Tripod ball head question...

Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
edited December 2012 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hey folks, hope you all had a wonderful christmas, my question here is:

I'm about to buy Manfrotto 190xPRO B Tripod for mostly night photography and long exposures. I'm looking for a suitable ball head for it and I'm within a limited budget of around $60-70. Would you prefer to brands like Vanguard/Benro/Oben..etc?

The heaviest lens that I have is 70-200 f2.8 VRI. Rest all are smaller than that. I'm looking to buy one with a pan lock. Appreciate any advice offered.

Thanks!!
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Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,367Member
    edited December 2012
    I cannot think of any ballheads in that price range that I would trust putting a 70-200mm VR on. If you could wait a little longer or stretch another $15-20 you can get a Manfrotto that would be suitable.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    I would not go the cheep route. Your ball head is going to stay with you for good long, long time. If you get the right one, I'm talking 7+ years of ownership before an upgrade is needed. I personally went with the Real Right Stuff ball heads. Have a look at their website and see if you like what they have to offer. Their L-Plate make for a very nice setup as well. 

    Happy shopping....
    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 |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator
    Take a look at the Slik Ball heads.  Mine comes with a disc shaped QD fitting which is ideal for panoramas or just simply moving your camera left/right without tilting it.  The 70-200 f2.8 has a foot on it so it isn't like it is badly balanced, the Slick will cope with that.  The price is in your range too.

    HTH.
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I would suggest if you plan on expanding you photo equipment and tripods in the future, you make certain you have a head with an Arca Swiss quick release.  Then go to one of the sponsors of NRF like B & H, Adorama, etc, and search ball heads.  Choose one which has at least a 15 pound capacity, as it will tend to be larger and this is IMO easier to use.

    Giotto makes a nice one although I have not used it.  I suspect if you choose any of the medium capacity (over 15 pounds capacity) you should not have a problem.  Most of the large sellers have reviews one can read.

    If you simply want a screw type head (not my recommendation) they are a bit less expensive, but if you ever want to convert to Arca Swiss...well it becomes expensive.

    For a bit of excitement...look at the Really Right Stuff ball heads, and enjoy.  They are pretty much the ultimate, but are not inexpensive.  Kinda like a Porsche.....LOL
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    Hey thanks guys for all the helpful answer. Love the swift replies, one of the reason to hang out here ... 

    @PBPM: I was looking at Manfrotto 498RC2 ball head as it's the only thing that's close to my budget though it's a bit of huge stretch. 

    @Golf007sd and @MsMoto, I did a bit of research (before posting the question), I don't think there is any ball head in Really Right stuff around $100, which by itself is the max that I could extend to.

    @spraynpray: I'm looking at the slik head.

    Is Manfrotto head = arca swiss release type? Any specific reason to look for acra swiss type?
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The Arca Swiss release can be used in virtually every application.  There are "L" plates for cameras which allow the camera in portrait position to be on top of the head vs. off to the side.  The Arca Swiss clam is used on the feet of large telephotos as well.  All of the universality of the Arca Swiss clamp gives one more flexibility and convenience, saving time and frustration.  

    The downside is they are a bit more expensive initially.  

    The Really Right Stuff is something to behold.  The construction and finish are unmatched.   But, the cost of a tripod and head is about $1000.   I was being a bit humorous, but at the same time, go to their website sometime and look at the very best.  I do not own anything of theirs yet.  Maybe someday.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2014
    The thing to keep in mind Swame_sp is that this particular camera equipment you are looking at is going to be within your bag for a Long Time, thus, if possible, save and when you have found the one that will cover your needs...not only now, but say 3-5 years, from now, then that is the one you should plan on getting. If time is not a factor...ie you don't have a project that is in the works
    I know you have been looking around, but have you looked on Craigslist as well, there are some good deals that can be found there as well from those that are upgrading their tripod gear.

    @Msmoto: having gone the RRS path I can tell you that once you have crossed over to their product line...there is no going back. They are truly in a league of their own. Look at it this way...it is the price of a nice piece of glass. I can get us both all that they have to offer, that is to say two sets, for the price of it is going to cost me in getting my Nikon 300 2.8!
    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 |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    ;Golf007sd....for sure.  I have several photographer friends I meet with on Wednesday mornings, they have RRS tripods and heads and say the same thing.  And, once I have some financial stuff settled, I may go that route.  Adding to the five tripods and heads I have now....yikes..... =D>
    Msmoto, mod
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    edited December 2012

    The Manfrotto 496RC2 fits your budget.... However the legs are what will make or break any ball head.


    Id be comfortable on that head up to a 300mm f/2.8
    Post edited by kyoshinikon on
    “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
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    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 |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,367Member
    Those are video heads, so I'm not sure how posting that video applies?
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • ricochetricochet Posts: 54Member
    I would not go the cheep route. Your ball head is going to stay with you for good long, long time. If you get the right one, I'm are talking 7+ years of ownership before an upgrade is needed. I personally went with the Real Right Stuff ball heads. Have a look at their we site and see if you like what they have to offer. Their L-Plate make for a very nice setup as well. 
    Happy shopping....
    As someone who's had a ballhead come apart, leaving my camera laying dead on the ground, I can't agree more.  I have a large RRS ballhead I use with my 200-400 and it is sweet!  
  • pippigurlpippigurl Posts: 241Member
    +1 for the 496RC2. Mine has given me good service even though it is what many may consider budget. I have used both the 80-400 and 70-200 with it.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Those are video heads, so I'm not sure how posting that video applies?
    Just giving the OP some options to consider...with respect to the Manfrotto product line. 

