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02-09-2019, 08:42 AM   #1
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Affordable arca-compatible ball head

I recently got a peak design capture v3 for hiking. It works great, but my tripod has a quick release plate. To be able to use the camera with both capture and with the tripod, I'm planning to get a ball head that is arca-compatible.

My tripod is a budget one rated for 11 lb (the BH store brand, Oben AC-1441 if you're wondering). It's been fine, and I don't know if I need a ball head rated for much more than that. Let's say up to 20 lb to be future proof? My kit is an apsc camera (k3ii), and the lenses are da limited, da 16-85 and da 55-300. I often shoot telephoto landscapes, so not having the ball head droop after tightening would be important (the current one does it a bit, not too much to be an issue). Not planning to upgrade to a heavier k1, and even if I do, the ball head will be the least of my concerns given that most of my lenses are apsc-only

I'm considering Sirui B-00 and at Benro IN0 Any other options you'd recommend? I'd like to stay under $100, unless there's a clear reason not to other than rated weight. I rarely shoot panoramas so I don't think I need a dedicated pano tension knob.

Thanks!


Last edited by aaacb; 02-09-2019 at 08:50 AM.
02-09-2019, 09:07 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I recently got a peak design capture v3 for hiking. It works great, but my tripod has a quick release plate. To be able to use the camera with both capture and with the tripod, I'm planning to get a ball head that is arca-compatible.

My tripod is a budget one rated for 11 lb (the BH store brand, Oben AC-1441 if you're wondering). It's been fine, and I don't know if I need a ball head rated for much more than that. Let's say up to 20 lb to be future proof? My kit is an apsc camera (k3ii), and the lenses are da limited, da 16-85 and da 55-300. I often shoot telephoto landscapes, so not having the ball head droop after tightening would be important (the current one does it a bit, not too much to be an issue). Not planning to upgrade to a heavier k1, and even if I do, the ball head will be the least of my concerns given that most of my lenses are apsc-only

I'm considering Sirui B-00 and at Benro IN0 Any other options you'd recommend? I'd like to stay under $100, unless there's a clear reason not to other than rated weight. I rarely shoot panoramas so I don't think I need a dedicated pano tension knob.
For hiking use check all the reviews you can find for your candidates about do they get gunky, greasy, what if they get dirt on them, etc. That's one of the reasons I went with an Acratech head (which are more expensive) is that they are basically maintenance-free and if you drop it in the muck or it gets covered with sand you just brush it off.
02-09-2019, 09:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
For hiking use check all the reviews you can find for your candidates about do they get gunky, greasy, what if they get dirt on them, etc. That's one of the reasons I went with an Acratech head (which are more expensive) is that they are basically maintenance-free and if you drop it in the muck or it gets covered with sand you just brush it off.
Thanks for the tip. That's the other option I'm reluctantly considering, bite the bullet and buy a higher end ball head that paves the way to eventually upgrading the legs. I just won't have the heart to also put that nice kit in salt water as I've done with this one
02-09-2019, 09:15 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Not what you want to hear but another vote for the Acratech. Way more expensive but the last tripod head you will ever buy. I tried 4 or 5 of the cheaper ones which ended up being a waste of money, for me anyway.

That's not to say more affordable ones will not work, they will, just that most of them have some compromises you should understand before buying. Pick the one that has the features you need and the fewest compromises that affect you.

---------- Post added 02-09-19 at 08:17 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I just won't have the heart to also put that nice kit in salt water as I've done with this one
I would be way more comfortable putting an Acratech in salt water than any of the less expensive ones I've used. My Acratech has been in the Pacific more times than I want to think about.............

02-09-2019, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #5
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you could consider doing your own trials before investing in equipment

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com

I know that Lensrentals.com does rent tripods legs and ball heads as well. other companies I don't know
02-09-2019, 01:58 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I too have an Acratech (the GP - one of their first GP units as it turns out). It was actually pretty expensive - my wife, when I was opening the box, told me that this better be a jewel encrusted astronomical instrument. In the 12 to 13 years, I have had it, its been through a lot - here in Arizona, I wound up baking it at 150++ degrees in my truck, for years on end.I do a fair amount of panos, so I use it inverted and just leave it always inverted.

