View Full Version : tripod head

brian steinberger
31-Mar-2005, 22:24
i'm looking at purchasing a new tripod head. i currently have a bogen 488 ball head on my gitzo 1340. the 488 ball head is not even rated to hold 4x5. i use a toyo 4x5. i'm not sure whether i should get a ball head or a pan. i love the feel and quickness of a ball head and plus that's what i'm used to. i shoot 35mm as well, so i wouldn't have to switch heads if i got a ball head. the two heads i am looking at are the bogen 329RC4 tilt/pan head and the bogen 490 ballhead, both with quick release, and both support 4x5. plus, is the bogen hex quick release system better? any opinions? thanks!

Scott Fleming
31-Mar-2005, 23:17
Used to be that the 'best' ballhead that all the gurus had ... was the Arca Swiss. A lot of them however have switched to the Really Right Stuff ball head. Regardless ... the hands down best QR system is the Arca Swiss and it's clones or knock offs. I have a big ole Kirk ball head that's good enough for me but I lust after the more streamlined and just as tough Really Right Stuff ballhead.

Peter Harris
1-Apr-2005, 03:01
Hmmm ... I use an Arca Swiss B1 for medium format and 5x4. It's great for MF, and supports the Horseman 5x4 just fine, but I find it irritating that it can't adjust and lock different planes independently for lf. I'm looking into pan & tilt heads for lf, and to keep the ball head for mf.

Edward (Halifax,NS)
1-Apr-2005, 05:23
I don't see anything wrong with the head you have. It is rated to 17.6 lbs. That is plenty, in fact it is rated to support more than the 3047, which is used by many here for 8X10 cameras.

Brian Ellis
1-Apr-2005, 06:02
The Bogen ball head that I briefly used (the 3055 I think) wasn't very good. It was too "sticky," you had to exert so much force to move it that small, fine adjustments were almost impossible to make. I don't now recall why I bought that head because I've had an Arca Swiss B1 for a very long time and it's an excellent head, very smooth and solid. It's much more expensive than the Bogen but to me it was worth every penny. While Really Right Stuff and Kirk Enterprises have made imitations of the Arca Swiss head that probably are just as good, if I were going to use a ball head with a large format camera I would use the Arca Swiss B1 just because of Arca's history and track record. I used the Arca Swiss with 35mm, medium format, and digital cameras for many years.

I don't use a ball head with large format because of the difficulty of making adjustments in one direction without also affecting other directions. That's not too critical with landscape or similar work but for architecture the inability to do that is a big disadvantage. I use pan tilt heads for large format, currently the Bogen 410 gear head to which I've attached an adapter made by Kirk Enterprises that allows me to use the Arca Swiss quick release plates that are on my 6x7 and digital cameras with that head so that I only need to carry one tripod with me for all three cameras (the tripod is the Gitzo 1325). .

Gem Singer
1-Apr-2005, 06:29
Hi Brian (the original Brian, who posted this question),

I've been using the Bogen/Manfrotto pan-tilt 329 heads since their introduction. When Manfrotto began to supply them with the RC4 quick release system, they came up with one of the best pan-tilt tripod heads I have ever owned.( and I have owned/used dozens of tripods and heads). Dollar for dollar-ounce -for-ounce the 329 the best tripod head I have ever used for a 4X5. 5X7, and even an 8X10 camera. It should work great with your Toyo, and the RC4 quick release is much better, in every way, than the old hex-release system. (best thing of all, it sells for under $100 USD).

Ellis Vener
1-Apr-2005, 08:57
best geared non ball head on a reasonable budget; Bogen/Manfrotto 405 head. Best not geared pan hea: the Linhof two way tilt pan head. best ballhead; Arca-Swiss B1 monoball.

Chris Ellinger
1-Apr-2005, 09:00
I don't have much luck with LF and a ball head. Instead, I use a Gitzo G-1171 pan/tilt with a RRS quick release. It's plenty strong enough for a 5 lb. Wista VX and 360mm Nikkor T.

1-Apr-2005, 11:01
I use an old Arca Swiss B2 (with a lock on each axis) for 8x10. It works great!

Merg Ross
1-Apr-2005, 11:11
Hi Brian,

Ditto what Eugene said about the 329 RC4. Eugene introduced me to this head about three years ago and it has worked very well. I use it with a 4x5 Toyo Field.

Gem Singer
1-Apr-2005, 13:21
Thanks for the verification, Merg. I didn't realize that three years has gone by since we began using those 329 heads. That also reminds me that I need to take the time to write a detailed response to your last E-Mail and will bring you up to date on my latest adventures in photography. I'll try to do that this weekend.