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Old Jan 19, 2007, 5:56 PM   #1
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So far I have been just using a rudimentarily bean bag type of setup to shoot from my car. But, I think I like to go the the next level and get a good ball head for my Monopod and perhaps a good window mount. The Leonard Lee Rue III window mount system was recomended and KirkPhoto.com also has a good window mount. But, my real question is what kind of ball head do any of you use? So far it seems that the Kirk BH3 and BH1 are the standards. Though I have found that Reallyrightstuff.com also has a high quality series of Ball heads. It's a lot of money, so I want to make a smart choice. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and carefully considered.
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Steve
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 7:31 PM   #2
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Steve,I looked at the choices you mentioned and those that have and use them recommend them highly. After some thought, I decided to go a more conservative route for the time being.

I use a Bogen/Manfrotto 488RC2 Midi Ball Head with the quick release and mounted on an Ergo Rest for a window mount. I realize it most probably doesn't compare to the Kirk or RRS but I figured I would get satisfactory use for a while.

It took some getting used to for me and would really prefer a better fricton control on the head but I get by ok with it. For the present, I decided to put the additional cost elsewhere. Just my set up for shooting from vehicle.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 9:00 PM   #3
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Steve...I don't know what size lens you have but I use the bogen 468MGRC2 hydrostatic ballhead. It has a great friction control and it doesn't move when you lock it. I just got a nikon 200mm 400mm f4 vr lens which is quite large so I got a bogen gimbal head for my mono-pod and it's great. I tried the cheaper ballheads but would have to adjust it several times to keep it where I wanted it when locking it down.

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Old Jan 19, 2007, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. Ron, I have been using the Tamron 200-500mm which isn't that heavy. But I know that someday I am going to want to move up to a 500mm f/4 prime or so. I just don't want to fall into the trap of "I wish I had gotton that one to begin with" :roll: I am just starting to research and gather intel. I actually saw a 10 year old LLRue window mount that a guy I met was using. It looked rock solid. He also had the Kirk ball head, Quick Release, and a Gitzo tripod. Probably over a $1000.00 in that setup alone. It will be awhile before I can save up that kind of $cratch, but I figure it doesn't cost anything to gather information.
Thanks for your replies.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 10:14 PM   #5
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VP wrote:
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Steve,I looked at the choices you mentioned and those that have and use them recommend them highly. After some thought, I decided to go a more conservative route for the time being.

I use a Bogen/Manfrotto 488RC2 Midi Ball Head with the quick release and mounted on an Ergo Rest for a window mount. I realize it most probably doesn't compare to the Kirk or RRS but I figured I would get satisfactory use for a while.

It took some getting used to for me and would really prefer a better fricton control on the head but I get by ok with it. For the present, I decided to put the additional cost elsewhere. Just my set up for shooting from vehicle.
I just took a look at the Ergorest at Adaroma. How do you like it. It looks fairly stable. I also found a review that seemed pretty positive. $80 as opposed to $250 might be worth a little compromise if it works. The review said that it worked up to 500mm lenses but for the bigger lenses you'd need a bigger Ball Head.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 11:27 PM   #6
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Steve, I use the Manfrotto 3265 pistol grip that I won in a photo contest. It takes some getting use to but I love it now! Has friction adjustment and locks solid when the trigger is released. Works beautifully for tracking a moving subject.
$91.0 at Adorama

-Kent

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Old Jan 20, 2007, 6:10 AM   #7
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Steve, I use a Gitza 1325 Carbon Fiber tripod with a RRS BH55 Ballhead and the wimberley sidekick and it is as smooth as silk. A good ballhead is a key component my friend... I will admit it was hard spending $455.00 on one however! :?
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Old Jan 20, 2007, 6:32 AM   #8
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Steve....I like the Ergorest pretty well, it is sturdy and compact and can be used also for atable top tripod.I just make sure I tighten the locking/positionlever VERY well so it doesn't move. The only aggravation is themachine screw...it can be used for 1/4" or 3/8" and when you turn the knob to disassemble the head from it, it leaves the screw in the head.Then have to remove the screw with fingers, which isn't hard to do. I have been meaning to put some lock-tite on the threads on knob endto stop that.

It is pretty simple but slips on top of a window easily and with the legs extended against, usually, the door panel it stays in place. The ball head I use is rated for 17 lbs. and I have used a Sigma 70-200 2.8,plus 2x converter which is heavier than the 400L I use with no problem.

One ofthe main considerations, of course,when using a window mountis movement...inside the vehicle or wind blowing, which will move a long lens or rock the vehicle.When the wind isblowing pretty good, I am as well off handholding.

I haven't tried any of the other window mounts that are more expensive and probably well made, but I expect that with any of them, you will have limited range of movement on moving/flying subjects that are close. You might get a pic of a door frame:-)
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Old Jan 20, 2007, 10:08 AM   #9
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i have a Dynatran squeeze-grip ball head that looks just like the one Kent has, only mine came bundled witha heavy-dutytripod which i got on eBay for $85. the thing is rock-solid, and it works pretty well, but like most of its type, ithas some limitations with respect to max elevation or depression angles. my next major purchase will likely be a gimbal mount - not because my 80-400 lens is heavy enough to need it, but because the gimbal is far faster and smoother than any ball head, and offers greater range of movement as well.
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Old Jan 20, 2007, 7:28 PM   #10
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I want to thank everyone who replied. I really appreciate all of your input. I am going to try the Ergorest and I agree with you VP on the limitations in windy conditions, but since I have basically been hand holding all of my recent shots that shouldn't be a problem. Mike, my sister lives in San Luis Obispo where the RRS store is. I was in there once before I really got going agian in photography. As far as I can tell you are absolutely right. A good Ball Head is the key. Gulp, I think that's the way I am going to go. After all, you can't take it with you.
Again, thank you everybody. You have been great.
All the best,
Steve
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