#1. "RE: Ball head for Bogen 3021 Pro" | In response to Reply # 0BJNicholls Charter MemberFri 11-May-01 01:59 PM
LAST EDITED ON May-11-01 AT 06:00 PM (GMT)
A high quality ballhead can support a lot of weight while still operating very smoothly. The best type has a tension control that will let you set a level of friction that will hold your camera in position, but allow easy movement without losening the tension knob too far. Only the best ballheads have this capability.
A separate panning capability is very important for many photographers. This allows for precise panning action either for following action and keeping a level horizon or for creating spliced panoramas.
Finally, the Kirk uses the very functional and universal Arca plate system. The dovetail design offers a lot of flexibility in use and custom or semi-custom plates make for the most rock-solid method of mounting your camera or lens to the head. The plates are light and can be left on your gear permanently to minimize set up hassle when using a tripod or other support.
The Arca B1 holds a cult status and the Kirk head competes directly with this product. The Arca is the only ballhead with an elliptical ball. That means that tension on the ball increases as the ball is rotated from vertical. Some folks value this feature as a way to prevent "flop" when they losen the tension knob with a camera mounted. However, the design also means the B1 can jam if you don't fully losen the tension knob when you transport your tripod. And the elliptical head works against you if you want to orient your camera for a vertical composition. A spherical head like Kirk's is less fuss and I suspect more reliable in the long run. It's also less expensive and much easier to find in stock.
#2. "RE: Ball head for Bogen 3021 Pro" | In response to Reply # 1jrp Charter MemberSat 12-May-01 03:00 AM
LAST EDITED ON May-12-01 AT 07:08 AM (GMT)
I believe it was Philip Greenspun who once said (or wrote?) something like this: "Really bad photographers debate on the merits of the Nikon F4 versus those of the Kwanon EOS-1. Somewhat better photographers debate on the merits of the Yashica T4 and those of the Contax T2. The best photographers, though, talk tripods, tripod heads, and quick releases".
So, I am glad we are talking about tripod heads.
When I use a tripod I want to take all the time I can to position the camera and compose a still shot. I use a tree way head as against a ball head. For me, a ball head has the inherent risk of having your lens banging on the tripod if you are not very careful when releasing the ball, as BJ has explained above. But, that's me, and as everything in photography they are a matter of personal taste.
I use a ballhead when I might need to pan on a moving subject. But then, I use a quick and easy to use grip action one, mounted on a monopod for those purposes.
If I were to buy a ballhead, for use on a tripod, to me the options are:
1.- Arca Swiss Monoball B1 - with quick release and plates that sells for about US$385 to $400, but knowing it is an overkill since it can handle loads of up to 90 lbs. However, the camera-lens load stays exactly where you want it once the ball (really an ellipse in this case) is locked into position. This is the one over which most of us drool over and what more often I've seen professional nature photographers use.
2.- Kirk ball, very similar to the B-1 but the ball is a ball, i.e. it really is spherical, making it less expensive. I don't have an updated price on it. I would image it is slightly competitive to the B1.
3.- Novoflex MagicBall. This one holds the largest of SLR's with long telelenses and my partner Bo Stahlbrandt swears by it. If used in conjunction with a Novoflex Universal Panorama Plate, it has the same panning capabilities of any of the above mentioned ballheads and costs about $275.
4.- Manfrotto 268 (Bogen 3038) Super Mono Ballhead - with quick release and plates. Although they are not the Arca Swiss type, they work. This one holds very effectively up to 26 lbs. of camera-lens. It is the top of the Manfrotto line. and nevertheless it only costs about US$165, less than half of the B1.
These four would be my possible choices.
The Foba Superball Head, with quick release, supports 32 lbs., looks interesting but have not researched it enough. I believe I read somewhere (from someone reputable) that it gets locked more frequently than others.
There are several other noteworthy brands but somehow less popular and more geared to studio work only.
Have a great time
JRP (Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert)
Previous photographic journey, before Nikonians:
A Brief Love Story
Have a great time :-)
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