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06-08-2018, 12:16 AM   #1
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Will better ball-head increase load capacity of Tripod?

I purchased SLIK Sprint Pro II GM because it has clips & also the weight is less than 2lb. But the rated capacity is 4.5lb. I would like to go up to 7lbs. Can I do that by using different head? I am using "Arca swiss Ultimate head + RRS clamp". Arca swiss Ultimate head is rated to hold 20lbs


SLIK Sprint Pro II GM is very similar to SLIK CF614. I was able to swap the center columns. But latter is screw type legs. I do not like that.


Here is the comparison of the original head that came with the tripod and the replacement head.

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06-08-2018, 01:04 AM   #2
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in a nutshell: No. you can put the Arca Swiss cube on a gorillapod, the legs will always let you down....literally.


The entire tripod system weight capacity [ Overall Mass and weight..and where it is distributed] has to be evaluated. I like to over-provision the weight capacity by a minimum of half, so if my camera set up is 5kg i'll have a tripod capable of handling 10kg, or better yet 20kg. Why? because there are often more forces exerted upon a tripod than just the weight of the camera itself. Wind, unstable terrain,front heavy lenses, the focal lengths you intend to use and how much height you need out of a tripod** are important factors to account for.

Furthermore: putting a heavy, high quality tripod head on a lighter set of legs will make the whole system top-heavy, raising the center of balance. Which is undesirable if you ever intend to use the tripod at its maximum height* with long lenses.


QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxfall Quote
Arca swiss Ultimate head is rated to hold 20lbs
In which case you need tripod legs that can at minimum equal or better yet, exceed that capacity.



*without the center column extended, if you use the center column you are better off using a monopod.
**for macro shooters, how low a tripod can get is also very important.

Last edited by Digitalis; 06-08-2018 at 05:35 AM.
06-08-2018, 02:54 AM - 1 Like   #3
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All good points above. ^^^^ Also, for me, ball heads and heavy loads make doing fine adjustments very difficult. A good 3 way head will not only handle the load, but also give much more control of positioning. Just my 2 cents.
06-08-2018, 06:43 AM   #4
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As a former owner of the Slik Sprint ProII (sent it back as unsuitable for other than a compact P&S), my advice to a certain extent echos the comments above:
  • The tripod legs are the foundation and nothing can change that. Addition of sandbags or other deadening weight may cover small deficiencies, but flimsy is as flimsy does and it the legs do flimsy...
  • Tripod and head capacity are almost always badly overstated, usually by a factor of at least 2. At best, the stated rating is for a well-balanced load under ideal conditions.
  • Total maximum capacity is the realistic maximum capacity of the legs minus any deficiency in the head
  • The capacity for the Slik Sprint Pro II is badly overrated with neither the legs nor the head capable of stable operation with a 4.5lb load (Pentax K-1 + D FA 24-70/2.8 + AF360FGZ II)
  • It is unlikely that beefing up the head will address the inherent weakness of the legs on the Sprint Pro II for other than very light duty, IMHO
  • A light duty 3-way pan head may well allow the Sprint Pro II legs to operate well with a camera the size of a Ricoh GRII
Sorry to come down so hard on the tripod, but I was incredibly disappointed with my copy.

Addendum: The Acratech head pictured above is badly mismatched. A good rule of thumb for intended compatibility is the diameter of the center column platform on the legs. If a ballhead is absolutely required, I have had good luck with the Manfrotto 494 which I got on sale for about 1/2 the current retail price. Another alternative might be the FLM CB18E. Neither of those ballheads have a quick-release, but I added a Desmond DAC X1 clamp for Arca-Swiss support.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 06-08-2018 at 06:56 AM.
06-08-2018, 07:10 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Sorry to come down so hard on the tripod, but I was incredibly disappointed with my copy.
I finally settled on Slik 330DX Pro legs mated to a Manfrotto 494 head. I later added a Desmond DAC X1 clamp for Arca-Swiss plate support. This setup is well-matched to my 35mm film cameras and in a pinch as a travel tripod for the K-3 with lighter lenses. The total weight for legs + head is less than 3 lbs with a stated capacity of 8.8 lbs.

