Tripod ball head question...



  • pippigurlpippigurl Posts: 241Member
    What legs do you have Spray?
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,431Moderator
    What legs do you have Spray?
    Hi Pippi,

    I don't have the deep pockets of some members who can spend huge £ on equipment so I spend forever researching the best item to suit my needs at the lowest price.

    I bought the SLIK Pro 700 AMT (Aluminium/Magnesium/titanium) which I got on eBay for £70.  It goes to 6 feet tall without using the centre column and has that lovely circular 'hockeypuck'  QD plate so I can just set up the ball head level using the D7k's level and loosen the clamp lever to rotate the camera for panos.  The only drawback of that tripod is that it is a little heavier than some BUT, it is like a rock.  IMHO a bargain - made in Japan.
    Always learning.
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    I love my ball head. It's a manfrotto 488 with the RC0 quick release system. The RC0 plate is awesome since it's got six-fold symmetry. My dad has a benro ball head with arca swiss-type qr plate, and it works fine, but I love how quickly I can drop my camera into mine without even paying attention to orientation.

    They don't make the 488 anymore, though, and the 468 is not in the price range you mention. Again, the benro my dad has would work fine, I think. I don't know the model or anything. 
    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    Golf, funny you should post that fluid head shootout. I just bought the 502 head for Christmas and I love it for video. I'm going to see about connecting my lego robot to it for pans during time lapses.
    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    I also have a manfotto video head (I'll post model number later) in addition to the ball head. Great for pano (and video). I think you kinda need both or a ball head with a separate horizontal element.
  • cbgcbg Posts: 127Member
    Earlier this fall, I decided to finally get a decent tripod, and like a lot of other folk, I had a budget to work with.  I ended getting set of Carbon Fiber legs from Calumet Photo (their branded legs) with a Manfrotto head.  I suspect that I'll end up replacing the head at some point with one that is arca compatible, but I've been more than pleased with the carbon legs.  So much lighter than aluminum, and they don't get cold like aluminum does.
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    The ball head I mentioned works pretty well for panos as well, Ironheart. It has a bulls eye spirit level at the attachment to the legs and another next to the QR plate. It's actually got angles marked on it, as well, which is nice for getting evenly spaced pano frames. 

    I would like to get some carbon fiber legs this year. Now that I've got two heads I guess I need to. If we don't go over the fiscal cliff I can probably do it...
    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
  • ricochetricochet Posts: 54Member
    OMT. How is the RSS comparing to Gitzo? I'll most likely be in market for new tripod in 2013 (if funds allow) and was considering one from this series GT5542, in perfect world (if I had money) I would get GT5542LOS, though I might have end up with GT5542LS. Any one used the Ocean version, is it really as robust as the price tag shows? 
    I picked up a GT5532LS a couple month ago.  Its rated to hold 88 lbs.!  Robust doesn't even come close to describing it.  Its overkill for most applications but putting expensive glass on a marginal tripod is just asking for disaster.  While researching tripods for my last purchase it seemed everyone lumped the RRS and Gitzo into the same "Best" category.  I bought the Gitzo because I found a bargain at B & H, saved $190 from the Adorama price.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2012
    The Gitzo tripods are outstanding. I have their monopod and I find its build quality and functionality right in par with RRS products. These two manufactures make the best tripods in the market. However, when it comes to all the things that are available for my camera gear, RRS is, IMHO, the winner hands down. And yes you do pay for what you get. I have a feeling that my RRS tripod is going to out last any gear I own by a long long shot.

    Lastly, I like the fact that I'm also supporting a US company here in California. When ever possible, I try to do business within my city, state, and country.  
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
    From Golf's recommendation, I did go Arca Swiss but not RRS or Markins (or any other high dollar). I found a wonderful Feisol ballhead on FredMiranda, slightly used, for $120. Gonna pair it with the Slik 700DX legs for one heavy damn setup. The Feisol equipment is wonderful...honestly...and the model I have supports over 50 lbs. It's a LITTLE overkill, but for the price I couldn't say no. They're made in England I believe. High quality...but no AS or RRS. Just a pinch under IMHO. And I hope the SLIK legs live up to their rep. 5 stars on Amazon can't be wrong!!

