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Thread: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

  1. #41

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Having bought QR plate systems for video cameras, this one looks downright economical! And Zacuto makes good stuff - not a well known name to the still camera fraternity, but quite well known in the video world.

  2. #42

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Toyon View Post
    Avoid Arca-Swiss ballheads. Terrible, dreadful, monstrously mis-engineered designs.
    I have used an Arca Swiss B1 for over 20 years now and continue to use it for my Ebony 8x10 with not one problem. I can guarantee it gets used more than most ball heads out there and other looking like it has been beat up, it performs flawlessly. Like it much better than a Really Right Stuff ball head, but then that is just me. I have no problem using a ballhead with an 8x10, obviously some others dislike it.

  3. #43
    Les
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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    I'd go with an overkill. Whether that's Arca, FLM, Markins, Novoflex or RRS.

    Les

  4. #44

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Ballheads for LF? De-evolution, going backwards.
    Hogwash. My ballhead gets my camera level infinitely faster than my 3-way pan tilt head ever could. It is far more stable to boot. I love my Ballhead and I'd never go back. FWIW, I have a plain jane Feisol ballhead and it is wonderful.

  5. #45
    umop apsidn
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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Colin, it was mentioned earlier in this thread (and for what it's worth) I'll put forward another suggestion for the Arca D4.

    You said that you were looking for something with independent controls for each axis. Ball heads appealed to you for the smaller size as well. You also want to carry it over your shoulder. Two things you'd like about the D4 is that it's small and compact like a ball head yet operates like a pan and tilt head with gearing. Like a ball head there are no handles or protrusions to snag on objects. I can say firsthand the gearing is marvelous. It has two panning controls as well (not geared), one on the base and one where the camera attaches. The D4 holds my ten pound 5x7 camera with a 400mm 5.6 telephoto lens no problem. No blurriness in the negs.

    I'd be a bit leery of carrying over ten pounds of camera on my shoulder with this head. The quick release is solid, but a lot of force would be placed on the internal gearing. It'd be much better to remove the camera. That's why the "quick" is in quick release, eh?

    The D4 is horribly, horribly expensive. However if you're after small size and portability in a head with precision adjustments it is fabulous.

  6. #46
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Konakoa,

    What is the difference between the various d4 models. I see some are geared and some are manual, but I am not sure which would be the best one for LF. There is a few hundred dollars difference between some of the models.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  7. #47
    umop apsidn
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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Eric, from what I've seen the 'manual' D4 is exactly the same only without the gearing. Loosen a clamp, move the head, re-tighten. Each axis is independent just like a pan-tilt head. Think of the manual version as a pan-tilt head without the long handles.

    There are several versions with different quick release systems. I went for the geared D4 with the 'classic' knob quick release system. The knob lets me use RRS plates without fuss.
    Last edited by konakoa; 28-Feb-2015 at 21:23. Reason: Redundant info

  8. #48

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post
    ...the 'manual' D4 is exactly the same only without the gearing. Loosen a clamp, move the head, re-tighten. Each axis is independent just like a pan-tilt head. Think of the manual version as a pan-tilt head without the long handles...
    Yup, and a fine head the d4m would be, significantly lighter and less expensive than but comparable to a Linhof 3663, except...

    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post
    ...There are several versions with different quick release systems. I went for the geared D4 with the 'classic' knob quick release system. The knob lets me use RRS plates without fuss.
    Some of us don't like screw knob clamps or the fiddly, loosening-prone Arca lever-release clamp, but do have and want to use Really Right Stuff (RRS) plates. Therefore, I'd like to mount a RRS lever-release clamp on a d4m. But Arca, in a fit of provincial arrogance, began using "permanent" thread locking epoxy on its clamps. Even if one were willing to purchase a d4m with Arca clamp and then throw the clamp away, it's not possible to remove that clamp without application of substantial heat, like from a torch. Not me!

    Arca's "explanation" for this is that a very short M6 bolt is required to mount clamps on its heads. People were using longer M6 bolts and damaging the heads, which Arca then repaired. Instead of simply specifying the maximum permissible M6 mounting bolt length, Arca effectively "forbade" anyone from using any clamps not made by Arca. If and when Arca comes to its senses and offers and 'naked' d4m, or one that has its clamp attached with a bolt that's held in place using Loctite Blue or equivalent, I'll buy one. Until then, not a chance.

    My approach to shedding some weight from the Linhof 3663 was to purchase an FLM CB-48FT. I removed the platform and mounted an RRS lever-release clamp on the stem. Here's my take on using that FLM head with view cameras.

    While I always despised ball heads to support view cameras, I've found that the ability to use both levels simultaneously (via the adjustable mirror-cover) on my Ebony SV-57 makes positioning very easy. With the head's main lock minimum drag set appropriately (2.5 on its scale), it's a breeze to achieve level in both axes and lock everything down.

    With a lighter camera where one cannot see both axes' levels at the same time, like my Phillips 4x5, the head's tilt lock comes into play. While the idea is innovative, I've found that at the head's lower main lock minimum drag setting necessary for this load (1.5 on its scale), even after locking the head's secondary tilt knob, there's some lateral creep when tilting the camera. It takes a couple of iterations to get things level. I've experimented with the head's tilt lock when my SV-57 is mounted and the higher drag setting cranked in. There's virtually no lateral creep in that situation. So, the feature seems to require a minimum amount of main lock drag to function well. I feel that the half pound weight reduction compared to my Linhof 3663 is worth the fiddling when shooting 4x5, but ultimately would love to move the RRS lever clamp to a d4m instead.

    Bottom line: in my opinion, Colin should have no issue obtaining solid lock down and good independent axis control with an FLM ball head. I'd definitely recommend the CB-58FT for his 8x10, especially considering the way he carries it.

  9. #49

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Here's another vote for the Arca-Swiss D4. If you can swing it, definitely opt for the geared version - super smooth, precise movement. Sal is correct about the permanent mounting of the release fixture, but I wanted the classic screw clamp, so that was not an issue. I would say that the D4 is perfect for 4x5 - perhaps a bit marginal (though useable) for 8x10.

    Bob

  10. #50

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    Re: LF ballhead sought- current offerings questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Bottom line: in my opinion, Colin should have no issue obtaining solid lock down and good independent axis control with an FLM ball head. I'd definitely recommend the CB-58FT for his 8x10, especially considering the way he carries it.
    Thanks Sal. That's good to hear the FLM heads can be slung like that under load, so that's one less thing to worry about if I decide to retire the Ries and use the ball head for everything. Looking forward to getting the FLM when I have the funds. I use a 5x7, so I'm leaning towards the 48.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter J. De Smidt View Post
    Colin, if you'd consider a non-ball head, a Gitzo 1570M would be a good choice. It's what I normally use with an 8x10. The negative versus a ball head is that there are protruding handles.
    Peter, I did have a G1570 once for about a week- didn't much like it for the reasons you mention. But that giant camera platform was pretty nice.


    Thanks again everyone for all the suggestions and advice.

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