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Old Aug 13, 2004, 10:00 PM   #1
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Does anyone have experience or comments on the Manfrotto 488RC2 ball head?

I've narrowed my low cost/ light weight tripod/ head considerations to the following:

Legs: Bogen/ Manfrotto 3001BPRO--light, stiff, quick, versatile
Head: Bogen/ manfrotto 488RC2--light, independent pan, should hold expected load(?)

Logic/ rationale (excuses?):

I'm not intellectually or emotionally ready to plunk down $300-$500 for an Arca-Swiss/ Acratech/ Markins/ RRS head, in spite of the fact that I know these are class act heads and will provide value in the long term. I'm also not disposed to splurging on carbon fiber legs, though I recognize the relative weight advantage. The 488RC2 seems like a reasonable compromise between cost and quality--and holding power(?).

I already have a Bog/Man monopod/ head that uses the RC2 QR system, and as far as proprietary QR systems go, I think that the Manfrotto RC2 style is pretty nifty and favor staying with it, but I'm open to input.

I want a lighter set-up than what I now have, which is a 30+ year old Bogen/Presto Professional-1 that is left over from my 4" x 5" view camera days; three section 35mm dia legs, pan/tilt head, geared center column, strong, stiff, 8.5 lbs HEAVY-- this sucker can be used as a trailer jack. So, I figure that this old work horse will still cover any serious stability needs that might occasionally arise, such as when using my C90 scope.

The heaviest cameras that I have left are a couple of Nikon-F bodies/ FTn finders-- heaviest lens 400 mm zoom.

Current (light weight) digi-cams, and the real focus of this tripod quest: Minolta A1, Oly C3020. Future cameras: something in between, say for example, a D70 or equivalent

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Old Sep 28, 2004, 7:39 PM   #2
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Sorry, no experience with that head but the Bogen site claims it will handle 17 pounds of whatever. I use the 322RC2 and love it's versatility. That one handles 11 pounds in the horizontal, 5,5 in vertical. I use it with my Oly5060.
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 9:58 PM   #3
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Hearing no prior feedback, I decided to 'just do it', and I got the 3001BPRO legs and 488RC2 head from B&H.

The 488 ball head is certainly capable of controlling most any SLR/DSLR with 'long glass' at all aspect angles without slippage.

The head is nicely machined and finished (typical Manfrotto). The ball motion has a nice smooth and firm action (not quite as silky smooth as the Arca). The ball control knob has a faily wide control range from light drag to positive lock, but lacks a separate tension control. The pan action is a bit stiff--not sticky, just stiff--but maybe it is because the head is new and needs to have a workout for a while. The pan base has separate lock control.

All in all, I would say that this head will suit my needs quite well.

While I really admire the jewel-like precision of the Arca-swiss head, for me the 4X cost premium was not worth value returned.
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