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    Let us know how that ball head works...As to the 50 lbs capacity..the rule I was taught is "the smaller the camera, the larger the tripod"

    And Arca Swiss connections you will love..
    Msmoto, mod
  • MYatzMYatz Posts: 8Member
    I'm late to this party but here's my two cents: try really hard to save up for either a gitzo or Rorschach tripod and ball-head. In the end, you'll save yourself some money and headaches.

    Thom Hogan has some good advice regarding tripods here:

    After spending a long session shooting inside a tight space over uneven ground, I learned quickly the limits of my low end tripod: think finicky setup, weak head, and shaky support. I dumped the tripod on Craigslist, bit the bullet and bought a RRS setup. I have never regretted it since. It didn't hurt that I was able to find a RRS ballhead on Craigslist for about 2/3rds of retail.

    My RRS support system is very quick to setup, is STABLE and strong. Without a doubt, it's pricey. But if my daughter doesn't steal my rig, I will be able to average the cost over a very long time.

    D800e, etc
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Ive always been a manfrotto boy myself and have really liked gitzo's offerings...  As of new I really need a new tripod tho. My creaky manfrotto is 9 years strong and needs new brakes. However in that 9 years tripods have gone from being blocks of lead to paper airplanes so I would rather drop a pretty penny on a new one...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • Here you go:

    Only thing is that it does not close the clamp enough for my Giottos or Kirk Arca plates. Price is right.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 197
    edited December 2012
    Sadly my reply won't help answer your questions, but following advice from several posters here, I went and had a look on the Really Right Stuff site...

    ...I'm sorry guys 'n' girls, but this is taking "taking the p*** " to a completely new level. $183 for a camera plate (Nikon D3) ?? What the ****

    I feel sure these things are really wonderful, and the fact that they're individually blessed by Tibetan monks no doubt makes 'em even better - but let's get real here. Us folks in Europe (remember that?) have all sorts of taxes to pay on purchases which makes these items prohibitively expensive for the 'perceived' quality which I for one simply cannot guarantee makes any real difference.

    //End of rant  

    Manfrotto, or Gitzo (same mother company now) make excellent tripods, ball heads etc. and my 055XProB  with the 405 head is way sturdy enough for my kit (which sometimes includes a Hasselblad with a 250mm Sonnar...) and the 190CXPro4 carbon is light enough, and sturdy enough, for all my Nikon gear AND I don't get a hernia carrying it around...:D

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,431Moderator
    Sorry folks but I'm with darkslide when it comes to the price of RRS gear.  It does make me laugh when people say "I have a budget of $70 for a ball head and they get recommended RRS gear - COME ON!  =))
    Always learning.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    @spraynpray, darkslide - in one way I agree with You in other I don't. sure $183 for camera plate is way too much, but on the other hand if You buy tripod & ballhead it's better to buy a better one at the beginning than pay 2,3,4 times after You finally realise that You need the better quality support. as for RSS, never used single product from them - sticking mostly to Kirk and Wimberley as they are cheaper if it comes to camera&lens plates and offer the same quality - but they have some products that are unique to them, i.e. the small pano head with arca swiss mount. 
    @darkslide - agree with You on the prices in Europe, it's a total rippoff, even more when You live in one of the "new" EU countries, where You pay as much money as in the "old" EU and You earn 1/4. 
    as for 190cxpro4, I'm using it since 2008 and I'm more than pleased with it. sure it's not the cheapest tripod on the market but also not the most expensive one. I've modified mine and took the center column out, this allows me to mount d3s+tc14+N70-200/2.8 on it w/o any problems. w/o the modification it was good up to d300+N70-200/2.8 or d3s+N24-70/2.8. 
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2012
    My Induro CT213 is just like the RRS except for the spring loads on the leg locks.  And, about half price.  But, I will reiterate, the Ara Swiss style release plates are the most versatile.  And, the "L" plates ...Sunwayphoto has them from about USD $90, and they go up from there to about $150 and then the RRS...

