Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

What tripod/head upgrade

jrp

San Pedro Garza García, MX
38680 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

"RE: What tripod/head upgrade"

jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter Member
Thu 11-Oct-12 09:22 AM | edited Thu 11-Oct-12 09:59 AM by jrp

Jerry:
We don't like to bash other brands, so I will stick first to the facts about the three recommended ball heads as top, as a group and then to the rest without mentioning brand names.

A true professional ball head has the following measurable characteristics:

1. Supports at least three (3) times the weight of the user's heaviest camera-lens combination. This ensures smoothness.
2. Easy to use, easy to carry, easy to operate and built for a lifetime.
3. Low in height for the lowest center of gravity, without interfering with the ball head itself or the tripod in all movements.
4. Light weight, because the heavier the tripod head the higher the center of gravity. Most important for stability and more so with the light carbon fiber tripods.
5. Accurate and dependable operation regardless of extreme weather conditions.
6. Have a progressive ball locking mechanism (not just on and off like a vise) with smoothest handling.
7. Have a "sweet spot" friction setting which allows for no-creeping and yet able to smoothly move the gear and stay put without having to touch the controls. This ":sweet spot" mechanism also acts as an anti-flop safety.
8. Provide sturdy support with ultra-high torque and extra-low damping factor.
9. Have a maintenance free system, except for external surfaces cleaning. No need of grease for lubrication, which may contaminate the photographer's hand and even the camera equipment.
10. Have a clamp for industry standard dove tail plates, Arca Swiss style.

Only the three above mentioned ball heads meet all of these requirements.

Why is the Markins in first place? Well, because in addition to the above:
a) It has the best damping factor due to its internal floating elements, absorbing almost all disturbances that transmit vibration, the main killer of sharpness.
b) It is the only ball head in the industry that publishes its torque, torque that can be tested and repeated with the same results, over and over again.
c) Several other 'nuances' like a bi-axial locking system, titanium center bolt, etc.

The next or second tier of ball heads sacrifice some of these characteristics.
Typically they work as a vise or have a "drag" instead of a sweet spot, are heavier, fatter and or taller and don't have the torque that yields a high load capacity for smooth operation.

The third tier, in addition, even when acting as a vise, still creep. They lack an efficient unmovable locking mechanism and cannot prevent an accidental flop.

The fourth tier also don't use high grade materials, cutting corners to make them less expensive. We've seen ball heads break apart when attempting to dismount them from a tripod with bare hands.

The fifth tier and further down are not worthy of mention. They include defects such as moving/twisting plates on a locked clamp.

In summary, the first and second tier ball heads will make you happy and surely come home with a good number of keepers, more the first than the second.
Not the others that guarantee miserably feeling photographers, more so as soon as they move closer and beyond 180-200mm focal lengths or 1:1 magnifications in macro.

Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
Please join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members who help this happen; upgrade.
Check our workshops at the Nikonians Academy and the Nikonians Photo Pro Shop

This is a hot, active topic! What tripod/head upgrade [View all] , Highlander_Italy , Fri 05-Oct-12 02:54 PM
Subject
ID
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
1
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
3
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
2
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
4
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
5
     Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
6
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
8
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
11
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
14
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
7
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
9
     Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
10
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
12
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
27
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
13
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
15
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
16
               Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
17
                    Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
18
                    Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
19
                         Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
20
                         Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
21
                         Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
22
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
23
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
24
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
29
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
25
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
26
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
28
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
30
               Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
31
                    Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
32
                    Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
33
                         Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
34
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
35
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
36
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
38
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
40
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
41
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
42
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
43
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
44
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
45
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
46
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
47
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
48
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
49
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
50
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
51
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
52
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
53
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
54
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
55
                              Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
37
                                   Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
39
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
63
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
65
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
56
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
57
     Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
58
          Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
59
               Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
60
                    Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
61
                         Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
62
Reply message RE: What tripod/head upgrade
64