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Archive 2012 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55
  
 
eskimochaos
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I can't decide which route I want to go with my ball head. I know that they all will work for my intended setup and all will be ridiculously overkill.

Tripod will either be TVC-34L or GT3542XLS. Longest lens is 70-200 Mark II.

Anyone used all three or multiple and have any earth shattering insight?



Jul 15, 2012 at 01:27 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


You know the drill. They are all solid ballheads, but do you need a silky smooth ball or brute strength? The A-S and Markins are the former and the BH-55 is the latter. For a 3 series tripod I'd look at the BH-55 for longer lenses or if you will use a Sidekick or pano setup. The BH-55 is not as smooth as A-S or Markins for the lighter setups especially, such as where the camera plate is on the ballhead. All that being said, my two A-S ballheads are rarely used. I do miss them sometimes for critical framing.

EBH



Jul 15, 2012 at 01:34 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I'm the smooth friction type, so while I have two Markins heads I use an Arca-Swiss Z1 on my 3541LS. From a smoothness/friction perspective it has a bigger ball diameter than the Markins M20 (54mm to 48mm), and it has a really nifty indexing ring on the main knob that makes it a snap to interchange camera rigs of different load weights that require separate friction settings. You just dial in a pre-set setting. The Z1 is just a super ballhead.

Ridiculous overkill for support systems is good I think. You can never have too much support.




Jul 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
JohnJ80
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55




M20, for sure. Add the RRS QR lever clamp to the top like I've done here. Killer combination.

J.



Jul 15, 2012 at 05:26 PM
rdcny
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I would avoid the RRS BH-55 for two reasons: (1) my copy had a catastrophic failure when I had my 500mm F4 mounted on it. The larger knob (the lock down knob) simply fell out of the space ("hole") of the ballhead. When I contacted RRS about this, they told me it was a known problem...the glue (or the application thereof) that keeps that part attached to the main part of the ballhead was misapplied, not applied sufficiently or for whatever reasons, had decayed and become undone. My ballhead looked brand new...and as I said above, this is a problem RRS knows about...

(2) I also avoid RRS products whenever possible because they were (and are) active in California politics in the attempt to defeat proposition 8 - the anti-gay marriage bill. Several of our (Deborah Allen and myself) friends are gay...and in the grand scheme of things, we believe everyone should be entitled to equal treatment under the law. What religions decree in church is a different matter...but if someone is gay, he/she should be allowed to be wed (in the legal sense), and receive the same protection/rights/benefits that every heterosexual person receives....

The Arca-Swiss head is fine for long lenses - that is what I use now when using a ballhead. However, if you are going to use a long lens, I highly recommend this $100 Chinese Gimbal head...I have it, use it and it is 100% fine with long lenses including the 800mm F5.6:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1105558

Robert DeCandido PhD



Jul 15, 2012 at 05:48 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


The A-S Z1 is fine for the lenses that do not need gimbals and the full Wimberly is a fine one for the long lenses, so it is possible to avoid RRS that way.

My main complaint with the BH-55 is that it is not smooth like my A-S heads.

EBH



Jul 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
wilt
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


Compare the weight of the three ballheads, before you decide. Greater weight = more top heavy when slung over the shoulder on a strap to carry. BH-55 is heavier than the Q20. Haven't looked at the Z1 spec on weight.


Jul 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM
eskimochaos
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


Thanks for the feedback. I'm learning towards the Arca Swiss at the moment. I can get the GT3542XLS for $709 on eBay from a reputable seller but the TVC-34L will forever be my dream set of legs.

Decisions, decisions.



Jul 15, 2012 at 09:03 PM
rdcny
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


Look at a high end Benro Carbon Fiber tripod such as this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/310408032618?_trksid=p5197.c0.m619

I have owned/used RRS, Gitzo and Benro tripods...Benro is fine...

save your dollars...



Jul 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


i find you so amusing


Jul 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



eskimochaos
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


sjms wrote:
i find you so amusing


And why is that?



