I used to use a head almost identical to the one in the first photo. Yes, it is sturdy, but it was bulky and often took quite a bit of tweaking to get the camera set just right. For years now, I've been using an old Bilora ball head on my tripod. It's rather large (but much smaller than the one I used before) and very sturdy. If I keep a slight tension on it, it's easy to position the camera exactly the way I want. A hot-shoe mounted spirit level helps, but if one just stays aware of the horizon and vertical tilt, it really isn't necessary.
and John (re your sig) you can always tell a happy motorcyclist as he has the most bug splatters on his teeth
I have one of these Manfrotto Super Junior 3 way heads on my Manfrotto 055 legs, I like it fine for my Mamiya TLRs but prefer a Giotto ball head for 35mm http://www.giottos.com/MH-3.htm because it's quicker and and one can adjust the tension on the ball when you undo it to suite the camera.
Originally Posted by pellicle
I had only time to take two pictures before I handed the camera back. For me there was no difference to the handling with my SL66 mounted. I realized that the SL66 has a more advantageous air drag coefficient though.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I find a ball head difficult to use with my Cambo view camera, but use one with the Hasselblad or smaller cameras. As Mark said, "people are different" , use what is comfortable for your style of working.
I have an FLM Centerball 58FT too, use it for my RB67, it's not that heavy really, and very strudy and good value for the money. I have to say that I get on with both ball and pan and tilt heads, and use the manfrotto one in the picture too. It's a very personal thing. I've tried lots, and have to say that not one of them has made me go 'wow'. Most good brands (manfrotto/bogen, gitzo, novoflex FLM etc etc) will do the job of holding the camera steady, it's the ergonomics of where the knobs are that you need to try out first, what works for one may not work for another.
I would also like to vouch for the FLM head. I had one of these for a couple years right after they first came out. Rock solid head with friction control. VERY precise handling. I had the Centerball 38FT which is a little smaller than the 58 but still mighty considering its size and weight. I eventually traded it in for the lure and mystique of the Arca B1. The Arca was a good head but I really dont see what the hype is all about. The friction-lock design drove me so insane I only kept it a few months before getting rid of the damn thing. Now I recently picked up a Novoflex Magicball and love it, but had I not found it at such a steal I would have been looking for another FLM.
Doesn't anyone use the gorgeous geared Arca in its own leather case that cost 2000 or 20,000 dollars or something? I thought they were ubiquitous.
I like having independent adjustment of each axis for tripod shots. I don't need the tripod itself to be perfectly level unless doing a series of panoramic shots. It is quick enough to get my basic horizontal composition using the bottom handle, then level the axes using the two top handles. If I need to make slight adjustments by using the bottom handle again, it is very quick to level the camera again.
If I had to be on a tripod or monopod, yet recompose frequently, and not need to make tiny, precise adjustments this way and that, I would like to use a ball head with a handle release lever. They are very handy for that, but I don't need to do that often enough to want to actually purchase one.
I am extremely happy with my Bogen 3047 heads. They are also dirt cheap on the used market, and there is rarely anything that can really go wrong with them or break that would put them out of commission (and if it does, it is easy to fix).
For my Sinar, I would love to eventually get the Sinar Tripod head and the geared rail clamp. All in good time......the 3047s are fine for now. They just have a rather high profile, and put one more thing between camera and tripod that can fail. However, I have had no problems yet, knock on wood.
The best of both worlds? EMO! If you can find one. They were made in Wetzlar & are very finely finished.
They can be used as a Pan head OR ballhead. The ball has a removable axle through the ball itself. Install it for a Pan head remove it for Ball. It has two sets of handles, one pair long & one pair short. Mix 'em or match 'em any way you want. It has two ball bearing races with six bearings in each race there's one race at the top and one at the bottom. Both 1/4" and 3/8" Male and female threaded screws and sockets are built into the thing and the long handles are a hex fitting to change the threaded sections.
It's just a tad smaller than a Cambo CBH5 and a smidge larger than a Leica ballhead. It easily supports an RB67 & should handle any 4X5 of similar weight.