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Archive 2012 · Ballhead advice
  
 
dgdg
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p.1 #1 · Ballhead advice


I have the need for a quality, light weight ballhead to stick on my Vixen Polarie star tracker.
The weight limit on the Vixen is 4-5 pounds.
This past weekend I was using a chinese knockoff which had worked well before, but early in the morning this past weekend when cold and substantial dew set in, I seemed to have some small but significant sag even after routine tightening. The ballhead base was at a 45 degree angle as well. This caused multiple extra adjustments to find my target and eventually my polar tracking went out.

What I am looking for -
weight: ~ 1 pound or less
load: canon 5dII and at most a 70-200 mm f4 capacity, usually 14mm samyang. The ballhead may stick out level to ground, straight up, basically any angle.
height: ~ 3.5 inches or greater (camera body can bump up against vixen polarie at extreme angles)
No sag or drift at weird angles.

Initial thoughts -
I have an AS monoball B1, but it is too heavy for the Vixen.
I then wanted the BH40, but it seems short and I worried about the ballhead locking lever torquing the vixen.
Excited about the Markins Q10 for the height, but then people complained about the pan knob and sagging.
Don't mind the price, need something that locks and sticks.



Oct 15, 2012 at 02:20 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #2 · Ballhead advice


RRS BH-30 or Induro BHL-2? If price is no concern, go with the RRS. Neither of these are really very tall though.

Kirk makes some nice ball heads as well, their BH-2 is tall but weighs more than the above 2.



Oct 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM
dcains
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p.1 #3 · Ballhead advice


The Markins heads are all top-notch, and smooth as silk. Absolutely no sagging or slipping, ever, unless the movement is happening someplace else in the system. The panning lock is a weakness, but only with long heavy lenses, and would not likely occur with your 70-200/4.

As for the RRS BH-40, the locking lever can be pulled out (it's spring loaded), and the knob can be set to any one of 6 positions very easily. The RRS heads need a bit of break-in to be as smooth as the Markins, but will also never slip, and the pan lock is very solid.

Based on your need for a taller profile, it sounds like a Markins is the way to go.



Oct 15, 2012 at 03:34 PM
sjms
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p.1 #4 · Ballhead advice


the lower the ballhead the less torque overall. you will note that even on the vixen website they use low profile heads
http://www.vixen.co.jp/en/lp/at_01.html



Oct 15, 2012 at 04:08 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #5 · Ballhead advice


sjms wrote:
the lower the ballhead the less torque overall. you will note that even on the vixen website they use low profile heads
http://www.vixen.co.jp/en/lp/at_01.html


certainly, thank you.
I have a little manfrotto style head, just a bit weak.
they don't show in the photo when the camera body bumps up against it at certain angles.
Guess I could try the BH40 and put it through the angles inside my home to see. It is much harder in the dark!



Oct 15, 2012 at 04:16 PM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · Ballhead advice


you could try a BH30 too.

and it looks to be a matter of setup to me.

and in the dark thats what they make headlamps for.



Oct 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #7 · Ballhead advice


headlamps..... right!


Oct 15, 2012 at 06:05 PM
macentropist
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p.1 #8 · Ballhead advice


Dgdg,,
You could not do better than the Markins Q3 Emily, one is for sale right now on the BS boards for 215 bucks.

A Very nice ballhead IMO

Best



Oct 15, 2012 at 06:07 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #9 · Ballhead advice


How much force is required for the BH40 ballhead lever?

If I have to push it around a lot, then I may go out of polar alignment.
think the turn knob is probably less prone to errors.



Oct 15, 2012 at 06:40 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · Ballhead advice


not much at all. i use it with a D4 and 70-200/2.8. it reqs the least amount of force of all of them to lock it up. i also own an older Q10 markins. in "pushing" it around you may move more then you think like the whole tripod assy depending on what you have. there's lots of mechanical linkage going on in a tripod assy.


Oct 15, 2012 at 06:48 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



dgdg
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p.1 #11 · Ballhead advice


What about the Induro BDH0/1?


