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10-08-2011, 05:44 AM   #1
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What Tripod Head

In the process of treating myself to a new tripod. After looking about and seeing what other folk have got I've settled for a Gitzo GT3541LS tripod. When it comes to heads I haven't a clue. A Kirk BH-1 and L plate bracket was recommended but they don't do the bracket for a Pentax. Any suggestions from the good folks on here. Considerations are that it must be light and be suitable for panoramas. I do mostly outdoors stuff and might walk 10-15 miles between shots up and down hills so weight is of big importance. I'm only buying once so I'm not fussed if its a wee bit expensive. I'm in the midst of buying a few odds and ends that should see me through the next decade or so.

10-08-2011, 05:52 AM   #2
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Really Right Stuff will most likely have bracket that will suit your camera - many RRS products are on par with Kirk, and in some cases they exceed them in terms of quality.

The RRS B-55 is a ballhead I would strongly recommend, also the P0 monoball head from Arca Swiss is certainly worth a look for paroramic work. I have also been hearing good things about ballheads from Markins.

Last edited by Digitalis; 10-08-2011 at 05:59 AM.
10-08-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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I've only heard good things about RRS - only problem is having to order direct from the states.
10-08-2011, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Morning Mark,

I took a look at your work (your link) and I can only say, I wish I such a fine set to put out there for folks to look at. Anyway, back to your question. For panoramas using a ballhead, the single most important aspect is to have the panning capability on top of the ballhead rather that incorporated in the base (as just about all the products have). In this way, you can level the camera, and thus the panning base will be level, so that when you pan you will always be panning level. I use the Acratech GP for this, for several reasons. Its light (1 pound), it will hold up to 25 pounds - thereby providing a large margin. It can be inverted so that it provides the panning capability - actually mine just stays inverted. It uses the Arca Swiss plate system, and I also use the Kirk L bracket (I like it better and its a bit less expensive). The only drawback is its price ~$400. They have a 10 year warranty, and for all practical purposes its lifetime. I was told by the manufacturer that if something ever breaks or goes wrong, just send it back since they want to actually see what when wrong and they will make it right - that's the way they address product improvement. The Arca Swiss P0 is another ballhead that has this panning capability. You can assemble parts from RRS to do the same, however the total price will exceed both the Arcatech GP or the AS P0.

For all practical purposes, Arca Swiss, Acratech, RRS, and Kirk make their products pretty indestructible. They are all computer machined aircraft grade aluminum. Take a look at this first video at 3.25



Last edited by interested_observer; 10-08-2011 at 09:29 AM.
10-08-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
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Thank you for the comment re the pictures and for the amount of work in the reply. I've emailed them re the brackets as they don't list the K-5.

I like the sound of the 10 year warranty as well. Looks very good for the panos.
10-08-2011, 12:59 PM   #6
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The one nice aspect about the Arca Swiss clamp/plate system is that they are all designed to be interchangeable - even across manufacturers. As previously indicated, I use a Kirk L bracket with the Acratech clamp. Works perfectly due to the AS mechanical interface specifications. So, you can shop for camera plates from a variety of manufactures (just as long as they are Arca Swiss compatible). There are vendors on ebay that only just sell camera plates. Also, the K5 and K7 share the same body, so what is designed for one will work on the other.Also, Markins is another manufacturer that should go on the list. They have camera plates specifically for the K5.If you look closely, I see that on the Markin's plate finder that the same plate fits both the K5 and K4, but a different plate for the K7. I don't know if this is correct or an error. I would check, but this may be another route if the Kr plate also fits the K5 (since the Kr probably has a larger distribution that the K5).

Also, I have a K20 that I have a plate for. It so happens that it fits perfectly on my K100D - and the bodies are of significantly different sizes. So there is that aspect too. On the camera plates, it all comes down to the measurement from the center of the mounting hole on the body to the (I believe) front edge of the camera, where they place the curve. This appears to be somewhat uniform to some degree, thus provides the interchangeability across several body styles.

10-08-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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I noted that Kirk do an L bracket for the K-5. I can also get the Arca-Swiss heads a lot easier in the UK than some of the other stuff mentioned. Thanks again for your help.

10-14-2011, 07:50 AM   #8
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Suggestion on head

I have been impressed with the Giottos line. GIOTTO'S-Professional Photographic Equipment
They make an incredible variety of heads, both ball and pan. All very well made with some wonderful features.
I own a MH 1301-656 ball head that I put on my Gitzo 226. I could have gone with the somewhat bigger MH 1300-657 as its base diameter matches the mounting plate on the Gitzo. Both would be fine. One thing I love about the mount is that the mounting plate lock knob has a bubble level on the end enabling you to level the camera while in vertical format. Haven't seen that anyplace else.
10-14-2011, 01:39 PM   #9
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I am kind of in the same boat, Just started looking for a tripod and head, I know the skies the limit as far as price goes but I just want to know after the tripod and mount head what else should I be looking for? Oh and if this needs to be its own thread let me know just didnt want to hijack this one.

JJ
10-16-2011, 09:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jerryleejr Quote
I am kind of in the same boat, Just started looking for a tripod and head, I know the skies the limit as far as price goes but I just want to know after the tripod and mount head what else should I be looking for? Oh and if this needs to be its own thread let me know just didnt want to hijack this one.

JJ
Having just purchase a second expensive tripod after I decided I didn't like the first one that I bought that was also expensive,
trying hard to get what you want the first time is to be reccommended.

My special issue was a very heavy lens. Things you need to figure out is how much weight you need to support because
you can get them for different weight classes. The really light tripods are also really flimsy, and they don't really accomplish what you are hoping for if you have a heavy long lens.

After deciding I didn't need a quick release, I immediately regretted that, because I wanted my camera loose in a hurry
about the first timeI put it on the tripod to use, and by the time I got it unscrewed it didn'tmake any difference any more.
so I am an advocate of a quick release.....

Also If you want to do a PAN or video because of its potential to move on multiple axis when you release it.

I ended up with a Manfratto with a head with separate controls/locks for each axis. It has big levels on it, and if you level it up
when you set it up, you can release it on any axis of your choice and move/pan while the other axes remain locked. I don't think this is exactly what happens with a ball head.

as nearly as I can tell the most stable support for your camera is a large block of Concrete and a beanbag, and anything less than that is a compromise between stability, and portability and you sort of need to set your priorities.
10-17-2011, 04:03 AM   #11
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I used a Novoflex 5 for heavy stuff and now that I do not user heavy tele lenses anymore (like that Mamiya 500mm...) I use a Linhof III that is superb.
The Giottos heads are no good compared to what Novoflex, Kirk and Markins produce.
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