On The Ball

Having acquired a stellar small tripod last fall (Mo’ Gitzo) I subsequently needed to outfit these legs with a small-ish ball head.  What is small-ish?  It should weigh no more than 1 lb and should support a camera (with lens) of 20 lbs.

Because I equip my cameras with a quick-release system that called “Arca-Swiss compatible”, I immediately eliminate any possible choices that will not support Arca-Swiss quick-release.   (So, for example, I rule-out some tripod heads by Manfrotto, Giotto, Benro, etc.)

Markins Q3T ball head is designed with a diameter that is perfect match for a Gitzo GT1541T tripod.   However, while the Q3T is ideally suited for the GT1541T, it offers no particular advantage when paired with the GT1542T, which I have.  (If you are taller than 5’7, the GT1542T is a better choice than the shorter GT1541T

Some other possible choices include Really Right Stuff BH-30, Fiesol BC-40D, and Induro BHL1.  But, in the end, I chose the PhotoClam PC-36NS.  The size is perfectly suited for the GT1542T and it only weighs just a bit more than 12 oz (350g).  The variable friction is extremely smooth and requires no break-in period.  Includes a built-in bubble level.   $209 from reallybigcameras.com.

Three terrific ball-heads

Shown in the photo above:   Linhof Profi III  (big, very expensive, smooth like butta) with a Kirk Enterprises clamp, Arca-Swiss Z1 (the standard in professional ball heads), PhotoClam PC-36NS.


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