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Archive 2013 · New ball head avice
  
 
me.awesome
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · New ball head avice


So i just purchased my first set of nice legs, Gitzo GT2542L, and I was looking for a good ball head to go on it. Right now I am interested in the Manfrotto 057 and 055 ball heads, but Im not sure what other good options might be out there. The only limiting factor is that I need to be able to buy it on amazon (i have a lot of gift card money I want to use up). One other reason I like the Manfrotto's is that they are having a nice rebate going on right now which is really leaning me in that direction. Any one have experience with the 055 or 057 ball heads?

I am using a D800 with a 24-70 2.8 or 70-200 2.8 about 99% of the time.



Jun 11, 2013 at 12:55 AM
dcains
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · New ball head avice


The Manfrotto ballheads are just so bad, for more than a few reasons, not the least of which is their crappy quick-release system. Even without being restricted to Amazon, this is a very good ballhead:

http://www.amazon.com/SUNWAYFOTO-XB-44-Tripod-Compatible-Gravity/dp/B007IV8I0S/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1370913648&sr=8-26&keywords=sunwayfoto

Just about the equal of my RRS BH-40 in every way, and very high build-quality.



Jun 11, 2013 at 01:27 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · New ball head avice


I saw that, ive just never heard of sunwayfoto before. They almost look like a RRS knock off.


Jun 11, 2013 at 03:12 AM
lukeb
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · New ball head avice


me.awesome wrote:
I saw that, ive just never heard of sunwayfoto before. They almost look like a RRS knock off.


It is!



Jun 11, 2013 at 03:28 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · New ball head avice


Jeez they are almost the price of an RRS head.


Jun 11, 2013 at 04:01 AM
dcains
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · New ball head avice


I'll agree, at least partially to both comments, especially since I own and use both brands. In some ways, the Sunway has been a bit better - no break-in required, and the elliptical ball is nice with bigger glass. I also prefer the large main friction knob. The RRS is a bit more compact, and their lever clamp has always been the best. I use them both all the time.

For a 70-200/2.8 (and a Gitzo Series-2), I couldn't recommend much less, although other good choices are the 2 larger Markins heads, the Arca-Swiss Z1 is also very nice, and if you're more budget-limited, a larger PhotoClam will also work well.

One thing is certain, though, and that's the requirement of an Arca-Swiss type quick-release system. The Manfrotto QR is as bad as it gets, being both unstable and unsafe. You can also save a few $ using plates from Hejnar (as opposed to Kirk or RRS):

http://hejnarphotostore.com/



Jun 11, 2013 at 04:20 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · New ball head avice


So just for my own knowledge, what makes manfrotto heads so bad?


Jun 11, 2013 at 04:55 AM
dcains
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · New ball head avice


In general, they're not as easy to operate (i.e. set the ball friction with any precision), they often don't hold their position after you take your hand off the camera (gear-driven heads excepted), and the internal parts wear and get sloppy. Further, as already mentioned, the quick-release system is just crap. Too much free-play, tough to open/close, and they break.

I did once have an older manfrotto 486MG (hydraulic-locked ballhead) with an RRS lever clamp, and it was pretty good, but much heavier than similar heads.



Jun 11, 2013 at 05:03 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · New ball head avice


dcains wrote:
I did once have an older manfrotto 486MG (hydraulic-locked ballhead) with an RRS lever clamp, and it was pretty good, but much heavier than similar heads.


I did notice that the manfrotto heads weighed a ton. like 3 pounds for the 057 head.



Jun 11, 2013 at 05:05 AM
dcains
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · New ball head avice


That's a silly amount of weight to carry around, and is essentially 3X the others I mentioned. Kind of negates the lightweight Gitzo, as well as unbalances the system.


Jun 11, 2013 at 05:07 AM
 

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Hutch
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · New ball head avice


Been very happy with my Acratech


Jun 11, 2013 at 05:16 AM
dcains
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · New ball head avice


Another good alternative, and super-light. I had some droop with mine, though, with longer glass, which some users report and others don't. Also top-notch customer service.


Jun 11, 2013 at 05:18 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · New ball head avice


if I remember correctly, arent gitzo ball heads pretty bad as well?



