I'm thinking of investing in a new ball head and wanted to pick your brains - here goes:
- Lever release clamp, or screw type? Any issues with cross-brand compatibility with either of these approaches?
- Camera plate: does it need to be body specific?
- If it does need to be body specific, does anyone know which manufacturer makes a plate for the d600 (with grip) that doesn't require the screen protector to be removed?
- Finally, I'm liking the look of the RRS BH-55. Any reason not to go with it?
Heaviest kit on it would be: d600 with grip, 70-200 f/2.8 vr ii, Tc 1.4
Thanks in advance for your insights.
#1. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 0Ned_L Charter MemberTue 26-Mar-13 11:29 AM
>I'm thinking of investing in a new ball head and wanted to
>pick your brains - here goes:
Well here goes some help, I hope. (LOL)
> - Lever release clamp, or screw type?
I prefer the lever release, but that's mostly because I use L-Brackets on my cameras and want to be able to quickly and easily swap from landscape to portrait orientation. I've never had an issue with the lever releasing on its own. I use lever release clamps from Really Right Stuff.
>Any issues with cross-brand compatibility with either of these >approaches?
There are definitely issues with compatibility, which mostly have to do with Really Right Stuff. It turns out, RRS has designed a significant safety margin, compared to the quick release systems of most other manufacturers, into their "Arca Swiss" system. They use a deeper dovetail in their system, to better hold the quick release camera and lens plates, as well as L-Brackets, securely in the clamp to prevent accidentally losing, loosening, and wobble in the clamp, compared to other manufacturers. The exception is Wimberley who has adopted the RRS standard.
Specifically, RRS lever release clamps do not work with plates from Markins, AcraTech, Arca-Swiss, and some Kirk plates due to their too shallow dovetail.
>- Camera plate: does it need to be body specific?
No, but in my opinion, I would only buy a body specific camera plate or L-Bracket because they hold tighter and don't shift position while in use. The non-specific ones generally use cork to create friction to hold them in place, and in my opinion the cork doesn't do a very good job. Get a camera specific plate or L-bracket!
>- If it does need to be body specific, does anyone know which
>manufacturer makes a plate for the d600 (with grip) that
>doesn't require the screen protector to be removed?
The RRS BD600: plate for Nikon D600 w/o grip has no compatibility problem with the D600 screen protector according to RRS. The RRS BD600-L: L-plate for Nikon D600 w/o grip, in not compatible with the D600 screen protector, however, as far as I'm concerned, this isn't a big deal. Permit me to explain.
What many don't know is that Nikon's flagship camera, the D4 has no screen protector for the LDC monitor whatsoever. We use a more standard style of screen protector. I use a Giottos SP8306 AEGIS Professional Glass Optic Screen Protector for my D4 and it's worked beautifully. For the D600 you could use the Giottos AEGIS LCD Screen Protector which uses the same technology as mine. In my opinion, its protection is excellent. With just a minimal amount of care, it will really protect your D600's LCD.
I almost forgot, if you have a vertical grip for your D600, the RRS BMBD14-L: L-plate for the D600 with grip is compatible with the screen protector.
>- Finally, I'm liking the look of the RRS BH-55. Any reason
>not to go with it?
Absolutely no reason to not go for it. Nikonians sells Markins which is a great product, and many here swear by it, however, for a variety of reasons, I use RRS products, not Markins. The RRS BH-55, with Lever Release Clamp is my favorite ball head. I also have the BH-40 for my travel tripod due to its smaller profile and lighter weight for travel. It works extremely well too. The BH-55 is a wonderful product. There are many other Nikonians who have chosen this ball head and to go generally with RRS rather than other manufacturers, such as Markins.
>Heaviest kit on it would be: d600 with grip, 70-200 f/2.8 vr
>ii, Tc 1.4
I use the RRS BH-55 with my D4, 500mm f/4, 2.0x TC, and Wimberley Sidekick quite successfully. You won't have any problems with it for your equipment.
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#2. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Tue 26-Mar-13 11:58 AM
Just to add to what Ned said...
Even if you get an adjustable lever (such as a Markins lever clamp) you do NOT want to have to adjust the lever between plate swaps. With a 70-200 you will be swapping plates. You want to stick with one brand, or RRS/Wimberly because Wimberly guarantees RRS lever compatibility. You probably don't need any Wimberly plates, though.
RRS is a good choice for plates because the line is vast and they are known to adhere to tight tolerances since they invented the idea of finicky lever clamps .
If you do a search on "RRS AND Markins" you will get an evening's entertainment from it . I prefer Markins because they are smaller and lighter for the same or better payload capacity and they probably have the smoothest performance.
The most important differentiater is probably the knob layout. I like the Markins friction screw design for a number of reasons but some prefer the larger RRS knobs and the separate friction knob.
I have yet to have a stock LCD protector stay on the camera for more than a few weeks. They get lost and they scratch easily. I use the film type or sometimes the plastic self adhesive protectors.
I agree with Ned that although the lever is a bit quicker it is a moot point unless you use an L bracket because that requires a "plate swap" to switch orientation. That makes the compatibility issues worthwhile although really if you choose RRS as your plate standard there is no down side. Most are priced very comparably (Hejnar might be an exception).
Even if you choose a screw knob now you might change your mind some day, and in that case it is best to have your plates in order (that was my own growth path).
The main reason to use the much more expensive Arca-Swiss style plates and clamps is to avoid plate twist so it doesn't make sense to save (future) money with a generic plate. If you do this you should do it right. However, down the road a generic plate in the tool box is often a good idea. You might be an early adopter of a camera body some day, or want to mount a friend's camera, or even binoculars, or etc.
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#3. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 2Tue 26-Mar-13 01:09 PM
Some great advice there and very quick too
I am considering the RRS right now with the d600 plate (for d600 with grip) and also a std rrs plate so that I can mate the 70-200 vr ii with it.
Shout if you think that a bad idea!
#4. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 3Ned_L Charter MemberTue 26-Mar-13 02:57 PM
My D4's and D700, and the D200 I gave to son #2 all have RRS L-Brackets on them. My larger tripods have RRS BH-55's and my travel tripod has a BH-40. My monopod has an RRS screw clamp on it. I think you know where I stand.
I also have many other RRS products including several flash brackets, including the wedding bracket
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#5. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 3ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Tue 26-Mar-13 04:30 PM
You've gotten very good advice so far from Neil and Ned.
I use the RRS BH-55 with lever release along with RRS plates and L-brackets. My wife recently replaced a Markins head with a RRS BH-40 and prefers the lever type main control knob of the BH-40. The RRS gear is very well made and service is first rate if you ever need it.
On the 70-200, you probably are better off buying a replacement foot. The foot fits a little closer than a plate on the bottom of the stock foot. The cost difference is small.
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#6. "RE: A couple of quick ones for you" | In response to Reply # 0
You've received some excellent advice from people much better qualified than I. I am using a Markins Q10 for support to my D7000 and 70-200 f/2.8 (Kirk foot) w/1.7 tc and have no problems at all. Since the BH-55 is rated for a heavier load than my Q10 I believe you'll be pleased. I have the lever clamps on my Markins and the D7000 has a RRS L bracket and the lever works really great. I put the unit on my Sidekick and everything works great. As long as you acquire a good ball head the make should end up being pp (personal preference). Good luck.
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