Ball Heads For LF/ULF... Gitzo GH5380S vs. Burzynski Protec

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike1234, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    The Burzynski "might" be a bight sturdier but I don't know.

    For ULTIMATE torque hold... which one??
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you can find one, the Arca-Swiss B2 is what I use and would recommend, unless Arca-Swiss has finally come out with the new Z2, which has been on the drawing board for quite some time now. It's a double-ball head, so you can control fore-aft and side-to-side tilt axes independently. Tension is adjustable separately for each axis, and it uses the Arca-Swiss eccentric balls so tension increases with the tilt angle so you can control the camera without any sudden drops (presuming you haven't set the tension way too loose to begin with). It can hold 150 lbs. In other words, it's got the strength/weight ratio of a ballhead with the control of a pan-tilt head.

    I posted a photo of the B2 with my 8x10" Sinar P with a fair amount of extension over on the LF forum a while back--

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=311080&postcount=13
     
  3. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Thanks, David, but that sounds more like a gimbal design to me. The only problem I have with those is the height... more vibration.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, it's not a gimbal head. The two balls are nested. Here's a photo of the head--

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/433374-DEMO/Arca_Swiss_8010013_Monoball_B2_with_Quick.html

    And I've attached a photo of it in use with the 8x10" Sinar P and 36cm/f:4.5 Heliar (the one in my avatar) on the front, with a Luc-type front-mounted shutter and a Sinar filter holder in front of that.

    If you're curious, here's the photo I was making at the time--

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/3608258856/in/set-72157619445819036/

    The panning base on the B2, incidentally, is really smooth, like a fluid head.
     

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  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I have the greatest respect for David and his experience. I have not tried the gear he suggests. What I have read here and the LF Forum and my own experience in 4x5, 8x10 and 7x17 is that it is very difficult to work with cameras of this size and weight with a ball head. The torque or leverage is too great too make small adjustments easy. Of course the larger the camera, beside the weight, the greater this is a factor. This is purely a matter of opinion and as such you will certainly find differences among users.

    My preferences have been the Gitzo 1570 Magnesium three way head for the Linhof TK45 rigged at about 8 pounds plus lens with the macro/tel bar attached. I am told for heavier cameras there are many who find this head inadequate. I do not have experience there. For my 8x10 Phillips Advantage Series (less than 8# plus lens) I use the smaller Ries double tilt on the smaller Ries tripod. For the 7x17 Phillips Explorer (12# plus lens) I use the larger Ries double tilt on the larger Ries Tripod. Here the width of the camera presents more of a torque or leverage problem then the weight. As an old man carrying weight is not a factor because I carry anything 4x5 or larger in a baby jogger. When I set up I like everything to feel solid and be able to make minor adjustments in every direction smoothly with ease and confidence.

    John Powers
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ries heads are very solid. I've owned the Gitzo G1570M, and it isn't as sturdy as the Arca-Swiss B2. The double-ball arrangement of the B2 allows it to function like a pan-tilt head, unlike most other ball heads, and the range of control is larger. Most people find the G1570M too stiff for a light camera, but the B2 can handle anything from my wife's 35mm P&S to my 11x14" and 7x17" cameras.

    Another ballhead that may be of interest along the same lines as the B2 is the FLM ballhead with locking tilt control. I haven't tried one of these, but the idea is that you can level one axis, lock that axis and then control the perpendicular axis--

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/288482-REG/FLM_FLMCB58FTQR_Centerball_58_FTQR.html
     
  7. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    What about a majestic head, I know it's not a ball head however it is very sturdy.
    Pat
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Majestic is very sturdy, but also very heavy, and believe it or not, it's not as sturdy as the B2, but it is a lot less expensive than the B2.
     
  9. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    I am curious, what ULF camera do you want to mount on this ball head? If it was up to me, I would use a Ries head for anything larger than 8x10 where weight was an issue.
     
  10. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    DAVID: Thank you for the info and links. Apparently the Arca-Swiss is NLA but I'll take a look at the FLM.

    JOHN: Thank you. I think I still want a ball head but I'll check out the Gitzo.

    PAT: Thank you for replying. I'll look into the Majestic head.

    GARY, and ALL: I plan on buying a Korona 5x12. The longest lens will be a Fuji 600-C or (maybe) Nikkor 800 Tele. I'll be using some type of stabilizers on the camera but I need it to safely stay put until I can lock it down for the exposure.

    ALL: I should have mentioned that carry weight is a secondary concern. Also, I tried to be cheap and bought a Smith-Victor BH8. It will hold hold a Toyo 810G straight up but slips when I try to vary camera angle more than 20-25 degrees and it's unstable enough that it would worry me to leave it unattended in even the lightest breeze. This is with the knobs very tightly locked down. It would be okay, I think, for a lightweight 5x7 and for just about any 4x5. To be fair though it's only rated for 40 pounds vs. the 121 and 150 pounds of the two David referred to. I just didn't realize I needed to multiply my camera weight by a factor of 8 or 10 for the tripod head weight rating. So-o-o... it looks like I'll be spending more on a head than I anticipated.
     
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  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Welcome to photography.

    John
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    With a Korona 5x12, which I wouldn't really consider "ULF" being fewer square inches than 8x10", the rigidity of the camera is going to be a much bigger factor than the tripod head.

    If weight isn't a factor, the Majestic gives you the most bang for the buck.
     
  13. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Or most other worth-while hobbies/professions. :D
     
  14. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Thanks, David. I'll look into the Majestic. With regards to 5x12in not being ULF... I must accept my physical limitations and I really can't carry a bigger/heavier kit anymore. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I sometimes use a Manfrotto 468MG Hydrostatic ball-head under a Tachihara 8x10 camera. It works fine except for the routine ball-head problem of making ultra fine adjustments. For these, usually leveling the camera, I tweak a tripod leg instead of fussing with the ball head.

    The 468MG head uses tons of hydraulic pressure to clamp the ball. A light turn of the lock knob is all it takes. I reckon the metal parts of the head will snap before the ball slips.
     
  16. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Thanks, Maris. I'll look into the 468MG.
     
  17. ljsegil

    ljsegil Subscriber

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    Anybody using the Manfrotto/Bogen 400 head? Thoughts and experiences?
    LJS
     
  18. stealthman_1

    stealthman_1 Member

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    No disrespect intended, but that set up David shows looks like broken fingers just waiting to happen! I agree, the B2 has a very fluid pan to it, but I can't imagine putting an 8x10 or larger camera on a ball head.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Have you used a B2? There are separate controls for left-right tilt and fore-aft tilt just like a regular pan tilt head, so it isn't like any other ball head that can flop in any direction. The balls are also slightly eccentric, so they increase tension as the angle increases to prevent sudden drops along either axis. Haven't lost any fingers yet!

    I agree, though, that I wouldn't use any other ballhead with a large camera.