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Novoflex BasicBall Tabletop Tripod

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Replytoken, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Dos anybody have experience using this tabletop tripod? I am looking for a very sturdy unit that could also hold my D300 with a small- to moderate-sized lens without my wondering if the unit is going to tip over with the slightest breeze. I know that Leica and Kirk also make similar units, but I like that the legs are adjustable so you have three different heights available. Novoflex markets itself as a premium brand, but I do not know if their quality is commensurate with their price. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. apbtlvr

    apbtlvr Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Sep 10, 2012
    NoVa
    Rick
    As far as "tabletop" tripods go, I'm using a RRS pocket pod matched to a BH-25 head. It supports D300 & D700 bodies just fine, although I got it primarily for ยต4/3 use. Since all my cameras have "L brackets", this tripod integrates with my other support systems. The portability is such that it's always in my bag, regardless of whether a different tripod might be used.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/apbtlvr/8290024330/" title="RRS-Pocket Pod-2 by apbtlvr, on Flickr"> 8290024330_0035e91ac8_c. "800" height="601" alt="RRS-Pocket Pod-2"></a>

    Height is seldom an issue since there's almost always someplace to rest it on.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/apbtlvr/8120307225/" title="IMG_0821 by apbtlvr, on Flickr"> 8120307225_5b4522c3ff_b. "815" height="1024" alt="IMG_0821"></a>

    It's probably more expensive than the Novoflex and performs best with a camera body and /or lens plate. But the better camera support systems are designed that way, so using it accordingly pays off in the long run.
     
  3. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the reply and the photos. After posting last night, I spent some time with an extremely cheap tabletop just to get an idea of what height I would want/need with a tabletop. OMG, I knew that the unit was cheap, but it was a total joke and I would not trust it for my life.

    I am still considering this Novoflex, but am heading back to where I started - the Leica tabletop or the Kirk tabletop. I have a Markis Q20 ballhead, but it is in no way compact. I cannot see spending money for a Q3, so I may be looking at a RRS BH-25. My D300 and my 70-200 use RRS plates, and I have a Markins "guest" plate for my M4/3rd's bodies, so I either want an A/S head or a generic ball head.

    Do you find any advantage of RRS' tabletop over the Leica or Kirk?

    --Ken
     
  4. apbtlvr

    apbtlvr Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Sep 10, 2012
    NoVa
    Rick
    Ken,
    I've no experience with Leica or Kirk gear. I do however, own a Markins Q3 (Emille) that is used primarily on another RRS tripod (TP-243). The Markins base diameter (56mm) is too wide to sit atop the RRS pocket pod. The BH-25 base diameter of 34mm precisely matches the pocket pod. Weight is advertised to support 100lbs but seriously, no way I'd try using even 1/2 that. One feature the BH-25 lacks is a panning base, something the larger RRS ball-heads have. It's by no means a deal breaker however as a panning base can be easily clamped on (see my 2nd photo).

    I do see that B&H lists the Novaflex at roughly the same price as the RRS tripod sans head. One review even mentions use with a D3 so it would certainly hold a D300. But you need a compatible ball head or the very least, a clamp, especially since you already have plates. One thing to note, using a 70-200 on that pocket pod will feel weird. I mean it will work but the ergonomics...not so much. The RRS TP-243 with an appropriately sized ball-head is much more suitable and stout in that instance.

    Using the small pocket pod or it's bigger cousin steers me to compose more carefully, especially when using primes. I'm either low to the ground for scenics, perching it on a rock, pier railing or some other spot where I can eyeball focus or other composition details. Hell, even leaning up against a wall while holding the tripod as a camera grip provides very good support in a pinch. But the real bottom line is that having a portable tripod with me all the time means it's getting used far more often, indoors and out.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Thanks for the additional information, Rick. I wish that the BH-25 had a discrete pan control because I do not wish to also have to purchase a pan head. I feel I am getting a bit closer to a decision, or at least narrowing down my options. I may bounce a few additional questions off of you in the future if that is OK.

    Thanks,

    --Ken

    P.S. The photos were very helpful.
     
  6. apbtlvr

    apbtlvr Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Sep 10, 2012
    NoVa
    Rick
    Glad to help,
    The TP-243 is another option to consider. While bigger than a table top, it's designed for ground use and quite portable. It will easily support DSLR gear with big glass. The feet are reversible and legs can lay flat. It can take a full sized ball-head though a BH-30, BH-40 or similar sized Markins (Q3) is better suited.
    A good friend is using my TP-243/ Q3 combo with a D7000 body, a Nikkor 70-200mm and Tokina 11-16mm ultra-wide. He loves this kit as most of his shooting is areas of the Blue Ridge mountains during ski season or while trout fishing local streams in the same area.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I had considered the TP-243, and Kirk's competing model ( a cut-down Manfrotto), but for my immediate use, I will actually need something smaller, as I will probably be working on a tabletop. I really wish Gitzo still mzde their G0011/12 series tripods, as they seemed like a good compromise with respect to performance, weight and price. I am looking at one other alternative this weekend, and hope to make a decision soon as I will probably need the equipment in about two weeks.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  8. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jul 24, 2011
    Sorry, I just saw this thread. I own the Novoflex...I'll get back to you in a few hours.
     
  9. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jul 24, 2011
    The Novoflex is a very interesting beast. It's basically half a sphere, with 3 holes on each third turn at various levels up from the bottom. It has a 1/4" camera/ballhead mount on the top and a knurled/notched knob on the bottom for tightening it.

