Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

  1. #1
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    509
    Post Thanks / Like

    Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    Looking for a new ball head for my studio. Must go easily from horizontal to vertical and be creep free. Selling my Hassie H3D2-39 and lenses so heaviest camera will be Canon 5Dmk3 and 70-200 and Pocket Wizard. My Gitzo off -center ball head is starting to go. It's the third one I've gone through and repairs aren't inexpensive.

    Need a quick release system as camera comes off the camera stand and onto a tripod for a quick trip outside generally 3-4 times a day, five days a week for four straight months during my busy season.

    Probably will hang up my studio camera bag for good in 2-3 years so don't need a ball that will last 20 years.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    Hi David.

    While most would immediately recommend Arca or RRS ball heads, I'm not one of them when it comes to studio duty. Ball heads are too fussy and imprecise IMO and extensive studio experience.

    I've used a geared head in studio for well over a decade now I have the older version of this head:

    Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head - Supports 11 lbs (5kg) 410 B&H

    Major movement is facilitated by an inner quick release ring on the gears and fine tuning is then done with the outer knobs. There is never any creep because it is geared. When you flip from landscape to portrait it only moves in that direction while all other alignments remain (unlike a ball-head). If you use an L bracket, then you never have to flip the head at all.

    The overly large QR plate is very firm when locked, but I added a ARCA type QR on it to work with all my current cameras that are fitted with dual lug ARCA type plates that allow a hand strap and shoulder strap. When I had my Hasseblads, I had a second QR plate with the H coupler mounted. Yet a third had a Stroboframe QR all you need is extra Manfrotto QR plates.

    Highly recommend taking a look. Order one and see how you like it. Send it back if you disagree.

    However an expensive however I personally hate L brackets and find them far to slow and frankly a bit dangerous when repeatedly swapping back and forth during a session. So I finally sprung for the RRS rotating camera device and never looked back.

    Camera Rotation Device

    - Marc

  3. #3
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Manchester/Jerusalem
    Posts
    2,652
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    290

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    I'm going to be very different.

    In a studio you are usually using flash, a tripod then is less for stability and more for positioning and getting the camera out of your hand.

    If shooting people I honestly would recommend a joystick type head. Not it's not the most secure and stable but it's a very fast way to shoot with people. I take my ballhead off and swap for my manfrotto joystick head when shooting in the studio.

    If shooting product, still life, etc I would say a geared head is the obvious answer.

    I'm also a huge fan of L plates, far faster to use than a ballhead when swapping from horizontal to vertical unless the tripod itself, and head, are perfectly levelled. I've used them for a decade and would not consider tripod use without one.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    N.S. Canada
    Posts
    2,010
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    +1 on the 410 gear head.

    I've had multiple BHs, including the RRS 55 which I still have. I've yet to try one, regardless of $$, that won't 'settle' after you torque it down. You get just right, tighten, let go and just enough droop to piss you off.

    I now just use the RRS 55 (which is a VERY nice BH) for my laptop tether stand (laptop is on a Nine Volt cheese plate with an AS plate underneath) so I can get the laptop at the right angle - or when I don't want to lock the camera down, just hold the weight as I pan, etc.

    I now use the 410 primarily and love it. The Manfrotto RC4 clamp is also very nice.

    I have a 2nd RC4 clamp I use on a sliding arm on my tether stand so that during breaks on location, I just loop the tether cord around a hook on my laptop stand (wheeled 20" C-stand) and lock the camera in the clamp where it sits below the laptop.

    When you hear the 'click' you know it's locked down. Should anyone bump it, the stand, laptop, camera & tether cord just gently roll out of the way together.

  5. #5
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,802
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    I'm not a studio shooter myself but given your selection criteria and you truly want a robust and smooth ballhead that'll take anything then I'd recommend taking a look at the Arca Swiss B1G. I've owned mine for probably well over a decade and it's absolutely bullet proof with a QR clamp and smooth as silk (something that I really never got from RRS heads). It absolutely will not creep under any load and has an easy to adjust friction control like all Arca and clone ball heads. Controls are man sized and very tactile.

    Downside? It's a big heavy beast but that's also one of it's advantages indoors or when you need to handle load. It's just a bulky heavy head to use in the field if you need to go far.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  6. #6
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    I use a Arca Z1 double pan. Very robust and very versatile and does not creep at all

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=REG&A=details
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    509
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    Have to say, have only used a gear head a few times. Wondering about the speed of using it. I'm photographing high school seniors and it moves really fast. I don't generally worry too much about getting the absolutely best crop because my studio production person does the editing and retouching and she'll crop as she sees fit. But for times when I want to use my Mikita blower and blow some hair of a high school girl, I need to make sure there's no creep. Ideally I would like a second head using the same quick release plate for my tripod for the outdoor photos I do.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Carmel/Tucson
    Posts
    2,355
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    David,

    I think that there are a lot of head choices that will suit your needs--and imo, simply pick the one you like.

    But from reading your post, I think you might want to consider the quick tripod head quick release system from RRS, as well as using their quick release plates on your cameras.

    I use the RRS quick release plate system on my studio camera stand and on all of my tripods. With the simple release of a lever, I can swap in/out all of my tripods quickly and easily. I can use the Cube on the studio stand and just as quickly pop on a ball head. And, of course, this means easily taking the camera on location as needed.

    I've seen some of the "pistol grip" type ball heads used in studio by other photographers--they look really fast and easy (the pistol grip not the photographer)---I've never tried one (the pistol grip not the, uh, nevermind), but I wonder about possible camera creep... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...tick_Head.html Certainly limited capacity but probably okay for DSLR.

    ken

  9. #9
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    509
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    Ken,

    I sold my pistol grip heads some time ago, both the one that's vertical and the one that's horizontal. They had a bit of creep trouble with my Canon and 70-200mm. Nice for things like weddings, but not so great for studio in my experience.

  10. #10
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Have to say, have only used a gear head a few times. Wondering about the speed of using it. I'm photographing high school seniors and it moves really fast. I don't generally worry too much about getting the absolutely best crop because my studio production person does the editing and retouching and she'll crop as she sees fit. But for times when I want to use my Mikita blower and blow some hair of a high school girl, I need to make sure there's no creep. Ideally I would like a second head using the same quick release plate for my tripod for the outdoor photos I do.
    David, FYI as mentioned, the head I recommended has quick release rings for free positioning, and knobs for finer adjustments. That head is widely used in commercial studios.

    - Marc

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    N.S. Canada
    Posts
    2,010
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    As Marc mentions, the Man 410 has fine gear adjustments on each axis, BUT also has release controls that disengage the gear mechanics for that axis to allow fast 'gross' movements as well. Hold release 'open', move camera quickly, release control (it auto-locks), slide fingers over 0.5" and then adjustment in small increments.

    After coming from a ballhead, it takes some time to train muscle memory as to which axis is controlled by which knob, but I'd never go back to a ballhead now.

    Also, the more I use the quick release plate system, the more I like it (vs AS clamps)

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,387
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Studio Ball Head Recommendations Needed

    I used a Manfrotto 405 for years and wile I agree the 405/410 is a great head I had to have mine serviced a couple if times because one of the gears totally seized up which I believe is a common issue. At over 100 per fix which in just under a 1/3 of the new cost I decided to switch.

    First and most obvious choice (this is getdpi) was the Arca Cube which is an unbelievably good geared head but a bit slow to set under certain circumstances. Its great for my architectual work but in the studio a bit slow so I now also have the new Arca Z1g+. I highly reccommend this head, no creap, no movement on tightening, big ball so even with low amounts of friction the head still grips so small adjustments can be made.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •