I would appreciate your help in choosing a new ball head. I own a Manfrotto 055NAT tripod with a 168 heavy duty ball. I am not at ease with the head. It has a not much smooth movement, expecially with my 500/4 P ED IF on it; plus, when I lock it, it moves a bit, changing the framing I have set. I do not know whether this is normal with ballheads, or the 168 is undersized for that heavy lens. I am considering switching to a Manfrotto 468RC proball. The design seems to be similar to that of Arca and Kirk ballheads. The thing that holds me back is that I read and hear a lot of blessing about Arca and Kirk, and nothing about the Manfrotto proball. The price difference is huge. Is there any fellow Nikon user that has any experience with the Manfrotto proball, or has been able to compare it with the Kirk and the Arca?
Thanks a lot,
#1. "RE: Manfrotto/Bogen ballheads" | In response to Reply # 0BJNicholls Charter MemberWed 14-Feb-01 04:21 PM
Folks who are shooting with big glass prefer the Arca-type plate to the Manfrotto plate because of the rock-solid mount and the availability of custom anti-twist plates that are very effective for heavy photo gear. There is one Manfrotto anti-twist plate which is effective for cameras but not very good with lens tripod mounts. You can retrofit less expensive ball heads for use with Arca-type plates, but it is probably more cost effective to buy the head already converted. Check out the Giottos heads at the Kirk site for a more affordable alternative to Kirk, Arca, CPC, Linhof, and other heads that can be used with Arca plates. Also check out Gitzo's new Arca-compatible ballheads. The Arca B1 has a devoted cult-like following that you should check out...
#2. "RE: Manfrotto/Bogen ballheads" | In response to Reply # 1Thu 15-Feb-01 08:27 AM
thanks for caring to answer.
Actually, I never had problems with my 500/4 twisting over the Manfrotto hex plate. I have problems with harsh irregular moving, instead. The new release, with rubber instead of cork on top of it, is supposed to be even better.
The Giotto heads are a bit on the small side for use with big glass, they are suggested for use with up to 8 lbs. load, barely that of a F3HP with the 500/4, so I would prefer a bigger one.
I need help with a few other parameters, such as smoothness when loaded with a 3 kg. lens and an heavy camera body, reliability, sturdiness, etc.. The Manfrotto Proball series seems O. K. since it is beautifully crafted and largely dimensioned, so I am a bit puzzled by the price difference and the fact that everybody says nice things about Arca and Kirk, while nobody ever talks about the Manfrotto. I hope you or someone else can give me some hints.
#3. "RE: Manfrotto/Bogen ballheads" | In response to Reply # 2jrp Charter MemberThu 17-May-01 12:53 AM
While the Manfrotto 168 ballhead (Bogen 3055) is a good one, it's load capacity is 7 Kg.
I like much better the 268 (Bogen 3038), more robust, with a load capacity of 12 Kg.
Yes, the Arca Swiss B1 is fantastic but is almost three times more expensive than the 268 last time I checked.
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#4. "RE: Manfrotto/Bogen ballheads" | In response to Reply # 3Fri 18-May-01 03:33 AM
The problem with Manfrotto heads is that their QR plates are either so tiny that they will not lock properly an heavy lens like my 500/4, or so huge that you can not leave them on your camera or lens. I am using the 168 because the plates are easy to put on and off, so I do not leave them on the camera or lenses. If I am not wrong, the 268 has the same "hex plate", but is got very long levers, that are not nice if one carries his tripod while walking.
I am thinking about having a Markins head and a few plates directly shipped from Korea. It seems a nice deal, althought I can not see one before purchasing.