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Author Topic: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait  (Read 1859 times)

killswitch

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Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« on: April 18, 2013, 08:47:48 AM »
Looking for suggestion on a ballhead with clamp and release plate setup for Canon 5D3. Thinking of a setup suited for portrait shooting and as well as landscape panoramas. I remember neuro and many others suggested the RRS BH-40. For the purposes mentioned (portraits, panorama), will the following gear suffice?

1.RRS BH-40 Ballhead with LR

2. RRS PCL-1 & MPR-CL II Panning clamp & nodal slide for eliminating parallax

3. RRS-L Plate for 5D3

If there are other alternate systems, would love to hear them. For tripod, any recommendations from RRS, Gitzo? I had the Manfrotto 055XPROB in mind. Max load will be a 5D3+70-200 f2.8, minimum 5D3+16-35 II.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 12:56:05 AM by killswitch »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 09:10:33 AM »
That setup will work very well for single-row panos. You'd need something more elaborate (and RRS has them) for multi-row panos.

For a tripod, I'd go with the Versa 2 series, but 23 vs. 24 vs. 24L will depend on your height and your needs for travel (4 sections means shorter collapsed length).

For the head, you might also consider the Acratech GP - it functions as a standard ballhead, but it's designed so that it can also be used upside down to function as a panning base. 
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 09:59:17 AM »
RSS's multi-mumbple pro pano whatever that neuro mentions is an awesome piece of kit. It takes a bit of fiddling to get everything lined up...but, once you do, you've got the equivalent of a giant virtual lens. You can point it in any direction without any parallax problems at all.

But, unless you need really, really big panoramas, you might also want to consider nothing more than a Shorty McForty without any special panning heads. The nodal point is so close to the focal plane that you only have practical parallax problems if you're including stuff right in front of the camera in the shot -- not something one typically does with panoramas. Put it in portrait orientation (with your L-bracket), make sure your tripod is level, and you've got a most awesome pano setup right there. With that setup on a 5DIII, you can do a two-foot-high by however-wide print of your panorama at 240 ppi. Even if you've got a printer that'll print wider, dealing with that much paper in a single print is something of a hassle....

Cheers,

b&

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 11:19:30 AM »
The great thing about RSS is that there's more than one way to do it. You can mix and match all sorts of things to come up with very flexible solutions for just about anything you can imagine.

The bad thing about RSS, of course, is what winds up happening to your bank account after you discover all the really neat stuff you can do with their gear....

b&

killswitch

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 01:10:54 AM »
That setup will work very well for single-row panos. You'd need something more elaborate (and RRS has them) for multi-row panos.

For a tripod, I'd go with the Versa 2 series, but 23 vs. 24 vs. 24L will depend on your height and your needs for travel (4 sections means shorter collapsed length).

For the head, you might also consider the Acratech GP - it functions as a standard ballhead, but it's designed so that it can also be used upside down to function as a panning base.

Thanks neuro. I am 5-11 so seems like 23 or 24 will do just fine. 4 sections would be better and that being said the TQC 14 seems perfect for travel as it's folded length is just over 17 inches (without the head) , but do 4 sections compromise stability or sturdiness of the tripod that much? Or is it insignificant? Acratech GP looks awesome, I will need to look into this head.

killswitch

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 01:18:20 AM »
The great thing about RSS is that there's more than one way to do it. You can mix and match all sorts of things to come up with very flexible solutions for just about anything you can imagine.

The bad thing about RSS, of course, is what winds up happening to your bank account after you discover all the really neat stuff you can do with their gear....

b&

I cringed at the sight of the price of their (RRS) least expensive tripod. I know its an investment, but I just spent on a lens and need to scrape up whatever I have in my bank to get one from RRS.  :'( I dislike the center column they have in Manfrotto 055XPROB for which I really cannot lower pod than the column permits (unless I shoot upside down). The RRS can be set to as low as 3 inches off the ground and I would definitely like that in whichever pod I choose to buy. Any other tripods out there I can look into that can give me similar functionality?

killswitch

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 01:34:04 AM »
After lots of use, time and research, I ended up with this as an ultimate in usefulness, flexibility, functionality and efficiency.

