Guidenet: I've always considered the big four of Arca Swiss, Really Right Stuff, Kirk and Markins to be the largest part of the Arca dovetail market with Aratech in there at a slightly lower price point. Quite honestly, I've never heard of the rest of them in both tests.
Personally, I'd not consider Gitzo because it's not Arca compatible. Gitzo is part of the Manfrotto group which is also not represented in either the 2014 or this review.
If we consider ballheads which are not Arca compatible, then we're certainly missing Manfrotto which probably has a market share larger than all these put together. Their top models are superb. I'm a little surprised at their omission. The Hydrostatic and magnesium models seem technologically interesting enough as well as being as unique as many that are represented but unheard of. ;-)
Maybe this is a list of ballheads owned by staff members and therefore readily available for review. Nothing wrong with that.
I have owned RRS and Kirk plates and L-plates. I have also owned a number of off brand ones. Right now on my A7II I am using one from Sunway Photo and have been very happy with it on both my A7II.
That upgrade cost is why I went with AS. The only time I buy plates is for new cameras. You can get plates from around $10 up to around 170 if you want RRS or Kirks. The real advantage is when out with a group anyone using the platest is free to try my set up. L Plates also make my life easier. Over time I believe that both Manfrotto and Gitzo will be AS compatible across the board.
When Manfrotto and Gitzo complete going Arca-Swiss compatible, then their heads are worth testing, otherwise I would not recommend them.
RichRMA: I bought a ball head out of China on Ebay that looks a lot like the FLM unit. Has dual ball tensioners/locks and works perfectly. $25.00 and free shipping. Pay $350 for an Acratech ballhead? Not likely.
Also I bought one, loved it so much I sold it for what I paid and then bought the higher end model. Cheap can be really nice, but when your gear is not he floor broken it won't matter if you wasted space and weight by carrying backups.
That's fine if you are an amateur or semi-pro. On the other hand if you are a travel photography, or a wedding photographer you do not have the time or luxury. I am not saying that you can't, just that it is not wise.
I would never put a $3000 lens on a $30 head. I do not want to carry around 2 or 3 heads in case 1 breaks. I spend more on my head because i want to put my camera and lens on it and never have to worry.
It's like buying a $2000 stereo and a $50 set of speakers...
The difference is that the guy with the Acratech does not have to waste time replacing his broken head, because it simply does not break. I love mine, worth every dime. Another point is that I would rather own a head that isn't going to break and drop my camera on the pavement...
I have owned two Acratech heads and would happily buy another if I needed to. The head is simply amazing. Worth every penny I have it on a Feisol 3301, what an amazing combo.
larrytusaz: I picked up a Nikon D5000/18-55mm kit for only $175 around two weeks ago, it even included a portrait grip, 2 spare batteries, a Toshiba case and a 4G card. It would totally blast any of these to pieces. Yes it's large--so? When you care about quality, you only use the good stuff, not the stuff the Kodak/Polaroid crowd is using. Besides, if you can't deal with an SLR, there's always a Sony RX100 or Panasonic LX100, or the Sony NEX-6 which I also have and which, with Wi-Fi, can beam your images to a device for instant sharing, if that really matters so much.
The best camera is the one you have with you...
This is not an article about owning Full Frame, Crop Sensor, compact cameras, no it is about Camera Phones. Stating that the regular cameras are better is like saying that a Corvette will win you more races than a Honda Civic, duh.
Not everyone has a camera with them at all times, but most have a smart phone with them. That is what this article is for.
Neroon: Simple answer is no.
Canon needs lenses and they need full-frame to be taken seriously. This fact that they are not selling it in the US speaks volumes about their attitude.
Combine that with the endless wait for a high MP camera and what do we get? Two cameras that will not ship till mid year at best and that cost more than $3500. In the meantime I am selling off all my Canon gear and going Sony.
Not sure where you got the idea that the Sony f4 lenses cost as much as Canon's 2.8 Trinity? Yes, they are more expensive than the f4 Canon trinity, but not as much at the Canon 2.8s
Simple answer is no.
Acratech is my choice -- have never regretted getting one.
A lot of misinformation in this list
I have been shooting IR for several years. For the most part I do B&W images. The differences can be very striking. You do not need filters or tripod, though you will get sharper images.
IR is vastly easier but still challenging in Digital. You do not have special film and handling, you can handhold any shot you want unless the shutter is too slow - just like regular photography.
Here is some of my IR work: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjuAREAW
If you do not see smartphone as the enemy then you are clueless. Unless you are admitting that you are glad to be out of the no margin market.
El Profe: It makes no sense (to me) to design a classic or retro looking and hopefully with simple A, S, M controls (no 100 scenes modes) body and then damage the retro concept by using an EVF. If it has an OVF i think about it. But if it has an EVF i don't even bother not even to read about it (no matter the price).
Feeling a little archaic are we...let me know when you come up with a design that uses the X lenses and can fit a mirror between the lens and the sensor. I know, it could be a tiny mirror that shows 20% of the scene...next stupid complaint please.
konanon: If I may be allowed to dream...put that sensor in the E-M1 and you have yourself the perfect mirrorless camera. Well, for me at least.
Wait a minute. Aren't Olympus and Sony in some sort of partnership? Wouldn't that be interesting. The alpha 8 with E-M1 technology.
Dream session over.
That will be the A9r...
I am really not sure why Bogen and Gitzo both keep going their own way on the design of quick release plates. Does anyone know why?
I really like the look and feel of Gitzo's heads but the lack of arca-swiss plates is a killer for me. The head I have used for the last 6 years is an Acratech Ultimate. It is simply amazing, locks in place, is compact and extremely light. I can not more highly recommend them. The company also has excellent customer service.
None, the winner is the SONY a7r. If the lenses come then this is the camera that changes the game and points us to the future of full frame.
pbailey4: HDR techniques - please respect the fact that some people (ok it may just be me) see these images as a manipulation to far, compressing the natural lighting range to show detail. Did I just say the king has no clothes?
I think Ansel Adams would have seen HDR used correctly as the digital version of the Zone System and darkroom printing. To say "manipulation to far" fails to understand the power of what HDR when used correctly can deliver. It is not the posterized stuff we see by people all to willing to abuse the technique. The best HDR is less than noticeable. As Chris2J says, "it all depends on how you apply it".
Graystar: "perhaps the most significant of which is a very impressive-looking video specification."
WHAT?? Pass what you're smoking, cause I want some!
At this level, if a pro needs pro video he's going to use a real video camera! The AF operation down to f/8 is far more significant, allowing the 500mm and 600mm lenses to auto-focus when used with the 2X teleconverter. THAT'S important to a photographer! Not video!
Simply sublime logic. Let's see, what do you do for a living? Are you a Pro? The reason the 5D2 was so ground breaking was it's video. Movies and TV have used them to shoot scenes. DOF is the reason along with the size of the sensor and noise levels at low light. It's the reason we now see the new FF video cameras coming out -- why is RED so hot, thank the 5D2. You and Sam can from a club of people in denial about technology and why progress happens. This reminds me of the silly Film versus Digital debates back around 2000.