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Which lightweight ballhead?

ballhead tripod

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43 replies to this topic

#1 Dallas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:53

Recently I was sponsored a little Velbon CF435 Sherpa Pro tripod (carbon-fibre), which I really like. It's perfect for the equally small Olympus OM-D and will accompany me on future adventures with that camera.

However, the tripod came with a video head, which is great for video, but doesn't help me when I want to shoot in portrait orientation. I currently have my Kirk BH-3 on there, which is fine, but it adds a bit of weight to what is supposed to be a very light support. Are there any lightweight ballheads I should be looking at?

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#2 Alan7140

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:26

RRS BH-40. Can't think of a sturdier, more robust one for its compact, small size.
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#3 PedroS

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:57

Good advice Fred.
Dallas also look at the Arca Swiss models (the ones without a knob), and Markins small ones. Can't be wrong with them.
Thanks
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#4 Dallas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:43

Thanks. The RRS BH-40 is way out of my price range and I think is probably heavier than the Kirk BH-3 by the looks of it (apologies: not correct, it is lighter). I'm not looking at more than $200 for this purchase, preferably less if it's possible. Light weight is very important. The Sherpa 435 has a hook that I can use to suspend my camera bag from the centre column for leg stability. As long as the head stays in place when it's locked down I should be happy.

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#5 Alan7140

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:54

Some would call me a slow learner, but fact is that the only damage I have ever incurred on cameras has been through inadequate tripod heads or tripod head QR couplings. Damage, as I've mentioned before, has been inflicted on several camera over the years, from expensive repairs to total loss, and every close-miss has equally been the fault of the tripod head. A Manfrotto RC2 ballhead's center bolt once sheared (brass? who makes a center post bolt of a ballhead out of brass, for pity's sake?) but luckily I caught the D3 that time....

If the BH-40 fails I'll give up photography, on the other hand.

#6 danaa

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:05

There is also the BH-25 (Ultra-Light) from RRS. I use it when I need to be very light-packed, on top of an old Velbon mini tripod. And also on top om my monopod.
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#7 Bart Willems

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:10

The RRS BH-25 does get good reviews; David Duchemin says he loves it. I have the Acratech Ultimate which is also very light and serves me well as a portable solution (then again I only have an amateur gear like a D7000 and the 80-200 on it so I'm not really stressing it).
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#8 Dallas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:53

I read about that BH-25 too, Bart. Looks to be right for the OMD and Sherpa 435.

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#9 afx

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 13:19

While I love the stability of my big RRS (BH55) head, I hate its tear off moment when performing fine adjustments. No idea whether the smaller models suffer frpm the same problem.
For light-weight I use the original Acratech head. It permanently attached to my travel tripod.
Have not checked recent prices yet so it might be a bit above your limit.

cheers
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#10 Dallas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 14:01

Cost of RRS BH-25 = $175
Cost of shipping to me = $111

Pffft. This is not turning out to be a good week for me. I want a mulligan... :no2:

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#11 Bart Willems

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 14:08

Getting any visitors soon? Maybe they can bring it with them?
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#12 simato73

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 15:02

As lightweight ballhead I use a Markins Emille.
Not perfect but quite good.
Sunwayfoto has also some good new headballs that don't break your bank balace.
Simone

#13 afoton

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 15:12

My light weight ball head is Markins Q3T. It doesn't work in the cold, but that more of a problem here up north than in Africa.

#14 Bjørn J

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 15:14

I have both the RRS BH-40 and the Acratech Ultimate ballhead. I much prefer the Acratech, it is easier to operate, and the open ball construction is brilliant in dusty/dirty conditions.
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#15 Dallas

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 17:22

Getting any visitors soon? Maybe they can bring it with them?


Not until August, Bart. :( Ah, well... I guess it's not paramount to have it right now. I actually have an abundance of big heavy Manfrotto heads. Maybe I can tempt somebody local to swap for a smaller one.

As lightweight ballhead I use a Markins Emille.
Not perfect but quite good.
Sunwayfoto has also some good new headballs that don't break your bank balace.


I will have a look at Sunwayfoto, thanks Simone.

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#16 RC51

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:51

Dallas,
I have a small travel tripod that fits in my carry on bag, and use a FLM 38FP (410g) fitted with an arca clamp.

http://www.flm-gmbh....ct_show4a7.html

The main reason I bought it was because it's well made and easily available in England. I don't often use it but when I have it has been very reliable.
For the OMD I expect the 32FP (311g) would be a good lightweight option.

Cheers

edit: Just looked and you have a distributor....

3 Roodehek Street, Gardens
8001 Cape Town
South Africa
Telephone: +27(0) 21 465 8262
E-Mail:info@sunshinecompany.co.za
www.sunshinecompany.co.za

Edited by RC51, 13 December 2012 - 03:01 .

Bez

#17 retief

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:55

I have both the RRS BH-40 and the Acratech Ultimate ballhead. I much prefer the Acratech, it is easier to operate, and the open ball construction is brilliant in dusty/dirty conditions.


I second the recommendation of the Acratech:
http://acratech.net/

Quality product, good price and quite light. I have the GP, these are very versatile and can be used as a lightweight Gimbal head in a pinch, as they lock at an exact 90 degree angle. They can also be used upside down as a leveling base for panoramas. Just to test the Gimbal capacity I have used my 400 f2.8 AFS-1 on this head in Gimbal mode. The combo was solid. I would not do this normally, I use a Jobu Pro generally, but the head is capable.
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#18 afx

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:57

I have a small travel tripod that fits in my carry on bag, and use a FLM 38FP (410g) fitted with an arca clamp.


Just a little warning, FLM plates are too small for most Arca style clamps...
I had to chuck my whole system when I upgraded from an old FLM head to truly Arca compatible systems.

cheers
afx
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#19 Dallas

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:15

Thanks everyone! Some very good suggestions.

I sent off a mail to Sunwayfoto asking if they had any distributors in Africa, which they don't, but they are sending me a review sample of their new FB-28 lightweight ballhead. :D When I get it I will let you all know how it goes.

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#20 Larry

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:29

Thanks everyone! Some very good suggestions.

I sent off a mail to Sunwayfoto asking if they had any distributors in Africa, which they don't, but they are sending me a review sample of their new FB-28 lightweight ballhead. :D When I get it I will let you all know how it goes.


I have bought the SunwayFoto camera plate for a D3 to use with my D3s and was impressed with the quality given the reasonable price point. Since this initial purchase, I have bought plates for the D800, NEX-5N, NEX-7. The SunwayFoto D800 camera plate compares very favorably with the Kirk D800 camera plate I was using with my D800E, as well with the RRS plates I got for my D300, D700 and MB-D10s.

I also bought a few 66mm and 90mm leveling base to use with my Markins and Arca Swiss ballheads. The leveling base by itself matched with an Arca clamp while limited in terms of its inclination and declination can serve as a ballhead with the advantage of having a lower center of gravity than a ballhead yet be a bit lighter and capable of a higher load.

Dallas ... if all goes well with your trial, you might as well apply as its SA Distributor. I see a good business opportunity here. :sungum:

Edited by Larry, 13 December 2012 - 08:02 .






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