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Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best
  
 
skyloverz
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I have a MEFOTO tripod that came with an inexpensive ball head, I am not overly fond of.
I'm shooting with Sony A7R2 my biggest lenses are Zeiss 135 APO and Canon 200 mm F 2.8

I'm looking at choices there are SOOOO MANY.....

Which is better.... ball head or geared head ?

I eventually may want to put a slider on tripod, not sure if this matters.

any help/input appreciated

Thanks Broose



May 14, 2017 at 12:41 AM
runamuck
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


Ball head is quicker but not so ;precise without fiddling. A geared head is extremely slow. IMHO a geared head is best used for macro work.

If I had to use a geared head for my photography I would still be framing shots captured long ago. If you have very strong OCD, get the geared head. For the rest of us a ball head is fine.



May 14, 2017 at 01:04 AM
skyloverz
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


Manfotto has a geared head MHXPRO-3WG XPRO
that has quick release levers on all 3 axis to facilitate ease of movement, before engaging the micro movement

Leveling might be a challenge



May 14, 2017 at 01:37 AM
Two23
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


A ball head is the way to go unless you are shooting an 8x10 view camera, or doing a lot of architecture with shift lenses.


Kent in SD

Edited on May 14, 2017 at 03:22 AM · View previous versions



May 14, 2017 at 03:06 AM
Abbott Schindl
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


What you shoot and where are more important than which lenses you have (in this case). I have a Manfroto geared head and find it very useful for studio work where I need precise positioning control, absolute locking ability, and I can take my time to position the camera.

In the field, or where you need/want to be more agile, a ballhead's the way to go. I've got a RRS BH-40 on one tripod and a BH-50 on a larger tripod and both are dreams to use. I've tried the geared head in the field, and find it useful only for some macro work when the subject isn't moving. Mostly the geared head just frustrates me in the field, despite its excellent controls.



May 14, 2017 at 03:20 AM
dgdg
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I use a geared head for Astro, both wide and telephoto.
With my vixen Polarie, I could not obtain accurate polar alignment otherwise.
With my Astrotrac and a telephoto lens, I use the Astrotrac geared wedge for polar alignment and then a manfrotto geared head to find the target.
Don't do much macro, but I can see how it's similar.
For general purpose, ball heads are the most versatile.



May 14, 2017 at 03:29 AM
jharter
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


Sony A7rII with a 135 Apo and 200 mm lens with a Mephoto? I think concern about the ballhead is a bit misplaced. the tripod itself it at the tall end of the tripod's capacity.

That issue notwithstanding, any available geared head would be a massive overmatch for Mephoto.

If you must endure with that tripod (which is fine in general but overachieving with your gear), then get a top quality ballhead. Examples would be: Acratech GP-Ss, Arca Swiss P0, RRS BH-30.



May 14, 2017 at 04:10 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


jharter wrote:
Sony A7rII with a 135 Apo and 200 mm lens with a Mephoto? I think concern about the ballhead is a bit misplaced. the tripod itself it at the tall end of the tripod's capacity.

That issue notwithstanding, any available geared head would be a massive overmatch for Mephoto.

If you must endure with that tripod (which is fine in general but overachieving with your gear), then get a top quality ballhead. Examples would be: Acratech GP-Ss, Arca Swiss P0, RRS BH-30.


I can just see an A-S Cube head on that tripod.

EBH



May 14, 2017 at 05:54 AM
Michael White
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I heard great things about the rrs b&h-55 I finally bought one a couple years back and really glad I did


May 14, 2017 at 08:23 AM
skyloverz
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


Thanks for all input, I'm liking Markins Q 3i or Q 10

My Mefoto Globetrotter is rated to carry ~ 26 lbs max
the Sony A7R2 and Zeiss 135 MAYBE hit 10 lbs I don't see that as remotely approaching " max payload "on the tripod

I do understand the need for geared head in astro pointing accuracy is quite important in Astrophotog

I still like the Manfotto geared head MHXPRO-3WG XPRO

maybe I outta buy both heads, costs will be way less than A-S cube... I don't see the cube in anodized RED, so it is already out of the question

Broose in Chi-Town



May 14, 2017 at 11:49 AM
 

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Two23
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


skyloverz wrote:
My Mefoto Globetrotter is rated to carry ~ 26 lbs max
the Sony A7R2 and Zeiss 135 MAYBE hit 10 lbs I don't see that as remotely approaching " max payload "on the tripod



Keep in mind there is no third party organization that rates tripod load bearing. The maximum load is whatever the marketing dept. says it is. And, it doesn't necessarily mean it holds something securely either.

