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01-07-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
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ball head recommendations for Bigma 50-500

After spending more quality time with my Bigma, I'm convinced that I need a beefier ball head to support it. Currently I have a Manfrotto 488 paired up with a Manfrotto 190CF tripod. The 488 will "support" the weight of Bigma but the 2 second timer will introduce vibration into my shots and tightening the ball head drops the view down a little too much. I know that a gimbal is the best solution but my Bigma use isn't a regular occurance so I would like to stay with a ball head.

I searched through the forum and there was some mention of the Manfrotto 498 ball head. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Thanks!

01-07-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Hi Steve, I don't have a Bigma, but do use the Sigma 120-400 (yes I know it is a few grams lighter). I have been using an Acratec ball head for a couple of years now and find it very easy to use with both the heavy telephotos and with the lighter primes as well.
01-07-2012, 09:56 PM   #3
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I have a Sirui G30 (discontinued) with a 44mm ball because I didn't like the layout of low and mid level Manfrotto heads. I haven't tried it with a long lens yet but it is nice and smooth with my gripped K10d, a large flash and an 800 gram lens. The Sirui K40x with a 54mm ball and a 35 kg rating would be even more solid.

You might also take a look at one of the long lens support arms that attaches between the camera body and a tripod leg. I believe they allow you to move the camera and lens around with a certain amount of freedom by extending and retracting, then give the body additional support when you lock the arm's length before taking a picture.
01-07-2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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I recently went for a gimbal head for the longer telelens. Much more control over the long lens. I also have a good ballhead, It is able to hold the long tele, but tends to move in all plains at the same time when trying to make small adjustments, with the gimbal style, you move the vertical and horizontal plains separately, very good. I use it with my Sigma 300/2.8, and with a 120mm lens plate on the lens, I'm able to slide its balance point forwards and backwards depending on if I add a 1.4 or 2x Tc.

This is the one I got and its still on special at the moment. Depending on your tripod, you may need an adapter for the thread, the head is a 3/8 thread, my tripod was a 1/4 thread, but I did just get an adapter screw to fix that and alls good. I just quickly swap between the heads depending on what I'm doing, takes only a few seconds to do.

Desmond Gimbal Head DGH-01 Arca Comp inc 50mm Clamp & QR Plate Fluid Tripod NEW | eBay



01-08-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Manfrotto ballheads are a waste of time imo because even locked down there is noticeable creep. Spend your money on ballheads that have consistently proven to deliver: Really Right Stuff, Markins, Acratech, Kirk, etc. are expensive but work reliably in every situation and they last a very long time.
01-08-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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I've recently purchased a GH-100 Pistol Grip and I've only taken it out for a test drive a couple of times. Here are my observations from playing around in my family room.


1) If you mount the camera body to the grip with a short lens, the grip will hit you in the chest if you have it orientated like in the video where they show it mounted to a long lens collar mount.

2) Which side you move the grip handle when mounting directly to your camera will depend on if you think you will want your camera to be able to tilt up or down with the most range of adjustment. The head clamp has 2 long slots at 90 degrees to each other for tilting the camera up or down, depending on orientation.

3) When the camera is in portrait orientation, your up and down tilt adjustment is strictly by the 360 pano adjustment collar.

4) The gripping pad on the circular camera mount plate is not very grippy. It works much better with heavier lenses if you add a little of the rubberized shelf liner between the mounting plate and the camera or a large diameter rubber washer with a 1/4" hole. This is especially true when the camera is in the portrait orientation.

5) This thing is built like a tank (1.65 pounds) and the tightening feature for the pistol grip works as advertised.

I think this grip will work very nicely for you, as only item 1 will be a concern for you. Like any new piece of equipment, it will take a little while before the adjustment features become second nature.

Tim
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01-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #7
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I use a monfretto C486 ball head, and would, after using this or trying with my Tamron 200-500/5.2 to forget a ball head. I switched to a Jobo Jr. Gimbals head. Works much better. Ball heads are ok for lenses less than 1 kilo in my opinion
01-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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Thank everyone for the suggestions. I think I'm going to pursue a path similar to what CMOHR suggests- for about $200 USD, I can pick up the Manfrotto 393 gimbal head and another center column for my 190CF tripod. If I need to shoot with the Bigma, I simply swap center columns. Seems like it will be a quick & low(ish) cost solution that will work for me.