Jun 11, 2013 at 05:26 AM
me.awesome
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · New ball head avice


What about induro? I know some people that have their legs and like them.

http://www.amazon.com/Induro-BHD3-Ballhead-Black/dp/B002SXMRX0/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1370929131&sr=1-4&keywords=induro+ball+head




Jun 11, 2013 at 05:42 AM
dcains
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · New ball head avice


I'm not nearly convinced Induro/Benro/Sirui have made that leap to quality ballheads at this point. I've had my hands-on with a few of them, and wouldn't buy one. Sunway is the only outstanding Chinese-made brand I've been able to recommend and buy.

The Induro ballhead you linked to is surely not in the class of the others we've been discussing, but that's just my opinion, and of course, you're the one with the $. It's always easier spending someone else's $, but I'd rather buy right the first time. Believe me that was a lesson I had to learn at some expense, especially with regard to camera support systems.

You should be able to find a PhotoClam PC40 or 44 with a screw-type clamp for right around $200 (if that's where you need to be), and that's a well-proven product, with lots of good reviews here on FM.

I still think anyone would find it hard to fault the Sunway XS-44 when compared to the other top brands, but it's $300. It's funny at that price point you really do see a marked difference in quality and ergonomics from the cheaper ballheads, with the differences between RRS, Markins, Sunway, Acratech, Arca-Swiss, etc, becoming more about personal preferences than anything else. I guess that's why I've tried them all, and settled on a Markins Q3 (series 1 tripod), RRS BH-40 (series 2 tripod), and Sunway XS-44 (series 3 tripod).



Jun 11, 2013 at 06:31 AM
dcains
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · New ball head avice


me.awesome wrote:
if I remember correctly, arent gitzo ball heads pretty bad as well?


Haven't tried a Gitzo ballhead in a very long time, but I had a G1277M (maybe 6 or so years ago) which was upgraded to a Markins Q3. That Gitzo was silky-smooth to operate, and was very nice on a series 1 tripod. Only one I ever owned, though.



Jun 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM
pmiller228
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · New ball head avice


You might want to give this a try, nothing to lose with Amazons awesome return policy. The price is more in line for what I think an knockoff should cost too.

It supports my gripped d700 w/70-200 great. No creep that I can see at 200mm. My one dislike is I wish it clamped the ball faster.

That said, I've never used a premium brand like rrs so I have nothing to compare to.


http://www.amazon.com/SIRUI-K-30X-Ballhead-Release-Capacity/dp/B004QC6VOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370954302&sr=8-1&keywords=sirui+k-30x



Jun 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · New ball head avice


You could check out the Photo Clam heads. Lots of people on here like 'em, and Amazon sells them.


Jun 11, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · New ball head avice


me.awesome wrote:
if I remember correctly, arent gitzo ball heads pretty bad as well?


I've owned a couple Gitzo ball heads and they were very nice for the size and weight. The main gotcha is you need to install your own QR clamp as the Gitzo clamp is a one-size-fits-all like Manfrotto RC2. I put a RRS clamp on my G1177M and it's a wonderful travel head.

I only own one Manfrotto head--054--and it's actually very good: smooth, locks down solid and is easy to operate. The tension control is excellent and very tweakable from light to heavy drag. And holds my 5D2/70-200 4L or 300 4L tight. Only a single bolt holds the mounting disk to the ball stem so installing a Hejnar Arca clamp took all of 5 minutes. I did own a couple other cheaper Manfrotto heads--222 & 496--and they had tiny balls, weren't very smooth and tended to slip under moderate loads.

I also briefly owned a Sunwayfoto ball head and it was terrible: drifted under light loads and tension adjustment was either tight or loose as a goose--no in-between. So I returned it. Probably was defective as their clamps and QR plates are decent. If you use RRS plates beware as many of the Sunwayfoto clamps don't open wide enough to top load the larger 39.5mm dovetail.



Jun 11, 2013 at 06:25 PM
me.awesome
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · New ball head avice


Screw it, im gonna get a RRS BH-40. The sunwayfoto looks nice, but I trust a name like RRS more. I can just use the amazon money to get plates. Any recommended plates? I was looking at some L-plates for my gripped D800 but i was wondering if there is one that has a screw that I can hook my rapid strap into?


Jun 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM
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