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Thread: 3 way head, which to choose?

  1. #1

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    3 way head, which to choose?

    hi,
    after 15 years using the berlebach levelling head i want to buy a 3 way head.
    i would love to buy a geard head like the manfrotto 400 but its to expensive for me.
    alternatives are,

    1. manfrotto 229
    2. gitzo 1570
    3. manfrotto 160

    i will use it with a heavy field camera and long tele lenses.
    can somebody compare between them? what would you buy.
    thanks, boris
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 553888.jpg   170918.jpg   image.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    The one on the far right looks like the renamed and renumbered version of a Bogen 3057 head I used with an 8x10 Deardorff. It was an excellent head, very sturdy with the 4" square base. The only downside was its weight. I'd cetainly recommend it to anyone using a 12+ pound camera who wasn't planning to hike long distances. I don't know anything about the other two. I've had several that looked like the one on the left (mine were Bogen 3039 and Bogen 3047) but I'm not sure the one you picture is either of those. If by chance it is then the one on the right would be a better choice IMHO for a heavy (12+) pound camera.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    the first on the left is a bogen 3039 (manfrotto 229) load capacity 12kg.
    the far right (#160) is rated till 10kg.
    why would you choose #160

  4. #4

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    Quote Originally Posted by boris View Post
    the first is a bogen 3039 (manfrotto 229) load capacity 12kg.
    the far right (#160) is rated till 10kg.
    why would you choose #160
    Because the Bogen 3057 I had felt sturdier, more solid, and had a larger base that seemed like it would support an 8x10 camera better than the Bogen 3039 I had (though I never used the 3039 with an 8x10 camera).
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    thank you brian.
    i would like to buy the manfrotto 160 (bogen 3057) because of the comparative short handel. i was just unsure because of it's rarity. b&h doesn't sell it..
    boris

  6. #6
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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    If they're not still made, it might be possible to find a 4"x4" plate for the 3039 on the left. I know that Bogen made them at one time. Having a 26lb capacity makes it one of Bogen's most sturdy heads. I have this head and really like it. It's kind of an upgrade to the 3047 that was such a great head.

    As to the best of the three, I've only used the two on the left. While a great head and relatively lightweight, it's a pain to be constantly attaching and unattaching the camera to and from the middle head. It sounds like Brian has had experience with both the outside heads. I'm pretty sure that the one on the left is the 3039.

  7. #7

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    I would go for the Gitzo because it's a low profile head and will not flop around like the other two. The range of movement is less with the Gitzo but it still gives you plenty of movement to level side to side and full movement to point the front down or up. Have a nice day.

  8. #8

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    The Bogen/Manfrotto 3047 is and has been for many years, the de-facto standard three way head for 4x5 and 5x7.

  9. #9
    Peter J. De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Barall View Post
    I would go for the Gitzo because it's a low profile head and will not flop around like the other two. The range of movement is less with the Gitzo but it still gives you plenty of movement to level side to side and full movement to point the front down or up. Have a nice day.
    +1

    I have an older version, and it works great for field cameras. The big plate leads to a very secure connection to the camera, and the low profile puts less stress on the joints than the other two. In addition, I loath the quick release mechanisms on the other heads. A very easy way to make the Gitzo a "quick connect" head, is to hack saw the little piece of metal at the knob end of the slot which the camera screw slides in. If you do this, and I have with my head, you can slide the screw right off the back of the head. This is neat, since you can now screw the camera screw a bit into the camera, slide the whole thing onto the head, and tighten the screw. That's fast and very secure. If you have a flat bed with two camera screw recepticals on the bottom, you can use two screw and slide both into the slot. That's what I do with my Kodak D2 8x10. That's fast, extremely secure, and the camera will never rotate about the camera screw. Thanks to Jon at the old F Stops Here store for the tip.
    "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." - Helen Keller
    www.peterdesmidt.com/blog

  10. #10

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    Re: 3 way head, which to choose?

    Um, Brad, I used a 3047 very happily for years until I made a "Baby Bertha" from a 2x3 Cambo SC and a 2x3 Graflex RB Series B. Baby incorporates as many as three (3) standards, rails up to 30" (only one at a time), and the longest lens I have for her is a 610/9 Apo Nikkor. The 3047 wasn't happy under the load, flexed a little and tended to bind.

    I replaced it with a 3039/229 which turned out to be much much stronger. No flexing, doesn't bind, and is much smoother with Baby as well as with lighter loads.

    Stephen, I've never used a Gitzo head so can't compare any of theirs with the Manfrottos I've used. IMO the 3047 was a bit hard to tighten securely and could flop if I wasn't careful. The 3039/229 is much better in that regard, it hasn't yet changed position on me and has been much easier to tighten.

    Boris, you're the person you have to please and you know what you're likely to use much better than I do. If I had it to do over I'd buy the 3039/229 again, not a 3057/160.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan

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