Ball Head Suggestions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by onomatopoeia, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2007
    I've decided that my Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol grip ball head is a piece of junk. It's just poorly made and wearing out after a year. I'd like to upgrade to something better made but really don't know where to begin.

    I don't have any massive lenses but want something that can be used with all but the most ridiculous of lenses. I shoot with a D300 if that matters. I want to spend around $350 for the ball head and quick release system.
  2. sonor macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    London, UK
    Thom Hogan's recommendations...

    "One of the following brand heads: Kirk, Markins, Really Right Stuff, or Arca Swiss. And don't buy at the bottom of their lines if you ever want to mount something more than the 70-200mm on your rig. That means the Kirk BH-1 or RRS BH-55 or Arca B-1...

    ...Kirk Photo or Really Right Stuff Arca-style quick release plates for each camera body you own, and for each lens that has a tripod collar"
  3. onomatopoeia thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2007
    I just ordered the Really Right Stuff BH-55. More than I wanted to spend but it should last.

    I now have more invested in my ball head than in my tripod. I'll have to fix that at some point.
  4. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2003
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    Markins all the way. I use the Q3 as I don't have any huge lenses but am pretty confident it would hold quite a lot more. The ball is really smooth and it has a set screw which allows you to change positions would out turning any knobs. The only thing is I think the plates are kind of expensive, but the ball head and plates are all extremely well made. An M10 would probably be perfect for you.
  5. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    I don't use a tripod all that much, but I've had a Kirk BH-1 on my Gitzo tripod for the last several years. It's been sturdy and reliable, and it's always fuctioned smoothly. I know RRS is pretty good these days, but $455 is a lot of money compared to the BH-1 which is $100 cheaper. The BH-1 is a pretty massive piece of equipment...If you're using a D300 and nothing bigger or longer than a 70-200VR, it's likely that a BH-3 would work very well for you for $255.


    edit: nevermind...I see you've already purchased. I'm sure the BH-55 is excellent...could you post your impressions once you've had a chance to use it?
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Arca Swiss is the "gold standard" for ball heads.

    You are right. I don't know how many times I've written on these forums that cheap ball heads are not very usfull because you can't trust them and have to always keep your hands on the camera. First off the ball diameter on the cheapies is to small and then the ball must be machined to very high precision or it wil skip and drag and not be smooth. So I think you do need to spend $300 to get a good one.

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