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Author Topic: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users  (Read 4526 times)

risc32

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question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« on: May 17, 2013, 08:29:35 AM »
I have a question for you. one i might not want to know the answer to, but I'm asking anyway. Say you mounted  you camera plus 300mm f2.8 or so and then tilted it over into the portrait area of the ballhead a bit. not down on the stop, just off kilter a bit, maybe 45 degrees or so then locked it down. If you put you hand on the top of the lens, and put some force into it is it pretty easy to overcome the ballhead lock and get it to move? You see i'm in the process of replacing my manfrotto 486 with a stronger AS style model. that induro model i first looked at was underwhelming. Currently I'm fiddling with a feisol cb-50. It has no problem holding my 300mm in any position(it's got a 50mm ballhead so i would expect it to do pretty well), and really other than the nasty little hard plastic knobs, i don't have complaints, but it is easy for me to overpower it. But i have limited exp with these things. perhaps i'm expecting too much.

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question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« on: May 17, 2013, 08:29:35 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 09:54:58 AM »
My RRS BH-55 doesn't move when tilted down in the drop notch with a 600 II, even if I push on it.
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risc32

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 12:31:23 PM »
 I had a feeling you might respond and a feeling you might say that. Damn, that RRS piece seems to get love from everyone, it must be fantastic. perhaps with this feisol (a 160$ unit) i'm just putting more force into it than is reasonable. While I'm very far from Hercules i was carrying around 10ft sections of telephone poles yesterday. Again, it doesn't have any problem supporting my gear anywhere i put it, until i start looking for it's limits by adding my own force. i should probably just not do that. reminds me of that old joke when at the end the doctor tells the patient not to do that.
thanks neuro!

neuroanatomist

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 01:21:21 PM »
FWIW, their 'travel tripod' the TQC-14 is rated for 25lbs.  The RRS owner has a video of him hanging from it and swinging under the legs - when I got mine, I just had to try it, and it supported my ~180lbs.
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risc32

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 01:52:08 PM »
i didn't find much on the net as far as reviews of the feisol ballheads, but i did come across lots of praise for their tripods. Alas, my tripod is a manfrotto 055xprob, but i actually prefer flip locks so it works out for me. I do like how Feisol gives fairly detailed dimensions or their heads. If Induro had i wouldn't have fooled with that model i ordered. when i slapped it on my tripod it didn't even come close to covering the base plate. this cb-50 fits very well.   

paul

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 03:28:46 PM »
I've worked with the Manfrotto 486 for a long time and I loved the simplicity of it,but indeed it wasn't strong enough.

If you like simple,look at the Novoflex ball 40,almost the same construction as Manfrotto but much stronger.

I also have a Arca Swiss Monoball P0,my favorite now.I don't like RRS heads,to many knobs on the wrong site.
 

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 05:41:23 PM »
I spent a lot of time looking into ballheads and reading various reviews before opting for the Markins which I have to say is awesome.
I was a little put off by the elliptical ball on the Arca swiss being prone to locking up.
I liked the simplicity, cost and weight of the Markins.
I have been using mine in the field now for some time and it has never missed a beat. It has a brilliant system for quickly setting the sweet spot on a camera lens combo and then locking it in on a small dial so you can turn the main knob to unlock / lock very quickly.
I have no experience of RRS but they certainly look well engineered
I would certainly look into Markins there is a youtube clip of a Nikon 800mm lens and camera being used with one.
I have to say mine locks absolutely solid when you tighten the main knob with the ball in any position.
There are different weight rated ones to suit most cameras & lens.
They even do a titanium one
I ordered mine from light n space on ebay from Korea as it worked out cheaper than buying from europe even with import duty. (I didn't have to pay any anyway as it happens)

