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  3. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of a long-standing member, Just Dave.

    Dave Barker was a member of Talk Photography for nearly 10 years, and was a prominent member for most of those.
    A very warm, friendly and enthusiastic member, he spent the largest portion of his time on TP welcoming and helping others.

    I'm sure all visitors to this site will join us in thanking Dave for his unwavering support and being a large part of our community.
    Our thoughts are with his family and friends at such a difficult time.

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  1. ryanpatterson

    ryanpatterson

    Messages:
    90
    Name:
    Ryan
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    Hey everyone. I currently have a 3 way head but I am starting to notice some movement in it and thinking of moving to a ball head. Just wondering what ball head people would recommend for around £400? I have been looking at the Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 Sp and the Gitzo GH3382QD online but would like to hear peoples experiences with these or any other brands. Any help would be great.

    Thanks, Ryan
     
  2. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc

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    12,229
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    French Canadian living in Europe since 1989!
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
  3. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    1,074
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    Chris
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    You don,t say what make of tripod you have but personally if it would fit I would go for a manfrotto junior 410 geared head,simply for its adjustment and rigidity
    The downside is the weight,light it ain't
     
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  4. ryanpatterson

    ryanpatterson

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    90
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    Ryan
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    Sorry should have said I'm using a manfrotto 055 xpro 3 at the minute but will be changing in the next few months to something a bit more sturdy and probably carbon fiber. I have never had any experience with geared heads but have tried a few ball heads and liked the way they work.
     
  5. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    186
    Name:
    Charles
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    Gitzo systematic series 5 ??? Sorry, tongue in cheek comment :exit:
     
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  6. Eljay

    Eljay

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    596
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    Mark
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    I use the Kirk BH-1 - never had any issues with D800 and various lenses. Easy to use, never budges a millimetre, and feels like its made from one piece of metal. Its been bashed about for 6 years and its never affected it at all. I love it.

    I like the 410 Geared Head but I know a few folk who have had issues with its robustness internally.
     
    ryanpatterson likes this.
  7. sk66

    sk66

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    4,616
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    Steven
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    For landscape/architecture and in that price range I would get the SunwayFoto GH-Pro.

    I posted a mini review HERE
     
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  8. old bloke

    old bloke

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    366
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    bob
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    I use one of these on a Manfrotto 057 carbon fibre tripod the combination is rock solid but I wouldn't want to carry it very far.
     
  9. tijuana taxi

    tijuana taxi

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    Rich
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    Can only comment on those I have owned, Markins are excellent, I had the M10 which I believe is now a Q10, larger is Q20 and smaller Q3. Rock solid and friction adjustment so the camera can be adjusted slightly, but then stays where its put.
    Photoclam are very similar to Markins, but cheaper, rumoured to be made in the same factory. I have the PC-33NS, again well made and same friction control, stays solid when adjusted.

    Only own one Gitzo, the very basic, but relatively light G1177M designed for use on their series 1 traveler tripods . One locking knob and flat camera plate with screw, replaced that with a Arca Swiss compatible clamp.
    This ballhead also seems to stay put when tightened, but only been used with light CSC gear.
    The older Gitzo heads were not very well thought of, but the type you mentioned are receiving good reviews.

    Recently acquired a s/hand 3LT Ballhead, think its called an Airhed, but not sure. Two knobs, one to lock and the other for friction, this also has an Arca Swiss clamp.
    Not noticed any movement, but again only been used briefly with light CSC gear, this head is a bit heavy though, but not excessively so.

    Last one up is a FLM CB-24FT, very small, light and with an unusual quick release system (bought especially for travelling) This is very well made and locks up solidly, model I have is designed for smaller kit, but they sell larger ones
    Saw their range at a trade show and very impressed, same goes for their tripods, might be tempted should I ever need a head for larger cameras again.

    I usually say to people buying a new tripod to make sure and get a good solid head otherwise you have wasted your cash, the reverse applies here.

