Pistol grip ball heads?

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by Czechman01, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. I'm curious to know why we don't hear more about pistol-grip ball heads. The concept appears to be much more practical/spontaneous than having to turn knobs to lock the position.

    Anyone here care to comment on these?
    Pros, cons, general observations?
  2. I'm not sure about how well they will stay in place with the grip anything but vertical. Law of levers and all that. I've been tempted by ones that Calumet seem to be selling off on clearance in the UK but I've not jumped yet.

  3. I have the Bogen 322RC2 which is a great pistol type head that can be in vertical and horizontal orientation. It's good for static work, easily adjustable, but not as smooth at all as the Markins, Kirk, or Arcaswiss offerings. It's convenient, but you get what you pay for!
  4. Grip Action Ball head


    Like Nate, I use the Manfrotto 322RC2 ball head from time to time. The stated Max. load is 11lbs (5kg). The lighter the load, the better your chances for it not drooping. Obviously you do not use it for panning... It is more convenient than a regular ball head with thumbscrews.

    When quick movement is required and I am using a tripod, it will have a video head on it.
  5. lisantica


    Jul 4, 2006
    So. Calif.
    I have a monopod that has a pistol grip release for increasing and decreasing height of the pod. I love it!
    It has me thinking about a pistol grip ball head now!

  6. I have a couple I used to use. Work great with P&S and light camera/lens, very convenient. Since moving to larger lenses I moved to ball heads/gimbals.

    PM me if you are interested in buying one of mine. Like new and have extra plates. Then I will have to calculate a reasonable price.
    :smile: :smile:
  7. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    I had one of the Bogen grip heads, and I sold it in favor of a smaller ballhead. It was kind of bulky. Probably would be fine in the studio though. There was no way to leave the head loose either. I didn't care for it, although it was nicely made.
  8. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Woody :

    Had one with my D100, and it was a PITA to use consistently. Any weight of lens with the body, and the damn' thing would sink slowly. If I cranked down on the stop, I could sometimes get this to stop, but it wasn't easy or convenient. The theory of the grip is spiffy, but the actualisation of that in manufacture falls far short.

    After I bought my Wimberley "Big Head" (v1) and an Acratech Ultimate, it sat on a shelf until I traded it for some large scale giglee printing from a friend in town.

    I've yet to find a pistol grip that's even close to the Arca or Markins ballheads.

    John P.
  9. Woody,

    I borrowed one for a trip once but can't remember the brand. (my feeble memory won't go back the 20 years or so) I used it atop a mono pod with my Hassleblad. Worked great and I swore that someday I'd have one of my own. Guess what...............I still don't have one. Priorities, man, priorities.
  10. Interesting responses so far. I can see where they're not going to be as rock solid as one would want for long exposures or landscapes for the simple reason that they extend the camera away from the tripod on a device that's not as solid as a conventional ball head.

    I'm more in need of speed and something more stable than handheld, so I guess it's just like everything else... a compromise.
  11. That's right, Woody. I wouldn't put one on a tripod for a serious landscape shot. But for quick work with a monopod it was great.
  12. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Woody :

    Well, I've used ballheads, but more for relatively static cases. For movement, the Wimberley "Big Head" has been the best item I've owned. It's not small, weighs a bit, and requires practice to use well, but it's been a treat for my shooting in nature. Dunno how it'd do for model shooting, however.

    As for the pistol grip items, they could be made to be more solid. The lever arm distances on the grips are not too great to be addressed. I just haven't seen one that does so... Interesting question for a machinist-type of person, eh ?

    John P.
  13. Woody,

    Don't underestimate it for landscape or long exposures. It can do just fine with a decent load on it. This was taken with the Manfrotto 055MF4 (which is not the greatest, but not bad) and the 322RC2 which I mentioned earlier. Mounted on top was a D2H, 12-24DX, QR plate, Polarizer, ND filter. Exposure was f8 in bulb mode at 32 seconds on a floating dock in portrait orientation (flopped) and it handled the weight just fine.

  14. I too have the 322RC and I love it! I use it every time I use my tripod and don't ever really notice any drift. I use it with the D200 and the 70-200mm VR attached and it works great. Can be positioned both vertical and horizontal and is very quick with the On/Off plate system. Has a tightening adjustment to snug down if needed for heavier loads, and with the D200, MB-D200 and the big VR Lens, that's some weight!
  15. Hokum


    Jun 20, 2006
    Pennines UK
    I use the 222 action ball head and find it very good with up to 300mm lenses, i've used it with my 500mm with which its stable, but not very easy to move around.
  16. Russ


    Jul 21, 2006
    Bloomingdale, IL
    Same here. I use the Manfrotto 322RC2 and the 681 monopod.

    At 6'6" I can use all the extra height I can get! :biggrin: