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barnacle
31-Aug-2017, 11:44
Some time ago I bought a Manfrotto BeFree One partly to use with a DSLR but mainly because it's *tiny* and light, for those occasions when I don't really want to lug around kilos of camera, a pile of film slides, and another three or four kilos of Manfrotto 55 with its pan and tilt head.

The only real issue - other than the expected lack of rigidity, despite allegedly having a 2.5kg load limit - is that ball joint. Never a good idea, with a heavy camera on top and that mounted to a quick release; the only option on the tripod. The man in the shop said it couldn't be removed... hah!

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Step one: remove the quick release head - a single 4mm allen screw - and then peel away the red Manfrotto logo button to the left of the thumbscrew. If you don't find a 2mm allen screw under there, try the other side. Remove the thumbscrew and the allen screw.

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Step 2: pull the balljoint and its cover away upwards. I had to wiggle things a bit; it's not far off an interference fit. A semicircular collar will fall onto the floor.

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Keep the collar, the balljoint and cover, and the various screws and thumscrews; after the modification, the whole thing can be reassembled with the balljoint should you wish.

Neil

barnacle
31-Aug-2017, 12:00
Now the technical bit: inside the top of the ball joint support is a nice long hole just the right size to take a 3/8" Whitworth thread (or indeed, the metric thread of the Allen bolt, but don't go there; there's method in my madness).

Step 3: tap out the hole with a 3/8" Whitworth taper tap. This is the standard large photographic size, which means that if you want to use a pan and tilt head, you can drop a short length of studding in that tapped hole. Alternatively, you can drop in one of those cheap-as-chips 3/8" to 1/4" adaptors, as I did.

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Step 2: attach the quick release plate using a 1/4" * 1" Whitworth screw. This fits through the hole on the plate without modification.

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Now the camera can be mounted using the other half of the quick release.

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All the usual disadvantages of no pan and tilt adjustment, so any levelling has to be done with the tripod legs, but I can live with that. And because it's reversible (the screw adaptor doesn't need to be replaced) there's no issue if I do decide I need the balljoint. But immediately, no chance of the camera suddenly deciding to be vertical instead of horizontal...

Neil

p.s. sorry about the sideways phone images. Something is ignoring the exif data...

Bob Salomon
31-Aug-2017, 12:41
Now the technical bit: inside the top of the ball joint support is a nice long hole just the right size to take a 3/8" Whitworth thread (or indeed, the metric thread of the Allen bolt, but don't go there; there's method in my madness).

Step 3: tap out the hole with a 3/8" Whitworth taper tap. This is the standard large photographic size, which means that if you want to use a pan and tilt head, you can drop a short length of studding in that tapped hole. Alternatively, you can drop in one of those cheap-as-chips 3/8" to 1/4" adaptors, as I did.

169035

Step 2: attach the quick release plate using a 1/4" * 1" Whitworth screw. This fits through the hole on the plate without modification.

169036

Now the camera can be mounted using the other half of the quick release.

169037

All the usual disadvantages of no pan and tilt adjustment, so any levelling has to be done with the tripod legs, but I can live with that. And because it's reversible (the screw adaptor doesn't need to be replaced) there's no issue if I do decide I need the balljoint. But immediately, no chance of the camera suddenly deciding to be vertical instead of horizontal...

Neil

p.s. sorry about the sideways phone images. Something is ignoring the exif data...

Adjusting level with the legs is also a great way for your tripod to lose stability and have everything go south, unexpectedly.

barnacle
31-Aug-2017, 12:56
Oh, indeed. But it's a way I'm used to working; most of my work needs the camera level, or close to it.

Neil