Jul 15, 2012 at 09:23 PM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


my apologies, not you, rdcny


Jul 15, 2012 at 09:26 PM
eskimochaos
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


sjms wrote:
my apologies, not you, rdcny


No worries.



Jul 15, 2012 at 09:26 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


wilt wrote:
Compare the weight of the three ballheads, before you decide. Greater weight = more top heavy when slung over the shoulder on a strap to carry. BH-55 is heavier than the Q20. Haven't looked at the Z1 spec on weight.


The A-S is lighter than the BH-55, but just about anything is.

EBH



Jul 15, 2012 at 09:43 PM
eskimochaos
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I'm not worried about the weight. I lift, I'm strong, I'm young, and I eat animals.


Jul 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


Enjoy it while you can.

EBH



Jul 16, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I do not have experience with all three ball heads, but do have a lot of experience with the Really Right Stuff BH-55. My oldest one was purchased soon after they came out, and it has given me great service in a variety of conditons. I do not use the adjustable friction too often, but rather loosen the main knob, frame my subject, and then tighten the knob. The large round knob is easy to find with out looking, and is silky smooth to use. Two fingertips can easily lock a BH-55 for most situations. There is no noticable sag in my copy of the BH-55, so my framing stays put. And it is so easy to do that I find it very fast. My style of loosen and lock may not be for everyone, but I find it works very well for me.

I also like the low profile of the BH-55, which has been made about as short as possible for this class of ball diameter. Another great feature is that the pan base lock actually locks the head down well, which is not the case with all ball heads.

You have made no mention about your lever release clamp, and I would strongly suggest you consider the RRS lever release clamps. Their lever release clamps are fast to use, and very secure. I change often between landscape and portrait and back, and it has become second nature for me to do that with the lever release with out thinking or even looking. Their latest minor change in the design has them able to securely clamp an even wider range of other brands of Arca Swiss brackets and rails.

I have used Gitzo tripods for many years, but when the TVC-33 came out, I decided it had enough features and extra stiffness that I needed to add it to what I shoot with. It really is a nice product, and if you want a leveling head some day, their verision also is very nice. The latest improvements to the Gitzo designs bring them a little closer to RRS for function, but their price now is also close. The larger leg diameters with the same or similar weight for the TVC series of tripods is key to their better performace over the Gitzos. In your case you are considering a 4 leg section TVC-34L, and that last leg section will be a lot larger in diameter than the 4th leg of a comparable Gitzo, giving you much better stiffness. I say get the TVC-34L now, and it will last you a lifetime. And by going with the RRS tripod, you will not have that nagging feeling of "what if".

I am also an engineer just like your self, and appreciate a lot of the features and function that Really Right Stuff puts in to their products, to make them in some cases work better that other products when used in real situations. And you are not going for overkill with the class of ball head and tripod you are considering. Getting a sharp image in a variety of conditions is a very important part of photography. And no matter which of the three good ball heads you decide on to start with, you can later change to another to try it, and suffer little loss if you sell one used.




Jul 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM
eskimochaos
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


Just picked up the TVC-34L in the classifieds. Now I just need a head and L-plate. I'm probably going to end up with an AS Z1 or BH-55.

I haven't been this excited about a new toy in a while. It's gonna get tons of use at night when I permanently move out to Chicago in two weeks.



Jul 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


I don't think ou can make a bad choice between the ballheads you're considering.
The one main difference is the A-S Z1 has the aspherical ballhead. A really nice feature that others don't have. The RRS clamps are better and many Z1 users have switched their clamp to RRS.



Jul 18, 2012 at 07:01 AM
sjms
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · AS Z1, Markins M20, or RRS BH55


i had a B1 with the aspheric ball. in the long run it really didn't make a world of difference at all. sounds cool but really has minimal effect.
i then went to markins and i've been at RRS since they came out.



Jul 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM
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