I went the route most people do when choosing a tripod. First one I bought was because of price. It turned out to be frustrating to use--garbage. Then I bought a bigger heavier one. Less frustrating, but it became very heavy after walking just a mile. And the sagging ball head drove me nuts. I bought another, better tripod that was a little lighter and had pretty wood. Replaced the head with a better quality Manfrotto. Tripod worked well enough but didn't fold up very compactly, and when shooting verticals my camera would spin on the cheap Bogen quick release plates. Drove me nuts. So, I bought a Gitzo 1325 and an AcraTech Ultimate ball head, dedicated "L" plates for my camera. Perfection! That was ~15 years ago and I still use these every time I go out. The Gitzo has seen about eight cameras come and go now. I sometimes shake my head at how much money I wasted trying to go cheap on a tripod & head. I would have been much better off just buying a used Gitzo and first class ball head in the first place.


Kent in SD




May 14, 2017 at 01:33 PM
jharter
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


skyloverz wrote:
Thanks for all input, I'm liking Markins Q 3i or Q 10

My Mefoto Globetrotter is rated to carry ~ 26 lbs max
the Sony A7R2 and Zeiss 135 MAYBE hit 10 lbs I don't see that as remotely approaching " max payload "on the tripod

...

Broose in Chi-Town


For travel, I don't mind lowballing the tripod I have to carry, and then compensating with good technique and the realization that I won't get every shot I want. But I don't think that is what you are thinking.

You might just buy the Mephoto without a head so you can eyeball its size and sturdiness before buying a ball head. For example, someone mentioned a RRS BH-55. That ballhead is relatively enormous for the tripod - more like sitting a kettle bell on top of it. So even if a tripod is rated to a large weight, that has no bearing on how it performs with that weight. Oops - I re-read and it looks like you already have the tripod.

I have a 3LT Brian which I think is rated to 70 lbs or something ridiculous. It is a good travel tripod but there is no way it is usable with that load.

Just my 2 cents.



May 14, 2017 at 02:11 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I've used a Manfroto geared head on a Foba camera stand. It came with the rental studio—and you couldn't give me one as a gift.

I'd use an Arca Swiss D4. When unlocked you can move it around as easily as a ball head




May 15, 2017 at 12:07 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


runamuck wrote:
Ball head is quicker but not so ;precise without fiddling. A geared head is extremely slow.(..).


and if one fiddles a lot, the geared head is no doubt faster
for macro and technical/precise shooting setups the geared head is faster overall, but for everyday and generic use, you are right , a ballhead does the job best and likely much faster



May 15, 2017 at 06:39 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


EB-1 wrote:
I can just see an A-S Cube head on that tripod.

EBH


the A-S hybrid p0 might be a better choice.
just for fun, the other day I mounted mine on a manfrotto 609 tabletop tripod ;not too bad actually,if was not so hard to reach for the adjustment knob


the RRS bh-25 can handle more weight than one would think, but without upgrading the tripod, the acratch gp-s would be a very good choice




May 15, 2017 at 06:47 AM
jcolwell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I use three geared heads,

Arca-Swiss C1 Cube
Manfrotto 410
Sunwayfoto GH-Pro

...and four ball heads,

FLM CB-18E
RRS BH-25
RRS BH-30 LR
Manfrotto 468MG Hydrostatic

...plus some specialist support accessories, like the Wimberley SideKick, Hejnar long lens support, Acratech leveling base, and panning bases from Feisol & Varavon.

Everything is fitted for Arca-Swiss (A-S) plates and rails, using a Hejnar 410 adapter, and a Wimberley C-10 platform for the 468 MG.

