Ball head Tag

Because it's mine. It  wasn't yesterday morning when I went into the Stirling Street shop to take illustration images for the weblog. I propped up my portable product set on an unused counter top and went round gathering whatever was new. I noted that the Sony shelves were being stocked with fresh lenses and bodies - and it is darned nice to see the new display cabinetry moving toward completion in the front of the shop. Dangerous, though. The sight of new equipment, well-displayed, penetrates deep into the soul of a lot of us. There are jokes about Gear Acquisition Syndrome and how much photographers like to buy things - and there is more than a grain of truth in the humour. You must know the truth - that same desire is often in the management and staff. We love all aspects of photography; images, art, knowledge, personalities...

Some years ago, the pistol grip  was a popular thing. You saw them on a lot of things; umbrellas, stick shifts, and .44 Army Colts amongst other things. They also appeared on photographic ball heads. The idea was that the pistol grip would make it easier to point a camera and lens on the ball head for action shots. You saw advertisements for these grips with long birding  or sports lenses. We sold several varieties - I remember them from Italian and Japanese makers. They may still be made. There is a new head in the Stirling Street  shop that is along these lines - but with a very important improvement. It is all to do with ergonomics. The Vanguard Alta GH-100 hs a lot of the same features as the older rivals; adjustable grip angle, centralised weight over the tripod, quick release plate, etc. But it scores a new point with an improved ergonomic feature - the release mechanism no longer involves opening your hand to open the lock. You can keep a very firm grip on the whole structure while releasing...

You never know what these things do - you never know that you want them. Till you see them. I can't tell you what the little metal spider is called - it was sitting in the Edelkrone rack at the Stirling Street store all folded up like a dead arachnid. The fact that it had a 3/8 in. treaded stud on the top sort of gave away that it might be to support a ball head or other camera device, but that was all. Then I tried unfolding it and it refused to open - until I figured out that the legs only open one way -and once they are out, the structure can spread like an " X ". At this point the rubber feet that form the ends of the legs set onto a flat surface and the whole device starts to make sense. It also starts to be a very sturdy support. A little more experimentation shows that the stiffness of the joints in the arms is deliberate - you can set them at intermediate points and they will...

Every so often I find a cache of goods in our storeroom that do not sit on the racks downstairs - there is only so much space inside a concrete building and you have to leave room for the staff to sidle sideways. But the fact that the items are not on the general show doesn't mean that they should not be seen - someone may benefit greatly from them. The winner with today's find is the studio worker who will be using a really heavy camera and lens setup that needs to be both rocks solid and reasonably compact. The Cullmann Titan TB 8.2 is all that and incorporates a unique feature to secure the camera. We've all gone to some trouble to make sure our cameras are secure on the tripods we choose - many people attaching quick-release plates or brackets to the bottom of digital cameras. These work fine if the tripod head has a correspondingly sturdy shoe and grip to hold the thing. But many large format and oddly-shaped cameras don't sit well on quick release plates. They...

Or how to go viral without going bacterial. When I pulled the Joby Gorillapod Mobile RIG off the Murray Street rack this week I thought of it as just another trendy apparatus to do interviews with. It wasn't until I looked more closely at the illustration on the front of the packet that the true nature hit me - this is a rig designed for the inveterate vlogger and selfist. And it's made to go out in the field to capture the full horror. Actually, it's rather an engaging little fellow - like a small mannequin holding up a camera, light, microphone, and mobile phone as a monitor screen. I would suppose that the phone is simultaneously streaming whatever is being recorded of the speaker to the social media and/or external storage. Well, if you're going to do it, this is a good way of getting a steady image and watching yourself as you do it. The Gorilla Pods have always been effective as mini tripods or wrapped around solid structures. Not so sure about the footage taken if you're going to hold...

When you buy a tripod, do you select the legs and then consider shopping for the head as a separate item? Or do you just accept whatever package the manufacturer decides to box up? Both approaches are valid, but this time we'll consider someone making a deliberate judgement. That someone is Carlos - and I showed you his pick of a Leofoto tabletop tripod that can unfold for extra leg length a few weeks ago. He's not just selecting on an idle basis - he paid out his own spending money for the rig. Now he has picked a particular ball head to go with it. The Leofoto LH25 is still a small head - in keeping with the size and form of the legs. But it has a massive ball for the size of the head and a very sturdy cage around it. Best of all, it is Arca Swiss compatible with a small grip and a large clamping knob - you can put sufficient pressure on the A/S rail to hold a decent-sized camera body. You also get something that many ball head...

It is rare that you encounter a piece of photographic equipment that is arrogant. But look at the featured image of the Joby Ballhead X. If that isn't throwing the head back, holding the sides, and laughing at you...