Who makes a good reliable ball-and-socket head?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Jonathan Sachs, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. I'm looking for a ball-and-socket head to replace my trusty old Leitz head,
    which just came apart in my hand.

    Actually the base of the head was attached to a copy stand, and the platform
    was attached to my camera... which just happened to be safely supported by
    my hand when the breakup occurred.

    I'm rather shocked that a Leitz product could fail this way, even after
    years of good service. I want to buy a replacement that will hold my camera
    with the optical axis precisely vertical, without drooping or slipping, and
    will NOT let go without warning. What should I look at?
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 19, 2004
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  2. Jonathan Sachs

    Matt Clara Guest

    Matt Clara, Jun 19, 2004
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  3. The Acra head looks impressive, and it certainly meets my requirements, but
    I think it's overkill for my needs. My camera weighs just under 3 pounds, so
    I don't really need a head that is very conservatively rated at 25 pounds!
    Also, while I rebel against the idea that a $60 head's eventual failure
    could put a $700 camera at risk, it seems absurd to pay $280 to eliminate
    the risk. That makes cheap equipment and insurance sound a lot more

    I would hope that I can get a well-designed, reliable ball head for a small
    camera without paying $279.95 for an Acra, just as I can get a
    well-designed, reliable car without paying $60,000 for a Mercedes-Benz.
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 20, 2004
  4. Jonathan Sachs

    TP Guest

    You cannot. That is the "ball head conundrum".
    TP, Jun 20, 2004
  5. Jonathan Sachs

    Alan Browne Guest

    Nonsense. A basic Manfrotto mini-ball is both well designed and
    reliable for use with a small camera. I'm not claiming it is as
    good as an Arca, but certainly more than enough for a small
    camera kit.
    Alan Browne, Jun 20, 2004
  6. Jonathan Sachs

    TP Guest

    No, it isn't nonsense.

    Of course you are confusing "Arca" with "Acratech", which was being
    discussed as "Acra". It is a lot cheaper than an Arca. I suspect the
    brand name was chosen specifically in order to confuse, and it
    certainly worked on you!

    But Manfrotto are yet to make a decent ball head; they have made junk
    ballheads for years and the current, revised range are no better.
    Giottos are worse; they look as though they might work but the
    precision engineering just isn't there. Slik are a joke. Velbon are,
    well, they're just Velbon, made from that wonderfully flexible alloy
    that no other manufacturer offers. Gittzo are OK but they're just too
    quirky for most people. Benbo are well made but just too basic.

    So what does a keen shooter choose? Arca, Acra(tech), Kirk,
    Wimberley, Novoflex ... they are all expensive, but they all work well
    for people who need a competent, reliable tripod head.

    But for people like Alan Browne, who appreciate mediocrity in all
    things, anything will do, and a Manfrotto is probably overkill.
    TP, Jun 20, 2004
  7. TP, perhaps you have given me my answer.

    If the Benbo is "well made but just too basic," it may be exactly what I am
    looking for. I need something to level the camera on the copy stand, and
    occasionally let me swing it 90° (to the position that would be vertical if
    I were using a tripod). You can't get much more basic than that.

    Is there anything about it that would need to "basic" for this?
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 20, 2004
  8. Jonathan Sachs

    TP Guest

    Hi Jonathan,

    I think you may have left the words "be more than" out of your last

    The Benbo would probably be a good choice for copy work. Other ball
    heads in its price range would also do the job, but the Benbo is
    particularly well made.

    It comes in two sizes; the compact head suits the Benbo Trekker range
    of lightweight tripods and the professional head suits the rest.
    There is a basic version of the compact head which doesn't have a
    panning base and a more expensive version which does.

    The compact (Trekker) head would be adequate for a small/medium SLR
    and a lens up to 135mm. For larger 35mm SLRs and/or longer lenses,
    plus medium format you need the larger head.

    Prices at B&H PhotoVideo, New York, NY:

    Compact, fixed base $59.95
    Compact, panning base $79.95
    Professional, panning base $119.95

    I hope this is useful.

    TP, Jun 20, 2004
  9. Compact w/o panning head sounds fine for my needs... professional will be
    nice if I find a fantastic deal or suffer an attack of wealth in the next
    couple of weeks. Thanks.
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 21, 2004
  10. Jonathan Sachs

    TP Guest

    You're welcome.
    TP, Jun 21, 2004
  11. Jonathan Sachs

    Alan Browne Guest

    I'll grant the point on the misspelling.
    BS. I have two ball heads that are as good as the day I bought
    them despite subjecting on of them to loads beyond its design. I
    have friends who have been on the same Manfrotto ball heads for
    over 10 years and they still do the job.

    Note that the poster said "well designed, reliable", and that is
    what the Manfrottos' deliver. Not the best, but certainly that

    You are a boor, as always. Post some photos.
    Alan Browne, Jun 21, 2004
  12. Another Leica ball head, of course.

    Michael Scarpitti, Jun 21, 2004
  13. Jonathan Sachs

    TP Guest

    It isn't a mis-spelling. It is a completely different brand.
    TP, Jun 21, 2004
  14. Jonathan Sachs

    Sabineellen Guest

    Damn the troll.. I've been avoiding this thread thinking it's one of those smut
    spam posts he makes... can't there be better names than "ball-and-socket head"?
    Sabineellen, Jun 22, 2004
  15. head"?

    Consider yourself lucky... a couple of months ago I came close to getting
    sued because I ignored a couple of e-mail messages whose sender I did not
    recognize, and whose subject lines made them appear to be spam.
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 23, 2004
  16. Jonathan Sachs

    Dallas Guest

    Jonathan Sachs said:
    How can you be sued for ignoring an email? Is there some kind of law in
    existance somewhere that forces you to pay attention via e-mail?

    Get real!
    Dallas, Jun 23, 2004
  17. Jonathan Sachs

    Bandicoot Guest

    If you only need this one axis of movement, why not get something like a
    panning base or a monopod tilt (depending which axis it is you want to swing
    through)? This would be cheaper than most mid-price ballheads, and more
    rigid than any but the most costly ballhead.

    Bandicoot, Jun 23, 2004
  18. Yeah....They would have to send you, "registered email." Or have a Notary
    Public send you the email.....And even then, you could sue your server if
    you didn't get it.......
    William Graham, Jun 23, 2004
  19. Well, there are laws that require one to return property borrowed from
    another when asked to do so. The sender was entirely within his rights to
    expect me to return his laptop computer, and understandably upset when after
    two weeks I had failed to reply to two requests... except that he assumed I
    was ignoring them, when I never saw them.
    The school was about to turn the matter over to its in-house counsel. That's
    pretty real.
    Jonathan Sachs, Jun 23, 2004
  20. Jonathan Sachs

    Dallas Guest

    Jonathan Sachs said:
    Sure, but I don't think they can use the fact that you never responded to
    email as a grounds for a law suit. If he really wanted the laptop back
    surely he should have called you on the phone? Or better still, come
    around and got it?
    Dallas, Jun 24, 2004
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