Ball head?


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 5, 2016
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I bought a three legged things punk Billy and the ball head is OK. I'd like to upgrade it but don't know what to buy. I know I don't want ridiculously expensive but I don't want "or will work" or "its a good head for how cheap it is". I shoot with a canon 5D IV and a canon 100-400 ii to give a weight idea... arca swiss
Man, I know you said you don’t want ridiculously expensive.. so forgive me for this in advance:

After 10+ years of going through cheap ball heads that didn’t hold up and annoyed me with their lack of precision, I ponied up three years ago for my RRS BH-55 lever release ball head.

Expensive? You betcha... saved for it for a while and found a deal on a used one. But you will literally have to pry it from my cold dead hands. I’m firmly confident that I will never have to buy another ball head as long as I live, and I haven’t turned 30 yet.
Cheap ball heads are a pain. I have a $150 used Gitzo magnesium ball head that was around $400 new 15 years ago, and it is still not 100 percent satisfactory to me.

Back in the 1980s I had what was called the Bogen Magnum Ball Head. It had only two levers and it was fast to work with, but it had some head creep. That is the biggest problem with many tripod heads in my experience: you lock them and then the weight of the camera and lens allows the head to creep a little bit,which spoils careful framing. Thom Hogan has an article about buying the highest quality camera support items and paying only once, instead of incrementally purchasing and repurchasing and ending up having spent a huge amount of money in stages on equipment that is not up to the task.
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Buy once cry once. Buying cheap tripods and heads is like the worst thing you could possibly do to the safty of your equipment.

Tried the so called cheap heads these won’t hold up for long and these might collapse the first time you put a semi- heavy lens on it, luckily I never experienced my camera fall to the ground, but I have seen and heard of it enough times on cheapish tripods and heads.

It’s not worth the risk, rather go beyond budget to get something that is safe to use than destroying plus $ 2000 of equipment!

Weight your heaviest combo and look up the max. load capacity of the ballhead it should be at the bare min. be twice that of the total weight of your gear. The max. load is at very best a very optimistic estimations.
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Seems you get what you pay for. I have a couple of Giottos which were in the ÂŁ70-ÂŁ100 range and they suit me fine. I don't use a tripod very often and they are more than capable of holding the 5Dsr and 70-200 f/2.8L which is by far the heaviest combo I'd be using on a ball head.

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