In my world there are no Kirks, no RRS, no Markins, no Arca-Swiss etc, etc. You get the picture right? If none of the upper tier of ballheads were around what ballhead would you all opt for? I'm talking D70, 300 afs, 80-400 vr, flash plus ext. tubes and tc's. Do the Giottos, Bogens, Sliks, etc offer anything that you would all feel recomending?
It seems like you are asking about "cheaper" ballheads. If you can afford those lenses, can't you afford a little extra for a good ballhead?
The 80-400 is around $1400, the 300 AFS is $4500. Are you saying you want to skimp on the support for those lenses? Seems like a silly decision to me.
Edit: Upon scrolling a little further down I see a 300mm AF-S lens for around $1000. My point is still valid that you don't want to put a few thousand dollars worth of camera, lens, flash, TC, etc on a cheap ballhead.
Andy; "Skimp" is not the word I would use.And it to me is not a "silly" decision. Why is it when everyone looks to save a few bucks everyone starts with the "silly, skimp, cheap etc'? You don't know what I or for that matter anyone else had to do to get "those" lenses. I am not a pro and I have no aspirations to be so. So maybe i'm just looking to save a few bucks where I can. Believe me a 1325 Gitzo, with a Kirk or Markins would be very nice i'm sure, but so would that Harley that I'm waiting to show up in the driveway. I cannot justify spending $1000.00 or so on a support set-up. You have to admit 400-600 for a tripod and 300-400 oir so is alot for a ball head. I'm quite sure where ever you can save a dollar or so you do it don't you? I do understand your point but to me right now and for awhile the dream set-ups just are not in the picture, i'm just hoping to find a real world setup for my level that I can afford. Thanks...
I think we appreciate your position. We're not trying to say you are wrong, just pointing out an alternative strategy. In the view of most people here (including me), you'd probably get better results if you'd gone for slightly cheaper lenses, and put the money saved into a top-quality tripod and head.
Still, it's your choice. Something like the Manfrotto 055 tripod and 486 head would be worth looking at. That's the head I started with before I "saw the light"
Brian; I appreciate your response. I fully understood your and all elses position. There are always choices, i'm just trying to find out if there was a better one for "me" that would net me the same results at a lower cost than the big ticket set-ups. The reason I was able to get those 2 nice pieces of glass involved alot of sacrificing on my part of other things. But thats another story. Maybe I just looked at it the other way. Get the best glass I can afford first, then the tripod later. Whereas you suggest going the other way. I just figured it would be cheaper upgrading a tripod rather than a whole bunch of lenses. Thats one of the things I was always told, get the best glass you can afford. And if you notice the lenses we're talking about are still not the best, are they? There's always a compromise somewhere. Anyway your profile still says the o55, what did you upgrade too? What do you think of the 488RC head?
You asked Brian about the 488RC ball heads (Manfrotto). I have a pair of them and they are mounted on Manfrotto adapters that fit into Manfrotto Superclamps. I use these when I need to mount a D2X camera/lens somewhere other than on a tripod. These are unusual situations and for these shots the 488RC ball heads are the best solution. They are compact, well built, moderately priced, and will handle the imposed load. For all my other tripod based needs, usually with much heavier glass, I use RRS BH55 heads.
I realize I am joining this thread fairly late. I hope this helps your decision making process.
HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
HBB in Phoenix, Arizona Nikonian Team Member
Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.
I don't know where you got the lenses. If you got them free somehow, that's great.
But you still can't "skimp" on support. You have some nice glass there and to get the best out of it you need solid support. Not to mention that the wrong support (ie cheap) could result in that expensive lens becoming a broken lens when the tripod fails to hold it up.
Get the best you can afford. As another poster said, perhaps you should wait on a ballhead for now. Get a decent set of legs that can handle the weight you will have on them and a 3 way tilt head. If you get the right legs, you can save up and get a nice ballhead later. In other words, don't get a set of legs where the 3 way head is "built-in" to the legs. You want a 3/8" bolt on top for mounting other heads later.
