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05-13-2016, 09:41 AM   #1
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Help with Ball Head selection

Markins Q10i - https://www.markinsamerica.com/MA5/Q10.php?req=Q10SK
FLM CB-43FT - FLM CB-43FT Professional FT-Series Ball Head 12 43 902 B&H Photo
Acratech GV2 - Acratech GV2 Ball Head/Gimbal Head 1152 B&H Photo Video

Do you have any personal recommendation of one over the other? I really like the Acratech and at this point I am inclined towards it. But it has the lowest "Max Load" specs among all three and the price is almost same as the other two. The longest lens I currently have is a 70-200 f2.8 (well, I occasionally use Russian MTO 1000 mm lens which weighs a ton). I don't foresee myself using lenses bigger than 300mm anytime soon. I have K3 with grip but I am planning to upgrade to FF sometime in near future. Please feel free to suggest/recommend any other ballhead if it fits the criteria. My budget is around $350.

Thanks.

05-13-2016, 10:00 AM   #2
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With no arguments, the best "bang for the bucks" ball heads are made by Sirui. Choose your weight limit up to 77lb, the largest and most expensive, and it goes for under $200. Give this brand a hard look, They are beautifully made and the locking mechanism is smooth and pleasantly progressive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
05-13-2016, 10:14 AM   #3
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Induro are good too. I've got the Induro CT-414 with BHL-3 ballhead, additionally with the Benro PC-1 pano head bolted on instead of a normal Arca-Swiss clamp. Can't fault it and the reviews say it's comparable to Really Right Stuff.
05-13-2016, 10:17 AM   #4
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Of the three you listed and within that market segment, my vote without reservation would be the Acratech. The extra $50 for the GP might be worth it if you are considering doing panos.


Steve

(What I will buy when I wear out my Giottos...)

05-13-2016, 10:19 AM   #5
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I might put the Arca Swiss P0 on your radar as well--an unconventional design, but it gets great reviews. (Like the Acratech GP, it obviates the need for a separate leveling base and/or panning clamp if you find yourself doing a lot of panos.)


Arca-Swiss Monoball P0 with Panning System 801211 B&H Photo


Otherwise, I might not put a lot of stock into the manufacturer's specific weight ratings--with your budget, I doubt you'll have any problems with "creep," especially if you invest in an L-bracket.
05-13-2016, 11:17 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by HopelessTogger Quote
Induro are good too. I've got the Induro CT-414 with BHL-3 ballhead, additionally with the Benro PC-1 pano head bolted on instead of a normal Arca-Swiss clamp. Can't fault it and the reviews say it's comparable to Really Right Stuff.

I second the induro bhl3 as well as the tripod..i put my sigma 500mm on it and it's rock solid
05-13-2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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I purchased from this guy and he aS spot on in his advice etc. He has a larger RRS head knock off for sale.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/318693-sal...ice-drops.html

Just a thought.
05-13-2016, 03:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I purchased from this guy and he aS spot on in his advice etc. He has a larger RRS head knock off for sale.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/318693-sal...ice-drops.html

Just a thought.
Thanks. I saw that post a few days ago but unfortunately none of those two ball heads fit what I need. The BH-30 might be a smaller than what I need. BH-55 would be great but its too heavy. Moreover, I could not find a single review of any Leofoto products online. I don't doubt the person selling it. But it is hard to invest $150 plus on a product that's not been time tested. My first set of tripod and ball heads were cheap knock offs of Gitzo and now here I am buying a new ones few years down the line. The more expensive gear I buy, the more I am worried about buying knock-offs.

05-13-2016, 05:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by uday029 Quote
Thanks. I saw that post a few days ago but unfortunately none of those two ball heads fit what I need. The BH-30 might be a smaller than what I need. BH-55 would be great but its too heavy. Moreover, I could not find a single review of any Leofoto products online. I don't doubt the person selling it. But it is hard to invest $150 plus on a product that's not been time tested. My first set of tripod and ball heads were cheap knock offs of Gitzo and now here I am buying a new ones few years down the line. The more expensive gear I buy, the more I am worried about buying knock-offs.
That makes sense.
05-13-2016, 10:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
I might put the Arca Swiss P0 on your radar as well--an unconventional design, but it gets great reviews. (Like the Acratech GP, it obviates the need for a separate leveling base and/or panning clamp if you find yourself doing a lot of panos.)


