Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-23-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,553
Something I didn't ezpect on a Arca Swiss Ball head

monoball_core
QuoteQuote:
At worst, an agent like acetone will actually melt the critical plastic parts such as the upper and lower calottes.


The calottes are what the ball head rests in, proving the smooth rotation and the friction to hold the ball head in place.

I thought the premium ball heads where all metal. Anyone know what brands/models are all metal?

Thank you
Russell

04-23-2009, 08:41 PM   #2
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 470
I doubt any of them are entirely metal as anything you would want to build a ball head out of would likely gall when moving them with any tension on the ball head.

Just a guess.
04-24-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,276
My favorite feature of the Arca Swiss ballheads is the fact that they have the patented progressive tension--they tighten slightly as the head is tilted off the straight up axis. This completely stops "camera flop" which can occur with most ballheads due to the ball needing extra tension to stop off axis pressure from the camera/lens. Basically, it takes less tension to support the camera when it's balanced straight up than what it takes to secure it when off axis and not balanced straight upward. If you have the tension set so that you can still move the camera--as ballheads are designed to be used--you'll want slightly more tension when tilted off axis than what you'll want when balanced on axis. You can carefully adjust any ballhead to find that sweet spot that's tight enough to stop the flop but still loose enough to move when on axis. My Arcas let me choose a much "rougher" approximation and still be in a near perfect tension setting. Arca Swiss accomplishes this with a two part system. 1--aspheric ball actually gets "thicker" off axis and 2.--the nylon bushing in which the ball rests--this provides the smooth glide yet still allows slight tightening when moving off axis.

The use of a nylon bushing to support the ball is in no way a negative. It isn't like it's a weak part or anything. In fact, your car's suspension is typically supported in nylon bushings (or in some cases rubber bushings). Your car isn't expected to be supported with metal on metal...why should your ballhead be expected to? You don't reject a car because it has nylon bushings. In fact, nylon bushings are considered preferable to rubber bushings in most applications. If you trust your car to haul your family, you can trust your nylon bushed ballhead to support your 20 pound or less camera/lens combo!

After 13 years of hard use, one of my Arca Swiss B1's was starting to get "less smooth" off axis. I had it rebuilt with fresh nylon bushing, new outer case, fresh panning tensioner etc. for less than half the cost of a new one. That head was traveled (not in a bag and often unprotected in the bed of a pickup) for more than 150 days a year for that whole time. It flew North of the Arctic Circle and did time in the desert Southwest. It spent weeks on boats...often on salt water. It has accompanied me on clam digs in the sand to forest fires in the ash. Yeah, Arca likes to tout the 122 pound off axis capability of their smallish B1 and now Z1 ballheads. I'm sure that's the most you'll find for the size and weight of the ball. But for normal uses, the key feature of the Arca Swiss ball is that they use that slick nylon bushing to facilate the anti-flop security of their patented aspheric ball.

FANBOY? Yep!

I used the word "bushing" where the actual term is "upper and lower calottes". "Bushing" is easier for my brain to get ahold of....though it may actually be two bushings.
04-25-2009, 04:40 AM   #4
Veteran Member
Ben_Edict's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SouthWest "Regio"
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,309
Manfrotto takes the other rout in the high-.end balls. The ball of my older 468 Proball is made of a hard resin. Whether the plastic is the bushing in the body or whether its the ball - in any case this laregely eliminates the need for any kind of lubrication and gives a controlled friction. So, if made to high standards, the plastic is very acceptable.

But if you really don't like plastic parts in a ballhead, I waould have a look at Acratech.

Ben

04-25-2009, 09:29 AM   #5
Banned




Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 11,324
QuoteOriginally posted by Russell-Evans Quote


I thought the premium ball heads where all metal. Anyone know what brands/models are all metal?

Thank you
Russell
Don't place too much stock in that idea. My first ballhead was a POS Manfrotto that was metal on metal. I had to beat the thing every time I wanted to use it because the ball and socket would weld themselves together.
It turned me off ballheads entirely, and I haven't found a balhead yet that I like, though I saw a Gitzo head the other day that seemed pretty decent.
04-27-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
Veteran Member
Duplo's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Copenhagen
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 924
QuoteOriginally posted by Russell-Evans Quote
monoball_core


The calottes are what the ball head rests in, proving the smooth rotation and the friction to hold the ball head in place.

I thought the premium ball heads where all metal. Anyone know what brands/models are all metal?

Thank you
Russell
No guaranties russell,

But acratech is all metal and incredibly solid for their size and weight.

Another ball head that I can recommend is the graf studioball.
A huge and heavy ball head, but strong enough to hold MF gear and it operates extremely smooth and locks down solid.

Not sure if any plastic in it, but I have had mine working flawlessly for quite a while and frequently in the -30 to -50C temperature range.
04-28-2009, 02:09 AM   #7
Veteran Member
Ben_Edict's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SouthWest "Regio"
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,309
QuoteOriginally posted by Duplo Quote
But acratech is all metal and incredibly solid for their size and weight.

Another ball head that I can recommend is the graf studioball.
A huge and heavy ball head, but strong enough to hold MF gear and it operates extremely smooth and locks down solid..
Hi Thomas, you already lost a few words about the Studioball. How is it in use? I am especially interested how the camera shifts, when locking down. I have yet to see a ballhead, that does not shift slightly, may be the Graf is better?

By the way: You have really good images on your website.

Ben
04-28-2009, 09:12 AM   #8
Veteran Member
Duplo's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Copenhagen
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 924
QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Hi Thomas, you already lost a few words about the Studioball. How is it in use? I am especially interested how the camera shifts, when locking down. I have yet to see a ballhead, that does not shift slightly, may be the Graf is better?

By the way: You have really good images on your website.

