giotto head that you are getting with their QR weighs 22 oz with ability to support 22 lbs.

    Rich