Acratech GV2 Ball Head - a story and some photos

Started Apr 4, 2011 | Discussions thread
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ianbramham
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Acratech GV2 Ball Head - a story and some photos
Apr 4, 2011

I really like my Manfrotto 055CXPro3 tripod and it gets loads of use, however I bought it with a Manfrotto 498 ball head, which leaves a lot to be desired when using it with my D700 in portrait orientation as the Manfrotto camera plate relies purely on friction to keep the camera locked in one place.

I've recently noticed that it's been damaging the rubber underside of the camera.

Photo showing the damage to the rubber underside of the D700 due to the twisting between the plate and the camera

This is the Manfrotto plate that has caused the damage. It relies purely on friction between the plate and camera to keep the camera in one place.

As a result of a recommendation from Steve Ashton in this discussion thread http://www.flickr.com/groups/thephotographyforum/discuss/72157625908135298/ I bought an Acratech GV2 which uses the arca swiss system for the design of the quick release plate.

The advantage of all tripod heads that use arca swiss type plates is that there are a range of manufacturers who make great camera plates that are individually profiled to your camera.....here's the one that is now on my D700. You can see how the rear of the plate is profiled to match the shape of the underside of the D700 which means it isn't just relying on friction to keep the camera locked tight onto the ballhead.

Shaped ballhead plate on my D700

The Actratech GV2 is a much better but more expensive ballhead than the Manfrotto 498 - apart from the lack of slippage and resultant damage, the friction control knob on the Acratech is much better which means smoother and more finely adjustable movement without having to use the lock knob.

The Acratech is also usable as a gimbal head (for anyone who is interested in that kind of tripod head). It's lightweight, weighing less than 1lb (.45kg) and holds over 25lbs (11.4kg)

I do a lot of my photography on the coast where the tripod often gets contaminated with sand and mud - the open ball design of the Acratech GV2 should also mean that it's resistant to jamming.

....and here's one showing the D700 connected to the Acratech GV2 in portrait orientation. It would be even easier with an L plate and this is the next thing I plan to get

Finally, here's a few photos that I took recently with the new equipment on a joint photo trip to north Wales with John Leech and Mike Spriggs http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1039&message=38033235

1 - Llandudno Pier

2 - Llandudno Pier

3 - Llandudno Pier

4 - Moonrise at Talacre

Ian
http://ianbramham.com/
http://ianbramham.aminus3.com/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/thephotographyforum/

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