The selection process (done some years ago) was detailed as a guest author on Hin's blog:

Hin's Photo Corner: The Magic Tripod

Hin's Photo Corner: Magic Tripod, Part II


Steve
06-08-2018, 07:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
ripod and head capacity are almost always badly overstated, usually by a factor of at least 2.
I'm sure we can agree that certain manufacturers are more reliable on the load bearing capacities of their products than others.

Acratech, RRS,Arca-Swiss,Wimberly, Linhof tripod heads are generally regarded as being reliable regarding weight capacity.

Manfrotto,Velbon,Slik, Induro, Sunpak tripod heads are suspect until proven otherwise.
06-08-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Weight capacity of tripod heads is a poor way to judge their actual abilities.

It's amazing how much weight a small ballhead can hold when a camera and lens are parked directly above the ball. Is that the weight limit the manufacturer uses?

But tip the camera forward, say 30-45 degrees, and all that weight can overwhelm the clamping capacity and it will start to slip. Cullman used to sell their tripod heads with Newton Meter ratings - how much torque they could stand before slipping. Trouble is, how can you evaluate your equipment's torque load on a head?

As usual, if you've got bigger heavier equipment, you need to look at bigger heavier tripod heads. But a lesser made head can slip and slide even though it has a similar build and "weight" rating as the more costly, better-made unit.

It's always best to try these things out before buying, but in these days of buying stuff over the internet, it's easy to get stuck with something that doesn't live up to expectations.
06-08-2018, 12:12 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Weight capacity of tripod heads is a poor way to judge their actual abilities.
It's amazing how much weight a small ballhead can hold when a camera and lens are parked directly above the ball. Is that the weight limit the manufacturer uses?
It's always best to try these things out before buying, but in these days of buying stuff over the internet, it's easy to get stuck with something that doesn't live up to expectations.
I have experienced this myself with Berno tripod. It started slipping when I mounted the panorama setup that used DFA 70-200; it also slipped when ground was not flat. But tripod was all fine when the weight was right at the center.

---------- Post added 06-08-18 at 12:24 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Sorry to come down so hard on the tripod, but I was incredibly disappointed with my copy.
Steve
Fault is with me. There is no free lunch . If I want to use heavier lens then I have to carry tripod that is at least 3lbs. There is no magic pill.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Addendum: The Acratech head pictured above is badly mismatched. A good rule of thumb for intended compatibility is the diameter of the center column platform on the legs. If a ballhead is absolutely required, I have had good luck with the Manfrotto 494 which I got on sale for about 1/2 the current retail price. Another alternative might be the FLM CB18E. Neither of those ballheads have a quick-release, but I added a Desmond DAC X1 clamp for Arca-Swiss support.
Steve
I agree with column platfrom part. Manfrotto 290 Xtra has a large plate on the top of center column. Additoionally this plate also has a pin and it goes inside the base of ball-head. That is an ideal design.

---------- Post added 06-08-18 at 12:31 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I finally settled on Slik 330DX Pro legs mated to a Manfrotto 494 head.
Steve
Last year I compared the weight & length of Slik 330DX & Manfrotto 290 Xtra, and then settled on Manfrotto 290 Xtra. They both have same weight and but latter is taller so I went with Manfrotto. I already have 5 tripods. Lighest is Slik CF614 and heaviest is Slik 700DX. Manfrotto 290 Xtra falls in the middle, so I will live with Manfrotto 290 Xtra

---------- Post added 06-08-18 at 12:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Another alternative might be the FLM CB18E. Neither of those ballheads have a quick-release, but I added a Desmond DAC X1 clamp for Arca-Swiss support.
Steve
I will try this. Just to have as an lighter option.

---------- Post added 06-08-18 at 12:41 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pjv Quote
All good points above. ^^^^ Also, for me, ball heads and heavy loads make doing fine adjustments very difficult. A good 3 way head will not only handle the load, but also give much more control of positioning. Just my 2 cents.
I started with 3-way head and then moved on to ball-head. In case of 3-way head, I used to forget tightening one of the knobs so I like the head with just one knob. I have tried SLIK ball head and it was difficult to do fine adjustment. But Arca head is very good. I have used it for at least 8 years without any issues.

