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Thread: Which tripod head?

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    All lines lead to Home ... arnica's Avatar
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    Which tripod head?

    Hi All,

    Due to my trusty manfrotto 190XPROB not being able to extend its legs anymore, I had to put it into early retirement. I have since purchased a Gitzo GT2541 tripod. For the past few months, I've been using the 486RC2 head, however I am also finding it hard to lock the ball into position once I've composed.

    At max weight, i would have the following equipment on the tripod/head:

    • D700
    • 70-200m VR2



    So in regards to getting a new tripod head, it doesn't have to be built like a tank. I just would like to hear people's opinions and/or recommendations on a new tripod head. I'm looking for a ball head again.

    Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your replies.
    Last edited by arnica; 14-03-2012 at 9:13am.
    Regards,
    Phil

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Hi Phil

    After the dud info I gave you yesterday you probably think I'm a nong. Apologies for that.

    Having been through this exercise recently I did a write-up on my experiences and final choice.

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...why-I-chose-it

    When using Manfrotto I was less than enamoured with the tolerances on their plates and clamps.

    I firmly believe that the Arca Swiss system is the way to go, and most of the leading manufacturers utilise it.

    Most claimed head load capacities can be taken with a grain of salt. The dreaded 'droop' is common on the cheaper brands.

    With heads, it seems that you really do get what you pay for.

    Good luck with your choice.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    No worries Kev. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. In the mean time I'll have a look at Arca Swiss. I've never heard of them until your first post (yesterday).

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    The Arca Swiss I'm referring to is mostly their mounting system, although they do make tripods and heads etc.

    The mount seems to have tighter tolerances than Manfrotto, and is used by Wimberley, Acratech, RRS, Kirk, Markins and others.

    Keep in mind a non-twist plate for your camera and larger lens for shooting in portrait mode.

    Cheers

    Kevin

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    Good topic Phil. About 18 months ago I purchased a ball head Vanguard brand which when I inquired at the shop (who will remain nameless) about stability was told it will be fine. Hmmm, initially it seemed to be the case but I have been doing some photos lately with the 50D, 24-105 and 580 Flash mounted and anything at a little more than around 15 degree and teh ball starts to slip. I can tighten enough to stop it but it is pretty tight and feels like I will strip the tread or bread the screw thingie with the amount of tightening pressure required. Very happy with the tripod itself, it get a fair bit of work and I cart it around a lot and find it very robust, durable and usuable. But I have to say I am a little disappointed with the ball head.

    The other thing I am considering with the pruchase of a new head is the Blackrapid adapter. Manfrotto currently have a slide plate for the head I am looking at that can double as the connector for the Blackrapid. I have held back from moving to the Black rapid straps purely because of need to remove and replace the tripod mount on the camera and I do about 50 / 50 on off tripod photos.

    I do like the ball head and would maybe replace this one with a more up market model but this is the thing. I want security and some confidence with my tripod mount and additionally the option of not having to remove / replace the base plate when coupling up the Black Rapid strap.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Mike
    Please be honest with your Critique of my images. I may not always agree, but I will not be offended - CC assists my learning and is always appreciate

    https://mikeathome.smugmug.com/

    Canon 5D3 - Gripped, EF 70-200 L IS 2.8 MkII, , 24-105 L 4 IS MkI, 580 EX II Speedlite, 2x 430 Ex II Speedlite


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    I can recommend Markins ball-heads, I believe RRS are extremely good too (but more expensive still). Both use Arca-Swiss mounting. I recommend you get an L-Bracket for your camera mount too, it makes the whole thing more stable and quick to change from Landscape to Portrait view. RRS and Kirk make good L-Brackets customised for each camera body.

    I too have a Black Rapid strap, and I bought a small RRS clamp that fits on the Black-Rapid connector, and clamps onto the L-bracket which I have permanently on my camera, so it is quick to change from strap to tripod mounting.

    None of this stuff is cheap, but it is all beautifully made and will last a long long time.
    David

    Nikon D810
    Nikkor AF-S 24-120VR, Nikkor AF-S 16-35VR, Nikkor AF-S 70-300VR, Nikkor AF 50 f1.8
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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    I'll highly recommend Really Right Stuff or Markins for a not too pricy option. I hve a Markin Q3T with quick release. If you're interested in testing it out shoot me a PM. You can pop over to try it out. It works beautifully with a 7D gripped or a 5D gripped with a 70-200 f2.8 II mounted on the tripod ring.

    I did a bit of research before landing the markins. For the similar price point, the markins had a 38mm ballhead where else the RRS has 30mm that fits gizto travel legs. With the legs inverted the RRS quick release is too big for the legs to close properly. Also the quick release plates are not adjustable, which means you need to buy plates either from RRS or specifically made into RRS dimensions. The Markins quick release can be adjusted to adopt any brand. So if you buy into 1 brand of plates, you can adjust it to fit. I bought ebay plates which cost me $40 all in delivered for the zoom lens mount plate and the body plate. In comparison buying branded would have cost me something along the lines of $150. RRS plates do not come cheap .

    Some food for thought.
    Last edited by KeeFy; 14-03-2012 at 12:14pm.

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    IMHO, you have 2 choices.
    If you don't mind the head being heavy, one of the RRS ball heads, or if you want something that is nice and light weight, the Acratech GP ballhead.

    They both do the job really well and both use Arca-Swiss compatible mounts.

    I've got the Acratech GP myself, and find it is very stable and doesn't move an iota with my 100-400, 2X converter and a video light on it, even when pointed up to the moon.
    The Acratech GP can also be configured to be a levelling base too, which can come in very handy for panoramas.