    Nearly forgot, early on I had a Giottos ballhead, admittedly fairly cheap, but it was useless and that's when I invested in something better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  10. Peter123

    Peter123

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    352
    Name:
    Guess
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    No
  11. Gaz J

    Gaz J

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    2,599
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    Gary
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    I've got a Siri 40X and for the money it's a cracking ball head. May not have the bling factor of heads like RRS etc but I can't see me wearing it out in my lifetime unlike a Gitzo I had which gave up the ghost far too quickly considering the cost of it. I would go for an Arca Swiss fitting also.

    If you don't have an L bracket add one of those into your budget. The days of flopping over ball heads for vertical shots are over.
     
    Craig_85, ryanpatterson and FiestaRed like this.
  12. Eljay

    Eljay

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    596
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    Mark
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    Agree with this, makes a big difference - apart from the Manfrotto L Bracket which is just the most horrendous piece of kit I have ever seen.
     
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  13. Mark twiglet

    Mark twiglet

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    2,002
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    Mark
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    Personally on landscapes I hate heads! 410 geared head every time! I won't change
     
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  14. KJJ

    KJJ

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    52
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    Kevin
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    I have a Manfrotto XPro Ball Head with top lock and is compatible with Arca Swiss baseplates that I use with a second hand Kirk L bracket and I really like it. It has a friction grip so you can make small adjustments and doesn't flop over when you unlock the ball head.

    I used to have a manfrotto 410 junior geared head and I had a love/hate relationship with it. It was great for making small adjustments to the composition and it was great for levelling the camera but I also found it really heavy and slow to use.
     
  15. FiestaRed

    FiestaRed

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    924
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    Mike
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    Basically, it all comes down to what your budget is. Get the best you can afford, but having said that there are some really good value ones available too. In the "value" ones, I've used Manfrotto, Giottos and Benro, all have good models in their range.

    There are loads of different reviews on the various makes and models on the internet. Best advice I was given was visit a few camera shops to get the feel of the different heads in stock then, it's make your mind up time.
     
    ryanpatterson likes this.
  16. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    186
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    Charles
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    There is also the manfrotto 486MG??? magnesium and hydrostatic marketing spiel ball head. It is lightweight and has a tensioning button and a separate locking button. No idea what camera mounting system you would want with it though
     
  17. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    4,434
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    Terry
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    I must say I much prefer a 3 way head to a ball head as each axis can be set precisely and separately adjusted and locked. Unlike a ball which can move in any direction when unlocked and is far less precise.
    I have used a 460 mg for some time and it has the advantage, over the otherwise superior geared head, of being exceptionally light and almost infinitely adjustable.
     
    TLR-330 and Mark twiglet like this.
  18. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    Charles
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    I am not suggesting a ball head is better or worse. I was just responding to the OP's question about ball heads. I got a couple of the 486mg??? for the weight difference.

    Also here is a critical view of the manfrotto product.
     
  19. ryanpatterson

    ryanpatterson

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    Ryan
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    Thanks for all the comments, really appreciate people taking the time to give an honest opinion on what they use. Will have a look into some of the Brands mentioned

    Hopefully i will be getting a Really Right Stuff L bracket to go with it.

    I did like my 3 way head until i started doing more landscape work. I can just notice more movement in it than what i would like and sometimes i just find it a bit clumsy to use.
     
  20. FruitFlakes

    FruitFlakes

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    1,144
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    Lloyd
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    Arca Swiss P0. Very happy with it, holds everything from my DSLR to my Pentax 67/5x4 kit with ease.
     
  21. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    Dave
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    Just throwing this into the pot for an idea, and assuming panos aren't the point of the question since it wasn't mentioned

    What the Hell is the point of spending more than a few bob on a head? Its not like you need smooth tracking for a Landscape shot (pano's aside), and if fine adjustment is the issue then you still have time on your hands for a bit of faffing with a basic head of any kind

    If the head can take the weight AND do tilt too I really can't see what the point of an expensive head is. I've used a £45 pan & tilt for about 10 years now and never once thought a £400 head would make my shot any better

    So really, what's the point?