---------- Post added 06-08-18 at 12:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I like to over-provision the weight capacity by a minimum of half, so if my camera set up is 5kg i'll have a tripod capable of handling 10kg, or better yet 20kg. Why? because there are often more forces exerted upon a tripod than just the weight of the camera itself. Wind, unstable terrain,front heavy lenses, the focal lengths you intend to use and how much height you need out of a tripod** are important factors to account for.
I agree, manufacturers rate their product for best use case scenario, not the worst case scenario.

Thanks for all your analysis. I will stick with Manfrotto 290 Xtra

06-08-2018, 02:00 PM   #9
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I wish you well with the 290 Xtra (Manfrotto rated at 4 kg load), it just wouldn't do me. It may be heavy, but an 055 is a much more stable platform (Manfrotto rated at 9kg) and holds my DSLR and 300mm close to eye level on a ball head without extending the column. I'd rather haul the weight and get the images even if others' mileage may vary.

I'll second your choice of a better ball head. :-)
06-08-2018, 06:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by StiffLegged Quote
I wish you well with the 290 Xtra (Manfrotto rated at 4 kg load), it just wouldn't do me. It may be heavy, but an 055 is a much more stable platform (Manfrotto rated at 9kg) and holds my DSLR and 300mm close to eye level on a ball head without extending the column. I'd rather haul the weight and get the images even if others' mileage may vary.

I'll second your choice of a better ball head. :-)
I guess you are referring to MT055XPRO3. That is heavy for me. It is a compromise between weight and stability. I used to carry Slik 700DX Pro to all the places. But then I had just two lenses (50mm macro and 100mm macro). Now I have more lenses and have to balance between the weight of lens and tripod. I have two copies of Slik 700DX
06-08-2018, 06:53 PM   #11
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I recommend a sturdy pan-tilt head which has much thicker material to maintain rigidity. Often there's a surface that can support not only the camera but also the lens mount. WRT tripods, I find the retracting leg joints are the weak spots. A good test is to attach your camera and the longest lens you plan to use, and tap the lens while watching the screen. I use: Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod
Slik Pro II 3-Way Panhead for heavier camera-lens combo
OR Linhof 3-Way Leveling Head for lighter weight on longer trips (can be purchased used at substantially lower cost)

06-09-2018, 12:17 PM   #12
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If you don't mind paying these sort of prices (eeeeek!!), you might consider Gitzo's rather lovely ball head for the Mountaineer Series 2/3, the GH3382QD. Very highly regarded, like the tripod mentioned, but way beyond my budget.
06-09-2018, 04:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxfall Quote
I purchased SLIK Sprint Pro II GM because it has clips & also the weight is less than 2lb. But the rated capacity is 4.5lb. I would like to go up to 7lbs. Can I do that by using different head? I am using "Arca swiss Ultimate head + RRS clamp". Arca swiss Ultimate head is rated to hold 20lbs


SLIK Sprint Pro II GM is very similar to SLIK CF614. I was able to swap the center columns. But latter is screw type legs. I do not like that.


Here is the comparison of the original head that came with the tripod and the replacement head.
I donít know where you are in your photography evolution but I would offer a little advice.

Until about 8 years ago I had used a lot of tripods and spent good money on them for a total of about 40 years as a photographer. Tripod technology has come a long way over the years. I would suggest you read tripod reviews (especially the negative reviews that are supported by heavy users), study the math behind tripod utilization and construction materials, and put your money into the tripod that tops out in reviews and yet meets your level of QPR.

When I finally decided to end the carousel of tripods I had bought, I spent the money to do it right and havenít looked back. I use Gitzos rated to 18kg for lenses up to 300mm (using a Markins Q10 bullhead) and to 600mm (using Markins Q20 ball head). For lenses above that I use a 25kg rated Gitzo with a Wimberley II gimbal. Some of the best money I have ever spent on equipment. While pan heads can be good Iíve moved to ball heads because I feel they are better suited to my style of shooting.

If you intend this to be a serious hobby invest in the best tripod your research produces for your budget. After all....you do want the tripod to help keep your images sharp.

Good luck with your final combination of tripod and head.

Stephen
06-09-2018, 04:26 PM   #14
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My Tiltall hasn't let me down yet. 😀
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