01-09-2012, 05:39 AM   #9
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just be aeare that not all "gimbal" solutions are the same,.

When I got the Jobo Jr, i looked first at a low cost solution only to discover it required that the center post of the tripod rotated. It only really worked in the vertical plane not horizontal.

regatdless of solution, you should also consider getting one that accepts the arca plates because you will need to adjust the C of G for the BIGMA as you zoom, since the lens changes length as part of the zooming function
01-09-2012, 05:46 AM   #10
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I like the look of the Desmond gimbal head linked above. How smooth are the controls (seeing as it sells for significantly less than a Wimberly or equivalent head)? The 5 kilo load rating is pretty decent if it is accurate.
01-09-2012, 06:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
I like the look of the Desmond gimbal head linked above. How smooth are the controls (seeing as it sells for significantly less than a Wimberly or equivalent head)? The 5 kilo load rating is pretty decent if it is accurate.
Except that it is not set up correctly,

you can see the centerline of th elens (and therefore the COG of the lens) well below the pivot point.

This is not ideal as when you let go, the lens will always rock back to horrizontal. If you have the head set up correctly, with all the locks loose, you can let go of the lens and it does not move at all.

you can see in the photo, a set oh holes in the L bracket below the pivot. this bracket screws to the pivot, and there are 2 screws that should be undone and the bracket moved up to this un used set of holes, for this lens, in order to have th epivot in the center of gravity.
01-09-2012, 02:16 PM   #12
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The Desmond is very smooth, in both the vertical and horizontal movements, the locking knobs are a good size and very nice drag action, and it is very balanced actually, that pic was taken with the controls set unlocked ( I took a number of pics with the lens at differing angles) and you can swing the lens with one finger and it doesn't move, as I said, I have a 120mm lens plate and easily balance the lens camera combo with it, and when I add in a 2x or 1.4x (or even stacked converters) I can still have the whole setup balanced perfectly so as it swings and stays exactly where I let go even with everything loose despite the lens being 10mm lower on its axis point, when I did adjust the arm up the lens then was above the axis so then it was unbalanced, Yes the trade off for buying a cheaper head unlike the ones that cost three times as much with a slide adjuster on the swing arm to get the axis perfect for different lens and lens collar mounts , but for $143.00 perfect. I could of course remove the swingarm and just mount a quick release plate directly on the pivot point but then that puts more strain on the lens collar as its holding everything at 90deg instead of supporting directly upwards as it was designed. Maybe with a monster lens it would make a big difference (but with a monster you would need a much stronger head) but with the lighter combos absolutely not an issue and vastly superior to a ball head when it comes to control.
01-10-2012, 01:38 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
The Desmond is very smooth
If you can put a good review together and add it to my gimbal knock-off thread in the accessories section. I looked at the desmond quite a bit when I asked for the Great foto knock-off mainly to save a couple dollars, but with so many options popping up it would be nice to have one place to go to compare them.
01-24-2012, 04:28 PM   #14
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I really like the Foba M 1 ball head I have. I think they make a larger one, the Superball, which I have seen on Ebay in the UK going for about GBP 50 second hand. New they're much much more expensive. I could imagine this is the kind of item which gets bought in a rush and then sold after it proves not to see much use as its pretty specialist kit, pretty heavy, although light for what it can do. The ball looked as large as a tennis ball in photos I saw of it. I think the 15kg rating is pretty conservative, as I cannot force my M1, and it weighs about a quarter of the Superball. It looks awesome, but it does weigh about 1.5kg.

Bonkers Foba ball head

Obviously, you'll need an equally massive tripod to do the ball head justice. I use a 190 series with my M 1 and was thinking about upgrading to something heavier. I'd have thought you'd need something at least from the 055 series to equal the ball head. I think the vibrations will shoot straight through the ball head and into the legs. Any oscillation will affect a photo's sharpness. The heavier the legs, the lower the oscillation's amplitude, literally in proportion to the mass. So a little 190, irrespective of material, is going to vibrate more than a larger heavier section tube.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 01-24-2012 at 04:41 PM.
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