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Ball Head Questions

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by Captj01, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Captj01


    Nov 27, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I was at B&H Photo today - Just barely got out of there with my life :eek: . I think I have resolved myself to the Gitzo 2542L tripod. I think it will do everything that I want (For Now). I hope to start birding soon, but I still only have the 70-200vr f/2.8 with teleconverter, so this should be plenty of tripod for me.

    The question is the ball head? I got to see and hold the Arca-swiss Z1 while I was there, and it was very nice, smooth and sturdy feeling. I have heard that alot of people like the really right stuff BH-55.

    Can anyone weigh in and tell me what there ball head of choice is? I typically shoot landscapes, family & Zoo's. I would however like to start shooting birds, so the Z1 would adapt nicely to a Wimberly sidekick. I'd like to buy the best that I can afford even if it means waiting a while and saving my money. Right now I have budget of about $400 - $500.

    I appreciate all your help in advance.
  2. At this point I wouldn't recommend a Z1 to you. Arca Swiss seems to have messed up a good part of the design. They appear to have made some questionable design choices and cheaped on on some components (it is, after all, their lowest-end head).

    They changed the stem design to a two-piece set-up that some users had separation with. That caused Wimberley, which makes the Sidekick, to withdraw their recommendation for the Z1. Arca Swiss chose to maintain the two-piece design and added reinforcement. Wimberley did another test and they think it's acceptable, so they recommend it again (and they recommend other heads as well). However, they warn not to buy the two-piece designs made before a specific date. See:




    Then there's this customer review -- look at the one dated 1/19/2008:


    The above is rather scary and goes against the "get it right the first time" principle. Indeed, the two-piece design was introduced quietly after the head was released.

    IMHO, I would avoid the Z1 altogether, and look instead toward an RRS head like the BH-55 or the Markins M10 or M20 -- if your budget can handle it. Especially if your goal is eventually to go to long glass. Frankly, your 70-200/2.8 can be handled with the Markins Q3 and RRS BH-40, but then you'd want another head when you do get long glass.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2008
  3. vandrv


    Jul 21, 2008
    I have the Gitzo GT2530 tripod and use it with my 70-200 2.8. I opted for the Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead and it works great. If I had any very much larger lenses, I would opt for he BH-55
  4. yendikeno


    Mar 31, 2008
    I own and use a Markins M20, and really like it. Not cheap, but is very, very smooth and works very well.
  5. Captj01


    Nov 27, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Thank you all for your feedback. I have plans of getting Longer Glass (When My Wife says Yes). So I am prepared to wait till I can afford the right head. It keeps comming back to the RRS BH-55 or the Markins, or the Arca Swiss Z1. I'm sure I will be fine with either one but really like getting other peoples referrals from what others have experienced.
  6. Leif


    Feb 12, 2006
    I think it is fixed. Nikonians have done their best to publicise this fault, which is not surprising since the Z1 is a direct competitor to the Markins heads which Nikonians sell.

    I own a Markins M10. It is excellent, though there are many good heads out there and few people have experience with more than one kind. I suspect the Z1 (with the fault corrected) would be good too. I chose the M10 over the RRS40 as it can carry more load, and the RRS55 was too heavy and expensive for me.
  7. kava


    Mar 27, 2006
    Dear Cafe Members,

    I can not spend a lot of money. I very much satisfied with Induro 213 Carbon Tripod and their< I think D 12 Ball Head. I use 70-200 VR.

  8. kava


    Mar 27, 2006
    Dear Captj01,

    Please wait until Photo Plus in Jacob Javits in October 08 where you can see, handle and play with the Induro gear .

  9. Wileec

    Wileec Guest

    I have the RRS BH-55 and it works very well for me. My signature shows the glass I'm currently using and it has worked well for both the 80-200mm f/2.8 and the Tamron 200-500mm. And, eventually, I am strongly leaning toward the 400mm f/2.8 VR lens. Honestly - it's the best ballhead I've ever used. The only down side is that it sets the standard really high - so will likely get the BH-40 for my lightweight tripod (the BH-25 is really not in the same league; ordered one - then sent it back).
  10. I've only had one nice ballhead. It's a Markins M10 and I love it.
  11. I really love my Markins M10 , but there is some other good choices out there also.
  12. Captj01


    Nov 27, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks to everyone, the replies are as expected. If I stay with either the RRS BH55, the Markins M10, or the Arca-swiss Z1, I should be pretty happy. That is really all I can ask for. These are all really good ball heads, so as long as there aren't any glaring issues that people seem to be having with them than I should be OK.

    Thanks again.
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