High End Ball Heads

cedmondson

Well-known Member
I've just splashed out on a Manfrotto 055CXPro4 & now I'm wondering whether to go for an upmarket head to partner it.
I currently have both 486RC2 & 804RC2 heads and a 190XProB tripod (all Manfrotto) so I'm fairly clear on the relative merits of ball vs 3 way. Ideally I'd like something small, light & easy to carry (so probably ball...) but which can be adjusted very precisely. There are some esoteric heads out there (Markins, Really Right Stuff, Kirk, Arca-Swiss) though with esoteric price tags to match - but are they worth it? Also is there anything in the midrange worth considering? I've been thumbing through my Speedgraphic catalogue today (awesome 'tog porn BTW) and they have a very interesting looking range of heads by a German company called FLM - the feature that really sparks my interest is a knob that locks all but one plane of movement. So I'm interested in hearing whether anyone here has gone for (any) high end head and considers it either worthwhile or not and especially whether anyone has any experience of the FLM stuff.
 

cedmondson

Well-known Member
Yep, I'm aware of that thread - but it doesn't really address my particular questions. Thanks anyway though :smashin:

I am actually looking to get either a 486 or 804 ; )
which one would you prefer to take carrying around town?
For anything involving much "carrying" I'd prefer the 486. Especially so around town as there are fewer bits sticking out. HTH
 
V

vulkan75

Guest
Hi Colin,have you considered the Red snapper.

Id consider it High end and I think its pretty identical to the Gitzo one its based on which is like £150 More(im not sure of the model number).It is superbly precise and the engineering blew me away.It might be a tad bigger than you would like but it comes with a great little case that you could clip to the side of your back back if you wanted.

I gotThisone
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
there are a couple of main improvements for ball heads over and above the 486RC2

One is to have a friction knob, so you can smoothly move the head while still retaining control - rather than the current loose or tight with nothing in between.

The other is a panning base. This is what I want for my next head, and I think the 488 has it. You can lock the ball, but then have a separate control that lets you pan.
 

ljphil78

Active Member
there are a couple of main improvements for ball heads over and above the 486RC2

One is to have a friction knob, so you can smoothly move the head while still retaining control - rather than the current loose or tight with nothing in between.

The other is a panning base. This is what I want for my next head, and I think the 488 has it. You can lock the ball, but then have a separate control that lets you pan.
The RedSnapper head has both of those things :D
 

SomeVorn

Novice Member
I have played with the really right stuff BH-55 - seriously, if you can afford it without the kidney donation, I wouldn't hesitate in getting one. It was solid - and I mean that both the physically and the street-lingo way.

My manfrotto 488rco is fine but I have had to adjust for a slight drop as I tighten the head. Once its tight, its fine. But thats because (even though its a mid-range head) I sadly have accepted that its a relatively cheap product.

Quick note : I haven't used/tried the arca swiss heads etc but did read that RRS have based their head on that design.

If you can wait, go to the next trade show etc - you'll get to see for yourself and may get a deal etc.
 

cedmondson

Well-known Member
Firstly many thanks to all who replied. Your responses left me with the view that I might be able to find something that would do a good job without imminent bankruptcy (esp. Red Snapper) but also that some still view the really expensive (or perhaps Really Right ;)) variants as being worth the dosh. Hmmm...

So on an impulse I escaped this afternoon & whizzed down to Speedgraphic to take a look at the FLM range - & bought one. Really beautiful engineering (if you appreciate that kind of thing) with silky smooth movement & controls. The one I went for has 4 controls - the main 'lock', friction, independent pan AND uniquely a tilt control that enables all but one plane of movement to be locked off. Don't think anyone else does this - it's what caught my eye in the first place & I'm hopeful it will live up to expectations.

Not cheap - £149 (ouch) for the one I picked [both cheaper / smaller & dearer / larger variants exist] but dramatically less than some of the Arca, RRS, Kirk etc models. I have a couple of weeks 'grace' to return it if unconvinced. We'll see :cool:
 

P-P-S-S

Well-known Member
Hi Colin,have you considered the Red snapper.

Id consider it High end and I think its pretty identical to the Gitzo one its based on which is like £150 More(im not sure of the model number).It is superbly precise and the engineering blew me away.It might be a tad bigger than you would like but it comes with a great little case that you could clip to the side of your back back if you wanted.

I gotThisone
Vulkan, does that ball head have a built in spirit level? And also what materials is it made of (i have read that a good ball head should be made of a combination of Delrin and aluminium)?
 
V

vulkan75

Guest
Firstly many thanks to all who replied. Your responses left me with the view that I might be able to find something that would do a good job without imminent bankruptcy (esp. Red Snapper) but also that some still view the really expensive (or perhaps Really Right ;)) variants as being worth the dosh. Hmmm...

So on an impulse I escaped this afternoon & whizzed down to Speedgraphic to take a look at the FLM range - & bought one. Really beautiful engineering (if you appreciate that kind of thing) with silky smooth movement & controls. The one I went for has 4 controls - the main 'lock', friction, independent pan AND uniquely a tilt control that enables all but one plane of movement to be locked off. Don't think anyone else does this - it's what caught my eye in the first place & I'm hopeful it will live up to expectations.

Not cheap - £149 (ouch) for the one I picked [both cheaper / smaller & dearer / larger variants exist] but dramatically less than some of the Arca, RRS, Kirk etc models. I have a couple of weeks 'grace' to return it if unconvinced. We'll see :cool:

Nice one mate I just had a look on the web site...looks rather robust:D...just ordered a catalogue too:smashin:

Vulkan, does that ball head have a built in spirit level? And also what materials is it made of (i have read that a good ball head should be made of a combination of Delrin and aluminium)?
No mate it doesnt have the level built in....although if you get the tripod aswell it has one,I guess they hope you'll have them both.

As for what its made of I coulndnt tell you.....but I dont think it matters...Its very sold,precise and really fluid...I bet my house you wont get a better head for £50.
 

The latest video from AVForums

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in November 2020: Tom's Thumbs.
Top Bottom