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Archive 2012 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?
  
 
gregwass
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p.1 #1 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I'm currently looking at a new ballhead for my Gitzo 1542T. I think I've narrowed it down to either the Really Right Stuff BH-30 or the Acratech GP-S. I had considered the Markins Q3T but not sure I like that one as much and whether the quality is up to par with the other two.

Curious what people's opinions are and whether you have experience comparing these? It's tough to compare since I can't see them all in person at a store.

This will be for my 5D Mark III. Largest lens would be a 70-200mm 2.8, but mostly 24-70 2.8.

Thanks for any input!



Aug 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM
dcains
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p.1 #2 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


My vote would be for the Markins Q3. It's got great build quality, the smoothest operation of them all, and it's a perfect for for a travel tripod with reversible legs. I've got a BH40 (on a 2-series Gitzo), as well as a Q3 (on a 0-series Gitzo), and the Markins' only weakness is its "soft" panning lock, which can slip when using long lenses (but the ball never slips under any circumstances). Otherwise, I might use the Markins on both tripods. I've never been a big fan of the Acratech heads, after owning an Ultimate head, which seemed to flex under load. I've not had hands-on experience with either the BH30 or GP-S, though, so take my advice with a grain of salt.


Aug 17, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Nozzleforward
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p.1 #3 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I have a BH30 on a Gitzo Series 2, along with a Markins ballhead base. I've handled the Acratech ballheads before, but I've never owned one personally. I am a big fan of the RRS stuff, and the BH30 works perfectly for most of what I do/use. It holds my 5D with a 24-70 2.8 just fine, but I would probably look at a BH40 if you're going ot be using the 70-200 2.8 on it. The BH30 I'm sure would hold the lens / camera combo fine for ocassional use, but I would look at a stronger setup for longterm.

I have no experience with the Markins ballheads, I was skeptical of the build quality when I saw their stuff was made in Korea and costs just as much as any US made gear, but based solely on the machining and finish of the ballhead base I have from them, their stuff looks just as good to go as anyone elses.

In my opinion, you can't go wrong with the RRS stuff, I can't see myself buying anything else after owning several of their setups.



Aug 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
gregwass
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p.1 #4 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Would a BH40 go well with the tripod or is it too big for a 1542T? I know the legs wouldn't fold over on a 1541 but don't have that same issue with a 1542 so maybe I should consider the BH40 instead? I have the same concern about the Markins quality. Have seen a lot of comments about the Q3T breaking.


Aug 17, 2012 at 06:53 PM
dcains
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p.1 #5 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I actually use a Gitzo 1-series platform on the column of my 2-series tripod because its diameter matches that of the BH40 almost perfectly (while the original 2-series platform is larger than the BH40's diameter). So, the BH40 should fit, with no restrictions on folding the tripod. I'll try to post a pic later.

Just curious, where have you seen "a lot of comments about the Q3T breaking"? I've only seen one comment here about the ball becoming locked, with a possible solution posted, but never heard what the end result was.



Aug 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Nozzleforward
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p.1 #6 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Based on the pictures I see of the 1542 on B&H's website, it looks like the tripod legs should be able to fold up either direction and not contact the ballhead (based on these pictures)

If I were looking for a ballhead to hang a 5D and 70-200 on, I would go with the BH40. But at the same time, if you're using the tripod collar on those longer lenses, I would imagine that you can balance the setup ok and be just fine. I believe you would certainly want a larger ballhead than the BH30 of you were going to be using it often or with lots of moving around (recomposing, etc). Like I said before, the BH30 works fine for my 5D and 24-70, but I also only use a tripod once every few weeks, and I don't typically re-compose very much, so my setup is typically aligned, then locked down until I leave. The more you use the ballhead, the more you'll want those extra features like ball tention knobs and built in levels.



Aug 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #7 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


The BH-40 is too large for a travelling tripod where you fold the legs over the head. I would recommend the Q3T. Even if the large head would fit, you don't gain anything in stability when using a series 1 tripod


Aug 17, 2012 at 09:11 PM
dcains
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p.1 #8 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Yes, but the GT1542T legs don't fold over the ballhead, because the center column is longer on the GT1542T than it was on the GT1541T.


