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Thread: Ballheads...

  1. #1
    cmo
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    Ballheads...

    A while ago I sold my old tripod with its integrated ballhead and bought a new hi-tec carbon-fibre tripod from Velbon. So, I attached a ballhead that I still had in my shelf... and it shakes like hell. It is quite obviously not the tripod but the ballhead in itself. Well, I mounted a huge 560mm Leitz Telyt with a Canon EOS 1v with the heavy Powerbooster attached on it... about 5 Kilos, and no stabilizer, of course.

    What kind of ballhead wold be a good compromise between weight and stabilty? The combo with the EOS and the Telyt is the heaviest equipment I have, but of course it is prone to vibration.

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    I'm having a lot of success with a Manfrotto 488RC2 head on my old Kennett Benbo tripod.
    It holds even the biggest of my 35mm gear, the Arax 6X6 with the big Sonnar 180/2.8 and even the rb67 without the slightest problem.
    On the monopod I've got a slightly smaller 486RC2 that also cops with just about anything short of a LF camera.
    Cheers
    Noons (Nuno Souto)
    Gallery here

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsouto View Post
    I'm having a lot of success with a Manfrotto 488RC2 head on my old Kennett Benbo tripod.
    It holds even the biggest of my 35mm gear, the Arax 6X6 with the big Sonnar 180/2.8 and even the rb67 without the slightest problem.
    On the monopod I've got a slightly smaller 486RC2 that also cops with just about anything short of a LF camera.
    Every time I post a response like this there is a rapid volley of "you really need to spend $300 on a ball head to get a good one."

    Let me just say this: me too (with the exception that I hang a slightly different MF SLR on mine).

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    cmo
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    Brian, you are so right, ballheads, that's a science, and the are many, many scientists in these forums... and they all seem to have so much money.

    But I tried different ballheads, and none except the old 2-kilo monster I owned was sturdy enough: FLM 38, the big Manfrotto, a medium-sized Novoflex, they all vibrated with this long lens and/or juddered when moving the lens and could not really fix that weight, must be the leverage effect of that big bertha thingy. An of course I don't want to spend 500 dollars for the benefit of carrying a lot of extra weight :-)

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    5 kg is pretty heavy.

    I have an Arca Swiss Z1 SP ball head that I use for an Arca F-line Metric 4x5 camera. With my heaviest lens, max weight is still under 10 pounds but rock solid. Camera rigidity is more of an issue that the ball head. Also, the asymmetrical ball is great and prevents camera flop with the heavy gear. Not cheap, ~$350 but you get what you pay for.
    Jerold Harter MD

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    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I've had several ball heads and bigger and more expensive is better. I found that the Kirk head is as solid as anything else (arca, RRS) and a bit less expensive. I have the smaller size (BH3) which is quite good for my 4x5 and 6x6, and OK with my old rickety 8x10. The weight for the 8x10 with it's heaviest lens is around 12-ish lbs. To make it work, though, I needed to build a tripod block to center the weight. Honestly, though, I think you'd need to heavier BH1. Weight is only part of the equation. You also need to consider the camera induced vibration, how far the vibration source is away from the mounting point/center of gravity, and magnification.
    Given all this, a long 35mm lens is probably the hardest thing for a ball head to support. Don't mess around. If you really intend to use the 500mm much, get the biggest, high quality ball head you can.

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    Look at the Acratech ball heads, supports 25 lbs plus, compact, light, and a lot better than most.

    http://acratech.net/

    Good luck.

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    Check out the Photo Clam Professional Ballheads at www.reallybigcameras.com. They look pretty good, and Kerry is very good to deal with.

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    Maris's Avatar
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    Maybe the strongest small ball head in the world is the Manfrotto 468MGRC4 Hydrostatic Head. It weighs about 1.5 pounds and is rated for a 30 pound load. My Tachihara 810HD triple extension 8x10 works fine on it.
    The hydraulic locking mechanism needs only light finger pressure to actuate but the ball will not move with the big camera at any angle.

    I got mine at KEH and I think they still have this expensive head at a "bargain" price.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

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    Hi Maris,

    I forgot about that one! Thank you for pointing it out.

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