Bob I understand your point also. I dont recall using the word "cheap". There are quite a few heads in the $150-200 range, to me that range is not cheap its affordable. I would think that some manufacturer out there other than what I consider the upper tier must make something decent. Something that would fit my needs and pocket. Just hoping that someone who has used something else would chime in with their opinions on such. Anywhere I can save just gives me that much more of a headstart towards my next purchase. I cant believe that only a Markins, Kirk, RRS etc are the only good heads out there.
Here's what I know....when I came to Nikonians in 2002, I didn't even know what a ball head was. I wanted a tripod. Then I found out I needed a ball head. I wanted satisfaction with them & I didn't want to have to buy several to find the one that worked for me. I researched this place & got lots of help. I trusted the judgement of those who went before me. I couldn't believe the prices for what they were recommending but I decided to spring for them. I ended up with a Gitzo 1227 and a Markins M10. I could not and still can not believe the ease with which this combo works for me. I've never once regretted my choice and I've had no problems what-so-ever. Nothing sticking, nothing pinching my fingers, no hassle. Period. (Apologies to those of you who have heard this story a million times.)
"If you ever drop your camera into a river of molten lava, let it go because, man, it's gone."
Visit Nikonians at Photokina; Cologne, Germany~Cologne Exhibition Center-Hall 2.1 A015 Sept 26 thru Oct 1, 2006
"If you ever drop your camera into a river of molten lava, let it go because, man, it's gone."
Lela; I could'nt agree more concerning the judgement of others. I also do not regret any of my decisions based on any of the members input. Maybe I should have just phrased my question differently. Basically I guess i'm looking for something that is "adequate" for my needs. I simply cannot believe that none of the ballheads out there are not any good. Do we need to spend a certain amount of money to get results that a less expensive alternative may give just as well. Thanks for taking the time.
>Maybe I should have just phrased my question >differently.
Not really - as I explained, we understand your reasoning but just don't think it's the best alternative.
>Basically I guess i'm looking for something >that is "adequate" for my needs. I simply cannot believe >that none of the ballheads out there are not any good. Do we >need to spend a certain amount of money to get results that >a less expensive alternative may give just as well.
Well, that's exactly the point we are making - a less expensive alternative would not do "just as well", and in the rig you describe would certainly be the weak point, limiting your results more so than less expensive glass would. But, that may be "good enough" for you - at the end of the day it's your choice. All we can really ask is that you make your choice understanding the implications.
In my world, my D70S and used 80-200 f2.8 two-touch with tripod collar is the best body/lens combination I will have for quite awhile. I, too, have been seeking the best tripod/head combination I can afford, even if it is only second (likely 4th) best. I, too, have been frustrated..or is it merely envy...when reading about the top of the line.
One thing I did notice: in most of what I read, inexpensive ball-heads seem to be "cheap," while inexpensive pan-tilt heads seem to perform better. Have you thought about looking at pan-tilt heads? Perhaps a pan-tilt head rated to carry the weight would be a better alternative.
Incidentially, I finally ordered (yesterday) Manfrotto 3021BN legs and a 804RC2 pan-tilt head. Inexpensive, but, I trust, not "cheap." At the least, this combination should best my monopod.
Theron; Yes it can be frustrating to find what suits your needs. Its just that there is so much to choose from, and I do not enjoy making mistakes. Thats why we ask for other opinions and advice. I'm fully aware that that decision is mine but from the input from those that went before us you hope to avoid making too many mistakes. It has nothing to do with envy. As far as a pan-tilt head, I had one awhile ago. Very nice but I have learned to like the speed and ease of a ball-head. But I will leave it open as an option. Good luck with your new set-up and no it is not cheap. We all indivually have to determine what is cheap or not, based on our own situations. Thanks for your time and looking.