Ben
Hi Ben,

Thank you for liking my images first of all, I really do appreciate your kind words.

The studioball is a joy to use and my primary ball head. I use as often as I can get away with it and that is +95% of my landscape work.

It is smooth in operation in any temperature I hve encountered, has an independant friction adjsutment knob and comfortable large main knob that is easy to operate with gloves. Mine has taken quite a beating since getting it, but it barely shows. this head will take quite a beating without noticing.
If you are a little careful when locking the ball head down, then ther will be no shift at all, at least I am able to avoid it with the studioball, while the acratech head mentioned has a slight shift at odd angles.

No be aware that the graf ball head is very large compared to most ball heads, but I have had no issues with it all the way up to medium format gear and I have yet to even consider looking at another ball head. it simply works so well that I have not even considered it and that is about the highest praise I can give for what is a vital part of my gear.

04-28-2009, 12:09 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,276
Graf is very good on customer service as well. I used one for a few years and then sold it to a buddy who has done silly things like lost the main lock knob etc. Graf sent replacements for very little cost. My buddy has not babied the Graf and neither did I and it still performs the job it was intended to do.

Having several years experience with both Graf and Arca, the Graf is good, but the Arca is great. In macro applications, the Graf I had did move a bit when tightened. The amount of movement was small enough to barely be noticeable in standard landscape and critter work, but tight macro tolerances exposed this issue. None of the 4 Arcas in my kit moves when tightened. I use the Arca B-2 which is a weird double ball system for heavy artillery lenses. It is similar in size and heft to the Graf Studioball. For smaller medium format and digi applications the smaller--pound and a halfish ballheads have really taken over the market--blue ones, black ones, pebble finish gray ones--several different brand names...

The current state-of-the-art appears to be the Really Right Stuff ballheads, but they don't have the aspheric ball that I've come to love with the Arcas. I own mucho ridiculouso amount of RRS gear, just not the ballheads...RRS gear is state-of-the-art across the board. RRS fanboy...
04-28-2009, 12:51 PM   #10
Veteran Member
Ben_Edict's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SouthWest "Regio"
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,309
Thanks Thomas and Ron for your experiences. I'll study the Graf and the current Arca line - and will take also Foba into the account. I need another ball head for my old Gitzo STudex, which sees not much use these days...

Ben
04-28-2009, 01:12 PM   #11
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,553
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
The current state-of-the-art appears to be
Is there anything more state or the art than the Swiss Acra Cube? $2,399.95.




Biggest ball seems to be PhotoClam PC-74NS with a 74mm ball. $419.00



Thank you
Russell

Last edited by Russell-Evans; 04-28-2009 at 01:18 PM.
04-29-2009, 08:55 AM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,276
Gosh, after seeing the Arca Cube, I'm not sure I still like Arca? What a beast! Perhaps doubles as a missile launching platform?

One thing to watch on the oversized ballheads is base diameter. If the ball has a base diameter over about 3" many tripod platforms will be smaller than the base of the ball. Of course, ideally the entire base should fit onto the tripod platform without overhang. When you overdo the head size the tripod becomes top heavy and even prone to tipping in rough terrain, plus doesn't have full contact for mass coupling and vibration damping. Step up to a better fitting, big platform tripod plus the oversized ballhead and you are carrying in the 10 pound range. I suspect this is one reason for the popularity boom of the "pound and a half" ballheads from various manufacturers--they fit the platforms of more moderately sized tripods which is what most photogs use and carry.

Note that the oversized ballhead with oversized tripod combo equals supreme stability if you are willing to pack it around.
04-29-2009, 12:01 PM   #13
Veteran Member
Ben_Edict's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SouthWest "Regio"
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,309
QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
Gosh, after seeing the Arca Cube, I'm not sure I still like Arca? What a beast! Perhaps doubles as a missile launching platform?

One thing to watch on the oversized ballheads is base diameter. If the ball has a base diameter over about 3" many tripod platforms will be smaller than the base of the ball. Of course, ideally the entire base should fit onto the tripod platform without overhang. When you overdo the head size the tripod becomes top heavy and even prone to tipping in rough terrain, plus doesn't have full contact for mass coupling and vibration damping. Step up to a better fitting, big platform tripod plus the oversized ballhead and you are carrying in the 10 pound range. I suspect this is one reason for the popularity boom of the "pound and a half" ballheads from various manufacturers--they fit the platforms of more moderately sized tripods which is what most photogs use and carry.

Note that the oversized ballhead with oversized tripod combo equals supreme stability if you are willing to pack it around.
The ArcaSwiss Cube was purely meant for precisely positioning large format cameras, not for field use. In that context it makes sense. It is probably the most precise tripod head you can find.

Also the oversized ball heads are usually made for studio stands, not portable tripods. I mean, who cares about a 1 kg ball head if his camera stand weighs in at 100 kgs?

I completely agree, that this would be a poor choice for the small tripods we usually use, as they won't support the oversized ball head properly and there is no advantage, then - the whole system is only as strong as the weakest link...

Ben
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
ball, head, metal, tripod
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 sp (single pan) tripod head - Excellent condition Marc Langille Sold Items 6 01-06-2010 07:30 AM
Arca Swiss Flip Lock Measurement wanted castle-of-teck Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 0 12-21-2009 06:39 PM
For Sale - Sold: Arca-Swiss Type QR Camera Plates (Various) oneill Sold Items 6 07-10-2008 10:01 AM
For Sale - Sold: Arca-Swiss Type Q/R Camera Plates (Various) oneill Sold Items 2 07-01-2008 09:33 AM
For Sale - Sold: Manfrotto 190 xproB; Ball head 486rc2 and ball head 808rc4 Not Registered Sold Items 6 05-31-2008 06:06 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:03 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top