October 25, 2014, 08:02:17 PM

Author Topic: Ball head for a travel tripod  (Read 780 times)

Chapman Baxter

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Ball head for a travel tripod
« on: February 26, 2014, 02:39:13 PM »
I've just taken delivery of a lovely new Feisol 3441T, a travel tripod with fold-back legs so that the legs fold around the ball head. The trouble is, most good ball heads have their knobs arranged so that at least one knob always gets in the way of the leg folding fully. It would be great if ball head makers could design a head with the knobs spaced at 120 degree intervals around the body, so that travel tripod legs could be folded against the body, in between the knobs. Is there such a thing already?

Failing that, could anyone recommend a good quality ball head with just one knob? I'm willing to forgo the drag control and the panning knob in pursuit of a compactly folded tripod.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Ball head for a travel tripod
« on: February 26, 2014, 02:39:13 PM »

Eldar

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Re: Ball head for a travel tripod
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 03:38:59 PM »
I have the Gitzo GT1551T travel tripod. Very small and light. It came with a Gitzo head, which is pretty much what you say you want. I used it on one trip and took it off and left I somewhere I canĀ“t remember. I currently use the RRS BH-30 ball head. I have attached an image to show that the tripod collapses almost totally and one to show size next to a 1DX, with the 200-400 f4L attached.

I am very happy with this combo up to the 70-200 f2.8L IS II lens.
5DIII, 1DX, 8-15/4L, 16-35 f4L IS, 24-70/2.8L II, 70-200/2.8L IS II, 70-300/4-5.6L IS, 200-400/4L IS 1.4x, Zeiss 15/2.8, 17/4L TS-E, Zeiss 21/2.8, 24/3.5L TS-E II, Zeiss 35/1.4, Zeiss Otus 55/1.4, Zeiss Otus 85/1.4, 100/2.8L IS Macro, Zeiss 135/2, 600/4L IS II

johnf3f

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Re: Ball head for a travel tripod
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 04:52:19 PM »
If you want a single lever ball head I would suggest you have a look at the Triopo RS range. There are 3 models the RS1,2 and 3 - I have the RS3. It is small, light, cheap, very smooth operating and easily holds any lens Canon currently make. Almost certainly overkill for what you want but it is seriously cheap and seriously light. If you live in the US they are sold under a different brand (I don't know what it is - sorry) but are available on E Bay.
I have not tried the smaller models (RS1 and RS2) but I would expect the smallest to be happy with unbalanced loads of 4 Kilos or so. You will need to budget for a QR clamp, I would suggest that it is Arca compatible (Triopo's own one is pretty good).
Attached are poor quality images of my RS3 - yes that is a Canon 600 F4 L IS + 1D Mk4 on top, yes it will easily support it at any available angle and yes it does show up the flex in a Gitzo systematic tripod!

Chapman Baxter

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Re: Ball head for a travel tripod
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 10:35:37 PM »
Update: after exhaustive research, I've just ordered an Oben BE-117T ball head. I think Oben is exclusive to B&H - they seem to be the only people selling this brand. Anyway, Brian at the-digital-picture likes his Oben ball head very much, which seems a good endorsement.

The BE-117T has a straight (not flanged) base so that travel tripod legs can reverse-fold right up against the body, and the diameter of this model is exactly right to allow completely parallel folding of the 3441T's legs around it. And it only as two knobs - the friction control is a dial behind the main knob.

Belated thanks for the other suggestions offered.

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Re: Ball head for a travel tripod
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 10:35:37 PM »