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 05:41:23 PM »

docholliday

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 05:48:16 PM »
I spent a lot of time looking into ballheads and reading various reviews before opting for the Markins which I have to say is awesome.
I was a little put off by the elliptical ball on the Arca swiss being prone to locking up.
I liked the simplicity, cost and weight of the Markins.
I have been using mine in the field now for some time and it has never missed a beat. It has a brilliant system for quickly setting the sweet spot on a camera lens combo and then locking it in on a small dial so you can turn the main knob to unlock / lock very quickly.
I have no experience of RRS but they certainly look well engineered
I would certainly look into Markins there is a youtube clip of a Nikon 800mm lens and camera being used with one.
I have to say mine locks absolutely solid when you tighten the main knob with the ball in any position.
There are different weight rated ones to suit most cameras & lens.
They even do a titanium one
I ordered mine from light n space on ebay from Korea as it worked out cheaper than buying from europe even with import duty. (I didn't have to pay any anyway as it happens)

My Arca-Swiss Z1 doesn't lock up, ever, with massive loads on it, at any angle. And, it doesn't slip either. I've had 25+ lbs hanging off of it and it is smooth as butter. Now, for the users who have the drag set wrong, or try setting it too far when the lock knob is cranked, that is where it's known to freeze up. But, you aren't supposed to screw with it like that.

I think the people who have problems with that are like the Hasselblad owners who complain about the camera locking up and that Hasselblad's are "junk" - usually caused by out of maintenance/damaged/neglected gear and/or really lacking in skill (not knowing how to use the camera). In all the years and all the Hasselblads I've had, never had one lock up. Some enterprising third-party even sold a tool for recocking the camera - never known anybody to own one, though.

When I had Manfrotto ballheads, they slipped like somebody had greased them with bearing grease, even a 70-200/2.8 could make them move on their own - straight junk.

The Markins are pretty much a knock-off of the AS heads - had a Q20 for a short while. It didn't like the cold and had some big issues with the drag not working, so I went to the real thing and the Z1 is great, even in -10 with blowing snow and high wind.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 05:59:27 PM by docholliday »

privatebydesign

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 05:53:22 PM »
I have 1 series bodies, a 300 f 2.8 and an Acratech GP. It will lock the 300 and 1 series at any angle effortlessly. It isn't up to a much bigger lens though.

Having said that it is an extremely versatile head.
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brad-man

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 06:20:44 PM »
Any (expensive) ball head from Arca Swiss, Markins, or Really Right Stuff will do what you ask. The question then becomes the head's usability. How smooth does it operate, how much does it weigh, do you like the layout of the controls. I will offer another vote for Markins. The Arca Swiss monoball and the BH-55 are as solid as a mountain, but they are large and heavy. I have a Markins Q-10 that is also solid as a rock, but it weighs just slightly over one pound and is smooth as silk. They make a Q-20, but I feel if you need that much clamping strength, you probably should be using a gimbal setup. If size and weight don't matter, all are good choices.

PS: The only negative I can say about the Markins, is that they puzzlingly placed the spirit level on the clamp as opposed to beside it...

schill

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 07:40:44 PM »
You should also look at the ballheads from Kirk (www.kirkphoto.com).

I've been using the BH-3 (the smaller of the two) for years.  I've never used it with a 300/2.8 but I've often used it with a 70-200/2.8 and 300/4 (with a 7D these days).

I believe I purchased it in 2002 to use with my Canon D60.  If you want an exact date, just figure out when D60 preorders from B&H shipped :) .  I've never had any problems with it and never had to do any real maintenance other than cleaning off a little dust and dirt depending on where I was shooting.  But, it hasn't been in any real extreme conditions except some rain and snow.

I've never hung a heavy weight on the clamp (including myself) but I've carried my tripod over my shoulder with the above configurations without it slipping at all.

They do sell a notched disk that you can put around the neck above the ball that will keep it from tipping too far if it is loose.  I have one somewhere but I've never used it (except to test when I got it).

I think Kirk has been making high-end ball heads with Arca Swiss clamps longer than everybody except Arca Swiss (don't quote me on that).  I'm pretty sure it's been longer than RRS.

If I recall correctly, the story I heard was that Kirk handled repairs in the US for Arca Swiss until they decided to compete with them.  Arca Swiss terminated the agreement (this could all just have been hearsay).
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 07:45:56 PM by schill »

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2013, 12:58:58 PM »
Seemed like an appropriate thread in which to ask this....

