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02-05-2012, 12:20 AM - 5 Likes   #1
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My Tripod Head Arca Dovetail Compatable System Solution - LOTS of Pics

G'Day Everybodies, there has been a few threads lately about which kind of tripod head to get, I have put this thread together to show my Tripod System, and why I have gone the way I have. This thread is in no way suggesting BRANDS to anyone, so people can make up there own minds on which brand they prefer, I'm in no way endorsing any one brand over another, just putting forward a few ideas for people wondering whats out there and few ideas on how a QR system can work and be intergrated for different applications.

So I started out many years ago, I had a few lenses and needed a reasonable tripod to use, I ended up with a SLIK Able 300, I still have it today, and its still as solid as it was, but, the standard Pan/tilt head was always clunky, and not very smooth in operation, and with the longer heavier lenses, simply could not be set and locked in position without the subject not being in frame after I locked the head, too much flex in the joints, so I have kept the solid legs and invested in a couple of different heads to make the best for my needs. Ii have also bought a second taller set of legs, and swap heads between them as needed.

Firstly Starting with the Basics, I have gone for a Ball Head, a larger size Ball for smoother movement, easier adjustments, plus as it was suggested to me, when buying a Ball Head, made sure I got one with a Pan base, so after you lockup the ball itself, you can still pan the camera without the chance of changing horizontal and vertical position. I aslo went for one that could hold up a degree of weight. I also had to be Arca Dovetail compatable, so I could use it with mulitple lens and camera plates. For my K-7 I'm actually using a 120mm Lens- plate and it works well as a hand strap mount as well, for my *istD I have a universal L-Plate so I can flip the camera up , works nicely.







The Ball Head





I also purchased a QR clamp that simply screwed onto my Monopod, that turned it into a Arca QR compatable momopod so I again could use it quickly and easily with the rest of the system.





A good addition to the Ball head is a Macro Rail, the Macro rails come in quite a few lengths, I have chosen a 140mm, the Rail is again arca dovetail QR and has a QR clamp at one end. I actually has more than just one use as a rail for closeup photography as you will see.









Another use for the Marco Rail is for Balancing Longer heavier lenses that don't have a tripod collar on them, You can do this and balance the weight of the camera and lens combo over the tripod centre and gain more control as the pivot point is now forward under the lens rather than at the camera body, so less droop, and easier to lock on target.




This same use also makes it easier to balance a camera lens combo on a monopod as well.




I then needed a solution for control over the larger lenses, and from investigation found very quickly the best option was going to be a Gimbal Head, that could balance the heavier, longer lenses and improve control over them, again arca compatable QR clamp for ease and mating with different plates/lenses.







On my Sigma 300mm/F2.8 I have used a 120mm lens plate, tis allows me to have different balance points for the lens/camera combo if I'm using it as just the lens and camera or with a 1.4x or 2x Teleconverter. With the teleconverters I simply slide the lens further forward and re-balance the whole combo in the gimbal swing. You can see in the next two pics the different locked position of the lens/camera and the lens/2x/camera combo.





Then you can see how easily the camera and lens swings and truns, in all the following photos I had the locking knobs loosened, I could easily swing the camera up and down, and each time it stayed exactly where I let go of it, somthing impossible for other types of tripod heads.






With my Monopod, it works in exactly the same way, depending on if I have a teleconverter on the lens, I can balance the rig perfectly on the monopod.





I also said that the Macro rail had quite a few uses, so not only do I use it as it's intended "Macro Rail" and as I have shown, as a way to balance longer lenses that don't have a tripod collar, but, it also acts as a mounting rail for my flash for use on my Telephoto. I replace the 120mm lens plate on my Sigma 300 with the macro rail , then I can mount my flash bracket on so I can have the flash right at the end of the lens hood, I can use this handheld, on the monopod or in the Gimbal head. Works a treat, no problems with light cutting off.









So there you have it, a complete Quick release, interchangable system that works seemlessly together, and makes the most of a small number of components.


Arrrrrrrrr.
cmohr


Last edited by cmohr; 03-01-2012 at 05:59 AM.
02-05-2012, 03:58 AM   #2
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noice work.
02-05-2012, 07:04 AM   #3
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Great information...well illustrated! Thanks for sharing.
02-05-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Very nice. Great education for guys like me. I like that macro rail. I had not seen any yet.

What is the advantage of the 120mm plate for the camera, other than a holding place for the hand strap? Is such a plate a requirement for the strap? I have not looked at hand straps yet. Yours looks good. What brand is it ?

02-05-2012, 04:04 PM   #5
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Good information, I like what you did with the flash, thanks for sharing.
02-05-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Falke Quote
noice work.
Thanks Matey, I do rant on a bit though

QuoteOriginally posted by rhe Quote
Great information...well illustrated! Thanks for sharing.
No Worries, 50 odd pics took a while to get in in some kind of logical order.

QuoteOriginally posted by TonyL Quote
Very nice. Great education for guys like me. I like that macro rail. I had not seen any yet.

What is the advantage of the 120mm plate for the camera, other than a holding place for the hand strap? Is such a plate a requirement for the strap? I have not looked at hand straps yet. Yours looks good. What brand is it ?
The 120mm plate on the camera is because I use it as part of the Macro Rail system, the macro rail itself allows you to move the camera towards and away from subject, the long plate on the camera base allows me to move the camera lens left and right.

