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Archive 2013 · Which Ballhead?
  
 
a.jain
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which Ballhead?


I need a ballhead for my Canon 7D with 100-400 lens combo, mainly for bird photography and occasionally macro. I have zeroed down to the Acratech GPss($340+40$ for plate) and intend to use it as a Gimbal frequently. Or use a ballhead with Jobu Micro Gimbal sidekick or induro sidekick. $400 is my maximum budget. I need advice on the best setup, specifically acratech as I am really keen on it. Thanks.


Jan 12, 2013 at 06:39 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which Ballhead?


I don't normally use small lenses with small bodies on a gimbal setup. A lens like the 100-400 has a large physical change in length so you will need a set that offers a large, easily adjustable range of movement to keep the lens/camera balanced. The panning base on the ball head will also be important when a Sidekick is used. A larger, heavier duty head usually works best.

EBH



Jan 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which Ballhead?


I use an Acratech GP-S with a 100-400 on a 60D and 5DII. I am mainly a landscape shooter, so I got the GP-S primarily for shorter lenses and panorama setup. I used it inverted, so that the panning base is on top; doing that saves the weight of a separate rotator for the pano rig.

Because I'm a casual, rather than dedicated bird and wildlife shooter, I can't justify a full gimbal setup, and because I hike I wouldn't want the extra weight. So the ability to use the GP-S as a rudimentary gimbal is just about right for my current needs. I'm not under any illusions that it truly substitutes for a gimbal, or perhaps not even a Sidekick, but it does perform reasonably well. It doesn't truly balance (though the lens foot plate on the 100-400 provides some adjustment), but it also doesn't droop; there is just enough friction to keep it in position, even with the lens pulled out to 400 mm. The action is still smooth (a hallmark of the Acratech heads in general) an it is effective for BIF panning, etc. (though I'm still not very good at it, but can't blame the head for that). One thing to note is that with the camera and lens flopped to the side there is substantial off-center weight. Not enough to tip over a decent tripod, but noticeable when panning quickly. Also, when the camera is rotated to the horizontal position, there is little space between the camera grip and the head, barely enough for my small fingers, so it is kind of a pain to use in this position.

It works fine for macro; probably not different from any other ballhead in this application.

So if your priorities and needs are similar to mine, you might find the Acratech to be about right, but if birds are a higher priority you might want to hold out for a true gimbal.

Dave



Jan 12, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Paulthelefty
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which Ballhead?


I cannot offer advice on Acratech, but I picked up a like new Arca Swiss BH1 for under $300 (275 IIRC), and it is wonderful. Also snagged a Wimberley Sidekick for $150 off the buy/sell here. Haven't tried the Sidekick yet, but it also looks like new, and is capable of holding most any setup quite solidly.

Good luck with your search.

Paul



Jan 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which Ballhead?


The Sidekick works well on the old Arca Swiss B1. The Z1 would be the current equivalent. AFAIK the BH1 is a Kirk product, and is similar to the A-S B1.

EBH



Jan 13, 2013 at 05:03 AM
a.jain
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which Ballhead?


How are Cullmann(MB6.5) and Induro ball heads?


Jan 13, 2013 at 06:33 AM
 

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SSISteve
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which Ballhead?


Take a look at the Photo Clam ballheads. They are similar to a Markins and are well made for less money.


Steve



Jan 14, 2013 at 06:48 PM
a.jain
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which Ballhead?


I have ordered the Induro bhl2 and the jobu micro gimbal sidekick. Hope things work out, keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks everyone.


Jan 15, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Two23
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which Ballhead?


I've been using the original AcraTech for ten years now. If I lost it, I'd buy another. They are very, very solid.


Kent in SD



Jan 16, 2013 at 04:23 AM
nanana
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which Ballhead?


I have used Markins Q3, Arcatech Ultimate, and now ReallyRightStuff BH-40. All of them are very much solid, but now I would stay with the RRS for its size.


Jan 18, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Netgarden
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which Ballhead?


I am very happy with the Induro low profile bhl2. Under $360 and not only light weight but strong 44 lb weight capacity. I am using my wim. gimbal alot less often. Been using a ball head on my momopod for years, so used to it. On my gitzo tripod i find the induro easy to use, easy to stabilize it, and the low profile was just what i was needing. I have had a acratech ultimate on my monopod which is good also, but i think the induro is equally as good, maybe even easier to handle.


Jan 26, 2013 at 05:05 AM





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