Ball or Gear head

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Graham.b, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Evening all. What is the most common or user friendly out of these two. I just bought a tri pod and need a head, i do have a Giotto at the mo, nice to use, but my wife has nicked it to go birding with.

    There is a 3 way, geared, fluids, but the gear sounds nice as in you can adjust a little at a time to get that just so position.

    Any thoughts welcomed.

    Graham
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I use ball heads - plural, in heavy and not-so-heavy versions depending on the camera of the day.

    Since I can't remember when I last saw truly flat ground (could have been in Denmark in 1966, or was it 1967?) I find it much easier to use a system which doesn't assume that the tripod is perfectly level. :smile:
     
  3. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Manfrotto 410 Geared head for architecture (my job), a small ball on the table-top.
    The heaviest Linhof 3-way for 4x5 and 8x10 Sinar P2, want to replace that one for a geared head.

    Geared heads work fast and verry precise, I love them.

    Peter
     
  4. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Oh i like that, a gem. Ole

    Manfrotto 410 Geared head.

    That is the one i was just looking at, as well a the Giotto ball 1300-657 or the 1301-652. They are all say they are around 5-7kg, i use a minolta 800si and a Bronica RF645 so there is no heavy's going on it. But i would like to all ways have that little X, (would'nt we all).

    Thank you for your input.

    Regards Graham
     
  5. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Ball heads are a pain to adjust, but compact.
    A gear head offers most precision, but is bigger.

    What is most user friendly depends on what the user prefers. :wink:



    Peter,

    Don't you find that the Sinar (one way) head, combined with the movements (including rotating the bank in the holder) of the Sinar itself already offers all necessary degrees of freedom?
     
  6. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Q.G. Yes it does, but the sheer weight and bulk of the Linhof head + the rotating bankholder becomes a bit too much.
    I have been using it on location with a Sinar P2 8x10 with 4x5 back for many years.
    Start to feel my age, unfortunately.
    That is why I want a simpler setup with a standard bankmount and a geared head.

    In order to go lighter I recently bought a Shen Hao 4x5, that will fit nicely onto the 410.
    They say the 410 is a "small" geared head: forget it: it will hold a RB with prism and nice lens with ease (or, or, or).
    In Brazil I use it with D.

    Peter
     
  7. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I had a Manfroto 410 geared head which was pleasure to use and a pain to carry and pack. I prefer ballheads. I have a Kirk BH3 and find it to be a great and affordable choice for up to a small 4x5. I tried it with my rickety Kodak 2D 8x10 and it is a bit small for that unless it is well balanced over the head....usable, but only if you are very careful. If I used an 8x10 very often, I'd use the geared head as the ball head is tough to use with a big camera.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Giotto 1300-657 Ball Head

    I have this ballhead I use on a Manfrotto 055 tripod and can recommend it , I particularly like the variable friction control of the ball so the camera doesn't crash down if you let it go, and the choice of quick relese platforms that fit on the ball so you can buy one that is most suitable for the type of camera you want to use at the time .

    I used to use a manfrotto Super Junior three way head but found it slow and fiddly to use, and decent geared heads are not only usually more expensive than either, but IMHO more suitable for large format cameras.

    I use both 35mm SLRs and Mamiya TLRs, and find that this B/S head to be excellent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2009
  9. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Ben i have ordered both the ball and the gear head, we both need a new head for the coming legs, so to see which works best for each of them.

    Graham
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I found for my photography Graham the Manfrotto 3D Super Junior Head I suffered with for about twenty years before I replaced it with the Giotto , it was much too slow to adjust, and drove me crazy, I shoot mainly portraits. and by the time I got it adjusted my subjects attention had wandered.
    It depends on what type of work you do the most which head is the most suitable, although I would imagine that a geared head would be more suitable for static subjects .
     