Acratech GP owners - what is the heaviest weight you would be comfortable using in the gimbal position?  I plan to use a C6 telescope on it for views of the the moon and planets during public stargazes.  The scope weighs in at 10-11 lbs and the center of gravity is farther from the ball than a camera/lens combo would be, but the ballhead does not seem to be straining with the weight.  It's a featherweight ballhead but I think that may be deceptive.

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2013, 02:08:09 PM »
Seemed like an appropriate thread in which to ask this....

Acratech GP owners - what is the heaviest weight you would be comfortable using in the gimbal position?  I plan to use a C6 telescope on it for views of the the moon and planets during public stargazes.  The scope weighs in at 10-11 lbs and the center of gravity is farther from the ball than a camera/lens combo would be, but the ballhead does not seem to be straining with the weight.  It's a featherweight ballhead but I think that may be deceptive.

I have found the gimbal works fine with the 300 f2.8 IS and 1 series cameras, so up to 10lbs, once I put the TC on the balance goes a bit and it gets sticky, the weight is fine and I have no concerns about breakage, but the smoothness of the panning action, which is the entire point of the gimbal feature, starts to falloff around the 10lb mark.

I must point out to anybody reading this, my combo is well above the weight of the suggested lens used (the 100-400 sized lens) in the gimbal feature. As a regular ballhead it will support substantially more and lock solidly in any orientation.
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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2013, 02:08:09 PM »

lilmsmaggie

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2013, 03:09:06 PM »
For visual use it may work with your C6 but you might want to consider something better suited for your application.  AP is definitely out of the question.  What is the weight of the largest EP you will be using with the C6?


Seemed like an appropriate thread in which to ask this....

Acratech GP owners - what is the heaviest weight you would be comfortable using in the gimbal position?  I plan to use a C6 telescope on it for views of the the moon and planets during public stargazes.  The scope weighs in at 10-11 lbs and the center of gravity is farther from the ball than a camera/lens combo would be, but the ballhead does not seem to be straining with the weight.  It's a featherweight ballhead but I think that may be deceptive.
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brad-man

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 04:17:42 PM »
Seemed like an appropriate thread in which to ask this....

Acratech GP owners - what is the heaviest weight you would be comfortable using in the gimbal position?  I plan to use a C6 telescope on it for views of the the moon and planets during public stargazes.  The scope weighs in at 10-11 lbs and the center of gravity is farther from the ball than a camera/lens combo would be, but the ballhead does not seem to be straining with the weight.  It's a featherweight ballhead but I think that may be deceptive.

I have found the gimbal works fine with the 300 f2.8 IS and 1 series cameras, so up to 10lbs, once I put the TC on the balance goes a bit and it gets sticky, the weight is fine and I have no concerns about breakage, but the smoothness of the panning action, which is the entire point of the gimbal feature, starts to falloff around the 10lb mark.

I must point out to anybody reading this, my combo is well above the weight of the suggested lens used (the 100-400 sized lens) in the gimbal feature. As a regular ballhead it will support substantially more and lock solidly in any orientation.

+1    The GP is quite rugged. Like PBD says, when the weight goes too far off axis, the panning is not so smooth. To counteract this, I picked up a Jobu Micro Gimbal Ball head Adapter. It is essentially the same thing as a Wimberley Sidekick, only for far less money. It will keep the weight better centered, allowing for smoother panning. The needle bearing on the Jobu for vertical movement is smooth as silk and locks. Since I have purchased a larger Gitzo with a Markins Q-10 on top, that is the rig I use the gimbal on now, but it may work well for your situation. If you are going to use that heavy setup very often, you would probably be better off getting a more heavy duty ball head. I would still recommend the Jobu Gimbal though.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/754602-REG/Jobu_Design_BWG_M1_BWG_Micro_Gimbal_Ballhead_Adapter.html

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Re: question for RRS/Acratech (high-end) ballhead users
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 04:17:42 PM »