Ever upward cost of Ball and tilt heads
I love well-designed and well-constructed hardware. I did spend £300 ($450) on a set of carbon tripod legs which is (are?) married to an older style "hex" plate ball head.
That said, when I now consider an equivalently high quality and latest design tilt-head for my carbon monopod, I am not happy that my lust for good engineering might cost me £134 ($200)
I'd rather not mention brand names as the target for my inability to justify spending large amounts of money on exotic devices.
As you may have guessed I am an amateur photographer and more significantly, am retired from work.
Coming from an engineering background my guess is that much of the hype around high-end ball, and tilt, heads is to justify very high margins.
One of the reasons that I have posted this is because a certain Italian manufacturer is, in Europe, apparently selling, their old (obsolete) stock of monopod heads using the same part number of their latest product currently being sold, e.g. by B&H, in the USA. I wanted to buy that latest product here in the UK but the manufacturer has told me that their product for sale in Europe is the only one being sold. Sounds to me like they are trying to rid themselves of old stock without loss.
The above was only a practical example of what I see is escalating prices for tripod accessories. My apologies to Nickonian's management as I am aware of the relationship to vendors.
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#1. "RE: Ever upward cost of Ball and tilt heads" | In response to Reply # 0jrp Charter MemberSat 14-Apr-12 06:47 PM | edited Sat 14-Apr-12 06:59 PM by jrp
Inflation and lost sales are a global malady.
The resulting inventory accumulation and reduced production capacity create additional problems.
Add to that a 'fixed' income and it is easy to learn it is really a shrinking income.
To avoid myself going into deep depression, let me move on to monopod solutions within a budget (in Europe):
1. Kirk improved version of the Italian tilt monopod head, 95.80 Euros, with clamp included.
2. Kirk-designed monopod head with clamp included, 199.90 Euros
Have a great time :-)
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#2. "RE: Ever upward cost of Ball and tilt heads" | In response to Reply # 0ShrimpBoy Registered since 08th Jan 2006Sun 15-Apr-12 01:45 AM
> my guess is that much of the hype around high-end ball, and
> tilt, heads is to justify very high margins
Maybe, maybe not. I just upgraded from a Feisol ballhead (cost me about $160) to a Markins (retails for $350). The Feisol is perfectly serviceable but it suffers from some sticking that makes small adjustments tricky. The Markins moves smoothly without jerks. It's a lot of money to pay for the difference, but it is a real difference.
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#3. "RE: Ever upward cost of Ball and tilt heads" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sun 15-Apr-12 01:29 PM
>> Coming from an engineering background my guess is that much of the hype around high-end ball, and tilt, heads is to justify very high margins.
It takes a tremendous amount of precision to machine a smooth ball and the related parts that need to eliminate "stick-slip". it is probably the most difficult piece of support gear to knock out cheaply in some low labor cost factory on the other side of the world.
Years ago I thought that Markins and RRS, et al, would see serious competition at the under $200 or so price point after China got around to cracking that market instead of mainly the big box price point market.
I have yet to see it actually done although I think some strides have been made the past few years.
I am sure there is some extra mark-up involved in the major brand name products but I suspect it is not as much as many think. And most of the better stuff now is made in relatively high labor markets.
And it also has to be considered that a lot of that "excess mark-up", whatever it is, goes back into engineering and funded the initial engineering. It is the high priced firms that have innovated. The lower cost models are typically more along the lines of blatant copies and in that sense they are parasites feeding on the innovators. Without a lot of people paying the price the parasites will have nothing to feed off of.
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#4. "RE: Ever upward cost of Ball and tilt heads" | In response to Reply # 3ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Mon 16-Apr-12 05:54 PM
Part of the reason for prices staying so firm is that everyone uses CNC equipment to make their tripod heads. The equipment is only available from a few manufacturers and the process is very highly automated. My experience in the financial world also revealed the gross profit margins are very similar across all successful companies in a given industry. So to reduce the cost, you have make a different product - different materials, significantly different fabrication, etc. The assembly of these products involves minimal labor so costs really do not vary that much.
So nobody really has excessive mark-up - the money goes into the manufacturing process. A top end manufacturer might make an extra 5-10% in their profit margin - $20-40 on a $400 ballhead.
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