    The Acratech and all sorts of various mounting plates can be bought locally too (from http://photovideo.com.au/), for less than it would cost you from B&H.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    I'm just trying to see the differences between the following:
    • Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler with Lever Release
    • Markins Q-Ball Q10 with Lever Release


    I understand that I will need to purchase an additional Markins Camera Plate P700U for the camera body and a Markins Lens Plate PL-75 for the 70-200mm ...

    OMG ... How on earth am I going to get approval for all these?
    Last edited by arnica; 14-03-2012 at 10:28pm.

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    Hi

    here is a link to some articles on Markins ballheads.

    http://www.nikonians.org/html/resour...ins/index.html

    Basically the Q10 is the same as the old M10 (which I have). The Q10 is larger than the Q3, larger ball diameter and greater load capacity. THe Q20 is the largest one.

    I would suggest at least the Q10, for the small difference in price.

    If you get the lever release version, you need to be careful which plates and L-brackets you buy, as tolerances vary slightly. If you get the screw-clamp version, you have no problem. I have a Kirk L-bracket and a RRS pano rail and they both fit the Markins screw clamp (and each other) perfectly. I feel safer with a screw-clamp rather than a lever clamp, which I feel could get hooked on something accidently and release. However, many people use lever clamps with no problems.

    Good luck with your decision.

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    But with the heavier load capacity, is there ever going to be a need to have that much weight on the head/tripod any any given time?

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Phil, if your 70-200 is a 2.8, I'd suggest the Q10. The Q3 would probably do the job, but the bigger ball on the Q10 would give you some future proofing.

    Have a look at this link for suggested load ratings. https://www.ppsna.com/product_info.p...bdb5e52140df69

    And FYI, I remember seeing somewhere that Markins warranty only applies to their products bought direct or from Markins America, and not from eBay.

    Cheers

    Kevin

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    Thanks Kev,

    My 70-200 is the f/2.8 VRii

    Thanks for the links you've posted so far, they're great help. I'm just trying to make my tripod kit as light as possible.

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    Just realised my 488rc2 head is 0.67 kg, so there will be a reduction in weight even if I do choose the Q10.


    • 488rc2: 670g
    • Q3: 375g
    • Q10: 490g
    Last edited by arnica; 15-03-2012 at 11:37am.

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidd View Post

    If you get the lever release version, you need to be careful which plates and L-brackets you buy, as tolerances vary slightly. If you get the screw-clamp version, you have no problem. I have a Kirk L-bracket and a RRS pano rail and they both fit the Markins screw clamp (and each other) perfectly. I feel safer with a screw-clamp rather than a lever clamp, which I feel could get hooked on something accidently and release. However, many people use lever clamps with no problems.

    Good luck with your decision.
    The lever version allows you to adjust for different sized plates with a screw. It's fiddly to get it right on the go thus, i mentioned buying into 1 particular brand where all the plates are manufactuered to the same dimensions. I purchased these Kiwifotos cheaply and it works perfectly. At a decent price as well. All in was about $40 AUD. Which is the cost of the body plate alone from markins.

    I don't know if you need the heavier load, but when i did my research for a light weight tripod that will hold the 70-200 f2.8 and a gripped body, the q3t was able to hold it. I don't even need to tighten it tight and there is still no creep, i was truely amazed when i got it. Come on over to Newtown or if you work in the city i can bring it out for a extended lunch and you can try it out on the opera house, i work next to circular quay.
    Last edited by KeeFy; 15-03-2012 at 11:53am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFy View Post
    The lever version allows you to adjust for different sized plates with a screw. It's fiddly to get it right on the go thus, i mentioned buying into 1 particular brand where all the plates are manufactuered to the same dimensions. I purchased these Kiwifotos cheaply and it works perfectly. At a decent price as well. All in was about $40 AUD. Which is the cost of the body plate alone from markins.

    I don't know if you need the heavier load, but when i did my research for a light weight tripod that will hold the 70-200 f2.8 and a gripped body, the q3t was able to hold it. I don't even need to tighten it tight and there is still no creep, i was truely amazed when i got it. Come on over to Newtown or if you work in the city i can bring it out for a extended lunch and you can try it out on the opera house, i work next to circular quay.

    Sounds great keefy, I'm also walking distance from Circular Quay as well.

    I also work near circular quay. Bligh Street.

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnica View Post
    Sounds great keefy, I'm also walking distance from Circular Quay as well.

    I also work near circular quay. Bligh Street.
    Awesome! I'm along Macquire street opposite the botanic gardens, normally i go through phillips lane to lunch, so pretty close! When do you want to try it out? Tomorrow?
    Last edited by KeeFy; 15-03-2012 at 12:39pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFy View Post
    Awesome! I'm along Macquire street opposite the botanic gardens, normally i go through phillips lane to lunch, so pretty close! When do you want to try it out? Tomorrow?
    Sounds good mate! What time do you normally lunch? I'm pretty flexible with the times.

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnica View Post
    Sounds good mate! What time do you normally lunch? I'm pretty flexible with the times.

    I normally head over to hunter connection for lunch and for timing i'm pretty flexible as well. Anytime from 11 - 4, but i think i have a prenatal class in the late arvo with the wife so i reckon before 2 will be great.

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    I managed to get a hands on test of the Q3 tripod head today (thanks KeeFy for bringing it out and showing it to me).

    The Q3 is a compact little head, which is able to withstand a body coupled with a 70-200mm lens. So I was pretty happy with that. the tripod head was then taken off the legs and boy I almost didn't feel it in my hand due to how light it was (it kind of like getting used to holding a full frame camera and then going back to cropped frame, weight wise). The weight of the head just blew me away.

    Pity we didn't have a Q10 there as well to do a comparison, but at least I got to play with the Q3 head a little.

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