An Acratech GP head, if you mount it upside down you don't need either a leveling base or a panning plate (PCL-1), this saves much money and weight.

I didn't get the MPR-CLII, I got the MPR192 and a set of the Mini Clamp Package (http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=Mini-Clamp-Pkg&type=4&eq=Mini-Clamp-002&desc=Mini-Clamp-Package&key=ait )

Doing this vastly increases functionality over the MPR-CLII, for instance you can set the camera anywhere along the 192, this means you can use it as a workable macro rail with effectively twice its length. You can use it on axis so you can do panos with a plate in the lens orientation, you can use the 192 on its own as a lens or body plate so you can get anything you don't have a custom plate for onto your A/S head clamp. You can use one of the mini clamps with a Blackrapid style strap and keep your A/S plate on your camera. You can use one of the mini clamps on a monopod to maintain A/S functionality without getting a dedicated head.

The more you think about it the more flexibility the 192 and extra clamps have over the CLII.

All in all I am very happy with my setup, it is light, flexible and does pretty much everything I could need. Of course it doesn't do parallax free multi row panos, only single row, it isn't the greatest macro rail, but certainly good enough for 1:1, etc etc. Each discipline could use a more specialised tool if you really need that last 5%, but I haven't found my simple little package wanting yet and it's flexibilty has got me out of several difficult situations.

But to pay $235 for a PCL when the Acratech GP has one, and a leveling base, included for free, makes no sense for single row panos.

Had no idea about the Acratech GP before this thread. Thanks a lot guys, watching their videos as I am writing this. Ingenious design!

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 10:13:20 AM »
I dislike the center column they have in Manfrotto 055XPROB for which I really cannot lower pod than the column permits (unless I shoot upside down).

Then what you really want is the Manfrotto 3021BPRO. It's what Manfrotto replaced when they released 055XPROB...and, though it's got some nifty ideas to it, it's actually a step backwards.

No, mine isn't for sale....

Cheers,

b&

privatebydesign

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 10:54:07 PM »
I dislike the center column they have in Manfrotto 055XPROB for which I really cannot lower pod than the column permits (unless I shoot upside down).

That isn't true, the Manfrotto 190/055 legsets are very adaptable, they allow for both ground level, and cantilevered over table type setups very quickly, easily and securely.

Here is a shot with the 055CXPRO3 set at ground level, just slide the column to the horizontal position.

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killswitch

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 11:22:15 PM »
I dislike the center column they have in Manfrotto 055XPROB for which I really cannot lower pod than the column permits (unless I shoot upside down).

That isn't true, the Manfrotto 190/055 legsets are very adaptable, they allow for both ground level, and cantilevered over table type setups very quickly, easily and securely.

Here is a shot with the 055CXPRO3 set at ground level, just slide the column to the horizontal position.

 :o :o :o :o Duh! Ofcourse! Why didnt I think of this, thank you so much for clearing this out. Also, is that a Acratech ball head?

privatebydesign

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2013, 11:41:05 PM »
Yes it is an Acratech GP. Far and away the best general purpose photo head I have ever used. I use it inverted most of the time and it makes tripod and head leveling a complete non issue. I can't believe other manufacturers have not copied the design concept yet, it is not evolutionary, it is revolutionary.
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kennephoto

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 12:05:45 AM »
I dislike the center column they have in Manfrotto 055XPROB for which I really cannot lower pod than the column permits (unless I shoot upside down).

That isn't true, the Manfrotto 190/055 legsets are very adaptable, they allow for both ground level, and cantilevered over table type setups very quickly, easily and securely.

Here is a shot with the 055CXPRO3 set at ground level, just slide the column to the horizontal position.

I'm quite sure I have the same tripod and I didn't know it could do that. Very cool to find that out!
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danski0224

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Re: Ballhead, clamp and release plate for panos/portrait
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 08:55:26 AM »
It is amazing how much cool stuff is out there...  :)
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