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Old Aug 19, 2010, 3:55 PM   #1
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Default Manfrotto Geared Head for tripod

http://www.adorama.com/Als/BG405.html

If you have one of these, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

I played with one today for about 20 minutes at the store and I think I fell in love. What's the down side? (Other than the price) Speaking of downside being the price. Seem to me that is a re-occurring theme in photography.... The only down side to the stuff you want is the PRICE!!
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 3:23 PM   #2
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Anyone?
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
http://www.adorama.com/Als/BG405.html

If you have one of these, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

I played with one today for about 20 minutes at the store and I think I fell in love. What's the down side? (Other than the price) Speaking of downside being the price. Seem to me that is a re-occurring theme in photography.... The only down side to the stuff you want is the PRICE!!
Don't know if you are still following this thread, but what would you use it for? What kind of camera, types of shots, location etc?

This might be good for some exacting work - shooting copies of paintings, etc. However, for general purpose work, for that price I'd just get the RRS BH55 and be done with it.
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 10:19 AM   #4
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Hi Billy,

First, I have no idea what I'm doing. I am not an expert at this by any stretch of the imagination.

But I read stuff from people who do know this craft. I am a fan of Scott Kelby's works because they are written in such a way that they make sense to me.

Kelby says that if I want to take tack-sharp portraits, then:

Focus on the eye of the subject.
Use a tripod
Use a remote shutter release
Turn the Image Stabilization off
Use the lowest iso possible and a quick shutter speed and NOBODY move.

Well, here's the deal, I can't get my camera to stay in the precise spot I want it to! I focus on my subjects eye, then I tighten down all 3 levers on my tripod, then I let go of the camera and lens, and it moves, usually it drops down a bit. So I have to loosen it and start all over. (My current tripod is a manfrotto).

So I'm seriously looking at the geared head, so I can eliminate this frustration for both me and my subjects.

I use two different lenses, and both are rather heavy. So it'll take some serious tightening to get it locked down. My thoughts are that a geared head will eliminate this mess.

Thanks for asking!
FP
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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Well, maybe a geared head is for you. I use a ballhead because for me it is a lot quicker to set up. But I also have a tripod built like a tank (a 5 series Gitzo) and a ballhead that doesn't move after you tighten it (acratech GP).

But maybe a geared head is right for you. Question is, why has it taken you this long to decide?
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Well, maybe a geared head is for you. I use a ballhead because for me it is a lot quicker to set up. But I also have a tripod built like a tank (a 5 series Gitzo) and a ballhead that doesn't move after you tighten it (acratech GP).

But maybe a geared head is right for you. Question is, why has it taken you this long to decide?
After thinking about it, there are a couple things...

- I don't have experience with this particular geared ballhead, but looking at it I have to believe that the 3 hinges would have more vibration than a decent ballhead (like an arca-swiss or RRS, etc). If you want ultimate sharpness, as opposed to precision alignment, it is something to consider.

- Are you using autofocus (otherwise, why to you care where the focus spot is)? I would suggest going to manual focus. What kind of camera do you have? I use live view on my Canon, and zoom in with the LCD screen to check focus. You could also do some focus bracketing with minor tweaks to the lens focus ring to be safe.

I think it would look unnatural to have the subject's eye in the center of the photo every time, and unnecessarily restrictive.

Just some thoughts, but it is your money and decision to make. Have you also looked at the arca-swiss cube? Now that looks like a solid geared ballhead to me, but a little pricey.
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 1:51 PM   #7
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I have the cheaper 410 Junior geared head, it is brilliant, the action is very precise and it is very stable. I use it on a Gitzo CF tripod.
I use the combination most with a 1DsMk3 with my 24L TSE Mk2, but it also copes well with my 1DsMk3 with 300L f4 IS with and without 1.4x extender.

I can only imagine that the version you linked to will be even better!
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 2:12 PM   #8
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Hi Billy,
I'll try to answer a couple of your questions.
First, my camera is the 5DMarkII by Canon. It allows me to rotate the focal point. Therefore, it's not necessary for the subject to be in the center of the shot.

Some of the shots I've been working on are with a really narrow dof, so getting the eye in focus is essential whether it a profile shot or a shot with lighting from the side.

Also, the lenses I use are pretty sharp, so they don't let me get away with close enough.

My frustration is that I go to great lengths to get the shot set up and have the right equipment and I can't get the little red square to stay where it's supposed to.

I think I'm nuts. My bride knows I am.

Michael
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 2:28 PM   #9
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Michael.

that 410 junior (Ed Bray linked) would be plenty for your camera and needs, and save you quite a bit of cash i believe.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 7:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
Hi Billy,
I'll try to answer a couple of your questions.
First, my camera is the 5DMarkII by Canon. It allows me to rotate the focal point. Therefore, it's not necessary for the subject to be in the center of the shot.

Some of the shots I've been working on are with a really narrow dof, so getting the eye in focus is essential whether it a profile shot or a shot with lighting from the side.

Also, the lenses I use are pretty sharp, so they don't let me get away with close enough.

My frustration is that I go to great lengths to get the shot set up and have the right equipment and I can't get the little red square to stay where it's supposed to.

I think I'm nuts. My bride knows I am.

Michael
I have a 5D2 as well. But I sure don't use autofocus when I want critical focus - too unreliable. You can get much better results using live view manual focus and zooming in on the LCD.
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