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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
This Article Features Photo Zoom
The Redged RT-3 ($110.70, www.redged.com) is the company's strongest RT-series head, weighing 15.2 ounces and able to support 22 pounds. It features smooth operation and a 360° ruler for panning.

The 10.7-ounce Sirui G-10 ballhead ($94.95, www.siruicanada.com) can support up to 39 pounds. It features aluminum-alloy construction, an Arca-type quick-release and separate knobs for main lock, pan lock and friction control.

Featuring anodized aluminum construction and single-knob operation, the SLIK SBH-550 Pro Ball Head ($189.95, www.thkphoto.com) weighs 20.8 ounces and can support up to 22 pounds. It features a panning base with degree markings.

Kirk BH-1

Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR

SLIK SBH-550 Pro

The economy-priced Smith-Victor BH2 ballhead ($44.95, www.smithvictor.com) weighs 14.4 ounces and can support 18 pounds. It features separate knobs for ball lock, pan lock and tension adjustment, and a quick-release system.

The 3LT AH1 AirHed from 3 Legged Thing ($132, www.3leggedthing.com) doesn't quite meet our 18-pound weight-bearing requirement (the 14.1-ounce magnesium head can support 17.6 pounds), but it's available in sharp blue with a copper-colored quick-release plate (also magnesium), as well as in basic black. It features a dual-control knob, separate pan lock and double bubble levels.

The Vanguard BBH-100 ($169.95, www.vanguardworld.com) weighs under one pound and can support 22 pounds. It features a rapid-leveling system and two bubble levels.


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