Oct 15, 2012 at 07:24 PM
dcains
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p.1 #12 · Ballhead advice


sjms wrote:
not much at all. i use it with a D4 and 70-200/2.8. it reqs the least amount of force of all of them to lock it up. i also own an older Q10 markins. in "pushing" it around you may move more then you think like the whole tripod assy depending on what you have. there's lots of mechanical linkage going on in a tripod assy.


Agreed - the RRS takes a very small amount of effort to lock the ball, and has a separate drag adjustment which is very precise.



Oct 15, 2012 at 07:29 PM
dcains
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p.1 #13 · Ballhead advice


dgdg wrote:
What about the Induro BDH0/1?


We RRS and Markins guys aren't going to have much to say about a "knock-off" brand like Induro, while others will claim it's "just as good". Reputation goes a long way, is hard-earned, and often speaks the truth.



Oct 15, 2012 at 07:32 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #14 · Ballhead advice


lol
You all are great help.
Looking at the vixen tiny heads at <=3" height, I think I can use the BH30 as previously mentioned. I can still use it for everything else when out in the daytime too.
I'll have to fiddle with the angles and be sure to have an L bracket for my other camera (astro rebel) for those hard to reach angles where I might hit up against the polarie.
Thanks! I promise not to mention the other just as good brands!



Oct 15, 2012 at 07:54 PM
dcains
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p.1 #15 · Ballhead advice


I'll be curious to know how this works out. I had no idea such a device existed, and have some concerns about the reliability of its drive mechanism with a heavy DSLR setup. Please be sure to post some results here for us to see.


Oct 15, 2012 at 08:00 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #16 · Ballhead advice


Same here, I know of the Vixen but never really seen it in action apart from on the manufacturer website.


Oct 15, 2012 at 08:11 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #17 · Ballhead advice


how about this - a mini borg telescope?!?
http://www.singastro.org/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10473

I am processing some images now, will post details.

I have used a rebel and 70-200mm f4 with no trails at 100%, 3.5 minute subs. This is mostly designed for wide/normal angle star field photography. For me I intend to do 'astro' landscapes on vacations at national parks. Start parties and local new moon viewings will be nice too.
I think with a pro body and heavy wide angle you might consider the Astrotrac instead.
For a 5D or crop body, you would do fine with a wide angle lens.







Oct 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #18 · Ballhead advice


I have a few samples of my photos with the Vixen Polarie.
For the landscapes I do take a couple non tracked images of the foreground, then I will overlay it onto the sky so both are sharp.
Excuse the coma on my 20mm Voigtlander, it has since been retired to daytime use only.
I now have a Samyang 14mm which has very little coma and very sharp.
The 70-200mm f4 is quite sharp and light, very little coma in the corners. A pleasing lens. I might try a 1.4x extender next time out and try for Veil Nebula or Horse head if I can't find any astro landscape compositions.

I received my BH30. Chose this since it was about same height as the BH40. I worked through some angles and it should work fine. For some extreme east or west objects I needed to slide the 5D off center on the L bracket but seems sturdy. Vertical orientation on L bracket is on option but with a pro body and heavy lens, it may be too heavy a lever arm. I can point below south and clear this as well. I plan to take my AS B1 as well which is quite heavy, but gives me height and I suspect could be used with reasonable gear weight.



dgdg 2012


Milky Way, 20mm f3.5, 3-4 minute subs, ISO 800, Astro modified T3i





dgdg 2012


Milky Way, 20mm f3.5, 3-4 minute subs, ISO 800, Canon 5DII





dgdg 2012


Pleiades, 200mm f4, 3.25 minute subs, ISO 800, Astro modified T3i







Moonrise, 20mm f3.5, 3 minute subs, ISO 800, Canon 5DII




Oct 20, 2012 at 07:12 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #19 · Ballhead advice


Beautiful pictures, thanks for posting!


Oct 20, 2012 at 08:47 PM
dcains
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p.1 #20 · Ballhead advice


Just added to my amazon wish list


Oct 21, 2012 at 12:02 AM
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