Travel ball head.....RRS BH30 review

Butlerkid

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Normally I use a RRS BH55 with my old Gitzo tripod.

However, we are spending a month in Europe and I was looking for ways to trim down the weight of my photo gear. The BH55 is 2 lbs...the BH30 is 11 oz. After much research, I opted for the RRS BH30.

It arrived a few days ago, and I am very pleased! First, it is so very small and, well... cute! Hubby thinks I'm daftto take such delight in a ball head! I set up my D800 with 24-70 using the BH30 on my tripod. Very stable. Locks down very tight. I also like the quick release lever. The 70-200 will lock down tightly also.

The only thing I noticed was that with the D800/24-70, the weight is really forward of the ball head. So when opening the quick release lever, the camera/lens quickly dropped forward. This will be true of the 24-120 and 14-24 also. I'll have to have a good grip on the camera, before releasing it from the ball head. But, this really shouldn't be a problem if I use good technique...

Forward weight was not as much of a concern with the 70-200, since the foot of the 70-200 will allow forward/aft adjustment to better center the weight of the camera/lens over the ball head and tripod. However, I should always have a good grip on any camera/lens before disconnecting. LOL!

And finally, a confession! I also bought a MPR 192 nodal rail with 2 clamps. I rationalized that this would aid me in taking panos on the trip and macros in the future. At 11.6 oz, I think I added back about as much weight as I saved! :redface:
 
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i prefer the screw on, can you get a bh30 with a screw on plate vs lever ?

i love my bh55 but it is heavy

ever since i got a 3541 gtizo i hardly use my 5541, it seems as I get older lighter gets more important, especially on international trips....
 
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The only thing I noticed was that with the D800/24-70, the weight is really forward of the ball head. So when opening the quick release lever, the camera/lens quickly dropped forward. This will be true of the 24-120 and 14-24 also. I'll have to have a good grip on the camera, before releasing it from the ball head.
My solution is to put the camera strap around my neck before releasing the camera from the tripod head.

I went with the BH-25 at only 6.5 oz to go with my Gitzo 0531 ultra-light travel rig. Tripod and head together total 2 lbs. But I don't expect to use it with anything heavier than a D600+24-120/4. I'm sure your rig is sturdier.
 

Butlerkid

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I looked at the Acratech ball heads. They are about 14 oz to 1 pound and are more expensive. The RRS BH30 is only 11 oz. and quite solid.

Although I haven't used an Acratech, I believe that they are also very nice. I tried to find a used GP, but failed.
 
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if at some point you want a smaller head with adjustable tension (to prevent the ballhead from slipping with heavier loads), i would suggest the markins q3t. i've owned/tried the almost the entire RRS ballhead lineup (with the exception of the bh-25), and the only one i really enjoyed using was the bh-55 due to its adjustable tension capabilities.

i've now swtiched to a markins lineup, and being able to set the tension so that you can adjust the camera without having the risk of it flopping downward is great. my markins ballheads do have RRS lever clamps, which has made shooting from a tripod a true pleasure...love those things!
 

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For me personally, I've always had trouble with the thumb screw tension knobs. Too hard to set or change. My experience was with the ArcaSwiss B1....

The Markins q3t looks viable, although slightly heavier (1.8 oz) and more expensive ($35) than the BH30.
 
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With your nodal rail & clamps you could mount the D800/24-70 combination on the BH-30 and adjust the position until you achieved balance. That would make mounting - dismounting easier. Might make a more stable setup.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion!

Now that I have the nodal rail and clamps....I was wondering if it was worth the 11 oz to take them on this trip.

Yesterday I finally decided to leave the 70-200 home due to weight and expected little use! :eek:

However, now I'm considering take both the 24-70 and the 24-120! :rolleyes:
 
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Personally, I would have gone with the arcatech, as the price difference is minimal ($14). For going really light' you our have looked at the Linhoff universal ball head 01. It doesn't have the load capacity of the arcatech or RRS, but it only weighs half a pound, is less expensive than either of the other heads mentioned, and has proven to be reliable when I've used it with remote cameras or as a light-weight travel pod.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=90270&is=REG&A=details&Q=
 
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Personally, I would have gone with the arcatech, as the price difference is minimal ($14). For going really light' you our have looked at the Linhoff universal ball head 01. It doesn't have the load capacity of the arcatech or RRS, but it only weighs half a pound, is less expensive than either of the other heads mentioned, and has proven to be reliable when I've used it with remote cameras or as a light-weight travel pod.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=90270&is=REG&A=details&Q=
I believe it's Acratech. And why is the Linhof better than the RRS BH-25?
 
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I stand corrected on the name. So much for trying to type on an iPad.

I wasn't suggesting that the Linhoff was better than the BH25 or vice versa. As for the BH-25, I agree that is much closer to the Linhoff; the BH25 is a little heavier, but not much, and has a better load capacity than the Linhoff. However, the discussion involved the BH-30, and for the weight and insignificant cost differential, I'd have gone with the Acratech.

I picked up the Linhoff years ago off of eBay, and have been very happy with. I can throw in on a clamp and clamp a camera just about anywhere. Or I can throw it on a light-weight set of Gitzo legs that I have for travel. That said, if I had to buy a light-weight head today, I'd probably look at the BH25 since the load capacity would give it a bit more usefulness.
 
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