    Dave
     
  22. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    4,434
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    Terry
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    I must say that I agree.
    What ever head you use, it is fixed on to the Tripod with a single 3/8 screw via a plate and probably a cork or plastic infill.
    If you examine the flex points in any set up most of them are to be found in the tripod, especially if it has an extending column.
    I did some tests some while ago.to look at the question of vibration, especially in the legs.
    I did it purely by observation of the magnified image in live view, so as to measure the time it took for vibrations to settle after the camera was lightly struck with a wooden pencil..

    The best results were found in a wooden tripod when fitted with no head or extension. this settled in a couple of seconds.
    My middleweight old Slik tripod was no worse than my Manfrooto 055proB which settled in under 5 seconds, in each you could see the vibration moving down the legs and returning to the camera again as the oscillations came and went. and were shown in live view.
    This became even more apparent when a head was fitted, of what ever type.
    when the extension columns were raise even slightly things became far worse.

    I did the trial because I had had some lack of sharpness in some of the shots, when taking panoramas.
    When I use my pano head now, I use it directly on the legs with out either a levelling head or a ball head. I level it with the legs alone.
    The nodal ninja head seems to add little if any extra vibration.
    The point being the less things you have between the leg support and the camera the better.

    In windy conditions you can dampen vibration far better hand holding than on a tripod. In a buffeting wind vibration is more or less constant and unavoidable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  23. Wissel

    Wissel

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    1,072
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    David
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    Have to agree.

    Last year I was in the market for a good and solid tripod. I went to the photography show to try a load out and Vanguard had a show special, a solid, big, carbon tripod with ballhead for £200. The legs were great and exactly what I wanted, so I thought I'd buy it and replace the ballhead down the line. Turned out the ballhead was really good,. Nice and smooth with a good locking system, so I've used it ever since.

    I've had really cheap ballheads in the past that stick or attract grit or just don't feel stable, but the ballhead I have retails for around £100 and I can't think of anything that would make it better (it's a BBH200 by the way).

    I was originally looking at buying one of the larger Gitzo's or RRS. Going to the show saved me a fortune :)
     
    ryanpatterson likes this.
  24. ryanpatterson

    ryanpatterson

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    90
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    Ryan
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    Thanks for the comment Dave. The way I look at it I'm hanging around 4k of gear from the head and just want something that I'm sure won't fail me. I also find in the less expensive heads a bit of movement in wind and when doing long exposures especially. I know £400 is a good sum of money that won't really make my shots better but I'm looking something that will last year's around salt water and perform under bad weather conditions.

    Thanks
     
  25. sk66

    sk66

    Messages:
    4,616
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    Steven
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    That's kind of like saying "why spend more on a tripod if it's not collapsing?"
    It's not just a matter of "can it do the job," it's more a matter of how *well* it does the job. Sure, you can get by with "less" in probably every aspect/component... you probably don't "need" to have a tripod/head at all if you're willing to work around that.
    But I do agree in one sense, as with pretty much everything in photography there is the "law of diminishing returns." You pay exponentially more for incremental gains.
     
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  26. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    186
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    Charles
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    What 3 way head are you using at the moment. I used to use a manfrotto RC141 with the 200pl plate (and alloy wheels and loud exhaust) fine with my mamiya despite using a relatively small plate for the camera, not so fine at all with a Nikon D7200 and some heavyish zoom in front. The issue was the camera wanting to flex against the small plate and the plate against the head.
     
  27. tijuana taxi

    tijuana taxi

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    7,749
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    Rich
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    Why buy anything other than the very minimum that is sufficient for the task?
    Basic model car, television, telephone, cooker etc etc

    Because most of us like nice things, a nicely engineered and smooth functioning head is more pleasant to use

    Also what are you doing with the money you save getting the cheapest thing available?
    Maybe a luxury holiday, but wouldn't a week away in a tent suffice, it's still a break away from home
     
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  28. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    4,434
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    Terry
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    It is unlikely that the movement in the wind is coming from the head. It is far more likely be from the legs. All legs have a natural resonance. weighing them down makes little difference. The vibration caused by wind moves up and down the legs like the strings of a violin,. bar making them out of lead or cast Iron which have natural dampening. the best you can do is wood preferably ash.
    see https://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=firma&sprache=english they also have some exceptional levelling heads and other heads.
     
