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Type of tripod heads

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Rich Gibson, May 12, 2005.

  1. I've tried the ones with the stalk you twist but the camera always seems to flop over, scaring the wits out of me. I noticed a recent thread about various tripods but wondered about heads.

    At the DC tidal basin a gent had an ARCA (sp?) ball head. I assume one manhandles it till you get it where you want it and then tighten it. Fair enough. I also saw a type at my regular northern VA dealer which the owner claimed was the "cats pajamas." (Gordon, remember that one? Frank?) You squeeze it like one of those old amusement park strength games to move it then release the grip. Has anyone owned/worked with this? I'm not a patient person and setting up the tripod alone is tedious....pushing and twisting, then releasing and pushing in the other direction and twisting is not my "cup of tea" (I can't believe it....two cliches in one post! :D  ).


  2. Greg


    Apr 5, 2005
    Fayetteville, TN
    I just got a Bogen/Manfroto 3421 Gimal Mount. As with most gimbal type mounts once you balance your camera and lens it stays where you want it without fear of it slapping the tripod with the lens. Mounting the lens camera combination takes all of about 5 seconds.

    I've seen a post elsewhere saying the pan wasn't smooth. i haven't experienced that plus the pan tension can be adjusted as can the tilt.

    It is a bit larger and not as sexy as the Winberly but it is about 400 bucks cheaper

    Just my 2 cents.
  3. Brew

    Brew Guest

    So far so good with my Acratech ball head, light and strong...
  4. I have a Markins M10 and I love it. Light and strong.
  5. Rich, I once borrowed a Bogen ball head for a mono-pod of mine. It was the "squeeze" type you mentioned. It worked great. I'd still be using it, but it had to be returned to my friend and I never spent the money to buy one. I'll probably be looking for one myself, because after starting to shoot recently, I've noticed I'm not nearly as stable a platform as I was 20 years ago. Can't seem to hold a 210mm lens stable below 250s shutter speed. ARG!!!!!!! (hate gettin' old) :? (older) :D 
  6. Oh, Rich, by the way, I used that Bogen head with my Hasselblad and am convinced it would have worked for a much heavier camera than that. No need to worry about anything flopping over.
  7. JAM


    Apr 30, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    An ARCA Swiss ballhead doesn't get 'manhandled', exactly. When set up properly, its extremely smooth and balanced, making it easy to point the lens where you want it. Just a gentle turn locks it in place. Many others have copied the ARCA design over the years, especially the camera and/or lens mounting plates. They've become pretty much a defacto standard - simple and very effective.
  8. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

  9. Rob G.

    Rob G. Guest

    tripod and ballhead quest

    Hi Rich,

    I'm also on a tripod & ballhead quest.

    As for ballhead I saw these options appealing:
    - Markins M10 or M20
    - RSS BH-55LR
    - Arca-swiss B1
    - Kirk BH-1

    All with tension control (so no flopping about) :) 

    here are some links to various reviews:

    some info about travel ballheads and tripods:

    I'm probably going with the RSS BH-55LR or the Markins M10.
    Don't know for sure. I'm in doubt because of the easy lever controlled quick release from RRS. It looks great. Markins has the screwed quick release which looks annoying to me.

    Good luck with your quest. Hoping to end my quest tommorow :) 


  10. Rob G.

    Rob G. Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  11. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I use a Bogen 468RC4. Its big and handles up to 35lbs. :) 
  12. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I use a "scaring the wits out of me" ball head on my Manfrotto 724B.
  13. Rich, I'll toss in my 27 cents worth here.

    First of all, I am the fellow who made the comment regarding the Bogen Gimbal not being smooth on panning. The fellow who had it, when I asked him about this, said that if he loosens the pan up any more it is too loose. Given that I had about 2 minutes to play with it, my guess is that with a bit of work, perhaps a Teflon washer or just proper set-up, it would have been fine. Can't really say for sure, but as pointed out it is a lot less expensive than the Wimberly types.

    Now, the first question is what you are going to use the darned thing for. When I first tried long glass, 500mm and 600mm, I just tossed them on top of my ballhead, a Kirk BH-3. My first impression was that this really sucks if you are trying to track anything moving in 3 dimensions, you just don't have the control. My second impression was that this really sucks because if you don't have all the tension bits set right then the dreaded "flop" occurs, which is somewhat troublesome when you have a $3200 body plus a $7000 lens sitting on top.

    On the other hand, if you will never use anything longer than a 70-200 a good sturdy ball-head is probably just fine. With the current crop I would be looking at the new Really Right Stuff heads. Compact and sturdy, and they have made the controls very simple and foolproof.

    My setup, given that I do both, is my Kirk BH-3 Ballhead with a Wimberly Sidekick. This works much like the Jobu Black Widow in that the camera in hung sideways on the gimbal arm. This affords very smooth operation in 3 dimensions.

    In my opinion if you are shooting anything long or trying to follow objects in 3 dimensions you really need a combination. A ballhead as well as a gimbal type of some sort.

    One of my friends that I shoot with has the Bogen "squeeze" type head, and she is constantly fighting it with her 100-400 Canon lens. With smaller lenses it seems to work fine.
  14. For pete's sake Birger, I dont even own a tripod or head, and here you have more than my local store. Now thats a collection.
  15. I have the Arca Swiss B1-pro. I love it. I can not imagine using a tripod without it. It compliments my RRS Stuff very well. I have not seen the RRS ball head but it looks very nice. I think you can not go wrong with either the RRS ball head or the Arca Swiss B1-pro. If I did not have one, i probably would go with the RRS version. They have a great reputation for high quality "stuff" and excellent customer relations. In the end, I would say which ever is cheaper between the two will serve you very well. You can also mount RRS clamps on the Arca Swiss head.
  16. I have the Arca Swiss as well and like Scott I think it is great. You can feather the setting so that it is just loose enough to move but still holds the camera steady. My second choice would be the RRS ball head just because I know the quality of their equipment.
  17. Tom_Kline


    Apr 24, 2005
    I have been using Arca Swiss ball heads for over two decades and thus endorse their use! I have two versions of the model that preceded the B-1 etc. One with a 1/4-20 bolt and the other for Arca plates. The latter one is more convenient. I use the non-plate version when a camera or lens is to be set up for a while. Less worry about having the plate come loose and having it slide off. The earlier heads also have the tension setting.
    Cheers from Alaska!
  18. Thamks to all. The links and recommendations were all I needed. Although I have the D2X (not light) I never plan to have more than the D2X, 70-200VR and possibly the TC2 E.

    So I bought .....TADA!

    Manfrotto/Bogen 3001BPro and the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead.

    I went to my favorite photo store, ACE Photo in northern VA and they had an entire line of Gitzo, Bogen and Slik and Sherry and I openend up and shook, pushed and generally tested them. I do not like the twisties (have the Gitzo carbon fibre momopod) because they're either too loose or too tight...and you have to tighten and release them in the proper order or the leg will twist bacause the section higher up is too loose.

    This model is a good compromise between height and sturdiness.

    Thanks again to all.

    Rich :) 
  19. For your use good choices Rich, and the Acratech is sure cool looking as well :lol:
  20. Brew

    Brew Guest

    And pretty light too!!
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