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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gadget Bag: Ballheads Deconstructed

See how this staple of nature photography works, plus how to choose the right one for you

Labels: Gadget BagGear
The Induro BHS2 ballhead ($76, www.indurogear.com) weighs 12.8 ounces and can support 18.7 pounds. The ballhead features single-lever operation, a built-in bubble level and a secure dual quick-release locking system.

The Kirk BH-1 ballhead ($375, www.kirkphoto.com) weighs 30 ounces, can support 50 pounds and comes with an Arca-style quick-release plate. External parts are made of 6061-T aircraft aluminum, and internal parts are made from brass and stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

The heavy-duty Linhof Profi-III 1 ($807, www.hpmarketingcorp.com) weighs 2.8 pounds and can support 22 pounds. It features separate ball and pan locks, and a 360° panning scale.

The Manfrotto 054 Magnesium Ball Head ($224.99, www.manfrotto.us) weighs 24 ounces and can support 22 pounds. It features a 90º-105° Portrait Angle Selector, a QS quick-release system and three bubble levels.

Flashpoint F-9

Giottos MH1000-300

Gitzo GH1780FQR Series 1 Safari

The Novoflex MagicBall ($539, www.hpmarketingcorp.com) features a unique design in which it can be positioned up to 120° in virtually any plane, then locked there with the same large handle. The MagicBall weighs 2 pounds and can support up to 22 pounds.

The Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR ($375, reallyrightstuff.com) weighs 16.9 ounces and can support 18 pounds. The low-profile unit features a compact release-lever clamp (requires a Really Right Stuff quick-release plate) and separate knobs for locking/unlocking the ball, tension adjustment and panning.


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