  29. ryanpatterson

    ryanpatterson

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    90
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    Ryan
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    Completely agree with you on this. There is movement in the legs for sure but i was watching the head on my last trip out and there is movement in both axis on the 3 way. Its minimal but noticeable when doing a slightly longer exposure. Will be upgrading my tripod in the next few weeks also.

    Have a Manfrotto 904Rc2 Mark II.
     
  30. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    186
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    Charles
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    Yup. That uses the 200pl plate (or similar) which is too small for my Nikon. Ttoo much of the camera is not sitting on the plate, and there appears to be some flex on the camera too and it just does not work. I would be surprised if the movement in the head is in the joints that are tightened. Good luck with finding what you need.
     
  31. justinminns

    justinminns

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    703
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    Justin
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    In my experience cheap ball heads creep. You spend ages fine tuning your composition, lock off the head only for everything to drop down a few mm. I've found for landscapes a geared head is the best option as they are sturdy and fine tuning compositions, straightening horizons etc is very quick and easy.
     
  32. nandbytes

    nandbytes

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    213
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    I suggest one of the Markins ballheads (especially with quick release). Pick the model depending on how much weight you wish to support. They are of amazing quality, I have used mine for long exposures and recently for merging multiple shots with no issues from the ballhead even in very windy conditions. Of course your tripod matters too, make sure you have a sturdy tripod.

    On a budget Sirui ballheads are good too. I used to own one before buying markins.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  33. minnnt

    minnnt

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    David
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    Because not everyone shoots landscapes at F1.8 like you...

    :D
     
  34. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    3,557
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    Dave
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    lol - I've still not seen a sensible reason that'd open my wallet ;)

    Dave
     
  35. jbw

    jbw

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    1,794
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    Keebsuk likes this.
  36. minnnt

    minnnt

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    18,031
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    David
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    Only because you're a tight wad.
     
  37. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    3,557
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    Dave
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    I'm certainly not about to argue with that :D

    But I prefer - careful with my expenditure - the ROI has to be viable (which is of course VERY hard to prove on a tripod head !!!)

    Dave
     
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  38. Simons.Pictures

    Simons.Pictures

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    Name:
    Simons.Pictures
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    This is what I use
    . I use it with the quick release

    If you are using a head frequently you will soon get fed up if it creeps, or is too stiff, or won't easily turn exactly to the point you want it to, or just doesn't do the job properly, to doesn't last long before wearing out, there is no point in getting a half hearted head anymore than there is in getting a half hearted tripod if you're serious about your images technical quality. Otherwise you're better off just making do with your IS function if you have it..

    It is light but very strong and very well made and compact. I use it with the quick release. You don't need or want a dampened head (video head) it will just slow you down.


    I have tried quite a few heads, including manfrotto, velbon gitzo and this is by far my favourite
    Also read this
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  39. Keebsuk

    Keebsuk

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    2,085
    Name:
    Andy
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    I use an Acratech GV2 ball head with the lever lock. It is superb in every respect. I use it in conjunction with a Gitzo levelling base and find it fast and accurate in use. My camera is fitted with and L bracket.

    I also have a Manfrotto 410 which is nice but so heavy.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  40. Retune

    Retune

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    38
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    I have the baby brother of the Gitzo head, GH1382TQD, which came bundled with a Series 1 Traveler. It's a nice design, locks solidly, and is Arca-compatible out of the box. Mine doesn't have an independent friction control (the larger heads without a 'T' in the name like the GH3382QD do, on the end of the main knob). I find the panning a little stiffer than I'd like, and from fiddling with Gitzo heads in the shop, this may be something that varies a little from copy to copy. I doubt you'd go wrong with an Arca Z1, but consider whether you want the 'classic' screw clamp or the 'fliplock', which may be faster to use if all your plates come from Arca (or another single manufacturer), but more fiddly to adjust for multiple plates from different manufacturers (since they vary a bit). I'd actually be tempted by another Arca-Swiss head, the P0, an 'upside down' design with a panning system under the clamp. They also make this in various screw and fliplock clamp designs - you probably want to avoid the 'MonoballFix' version, which uses a proprietary clamp system designed for smaller plates that are incompatible with standard Arca-style plates.
     
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