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McAllen, US
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"RE: Ballhead advice"

esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002
Wed 23-Jan-13 02:46 PM

I own five ball heads - an RRS BH-55 and BH-40 and a Kirk BH-1 and two BH-3's.

I can recommend any one of them, they are all excellent. I will tell you about my recent experience with my RRS BH-40 and RRS Customer Service.

I chose to order the BH-40 Pro II with the full size B2-Pro II Screw Knob Clamp. This ball head/clamp combination will severely limit the range of tilt when using a standard DSLR. I recently used this ball head for the first time on a trip far from home. Fortunately, I make it a point to always travel with a back up ball head. While shooting with the camera pointed downward or skyward to any measurable degree the B2-Pro II clamp interfered with rotating the main tension lever to tighten the ball head. This lever is spring loaded in design allowing the user to pull it out and reset the orientation to address this issue. But even with this feature the clamp is so over-sized for this ball head that this is only marginally useful. I found many times that there was insufficient clearance between the edges of the clamp and the lever to re-set the lever's orientation and still re-engage the tension mechanism. Very frustrating. Half way through the trip I decided to swap it out for the Kirk BH-3 I also brought along.

When I got back home I called RRS to explain the problem and if they could replace the clamp for the smaller B2-mAS screw knob clamp at no cost. Since I purchased this ball head well before my trip and I had not encountered this problem when testing it at home I was not aware of this problem. They refused to swap out the clamp because the 30-day warranty had expired. I then asked if they would consider giving me a break with a small discount on the replacement clamp or at least not charge me shipping and they again refused. When I felt they were unwilling to keep a good customer happy I told them that I am needing a solution through no fault of my own except that I didn't encounter this problem until after the warranty expired. They then pointed out to me that their website explains this issue in bold red lettering and I should have called them to inquire about any problems with the product. What?!! So they knowingly sell products that are faulty in design or in this case comprised of components that are incompatible? I was then scolded that I should have ordered the ball head over the phone so that this could have been pointed out to me in advance. This was so incredulous that in exasperation I asked them, then what was the bloody website for?

Later when I hung up I read the statement in red lettering carefully and it DOES NOT mention the issue I had. It states known issues with the clamp bumping the base of a tripod when you couple this ball head with a tripod whose base diameter is larger than the diameter of the base of the ball head. A totally different problem!

I certainly believe in caveat emptor but this is ridiculous. I am not going to say that I will never buy another RRS product again, mainly because they are a sole source for a lot equipment I need. But I will be much more careful from now on and I will never trust their customer service again. They do not seem to care about the long term welfare of their clientele and seem to only be interested in producing well made products but not necessarily well designed ones. And if you are one of the unlucky ones to buy something that doesn't work as you expect it should you may find yourself on your own.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
Get my new e-Book "Churches of Texas"

A topic tagged as having a question Ballhead advice [View all] , danmacinSD , Fri 18-Jan-13 04:24 PM
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