  11. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Morning Ben, i do very little people shots not that i am not up for it though. I like the walk in the country look for the spot and sit it out. I do have a giotto on my legs all ready.
    It is a tough call as to which one i will be using. I do expect the gear would be best suited to the country walks. I have never really been asked to do a sitting (model work) i would like to give it a go. I do like to look through the fashion mags and wonder what i could do, or do different.
    Not into this nude thing, can't get my head around it. Nice frock, suit, style lights camera action, (that's how it go's) never did get my chance. Any way that is getting of the topic, but you never know what is around the corner. If i had the offer and a chance i would leap at it.

    Graham
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Morning Graham, I'm not into nudes either, I have done it in the distant past but found it too difficult to come up with results that didn't look like pornography, I'm not much good at landscape photography either, I find what I enjoy most, and am the best at is photographing people.
     
  13. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Hello Ben i have never done nude. I have looked at some, they all look the same. May be i can not see what others see. I have done people and all ways got a good report back from them. But it al ways leads to, will you do the kids next, and they can be hell. All right at the baby age, but once they got that, i will do what i want to. Game other.

    Graham
     
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  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    The only nudes I have done is when I accidentally got my feet into a frame once. I've been looking at ball heads recently and pretty extensively and have to say that I can't find a negative comment about the Manfrotto 410 head except one that said it could back travel if the load is too much and that can be overcome with tightening the locks. Also the same reviewer said the lock button for the removable camera mount can break off if it is knocked over on it. These are minor and not to be unexpected problems that aren't a problem if the unit is used correctly.

    Bottom line is I'm going to order one myself. Jan was the first to mention them to me as he uses one with a Chamonix 8x10 with good success.
     
  16. glaiben

    glaiben Member

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    I've heard lots of good comments about the Arca Swiss C1 Cube geared head, but at $2400 USD, it's a bit of stretch for the 2009 (and 2010) budget.
     
  17. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    My 410 didn't like my Sinar F on windy days, haven't tried it with the Zone VI field yet.

    The 410 really likes the Hasselblad...probably the size camera it was really designed for.

    Mike
     
  18. fatmoon

    fatmoon Member

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    I use a Novoflex Magicball for just about everything and love it. It is fast, precise, has friction control and is rock solid. Not cheap but well worth it. I bet it would be great for birding!
    good luck!
    -Ray
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    The Magicball looks fantastic and it supports 22 lbs but at 2 1/2 time the price of the 410 I'll have to go with the 410. It should work fine with the 4x5 field, the RB and 23c. They are $209 at B&H with free shipping.
     
  20. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    I don't think my good lady's bird scope is any where near 22lbs.

    Graham
     
  21. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Graham I just now ordered the Manfrotto 410 geared head from B&H photo in NY, you can probably get one there in the UK. They support 11 lbs. I have three ball heads, none geared, one Linhof, a Leica and a no name piece of junk. I don't like any of them. I usually use a Bogen 3047 but the 410 geared head looks like a winner for travel use. Good luck with your choice, there are a ton of heads out there at all sorts of prices so it's not that easy.
     
  22. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Morning Curt, it is all ready on it's way. ordered over the weekend, Sunday night. Looking forward to it's arrival. Nothing big to go on her, RF645 Minolta 800si. But got my eye in for something a little bigger. 5X4 is on the list.

    Graham
     
  23. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    You can.
    And for less money too (£ 135 = $ 170 at Ffordes, vs $ 210 at B and H)!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2009
  24. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I was looking at the Manfrotto 410 geared head on my local pro dealers website recently , and you get no impression of how big it is, I was in the shop recently, and I was really surprised at It's size, you need to see one "in the flesh" and get an impression of It's scale before ordering it unseen from a picture.
     
  25. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I ordered one just from spec's and a pic in a folder for 35.
    They call it "small" , yep, it holds a RB67 with ease....

    But: you get a lot for your money, it has been well worth it.

    Peter
     
  26. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    They call it "Junior", because compared to the other two geared heads they sell, it is the lesser of the bunch.
    Not because it is small.
    :wink:

    But as tripod heads go, the Junior isn't that big really.