Aug 17, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #9 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


dcains wrote:
Yes, but the GT1542T legs don't fold over the ballhead, because the center column is longer on the GT1542T than it was on the GT1541T.


But you don't gain anything by using a larger and stronger ballhead. Not when the tripod is a series 1. The stability will not be better with a BH-40 or BH-55 than the smaller heads. I own the BH-40. But I never use it when travelling


Edited on Aug 17, 2012 at 09:30 PM · View previous versions



Aug 17, 2012 at 09:26 PM
dcains
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p.1 #10 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


True.


Aug 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
 

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dcains
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p.1 #11 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


For reference, here's a BH40 on a 1-series platform (GT2540LVL tripod):










Aug 17, 2012 at 09:34 PM
gregwass
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p.1 #12 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


May not gain much stability, but it gives me the flexibility to use the BH40 if I ever decide to get a Gitzo 2 Series instead. I also like the idea of s tension knob (or at least I think I do). Do you value the tension knob or not really care? Also, even if it won't give more base stability, the BH40 will still hold better than the 30.

Dcains - it's probably not a "lot" of comments. But have definitely seen posts on various forums about the knobs getting stuck or the ball drifting. I'd definitely welcome seeing pics of your setup if you have the chance to post any.

Seems like I might be leaning towards the BH40...





Aug 17, 2012 at 09:36 PM
gregwass
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p.1 #13 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Thanks for the pic! So those are 2 series legs on a 1 series platform?


Aug 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
dcains
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p.1 #14 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Yes, 2-series tripod, 1-series platform. Just a better fit for the BH40.

FWIW, I do find some real value in the tension control knob and ergonomics of the BH40. Having used both RRS and Markins ballheads extensively, I've never known either to exhibit any drifting of the ball during tightening. Most often this is due to other factors, such as the weight of the entire setup shifting, or flex somewhere else in the system.



Aug 17, 2012 at 09:43 PM
gregwass
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p.1 #15 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I went back and searched again and it looks like a lot of the issues I saw on the Markins were related to the panning knob, as you mentioned.

Do you think the BH40 would be too big on the 1542? Always hard to tell without seeing it in person (I wish there was a store where I could just see all of them side by side). But from the pics it doesn't seem to be THAT much bigger than the BH30 or Markins and isn't that much heavier.



Aug 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM
dcains
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p.1 #16 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


The BH40 is actually pretty close in size to the Q3 (and the only difference the Q3T has is a smaller base). I've never seen a BH40 on a GT1542T, either, so you're on your own on that one. I'd guess it's a reasonable match, though, judging from the BH40 mounted on the 1-series platform on my 2-series Gitzo. But, bear in mind that the whole point of a travel tripod is light weight, and it's easy to create an unstable, top-heavy setup, especially if you extend the center column.


Aug 17, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #17 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I have both the BH-40 and Q3 heads. Yes the BH-40 is larger/more heavy. And I always bring my Q3 when using a traveller tripod


Aug 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #18 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


dcains wrote:
For reference, here's a BH40 on a 1-series platform (GT2540LVL tripod):

http://deanwcains.smugmug.com/photos/i-WDZwQNW/0/L/i-WDZwQNW-L.jpg



The head is a lot larger if you show the other side. Take the same photo and turn the head around so you see the side on the back here.



Aug 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM
gregwass
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p.1 #19 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


Looks like the BH40 with lever release and bubble level should be able to clear the 1 Series platform, no? Do you also know if it would clear the 2 series?

My next decision is L plate or regular plate. I'm thinking I don't take enough portrait shots to justify the L plate.



Aug 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM
dcains
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p.1 #20 · RRS BH30 or Acratech GPS for Gitzo 1542T?


I've got the larger clamp on my BH40, and it would hit the 2-series platform with the ball dropped into one of the notches. Not a real issue for me, as I have L-brackets on all my camera bodies, but I prefer the look of the 1-series platform with the BH40 or Q3 ballheads.


Aug 18, 2012 at 01:25 AM
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