02-09-2019, 03:12 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I think you're on the right track with Sirui. I have two of their ball heads and they are pretty much the best heads I've ever owned. I suggest you go up a notch in their line to the Sirui G-20X, it is much stronger for only slightly more money. (BTW: the smaller of the two Sirui heads I have is a K-10X)
02-09-2019, 04:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
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As you probably guessed I do things on a budget (average lens purchase price $40 aud and a second hand K5) and I have been using these on a Benro B0 ballhead (about $100 aud) on Benro aluminium Travel Angel leg set for a bit over 2 years now. I use it more than occasionally, but still only sometimes, and only a couple of times in other than ideal conditions (eg rain, but not salt water yet!), and have found it fine for my purposes. It did come with a good dose of grease that I got on my fingers and worried me a bit initially but has not been a problem since. From memory I think it is rated to 8kg - I went for way more than I thought I might need, but am happy I didn't go for less, and would probably trust it to a figure under half of that. The friction tightening knob works, and I have had a Pentax A* 200mm * with 2x converter on top without sagging. The whole tripod is more likely to tip (eg macro takumar with 60mm extension tubes with central column angled out at near 90 degrees from legs) - haven't figured out a sandbag to hang from the hook under the centre column yet. The whole kit is light to carry, and absolutely no worry with smaller lenses.

With my usage I'm pretty sure it will be good to at least the 5 year mark, quite possibly a good deal longer, and I'm pretty happy with it as a budget option for myself. I suspect your usage will be heavier, and as Jatrax says, and going by the feel of it, the more expensive option will probably be hardier, more reliable, and longer lasting , if you can find the money just now (I did once, decades ago, have a manfrotto, and that's my benchmark). Having said that I'd probably keep on with it if my usage became heavier (even if I had the money to upgrade) to the point that I thought I needed something better (ie K1, monster lenses, or failure in the field). There aren't many reviews of the Benro gear online, but I did notice youtube blogger (and landscape photographer) Simon Baxter using one. When looking around for this I did also look at Vanguard & Sirui options.

* - I've just remembered I had this and the camera somewhat centred over the central axis of the tripod on some sort cheap rail arrangement


Last edited by rjbrett; 02-09-2019 at 06:02 PM.
02-09-2019, 05:31 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I think you're on the right track with Sirui. I have two of their ball heads and they are pretty much the best heads I've ever owned. I suggest you go up a notch in their line to the Sirui G-20X, it is much stronger for only slightly more money. (BTW: the smaller of the two Sirui heads I have is a K-10X)
I have the Sirui G-20KX. It is a sturdy ball head with nobs for adjusting tension and one for controlling the ball itself. Haven't had any problems with it loosening during use. One suggestion I would make is to look on the KEH website. You may be able to get a great used ball head of higher quality. I would also suggest looking on your local Craigslist under photography in the for sale section. KEH items come with a warranty which can be reassuring, but you will pay a bit more for the item.
02-09-2019, 08:07 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Thanks for all the input. I ended up ordering a Benro, the B0 mentioned by rjbrett. It essentially came with a set of free ultra compact legs (paid $99 for benro proangel 1 + b0 ball head). If the legs are even half usable, and judging by the reviews they seem fine, they'll come in handy at 12" folded for travel/hiking, despite of all the compromises that come with that 5 segment design.
02-10-2019, 05:50 AM - 1 Like   #11
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That sounds a good deal . Thinking about your 16-85 I did a bit of a test this afternoon, setting the camera and A* 200 f2.8 (850g & 14 cm long) up in the living room, focusing on a book shelf about 5 m away, taking a shot with cable release and 3s delay, and then returning 4 hours later for another shot. On looking at the photos on my monitor I could see a sag of a bit less than 5mm. Going back to check settings on the ball head I found I could have tightened it further. I think you'll be right with the 16-85 (at a bit over half the weight, and 2/3 the length).
02-10-2019, 07:34 PM   #12
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FWIW, you should look at the Feisol stuff.
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