Travel tripod ballhead recommendation

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Ig7, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    So, I purchased a FLM CP26-L3S Tripod from another member here, but missed out on the ball head. Since I am starting from scratch, any recommendation would be very helpful. My local store does not have to many options to play with before buying
     
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    What is your budget? And are weight and size important?

    --Ken
     
  3. blumoon722

    blumoon722 Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Sep 7, 2015
    Sarasota, Florida
    John
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  4. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    For a decent ball head I expect to pay between $200 to $300. From what I read, the size of the ball has to be on the small size considering the type of tripod I will be putting it on. I got overwhelmed after starting to google, hence this posting
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  5. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
  6. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    This is helpful. I will preface my recommendations with my preferences so you know where I am coming from. I initially bought my main tripod, a Gitzo 3-Series, when I was shooting with my Nikon gear and longer lenses. I chose a Markins head and can say that it is an amazing piece of equipment, and was worth the wait to save up for it. I enjoy it because it is smooth as silk and behaves quite nicely when loaded with gear. Minor adjustments are easy, and there is no ballhead creep. Can you get that for less money or in a smaller package. You probably can, and your success will depend in part on your researching abilities.

    If a Markins head (any of them) is not your cup of tea, then I would recommend considering, among others, the following companies:
    • Really Right Stuff
    • Feisol
    • Photo Clam
    • Acratech
    • Sirui
    You should decide if you like a one or two knob set-up and if you want a screw or quick-release head as part of your decision process. Screw heads are more forgiving of various plates and cannot be accidentally sprung open. Quick-release heads are a bit faster and more convenient. It is a bit of a Coke vs. Pepsi kind of decision. The same with the know and tension layout. Thankfully, m4/3rd's gear is not quite as demanding as FF, but if you are planning on doing macro work, you will certainly appreciate a head that does not have ball creep. You have a decent set of legs (nothing personal Irina :rolleyes:), and with a good ballhead you will appreciate using this set-up. Take your time and ask a lot of questions if needed.

    --Ken
     
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Interesting tripod. I never heard of FLM before.

    I agree with @Replytoken@Replytoken's comments for the most part, but:

    • For travel, weight is important. He misses this; probably forgot. Some of the really high end balls could also serve well as boat anchors. When making comparisons, I would watch weight carefully.

    • I am a believer in quick-release Arca clamps, but only the types which cannot be "sprung open." Look for some kind of latching mechanism that holds the lever closed. For example, the Acratech. In comparison, the RRS lever release clamp has no protection against being bumped open. There is also a Chinese QR clamp sold on eBay for about $50 that is quite decent. Mysteriously, it incorporates a compass! Both the Acratech and the Chinese one are adjustable for Arca plate size, though you will want to have all of your plates the same so you don't have to adjust it differently for every camera or lens.

      The lever clamps are nice on tripods, but they are almost mandatory IMO on monopods. You have your camera in one hand and your monopod in the other. With your third hand you can tighten a screw. No third hand? The lever is much easier to work with. Actually I would like a clamp like the Manfrotto RC2 but in the Arca system. Nobody makes one however. If Arca is not important, you could go with the RC2 system. It works very well.
    Personally, I have the Acratech GP-S with their lever-operated clamp. It weighs less than a pound/half a kilo and is very elegantly made. It also features a clever conversion scheme that allows you to shoot single-row panoramas. Check the product video here: GPS

    From visiting the Acratech site to get that link, I also see that they now have a new cost-reduced "Nomad" ball head. It doesn't have the pano feature but it is $100 cheaper. If you're interested in that one I'd suggest contacting them and trying to buy it with the lever clamp or with no clamp if you want to use the Manfrotto RC2.
     
  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I assumed that since my earlier response in the thread (see quote below) touched upon it and did not receive a response, that it was not a key factor in the decision-making process. But, yes, I agree that if you need a light head, then the big Markins models (and other similar heads) are not appropriate.

    --Ken
     
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Have been satisfied with the Sirui K series heads. I'd expect RRS, Markin, etc...to be superior, but for the price the Sirui Ks are strong performers.
     
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  10. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Thank you everyone for your extremely knowledgable input. Will take all the points into consideration as back to googling I go
     
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  11. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Take advantage of your location, visit Adorama and BHPhoto brick stores and try what they have - that will help you a lot to narrow your prefernces.
     
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  12. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    LOL
     
  13. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Will try to hit those stores next week and will post the final decision.
    Thanks everyone
     
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I have a sunwayfoto fb36 and Im pretty happy with it.
     
  15. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Thanks, will post my final pick nxt week
     
  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Any more questions? It can often take folks a number of questions before arriving at a final decision.

    --Ken
     
  17. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Ken, thank you. I will do a little more reading about the recommended heads and try to get to a store to actually see which one feels comfortable to use.
     
  18. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    So, after soliciting all my Christmas gift via cash :) decided to go with Arcateck GPSS with lever clamp. It's on the way
    Thanks everyone for the input
     
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