I've been using a 410 for over ten years. It's a reliable workhorse that never lets me down. I only considered getting a second geared-head solution because the 410 is a bit large and clunky for extensive travel and hiking. My first alternative was the GH-Pro. It's nice and small, and it works OK, but it has enough warts (described later), that I bought a Cube. The Cube is sublime. Resistance is futile.

The only two drawbacks for the C1 Cube are; (i) the price, and (ii) the size/weight for travel. OTOH, it's way easier to pack for travel than the 410 head.

The 410 head is the only one of these three heads to have geared movement for azimuth (panning), and so it's great for precise framing. The C1 and GH-Pro both have free movement in azimuth, and so you just release the clamp and rotate (same as on a typical panning head). This works fine for most situations, but is a bit of a pain compared to the 410's azimuth gearing, especially with long lenses and high magnifications.

The GH-Pro was my attempt to get a relatively light-weight and relatively-inexpensive geared head for travel, but it's not all that well made, especially in comparison with the C1 (the 410 is fine). The GH-Pro knobs are very difficult to rotate (in comparison, the smaller C1 knobs are easy), and there is a significant deadband/looseness in one of the horizontal axes (it'll flop over about 3 degrees).

My 410 setup costs about $400 (head $220, A-S adapter $65, RRS clamp $120), the GH-Pro sells for about $450 US (eBay), and the C1 Cube is $1572 (B&H).



© jcolwell 2017


Three geared heads: (L to R) Sunwayfoto GH-Pro, Arca-Swiss C1 Cube, and Manfrotto 410




May 15, 2017 at 12:40 PM
skyloverz
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


..and four ball heads,

JC, thank you for your input, quite thorough, and succinct, I appreciate your efforts and information

Regards,

Bruce in Chi-Town



May 16, 2017 at 12:02 AM
JameelH
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


The GH-Pro is a knock off of Arca Swiss D4. The D4 doesn't have the quirks of the GH-Pro mentioned by jcolwell.

Another one to add to the list is the KPS T5 which is a combination ball head and geared head. Very different designed compared to the AS D4/GH-Pro and cheaper than the AS D4.



May 17, 2017 at 01:52 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


JameelH wrote:
The GH-Pro is a knock off of Arca Swiss D4. The D4 doesn't have the quirks of the GH-Pro mentioned by jcolwell.

Another one to add to the list is the KPS T5 which is a combination ball head and geared head. Very different designed compared to the AS D4/GH-Pro and cheaper than the AS D4.


The KPS T5 is indeed a nice geared ball head, but a bit too tall and heavy for his current tripod IMO
the new AS p0 hybrid might be a better option from reviews I read.
used gearheads are not a common sight...

..OP:
Maybe you should consider upgrading your tripod first - don't have experience with sliders, but it's likely to unbalance the tripod even with a light camera setup...and them indeed you need a solid head with no or very little sag



May 17, 2017 at 02:55 PM
kdphotography
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ball Head VS Geared Head which is best


I'd start with a good set of legs. Note that the max capacity should also include your head and accessories in addition to your camera.

AS Cube---Not a good travel tripod leg choice. You'll be top heavy without a sturdy substantial tripod, similar to the RRS TVC 3 series in stance and build. Good news is that you enjoy great camaraderie amongst AS Cube owners. (It really is an awesome head)

GH-Pro and Manfrotto options---pass. GH-Pro is not good for anything more than a mirrorless camera, and not with a longish lens. Manfrotto is too heavy and light on capacity. Not in the same quality class as Arca Swiss or KPS----not even close. Well, you could buy them, but then you'd be visiting this same thread next year and looking at the Cube, P0, or KPS T5....

AS P0 hybrid is am interesting new entrant---I've seen the new P0, but not had a chance to try the hybrid version. AS Cube remains rock solid and at the top of the list in terms of overall performance as a geared head. KPS T5 remains my on location geared ball head.

My old review (also on GetDPI and Luminous-Landscape): https://kendoophotography.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/the-kps-t5-geared-ballhead-in-search-of-the-elusive-white-unicorn/

Ken



May 17, 2017 at 03:16 PM
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