    Sometimes stability and adjustability are inversely proportional, and I would say that is definitely the case here. It only has 3 positions, but I'm convinced one of my kids could stand on it. It is every bit as stable as my Gitzo CF tripod.

    I'm using it now with two trekking poles that have 1/4" camera mounts and my Gitzo CF monopod. It makes a fabulous ultra-light backpacking tripod - again, if you can deal with the fact that it only has 3 heights.

    I hope that answers some of your questions. Let me know if you have any more.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Thank you very much for the feedback! Its great to hear that it is stable, and I believe that you have also hit one of the key compromise issues for me - stability and height adjustment.

    I spent some time last night trying to narrow down what my choices are so I could have a few reasonable alternatives relating to both the tripod and a ballhead. The tripods I am seriously considering include the RRS shown in Rick's photos above, the Novoflex, Redged's RTA-320, and as a budget alternative, the Giottos QU500B. The Redged and the Novoflex offer some height adjustment, which I would like, but I cannot pay the price of instability, thus my question about the Novoflex.

    Regarding a ballhead, I have a Markins Q20, but that is by no means small. So, I need to choose whether I want another A/S head or just a circular plate with a stud. And, I need to decide if I want a separate pan lock. The Redged comes with a very comapct ballhead, but it lacks a separate pan control, and does not have an A/S clamp, nor do I know its quality. The alternatives are a RRS BH-25 (with clamp or circular plate) or a Sirui C10. The RRS' lack a separate pan lock which the Sirui offers. Finally, I need to decide if I want this setup to handle my D300. If so, then the pan lock becomes much more important.

    I am seeing the Redged tomorrow, and have until next week before I need a setup. Originally, I wanted something that was flexible, but my circumstances have changes a bit, and a small footprint is now more important, as I may actually be working on a very small tabletop for a few weeks. There are a few other options, like a Berlebach or Leica tabletop, but I seem to already have too many choices. What I really need is some quiet time to put together a few possible kits. Again, any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Two more questions, if you do not mind. First, how heavy are the three legs. I have seen different numbers for total weight. Novoflex had an unusually high number, and that makes me wonder if others are only quoting for the head without the legs. Second, are those rubber covers on the end of the legs? I could not tell from the photos if they were leg covers, or if the legs were solid metal, including their spherical feet.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    The Novoflex came today, and you were not kidding. It is quite strong (and its legs positions generally match up with the Redged RTA-320 that I am also evaluating, albeit its head is a bit shorter). I hope to try it out a bit more over the weekend and report back.

    --Ken
     
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Well, the culling begins. I had a Redged RTA-320 tripod as well as a Novoflex BasicBall under consideration, as well as compact A/S compatible ballheads with separate pan control knobs from Redged and Sirui (in addition to a basic ballhead on the Redged tripod). While the Redged equipment was acceptable, I decided to keep the Novoflex BasicBall and a Sirui ballhead. The Novoflex was smaller and lighter, but seemed to give up no stability in comparison to the Redged. If I had wanted a small tripod to use mostly outside and did not want to worry about its condition, the little Redged would have worked well. It was very stable for its size and design, but their fit and finish was a bit lacking. I would say the same for their ballhead. It was bigger than the Sirui, and while it felt smooth, it seemed a bit looser when the head was unlocked.

    The whole Novoflex/Sirui setup with an A/S plate weighs in at 21 ounces. If I wanted to shave off another 8 ounces, I would probably swap out the BasicBall for RRS' TP-243 that Rick showed in his photos above. You gain the savings in weight at the expense of some height adjustment, as well as the loss of being able to attach other Novoflex arms to the BasicBall. My new 60mm Oly macro lens also arrived on Thursday, so I am now ready to fully delve into the world of tabletop macro photography.

    I'll try and write more about my initial impressions in a future post. Before making a decision, I "torture-tested" the tripods and ballheads with a D300 and 105VR micro-Nikkor, and the results were interesting to say the least.

    --Ken
     
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  14. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Please keep the updates coming. Did you get the Sirui C10 ball head? I've been thrilled with mine. :D I too wasn't satisfied with the fit & finish of the Redged tripod and ball heads.

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  15. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Hi Margaret,

    Yes, I did get the Sirui C-10 (and it is good to hear that you are enjoying yours). I compared it with Redged's RNB-1, and liked that it had a smaller profile, better A/S plate (for my needs), and weighed less. I was also considering RRS' BH-25, but that model does not come with a pan control knob. And by the time you upgrade to a BH-30, you can order a Markins Q3, albeit the Q3 is not as small as the C-10, but it is an amazing piece of engineering. I am curious as to what you did not like about the Redged tripod and ballhead.

    Regarding the D300/105VR, all of the ballheads drooped when locked down. This was not unexpected, as this particular set-up is especially nose-heavy, and the 105 does not have a tripod collar, so the whole load is way off balance. And, I aimed the lens slightly downward, further causing a weight imbalance. The bad news was that no ballhead could hold that kind of load without some creep, including my Markins Q20. The good news was that once locked down, none of the heads continued to droop.

    And, the most interesting thing of note from this "experiment" was that one key area that seemed to contribute to the droop was the connection between the tripod hub and the base of the ballhead. On my Gitzo tripod, this is a metal to metal connection. The hubs on the Redged and the Novoflex were not pure metal, and I suspect that the presence of a more giving material, like plastic or rubber, allows a fully loaded ballhead to flex a bit at its base. I really need to try this set-up in a more real world setting, and I suspect that since the Novoflex has a somewhat large hub, that I will be mounting the Q20 on it again.

    --Ken