Time for a new ball head.
/forum/topic/1178659/0



DJS3813
Registered: Aug 20, 2012
Total Posts: 7
Country: United States

My ball head is slowly dying, so now I need to change the priority list. Over the weekend I contacted Kirk where I got it and found the bad news, if your wondering it is a medium size Kaiser. It has served me well, but the last time a cyclist hit it, I think that was it's undoing. So, I went on line and found these;

Arca Swiss Z1 $395 @636g
Markins Q20 $389.99 @555g
Kirk BH1 $385 @ 850g
RRS BH-55 Pro: Full-sized ballhead with Pro $415 @ 816g

I will be upgrading to one that has a greater ability to handle larger glass. Now, I can't lift the 600 in the field, so I need to be a bit practical here (medical reasons). What I want to be able to do is use the wimberley sidekick or maybe Induro GHBA Gimbal Head (have not decided on that part yet), which means the ball will be turn into the slot and be able to support the D4 and a 300/2.8 with converters. so far, I have read several reviews that this is not the Z1 strongest area, which kind of surprised me. Markins seem to have a pretty good following and good reviews. RRS just seems expensive when one compares specs. It will need to handle; snow, rain, sand.

And the occasional blind cyclist.

So, what do you all think?



BenV
Registered: Jan 01, 2008
Total Posts: 8135
Country: United States

I have the Z1, I love it, minus the flip lock which a pain in the ass, but at least I never need to worry about it accidently coming undone



godfather
Registered: Aug 13, 2004
Total Posts: 1991
Country: United States

Markins makes a great head but it would not be my first choice for sidekick use. It is extremely smooth but does not lock down as easily as the bh-55 and the panning lock is not as robust (important for sidekick / gimbal use).

I would defiantly go with bh-55 if you are buying new and planning on using the sidekick. The BH1 is also a good head but IMO it is a little dated (meaning heavy for it's holding power) but you can find them used for ~175-200 if you look hard.



geniousc
Registered: May 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1839
Country: United States

I use a Z1 with a RRS lever clamp in your exact application. It works very well, no issues with the clamp or BH whatsover. The Z1 is excellent. Mine was ordered with the main knob on the left and the drop notch in front. As far as I am concerned it is a super BH.

However if you have medical problems particulary limited arm strength, I would not recommend loading the D4 with a 300 attached in the sidekick without some assistance. It's a one hand balancing act.

gene



tuantran
Registered: Oct 26, 2006
Total Posts: 205
Country: United States

My Z1 locked up last week. Bought a strap wrench and unlocked it. So yes, add a strap wrench to the cost of the head just in case.

For some of you out there wondering what I did. I usually leave my head loose and stored it away for 6 months before saying hey, I haven't used that tripod/head combo in a while and lo and behold, it's locked. I gotta admit, when the know locks up, it's really locked up.



DJS3813
Registered: Aug 20, 2012
Total Posts: 7
Country: United States

geniousc wrote:
I use a Z1 with a RRS lever clamp in your exact application. It works very well, no issues with the clamp or BH whatsover. The Z1 is excellent. Mine was ordered with the main knob on the left and the drop notch in front. As far as I am concerned it is a super BH.

However if you have medical problems particulary limited arm strength, I would not recommend loading the D4 with a 300 attached in the sidekick without some assistance. It's a one hand balancing act.

gene


Well, it is a back condition, fusion that did not take. But, I did not think about the loading part. Thanks!

And thanks to all, your giving me good food for thought.



mitesh
Registered: Jun 28, 2005
Total Posts: 3871
Country: United States

+1 for BH-55. I use it in conjunction with a Wimberley Sidekick to support a 1dx and 600/4. The setup is stable and dependable. The ballhead locks down solidly. Smooth panning action as well.



RJKphoto
Registered: Oct 28, 2010
Total Posts: 1469
Country: United States

The RRS is the only one truly designed for the field, not the studio. A wet Arca Swiss will rust internally in a heartbeat (I know from experience) Spend the money on the RRS...you'll only have to do it once.



Steve Walker
Registered: Dec 16, 2007
Total Posts: 41
Country: United States

My "perfect" combination is a full Wimberley gimbal head and an RRS BH-55.

I have a medical condition that causes significantly reduced arm strength, especially in my right arm. I have enough strength to lift a 600, but could not imagine placing it on a sidekick. However, I can relatively easily lift the naked 600 with both hands onto the platform of the full Wimberley and then tighten the quick release. I can then attach the camera with no problem.

When I am not shooting with a long lens, I find the BH-55 to be ideal. I lock the ball head so the quick release is parallel to the ground. I can then set the camera/lens on the quick release and lock it in place. The BH-55 has larger knobs, which are far easier for me to work with than the knobs on other ball heads. Don't underestimate the importance of this.

This works great for me. As others have mentioned, I believe the sidekick would be a great disadvantage if you have issues lifting a big lens.



TheBearman
Registered: Aug 06, 2012
Total Posts: 103
Country: United States

+1 on the BH-55/sidekick combo. If you get the lever clamp you'll need the sidekick adapter plate.

I've used this combination with a 500 f4/1D4 without major issues in the past. Not quite as smooth as a full gimbal or as easy to balance but still good.

Just recently moved to a full gimbal and RRS quick release base. Makes switching between ball head and gimbal fairly quick which was one of the reasons I had the sidekick in the first place.



killersnowman
Registered: Feb 06, 2005
Total Posts: 2343
Country: United States

i just got a BH-55 and TVC-34L and i am very very very happy with the BH-55. the way the main locking knob works is amazing and the speed and power at which it locks is near instantaneous. also the tension knob is marked with numbers so you can go back to a specific tension if you want to. great ball head. worth the money.



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33649
Country: Thailand

I own ballheads from 3 of those brands BH-55, BH-40, Z1 and Markins Q3 heads. You can't really go wrong with any of those heads here.
I don't agree that the Z1 head would not be very good for a Sidekick. It's as good as the others. (only a few Z1 heads made before june 2008 was bad) The Wimberley site have all about it there. I also think a 600 lens is much nicer and better to use with a full Gimbal head instead of a Sidekick.
BH-55 has the best panning.
Z1 is smoother and locks even better



geniousc
Registered: May 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1839
Country: United States

+1 to all.....

gene



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9299
Country: Japan

geniousc wrote:
+1 to all.....

gene



Hehehe, that's really it IMO too. I don't think I've ever chosen a head that sucked. All the ones I tried some of which are listed here and some not, were all fantastic. So in the end it's all about features and how those fit or affect one's style.





matt4626
Registered: Feb 16, 2004
Total Posts: 1020
Country: United States

I've been using the Kirk head for years.....sand, ice, snow, whatever... never any problems...



DJS3813
Registered: Aug 20, 2012
Total Posts: 7
Country: United States

Wow... thanks for all the advise, this is great. I need to buy the L bracket and I was going to get that from Kirk, so, maybe I will just get the BH there as well.

Again, thanks, I appreciate all the input. I still working out how I will mount it, I never thought about that. Again, thanks!

Is there any "other" undiscovered brands I should look at? Just wondering, sand, snow and rain are all up there and side performace with the sidekick. But, I think I will play it more on the safe side. At the time, my ball head was the off brand and it held out great, until the cyclist.