Heavy D800 = I Need A New Tripod Ball Head

Started Dec 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Heavy D800 = I Need A New Tripod Ball Head
Dec 1, 2012

Hey everyone,

I've been browsing around tonight looking for a new ball head, but still don't know what would be best for me. There're almost too many choices. I currently have the Manfrotto 3265 Grip Action Ball Head. I initially really enjoyed using it, mostly for the cool factor. The build quality is also great. Over time, the more I used it, the more I realize how impractical it is. I have to keep my left hand on the grip and can't control the focus, zoom, or other camera settings while moving/panning and shooting. Also, a 5.6 lb weight limit may seem like enough at first (was "ok" with my D300 + 16-85mm), however with my D800 and 24-70 mounted it will only stay still if balanced on top center... and barely that. The elevated stance creates a tremendous moment arm which induces way too much torque on the ball/pivot.

So I need a new ball head and I'm looking for some advice. I think I paid between $120 and $150 for the 3265 when I got it many years ago.

To keep this short, for those who used/liked the 3265, what have you replaced it with? OR even if you haven't used the 3265, what head do you like/recommend that's around $200?

Ideally, I would like to be able to have my D800 mounted with the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, or 50-500mm (Bigma) with no movement when locked at all angles. I don't think that's too unrealistic. My 70-200 and 50-500 would obviously be mounted on the lens.

I looked through some older threads on here and saw some people recommend the Really Right Stuff BH series, but I don't like the price of the BH-55 (the most recommended), I also don't think I'd like the mounting plate. I've enjoyed using the Manfrotto Rapid Connect Mounting plate, but please advise me if you think I can do better.

Of the ones I have read about here in the forums or general searches, I like the Markins M20 (Q20), but it's still a bit out of my price range at close to $400. I like the left right panning function (which the 3265 lacks).

So I want a panning function.

I'm genuinely interested to see what you guys think. I'm not locked at $200, but it would be ideal stay around that... I'm trying save up for some other gear before an upcoming trip.

Thanks for looking and any advise you have!

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Nikon D300 Nikon D800 Pentax Optio M20
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