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Tripod Head upgrade...

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by simonramsden, May 24, 2007.

  1. Yes, I ignored the advice and chose the wrong head a few years ago - now its showing its limitations and I'm looking into alternatives. I'm suffering from creep, twisting plates on the camera/lens and wiggle in the QR holder.

    Firstly - no really long lenses, so I'm not considering a Wimberly II or Sidekick.

    Secondly - I currently use Bogen/Manfrotto RC2 QR plates - I accept that I need to move to the Arca-Swiss dovetail system so that they plates don't twist.

    Thirdly - Biggest lens is a Sigma 50-500mm - weight approx 2kg - so I'm giving myself a max load on the head of about 10kg - gives me capacity for a bigger lens later.

    Fourth - price - :eek:  have you seen the price of these things - well, yes you have. I'm in the UK, favourable exchange rate - reckon on around about $500 for a ball head + couple of plates.

    I was thinking....

    Acratech....they have a new one coming out soon, the GV2, which looks kinda cool
    RRS......BH-55 Pro - but they have shallow dovetails - would this become a problem with a larger lens ?
    Arca....B1 Monoball with QR - proven ball head

    So - that's my shortlist - favourite is the Acratech at the moment.

    Are there any others I should consider ?
    Is there anything wrong with any of the above that I need to be aware of ?

    New legs comes next month - But I'll be heading down the Gitzo line...probably.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. I just bought a Kirk BH1. LOVE it! Very solid, very smooth. It also came with a universal plate to put on the camera (Yay!). Price was $355. It's built to hold long glass, though I don't own any (and don't anticipate the same).

    They say it's a 2 week wait for it to ship. Mine went out the next day. :smile:
  3. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    I have an older version of the Kirk BH-3. It replaced a Bogen QR ballhead. It is MUCH better than that one was and it's everything I need it to be. My camera is a D200 and my largest lens is a Sigma 100-300/4, and that's no problem with this ballhead.

  4. I've got a Markins M20 and really like it. Very smooth operation, no creep, doesn't move when you tighten. The ballhead also has a very wide sweet spot. I recommend it.
  5. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    If you don't have any really long glass... take a look at the RRS-BH40 too. I have both the BH-55 LR and the BH-40 LR.

    The 40 is great!! I have it mounted on a table top tripod and it as as steady as can be. I rourinely shoot the 200 F2 on it for test shots. I even put the 200-400 VR on it once. :biggrin:

    Either way... my vote is for the RRS stuff. Pricy... but great. :biggrin:


    May 1, 2007
    So Cal
    Rrs Bh55......

  7. yatesd


    Nov 5, 2006
  8. It was a point they made on their own website that the dovetail on their 55 model had a shallower dovetail. As a result Wimberley plates and their own were the only ones they recommended. It made me think that if the dovetail is shallow, then they can't exhert as much force and it might lead over time to a bit of play in the clamp. Other than that it looks like a great ball-head.

    I had dismissed the Kirk heads because of the number of knobs - seemed a bit fussy and over complicated.

    Thanks for your input, all of you - I hadn't really considered the Markins heads, I'll have to go back for a look.

    Plenty of food for thought.
  9. There have been several other threads about this. My recollection is that others use Kirk plates in the RRS clamps with no problem. I use the RRS BH-55LR with a Kirk plate with no problem. The head is built like a tank and is a pleasure to use.
  10. I deliberately went with the RRS BH-55 BH and the RRS L-brackets after seeing that note about the dovetail, because I had just spent a significant amount of money on Wimberley plates for my various collared long lenses and wanted easy interchangeability between Wimberley gimbal head and RSS ballhead. As it happens, the other day I needed to use one of my long lenses on the ballhead instead of my Wimberley gimbal and it worked out just fine. I also have the Wimberley C-10 clamp on my monopod, and again that works nicely for using either collared lenses with the Wimberley plates or the L-bracketed camera body itself.
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