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Thread: Acratech GV2 Ballhead

  1. #1
    Account Closed reaction's Avatar
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    Acratech GV2 Ballhead

    http://acratech.net/
    another Arca-Swiss quick release standard professional head company.

    Most of us have 'small' tripods by professional standards, supporting lenses up to 300mm
    This is a small head to go with it.

    From the manufacturer:
    # Weighs less than 1 lb (.45kg) with quick release clamp.
    # Easily holds over 25 lbs (11.4kg) at any angle.

    What makes Kirk, Arca, R.R.S., etc heads better than Manfrotto, Gitzo, Velbon, Slik?
    from my very limited experience, and reviews on the net, I found that professional heads are much smoother in their operation, and mostly eliminate any creep that happens when tightening the head. Another bonus is that all the pro-heads have tension adjustment knobs. These allow you to adjust and readjust the composition without tightening any knobs. On Manfrotto etc you only get these features on larger and much heavier heads, which do not fit on small tripods properly.

    The Acratech GV2 Ballhead is indeed very light, yet it is made of solid aluminium and feels very secure and steady. The advantage of Acratech is the dry ball design, making it easy to clean and also meaning that you don't get any resistance or sticking when trying to move the ball. They are a perfect companion to any carbon tripod.

    They also make a strangely shaped ultimate ball head, but I think that one would take some getting used to, it looks like that your camera could flop over. The extra range of motion may be good for macro shots though.

    As for the quick release plate, they are thinner than Manfrotto, etc ones. I think this is true of all Arca-Swiss standard plates as they are custom fit for your camera.

    So why would you spend $xxx on this head instead of a $100 Manfrotto?
    Well, I guess it's the same as your non-photographer friend asking why you bought your $300 Manfrotto tripod that weighs 2kg when they have that $30 no brand tripod that weighs less than 500g. I don't know whether it is just all the stores I've been to, but none of the heads I tried were completely smooth. Also, now that I have used it, I would say that tension adjustment is a must. Once you've used it, you can't go back.

    I would say it's definitely worth saving up for, if you do serious macro and tele-photo or sport shots, where you would need to fast set up and smooth action. And maybe our currency will go up a bit by that time too!

  2. #2
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I'm convinced!

    But then again I was going to be easy to convince, since I was pre-convinced at an earlier point by another reviewer(Thom Hogan) and then re-pre-convinced by another reviewer(Bjorn Rorslett).

    Bjorn has compelling reasoning and a wealth of experience, not to mention his authoritative manner and has me convinced of what my next tripod and head will be
    (I just need to find approximately $2-3K )

    I'm not 100% convinced about your commented use(sport).

    macro? yes! I've used my 105Vr(with VR off of course) with my currently suitable tripods($400 manfrotto stuff).

    But very long tele work with heavy lenses like the 300.2.8 and two TC's, or the 500mm mirror, a short stubby lightweight lens, need stable support.
    Mirror Lock Up(Dxxx bodies) helps a lot.. but if there's a slight whiff of breeze, you see it through the viewfinder.
    I've tried many shots of the moon with these combo's all stopped down, so shutter speeds are more like 1/10s or thereabouts.. you see vibe induced blur.
    faster shutter speeds don't show it, but require more aperture, which reduces IQ anyhow.. so it's like being stuck between a rock(the moon) and a hard place(the expensive world of stable support!)

    I'm sure the acratech will suffice, and have heard good things about them, but one of the things I want to eventually be able to do, Bjorn says the overall durability of many of these manufacturers can be lacking(compared to his preferred brand)

    It's an interesting read(Bjorns thoughts on tripods and heads) the simple device that he recommends makes so much sense too!
    As I said... I'm convinced
    Last edited by arthurking83; 06-11-2008 at 12:59am.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    I've got an Acratech Ultimate Ballhead; it's a bit different and takes some getting used to but once you do get used to it, it works well. I use Acratech plates too. Their stuff is all very well made, and pretty good value.

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    arthurking83 what did he say about durability?

    Problem I had was that nobody in Oz had any pro heads in stock. It's hard to clunk down cash based on pics and US/UK reviewers (who don't suffer poor currency rates)

    That may change, acra are seeking distribution here.

  5. #5
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reaction View Post
    arthurking83 what did he say about durability? ....
    Here's a LINK to Bjorns site(review page)

    I did see a link in there to tripods, but I can't find it now.
    Follow the link to the burzynsky ball head, and have a read.

    Don't take too much stock in his review, as he obviously places a lot more undue stress on his equipment than many of us 'normal' folks ever would!
    (for confirmation of that, check out the condition of the F5 in the burzynsky review )

    That ball head looks fabulously simple(and by Bjorns article) brilliantly effective.


    I have never seen any retailer stocking these 'more professional' heads and tripods, but Vanbar have recently added a few Gitzo tripods/heads to their Carlton store.
    I was in there briefly the other week, and didn't get much of a chance to get a good look at them all, other than they were horrendously expensive.
    They did have a reverse ball head(Gitzo) and I can't remember the name of it, other than it worked opposite to how you normally expect a ballhead too.
    It seemed solid and stable, and durable.. but then again by what reference standard.

    Anyhow.. somewhere in Bjorns writings he has reviews about tripods too, and I'm sure he's said that his Gitzo tripods would last about 6 months.
    He used to use Foba ball heads, before his love affair with these weird burzynski's.

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    yes, his burzynsky had probably weighs more than my whole set up together! and he calls it light enough to carry around on bush walks!
    I guess that's how my friends with compact cameras feel about me. How is Vanbar as a shop? They seem to have quite a wide range of brands.

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