I got the Hand strap off fleabay, its a Herringbone Heritage brand

Here's the link.... eBay Australia: Buy new & used fashion, electronics & home d?r

QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Good information, I like what you did with the flash, thanks for sharing.
Thanks, I was looking into specially made ones, like the Kirk ones, but they run around the $250.00 dollar price range, the "C bracket" I'm using cost 15.00, and I 've had the off camera lead for around 10 odd years.


Arrrrrrr.
cmohr
02-18-2012, 04:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing this - it is really helping me put together a similar system.

One question though - I noticed in all your photos you have your grip attached to the camera. I also keep my grip on my camera 90% of the time. In reference to the photos where you have what looks like a DA*300 lens mounted - for some reason I have in my mind that the stability would be somewhat compromised with the long lens attached and the camera plate attached to the grip vs. the plate being directly attached to the camera bottom.

I have a similar lens without a tripod collar (FA* 300 4.5) which I would be using with a setup like this. I don't want to fiddle with moving plates back and forth from the grip to the body, so I would like to have a plate always attached to the grip as you have shown. For some reason though, in my mind, I feel that there would be some torque involved because of the extra joint of the grip with the heavier lens attached. Have you found the setup steady enough? Have you seen any flex at the joint where the grip attaches to the camera?
02-19-2012, 02:49 AM   #8
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The FA*300 would be a bit heavier than the 50-135 I have on there, but these plates and screws are pretty strong and can more than cope with those weights. I find it very steady and no flexing whatsoever, I really makes a difference when using the monopod, as when the monopod was just on the camera body moving up and down felt very unnatural, and it was very wobble prone left to right, with the macro rail moving the pivot point forward the up / down movement was very natural, and the left / right wobble was gone.

I did get a tripod collar that I had on my Tamron 2x TC, and I have read that people have put the same collar on their FA*300's , I got it on ebay, was one to suit canon 70-200. I had it on my TC as I said, so when I was using my FA*200 with the TC it was way too long and very unbalanced , but when I had the FA200, 2xTC on the camera, with the tripod collar on the TC I worked a treat.

02-19-2012, 06:51 AM   #9
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Thanks for the additional info.

I have that same tripod collar on order so this shouldn't be an issue anyway.
02-26-2012, 09:52 PM   #10
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cmorh,

what is the brand of the 120MM plate? I like your idea of shifting left and right for close up macro in combination with the macro rail. I assume it will also fit the K-7 directly.
02-26-2012, 10:07 PM   #11
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It 's a Sunwayfoto 120mm lensplate, I had to file off the little lip it had for mounting to a lens bracket, It fits perfectly the BG4 grip, I can not say it would go straight on a K-7 with no grip as it would block the battery door, but being the same width its certainly possible, I currently have a Sunwayfoto Universal L Plate DPL-03 on my K-7 with no grip, and its great, allows access to the battery door.

I purchased most of these things from oeccamera on fleabay. John is a really good guy to deal with in Texas. Batches posting and gets things in the mail FAST.
02-26-2012, 10:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
I purchased most of these things from oeccamera on fleabay. John is a really good guy to deal with in Texas. Batches posting and gets things in the mail FAST.
+1 on that. He sent me the wrong clamp last week, I sent him a message and next day he sent the right one and a return mailer for the wrong one. I browsed the rest of his items and found a carbon fiber monopod + arca ball head for $85.00, he accepted my offer of $80.00, which is fantastic if it is at least a decent monopod. We will see tomorrow as that is when I expect it will be here.

What about the Desmond gimbal head, how has that been so far?
02-27-2012, 04:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
+1 on that. He sent me the wrong clamp last week, I sent him a message and next day he sent the right one and a return mailer for the wrong one. I browsed the rest of his items and found a carbon fiber monopod + arca ball head for $85.00, he accepted my offer of $80.00, which is fantastic if it is at least a decent monopod. We will see tomorrow as that is when I expect it will be here.

What about the Desmond gimbal head, how has that been so far?

John's a nice guy, and Yes, he has an "offer" available on a lot of his items. I saw that Monopod too, but I already had one, and just got the QR plate as I showed, Let us know how it is.

The Desmond is great, very happy with it for the money.
02-29-2012, 06:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
I purchased most of these things from oeccamera on fleabay. John is a really good guy to deal with in Texas. Batches posting and gets things in the mail FAST.
QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
+1 on that.
+2 now. I go to oeccamera to get my Marumi filters (many "brand-name" filters on eBay are cheap knockoffs, his are definitely not). Always a great experience, and now I have a few more reasons to browse! Thanks for the photos, cmohr!
02-29-2012, 02:55 PM   #15
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No worries. One is glad to be of service.

I was recently trying some long distance shots and I only had the Ball head tripod with me (left the Gimbal at home ...D'oh) with stacked Tc's (840mm) was getting a bit of shake, but I also had my monopod with me, so I had the lens mounted on the ballhead and had the monopod on the camera, made it VERY stable. was easy to adjust as I got the subject in frame, then simply unclipped the QR on the monopod leg, let the foot hit the ground then locked it. Worked a treat.
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