Arca-Swiss Monoball P0 with Panning System 801211 B&H Photo


Otherwise, I might not put a lot of stock into the manufacturer's specific weight ratings--with your budget, I doubt you'll have any problems with "creep," especially if you invest in an L-bracket.
For non-panoramic photos, do you think that Monoball P0 has any advantage over Acratech? Looks like Monoball does not come with the base plate.
05-14-2016, 04:52 AM   #11
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The truth(s) is(are): 1) every one here has their personal favorite tripod head; 2) no one head is obviously superior and "perfect" (Think I have at least 10 heads including both ball & pan-tilt; each has different virtues/flaws); 3) without experimenting with numerous heads on display in a major store (B&H, Adorama) you cannot decide which one will suit your needs & tastes; 4) even if you try many, only when you get it out in the field and use it for weeks will you know if it is actually what you really want. Obviously with ten big heads (not counting the micro heads for mounting off-camera strobes), I keep thinking there must be one better than those have. So, take a deep breath, click "add to my cart," and hope for the best.

Advice: Go to the B&H website, go through the clicks to bring up all ball heads, then use the selections at left to bring up only those heads that have the weight capacity you want/need. Go to the top where you can sequence them by price high to low or low to high and select "highest rated." Then starting at the top go through each head and read the NEGATIVE reviews to find out what disappointed purchasers found objectionable. Finally as noted, click "add to cart" and hope for the best.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 05-14-2016 at 04:58 AM.
05-14-2016, 06:05 AM   #12
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Ha, I think WPRESTO is giving some good advice--at your price point, I don't think you'll find any dogs, and will quickly adapt to whatever your choice happens to be. As for the P0, I don't own one yet (and I would be very happy with any Acratech head)--it was on my radar because I'm looking for a light, capable option for my "backcountry" kit. (Right now, I run a Manfrotto 410 geared head, which is great for landscapes and macros, but a bit heavy to get the top of the hill at my age.)


FWIW, here's a Ming Thein review of the P0:


https://blog.mingthein.com/2013/08/20/review-arca-swiss-p0-monoball/
05-14-2016, 06:58 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
Ha, I think WPRESTO is giving some good advice--at your price point, I don't think you'll find any dogs, and will quickly adapt to whatever your choice happens to be. As for the P0, I don't own one yet (and I would be very happy with any Acratech head)--it was on my radar because I'm looking for a light, capable option for my "backcountry" kit. (Right now, I run a Manfrotto 410 geared head, which is great for landscapes and macros, but a bit heavy to get the top of the hill at my age.)


FWIW, here's a Ming Thein review of the P0:


https://blog.mingthein.com/2013/08/20/review-arca-swiss-p0-monoball/

My geared head has long since been assigned to "studio" (=basement) use atop a Manfrotto geared table column for the precise macro-shot positioning up to about 2:1. For field macro I prefer a modest-sized pan & tilt head (one made by Slik that has separate tension control of those two movements) atop Sirui legs, the latter being by far my favorite tripod. For travel I use a small Sirui ball head (but it has a 44lb weight rating) atop a modified Giottos carbon-fiber. For local general work I use either a very old Gitzo "Rationale" pan & tilt or a Sirui ball that's rated at 77lb (not quite as smooth operating as the much smaller Sirui) atop either a Gitzo carbon fiber (the original version) or the aforementioned Sirui (much nicer tripod). For shooting with a big lens from a blind I usually use a Bogen (now Manfrotto) heavy lens cradle (composed of two U-shaped bars, a larger for pan, smaller inner for tilt) atop my oldest tripod, a big Bogen (now Manfrotto) I think designated 3221. The latter is not my heaviest/sturdiest tripod. I have a wooden surveyor's tripod modified for photo use that weighs substantially more than any camera + lens combination I own. Been many years since I last used that beast, but it is almost as solid as a large cement pier.
05-14-2016, 09:58 AM   #14
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Yes, I'm definitely coming to the end of my "strong back, weak mind" phase--I dearly love my 410/Uni-loc combination for traipsing about the Smokies, but the fun usually comes to a grinding halt after mile 10 and a few thousand feet of elevation gain.
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