My suggestions in your price range: USED GEAR!!!!! That'd get you a lot more performance; that's the way to go if you're not in a hurry. 1- Bogen/Manfrotto 488rc2 >$90 2- Put an Arca-clamp on it to replace the rc2 platform. Its easy and will only cost $40-70 depending upon where you get one. This will boost the performance by leaps and bounds. 3-Kirk BH-3 used for around $200 (+ or -). Fantastic build, rock-solid. 4-The Benro Kirk and Arca knock-offs on Ebay. Not to much in the way of user reviews so far, but a few have said that they like them. They may not have the durability of the original brand models (who knows?), but that may not be an issue for you. I think the point that people will try to make is that if you spend on high performance glass, you won't get the performance you paid for with a lesser performance support system. I think that is generally true, but I also think that if you are very careful with technique then you can get a lot more performance out of the lesser grade gear. If you're really into shooting, you'll likely upgrade after a time. You already have what you have so...you gotta work within your budget...we all do . One thing that'll help...don't extend your tripod any more than absolutely necessary, and if you do, extend the thickest sections. Good luck!
As someone else has suggested too, you should definately look at Benro (www.benro.cn) - these can be found at at rather large auction site near you
From what I've read (e.g. on the Nikonians forums), these are of very high quality. The tripods are direct copies (down to the naming) of Gitzo tripods - and the quality seems to be nearly on par. Head are copies of Kirk, RSS etc. - and seemingly of high quality too.
A suggestion could be Benro M-227n6 tripod (more or less the same as Gitzo 1227) and the KS-1 ball head. this combo should - including shipping - be around $350 - and according to all I've read you will have a setup that would cost 800-900 from the big brands
Actually, from other posts here, my impression is that while Benro legs may be reasonable copies of Gitzo that would not exist due to intellectual property laws were they produced anywhere but China, Benro heads are poor copies of Kirk and Arca Swiss that rely on heavy grease to make up for lack of precision engineering.
As I read it, he DOES change the grease - but mostly bcause it's a bit too stiff - he seems quite happy with the head, which is the impression I get from reading other reviews too
I haven't seen anything that indicates poor precision engineering solved by heavy grease?
The intellectual property issue is an opinion - not a proven fact - and does not have anything to do with the actual quality of the products. I do agree that they are VERY close to Gitzo's tripods - but since they are not only sold from the far East - but also from a UK dealer - I guess that they don't actually brake any laws?
Go to eBay, search tripods, where you'll find Benro, and Amvona/ Dynatran. Chinese tripods and tripods with heads. If you bid wisely, they are very inexpensive. I paid $15.00 + $24.00 shippimg for a credible aluminium tripod comparable to a 3021 Bogen. Is it as good as the Bogen/Manfrotto. NO! Is it functional? Yes. It has a Bogen 3028 Super 3D head on it. $30.00.
For reviews of this stuff go to PP&I forums, search "good, cheap, stout tripods '.
Now after using this combo in the woods and at the beach, I'm gearing up to buy a Markins Q3 head and a Gitzo CF 1257 set of legs. The cheap legs became inoperable due to sand. The head is slow, though it can be precise, and it flexes, which is only a very rare problem, ( using a sliding bar for panorama shots, sliding the camera parallel to the picture plane. I'm using two pods, now, no flex.) I may buy another rig like this as the "two" tripods are mismatched, which can be a pain. I digress.
Out in the woods, etc. speed can be very important, light can be fleeting. therefore, I'm upgrading that aspect of the process.
If you can live with the compromises, there are alternatives. Take a can of air to the beach to blow the sand out of the leg locks.
Edit: Knowing that it is a gamble, try a conventional Gitzo head, Manfrotto, or one of the Chinese clones. Report back. I've read poor reviews of the Gitzo offset heads, as well as the Giotos line having sticking problems due to the plastic insert around the ball.
Gitzo off set heads are horrible! Thats why you can usually get one cheap on e-bay. (I fell for it. A $200 head for $30! Soon to be relisted and sold again for $30.) I guess they have a specialized use for something, but I find a 3 way to be much easier to use.
The difference between a quality ball head and a cheap one is like:
1. Cutting a tough steak with a sharp knife VS a butter knife. 2. Using a hammer VS using vise grips as a hammer. 3. A $80 department store bicycle VS a quality name brand. 4. Shoes that fit VS shoes that don't. 5. etc...
Percision quality costs. Knock off Chinese stuff is making its way to the photo swap meets. I'm not impressed. Like a fake Rolex, looks good from a distance..............