    But you are right they are Not ball heads. I stand corrected on that part...sorry for the confusion. ;)
    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 |
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    The thing to keep in mind Swame_sp is that this particular camera equipment you are looking at is going to be within your bag for a Long Time, thus, if possible, save and when you have found the one that will cover your needs...not only now, but say 3-5 years, from now, then that is the one you should plan on getting. If time is not a factor...ie you don't have a project that is in the works. 
    I know you have been looking around, but have you looked on Craigslist as well, there are some good deals that can be found there as well from those that are upgrading their tripod gear.
    I understand the idea of having the head for few years but for now photography is just a hobby and I don't make any money out of it, so have to be bit careful. It's very tough to convince myself to spend $300 for a ball head.  :-O

    I looked at craigslist after I finalized on the tripod legs, there is none around Boston area. :(

  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member

    The Manfrotto 496RC2 fits your budget.... However the legs are what will make or break any ball head.


    Id be comfortable on that head up to a 300mm f/2.8
    Yeah I was about to pull the trigger on this head, I think the only thing that it lacks is the separate pan lock. To pan horizontally with 496rc2, the ball head has to be loosened which throws the horizontal axis off the line.
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    I don't have any project ahead of me and it's freezing winter here and the night photography will be on hold for a while until spring, so i'm gonna hold on the tripod purchase until I save a bit more. For now I have decided on Manfrotto 498RC2. Thanks for all the help guys.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    get any from gitzo series 2 or 3 and it will do the job, though You have to pay more. You can also get a cheap manfrotto 494rc2 it's $64 @ B&H + You get additional $10 off as a mail-in rabate (till 31st Dec) 
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    498 is also a good choice, as it has a panning base build in. 
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    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? 
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2012
    My thoughts..today, LOL,
    I currently have a Manfrotto 484RC2 w/ Sunwayphoto DDY-58 Arca Swiss clamp.  And 468MGRC2 w/ Sunwayphoto DLC-60 Arca Swiss clamp.  And, an Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head which has and Arca Swiss clamp.   

    My point is...having spent several hundred dollars converting everything, get the Arca Swiss type clamp.  My current thoughts are that RRS is without question the best and it is a joy to hold on to anything they make.  But, some of the Sunwayphoto and other knock-offs are very good as well and about half the price.

    Maybe at the NRF International, should it actually come off, we can have a swap meet and I can get rid of my half dozen Manfrotto clamps and plates...LOL

    My final suggestion might be 
    Induro Alloy 8M AT213 Tripod $143
    Sunwayfoto FB-36 Ball Head $169
    If this is too much money,
    Smith-Victor BH8 Metal Alloy Ball Head $59

    Please make certain to read the reviews on the websites.  B & H has excellent reviews so one can find out the issues which may appear.  If you skimp on a tripod, you will kick yourself in the end.  That is why I have five or more.  Consider a tripod as important as a lens.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator
      Consider a tripod as important as a lens.
    Not obvious to most beginners but oh, so true.  I love my tripod.
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,367Member
    edited December 2012
    Agreed. The Gitzo GT3531s I have is a delight to use, much lighter and faster to operate than the Manfrotto I used before.

    As for heads, in a world where money was no object I would have bought the Acra-Swiss (yes it is a brand name!) Z1, but compromised and got the Markins Q10. Oddly enough the Markins is rated to carry more wright, and is lighter than equivalent Krik and RRS heads. It handled the 300mm F2.8G VR II, TC14E, D700 + grip (with 8AA Batteries) like nothing was even there. High end heads are a dream to use, but I digress if you have a limited budget the Manfrotto heads around $90-100 are usable.

    As with cameras and lenses, get the best you can afford (justifiably) and you won't have any regrets.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • sidewayssideways Posts: 54Member
    I have the Manfrotto 190 xproB and a Giottos ball head. I bought what I still consider to be excellent budget choices but now plan to replace both as just a little experience showed that they're not what I really want. 

    After using a cheap Chinese carbon monopod, I quickly realised that carbon fibre legs are much to be preferred over alloy because they are lighter, less cold to the touch in bad weather and suppress vibration far better. 
    The Giottos head has excellent features, fit and finish - IMO far better than Manfrotto heads at the same price point - but like Manfrotto and Gitzo it uses proprietary camera and lens plates. As soon as you begin to consider camera plates designed for specific cameras or want to fit an L plate to allow you to quickly swap between landscape and portrait without having to re-level the ballhead, then an Arca Swiss compatible system is a must.

    A word of warning, Gitzo who make great tripods use a proprietary quick release plate but also sell an Arca Swiss adapter as an accessory. Sadly this is all but useless as I discovered only after buying a Gitzo head. 

    The problem is that Arca Swiss is not a true standard. Arca style fittings from different manufacturers vary slightly in their width and thickness. For most products this isn't a big deal as most Arca style screw clamps adapt to different sizes but the Gitzo adapter does not. It is at the narrowest end of the range with very little flexibility. According to my reading, it accepts only original Arca Swiss brand plates and ones from Novatech of Germany. The majority of plates from popular vendors like RRS, Kirk, Markins, Sunwayphoto, and many others are a little wider and won't even slide into the Gitzo adapter.

    My own recommendation would be to shop for a set of good carbon legs, an arca compatible ballhead and a custom camera plate from one of the asian manufacturers. Markins and Sunway both have good reviews. Benro copy other companies designs so I would avoid them on principle.
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