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  1. #1
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Hey Desert Rats, would you recommend a ball head for desert shooting?

    Howdy,

    Well, I just bit the bullet on a new set of carbon legs and now need to figure out my head situation. I've only used pan-heads in the past and after searching this forum a few times for a good solid answer, I still don't know if a ball head is right for me.

    I will be using a Mamiya 7 II with lenses from 43mm to 210mm and the occasional 35mm rangefinder. I go hiking/backpacking lots and hence the need for a lightweight tripod and head.

    Have people had lots of problems with sand in their ball heads? It's awfully dusty and sandy down here.

    Thanks
    K.S. Klain

  2. #2

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    How about placing a thin, flexible plastic bag upside-down over the head and piercing the bag with the screw before mounting the camera.

    Then you can gather the bag together and wrap it with an elastic cord below the ball swivel. That should prevent sand from getting into the ball-and-socket.

  3. #3
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    I actually have considered this, but I was just wondering if I need to go to that much trouble, why not just stick with a panhead?
    K.S. Klain

  4. #4

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    The conditions dictate our equipment choice and any special precautions that we might have to take to protect the expensive gear.

    The ball head is a convenience, but it’s also prone to admitting abrasive grit, especially in the clearance slot cut into the body of the ball head.

    I’d feel more comfortable with the pan-tilt head in blowing sand. If all I had was a ball head on the tripod, I’d err on the side of caution and install the plastic bag as a sand barrier.

  5. #5

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    I have had surprisingly few issues with the Acratech Ultimate ballhead in deserts (or anywhere). Many more issues with cameras in those same conditions...

  6. #6
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Interesting. I don't know which head yet, but I've heard the Arcas are practically bulletproof (or maybe they really are?!). Good to hear.
    K.S. Klain

  7. #7

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    I haven't had a problem with a ballhead in the desert, including in some pretty sandy/windy conditions. I can see where it's a theoretical possibility, but I'd worry about other things like camera mechanics and lenses first.

    It does seem like a good idea to have some kind of protective cover that you can use overnight. In my experience that's when the sand really gets into things.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  8. #8
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Thank you for the response. That helped answer my original question and subdue my fears. I've been leaning towards a ballhead due to the weight/weight supported ratio as well as it won't get caught on anything with my backpack like my others have.

    My concern is real right now since it's the windy season here and dust/sand gets into everything.
    K.S. Klain

  9. #9
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    For "desert shooting" I'd recommend you use a camera, you will encounter enormous problems trying to load the film in a ball head .

    Sorry but I couldn't resist it.
    Ben

  10. #10
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    I was going to say to put a hat on your bald head. Sorry

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