    While Manfrotto makes an "L" plate, it is not well reviewed and blocks many of the ports of some camera bodies.  So, if one does use their camera on a tripod and likes to switch easily between horizontal and vertical orientation, the Arca Swiss style is about it.

    It really is important IMO to purchase a good tripod initially.  As I found out, switching heads to Arca Swiss style after the fact is not an inexpensive job.

    So, a good tripod/head/plate budget may need to be in the $500 budget and this is a start.  For a professional double this.  One of the things we see in photography is the large numbers of poorly equipped individuals who call themselves professional.  
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  •   One of the things we see in photography is the large numbers of poorly equipped individuals who call themselves professional.  
    It's actually interesting that you said this, as I often find professionals far less 'equipped' than I am - which leads me to think I have way too much gear... The professionals I know are generally well equipped in the sense that they have what is needed for the job, but don't possess every single little gadget that exists - they know what they use, and how to use it without needing all the dross some of us think essential.

    Sorry, nothing to do with the thread, but I feel much better now ;))
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Yes, darkslide, it is really about how you feel.  And I am glad you feel better.  ;;)

    This thread is about tripod heads, so to be specific, a professional should have a high quality tripod and head.  A cheap unit, unsteady, frail, demonstrates to me that the attitude is to "just get by" while using good equipment suggests the pro wants to obtain the best photos and have no hindrances due to equipment.  This can be seen all the time and I have started a Wedding Thread just so folks can address their issues.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,431Moderator
    @adamz & Msmoto: For the first time, I am in disagreement with you guys.  The choice of equipment is not black and white i.e. expensive equals adequate and cheap means "unsteady or frail".

    An example is when a new member of our club came out on a trip with a few of us - it quickly became clear that she had bought something described as a tripod without understanding what it is supposed to do.  It was rubbish, but that reflected her beginner status on the learning path of photography.  I watched her use it then invited her to try mine to see if she could see any difference - she was astounded, learned a valuable lesson and now has a better tripod.  Is it an RRS or whatever?  No.  It is the best she could afford which gives her a much better chance of  sharp image.

    As a retired engineer I can assure you I understand what a tripod is supposed to do and am certain that what I bought for £80 fulfils my needs to get sharp images when I need to use a tripod.  I added a decent ball head for another £50 a few months later as I found the standard pan and tilt head too slow and fiddly.  Do I have 500mm + lenses?  No.  But I do have the 70-300 VR which doesn't have a collar and so puts a lot of strain on the head and imbalance into the camera assembly when on the tripod and it handles that OK.

    I think that equipment can be found that does the job for less money, and for sure when you buy RRS or whatever you are pretty much guaranteed it will be excellent, but if you (professional or amateur) have the ability to assess your real needs and choose carefully, you can pay small money and get good results.

    Regards, Andrew.

    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @spraynspray: I don't see your post as disagreement with the others. If you know how to handle a tripod and work with it's weaknesses (and each one has them), it will be an improvement. Each tripod has it's limits. And if one can hammer a nail into a wall, he or she can do it with a "normal" cheap hammer or with an extra expensive one. But if that skill's not learnt, a very expensive hammer will probably damage the wall as well. It's merely my own pleasure for good tools, but also a very good shop closeby to try different tripods and heads which lead me to Gitzo legs and some heads from manfrotto and from Gitzo. And I also admit, I tried and sold some of them. But I just can't rent or borrow all of them and if youread adverts or reviews, each has some interesting features...

    Some "manuals" given with manfrotto and Gitzo tripods make a lot effort to avoid safety risks, but close to zero effort how to handle it for maximum stability and how to set up the camera for the less possible ammount of vibrations. Also, some differences in the ball heads are not only their stability but also how they react when fixing them. With a lot of them you need to calculate an extra ammount of way, because they move the camera when tightened.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,431Moderator
    I simply disagreed with the premise that cheap is flimsy and nothing less than really expensive will do the job.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited December 2012
    In that case I agree with your disagreement :D
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
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