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Thread: Light Head for small 4x5

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Tel Aviv

    Smile Light Head for small 4x5

    Well, I'm trying to go light w my Gowland 4x5, and need to get a smaller, lighter tripod head. The camera w lens and holder weighs under 4lbs. I've been using a pistol handle ball head that's great but weighs as much as the tripod legs. So, I'm open to suggestions, but would like to keep the price low (around $60-75), buy used, and buy something readily available. As a bonus, it would be great if it could handle my Hasselblad gear, including the 250mm lens I use most. I was looking at the bogen ballheads, but was unsure which to get. If any of you have used or currently use a similar setup, tell me your likes and dislikes. As always, all help greatly appreciated,


  2. #2
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Los Altos, CA

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    Lightweight, sturdy, used and inexpensive... That is a tough order. This reminds me of an expression we used in the design-engineering field: "You can have it cheap, fast or well built -- pick any two."

    I would consider a used Gitzo 3-series 'rational' pan-tilt head and then cut all the knobs down short and bend the last inch at the end to 90 degrees so you have a handle to twist them with. Presto, cheap, relatively lightweight yet sturdy enough for your Hassy with a 250 (barely).
    Jack Flesher

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    I had a Bogen ball head for a short time. I didn't like it, the ball didn't move smoothly, you had to exert a little force to get it to move and that made it almost impossible to make small incremental adjustments. I don't know what to recommend, I'm sure others will. A friend uses an Acra Tech (sp?) that is very small and light but I think it costs quite a bit more than your budget.
    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.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    San Francisco

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    In that price range, you will probably be better off just looking to support the Gowland, forgetting about the Hasselblad.

    I have used my Gowland with a short lens on top of a cheapo Velbon tripod with its standard little ball head. With short lenses you can go really small. Usually I don't like ballheads, but maybe they can be tolerated in the name of ultramegalightness.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    Get an Acratech ballhead - it weighs a pound; put it on a Gitzo 1228 and you'' have an incredibly light sturdy set-up - I have even used it on a 2 week trip with an 11lb 8x10....

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    I have the Acratech, great head, but beyond the price range.

    Here is an option that I have no personal experience with, but the specs are promising, holds 16# and weighs about 1/2 #:

  7. #7
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    It is not a ball head, but you might want to try a Manfrotto 3028. Under $30, light, easy to use. I use one with my Walker Titan 4x5. If you want to dress it up, you can add an Arca style quick release base to it. That is what I did, and it works great. The Gowland is so light I am sure that the 3028 will suppport it.

    Oh yeah, I don't know about a Hasselblad, but it also supports my Mamiya 645 Pro just fine.
    Last edited by David Karp; 6-Jun-2006 at 11:45.

  8. #8
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Stockholm, SWEDEN

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    I know it is common procedure to use a 'heavy, sturdy but hopefully lightweight tripod' with a ball head for 4x5.

    FWIW, I have been using my SLIK 35S for outdoor photography to hold my 4x5 Linhof Technika III using the three one-directional tripod head with a tightening handle for the vertical movement (like those found on video tripods) that came with it back in the early eighties. To make it horisontal the attachment plate can be tilted sideways (maximum 90 degrees).
    For my 'kitchen and livingroom' experiments I do have a Gitzo studex tripod that weighs a ton and which is equipped with a ball head. My experience though is that it is far easier to handle the 'video tripod' head than the ball head for which it is really easy to loose the grip of the camera since one does not always know in which direction it will 'fall' when the ball is released.

    So why not also look into the tripod heads found on light weight video tripods (find one in aluminum ofcourse - not the cheap plastic ones).
    Last edited by Patrik Roseen; 6-Jun-2006 at 11:52.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    maybe just a levelling head...

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Re: Light Head for small 4x5

    I'd second the Acratech. It's light, and grips tight, but again, it's a bit out of your price range. You may be able to find a used one or call the guys at Acratech. They sell factory cosmetic seconds for fairly cheap. If money weren't an issue I'd go with a Markins. They rock.

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