When my unique tripod head began getting a bit unfastened and wobbly, the choice needed to be made to switch it. However what was I going to get for a brand new head?
There are various manufacturers and decisions and after doing loads of analysis and studying evaluations, a very powerful parameters (for me) have been narrowed down to those:
- It should be as gentle as potential
- There should be a lever clamp
- Panorama leveling included
After a lot cautious consideration, I opted to go together with the Acratech Ball Head with Lever Clamp choice. For these , the opposite severe contender was from Actually Proper Stuff. Pricing was comparable however the Acratech was so much lighter.
When it lastly arrived (it takes a very long time for issues to journey to NZ affordably) the very first thing that shocked me was how small it was. The second factor was how hefty, strong and nicely made it was. It’s nearly a murals in its personal proper, how sculptured it appears.
Up shut and private with the Acratech GP Ball Head
There are three knobs on the bottom of the Acratech GP. The biggest one with the notches is the ball head launch – that is the one which will get used on a regular basis to place the pinnacle.
On the identical stage is a smaller spherical knob which is chargeable for adjusting the stress. While you loosen the primary knob it could possibly go utterly unfastened and floppy actually rapidly, or you may pressure it to have a bit extra resistance.
There’s a small notched knob on the panorama ring. It permits the entire head to swivel round backward and forward – a crucial requirement when panning throughout for panorama photographs.
There’s one notch that permits you to drop the digital camera over 90 levels (to a vertical place) and be held firmly in place there.
On the prime is the digital camera mount plate which has a lever clamp with a security launch. This needs to be held down for the lever to let go. It’s simple to get a shirt cuff caught within the lever so this can be a essential function.
On the entrance of the digital camera mount, is a excessive friction adjustment knob so you may shut the lever tightly across the tripod plate on the digital camera.
Lastly, there’s a bubble stage on the digital camera mount plate.
Listed below are the specs on the Acratech GP Ball Head from the producer’s web site:
- Will maintain as much as 25lbs (11.4kg)
- Top 4.14″ (105mm)
- Size 3.47″ (88mm)
- Vast 3.20″ (81mm)
- Base Diameter 2.375″ (60mm)
- Weight 0.95 lbs (.43kg)
NOTE: It additionally comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Establishing the Acratech GP Ballhead
Step 0 is to screw the pinnacle to the highest of your tripod legs.
Step 1 is to kind out your acceptable stage of pressure wanted for the ball head whenever you launch the primary locking knob.
- Too unfastened and the digital camera will immediately flop over to at least one facet in case you don’t have a hand supporting it.
- Too tight and it may be stiff and troublesome to place, which slows you down and is sort of tiring after some time.
- My most well-liked choice is ready in order that it’s tight sufficient to loosen off slowly initially however has sufficient play to maneuver about simply.
Step 2 is to place the digital camera on the mounting plate (with the ball locked shut) and the adjustment knob on the mounting plate loosened.
This lets you seat the digital camera firmly and holding tightly with one hand, screw the adjustment knob as tight as you probably can.
Step 3 is to determine the way it all works along with the digital camera mounted. You might need to change the tensioning as soon as the digital camera provides its weight to the association.
There’s a full arrange video on the producer’s web site, or you may watch it under:
One of many advantages of the Acratech GP ball head is it affords three key options in a single mount:
- Normal ball head with lever clamp choice
- Gimbal head
- Panorama head
1. The usual ball head permits you full rotation across the prime of the pinnacle and a drop notch to permit a 90-degree supported digital camera place.
2. Gimbal head makes use of the drop notch and by having each the primary knob and the panorama knobs loosened, you may swing the digital camera round and swivel up and down freely. This works greatest when you could have it mounted on an extended lens with a locking collar.
3. The panorama head is a singular function the place you unscrew the pinnacle from the legs, additionally unscrewing the digital camera mounting plate from the highest of the tripod.
You then screw the digital camera mounting plate on the underside of the pinnacle and screw the reassembled head again onto the tripod legs.
(See the video above which totally explains all these options.)
The Consumer Expertise
I’ve had my Acratech GP Ballhead for a number of years now and typically, I actually prefer it although there are some design options I discover fairly irritating.
- The primary locking knob has a very brief shank (the space between it and the physique of the pinnacle). My fingers aren’t big however I typically scrape my knuckles on the facet of the pinnacle when tightening the locking knob.
- The primary locking knob is sort of small which suggests it’s essential to flip it so much as a result of it lacks the leverage a wider knob would give. Because of this, I’ve the tensioning set fairly excessive.
- When the tensioning is ready in the direction of the upper finish (i.e. fairly resistant), it could possibly typically appear that the digital camera is locked in place. Nonetheless, if the locking knob is just not totally engaged, the digital camera can abruptly drop or hunch particularly if in case you have a heavy lens. Or if you’re actually unfortunate and also you didn’t examine the friction knob was tight, your digital camera actually falls out of the pinnacle and smashes onto a concrete flooring!
- Test that the lever clamp excessive friction knob is tight as it could possibly loosen over time.
- It could be the age of my head however I discover it droops down a bit when the digital camera settles into place. Not an enormous quantity however it’s noticeable when working with macro and tightly framed compositions. It’s manageable by setting it a tad greater than common and letting it drop into the right place.
- For panoramas I’ve by no means bothered to muck round with unscrewing it as its designed to be, I simply set every part up after which loosen the pano base knob and swing it round fortunately.
- I’ve by no means used the gimbal function so I can’t remark right here.
I shoot with a Canon 7D Mark II and my heaviest/longest lenses are Canon 24-70 II F2.eight IS, Canon 100mm F2.eight IS L macro and Canon 70-200 F4 IS L with a locking collar.
I acquired an RRS L-plate for the digital camera and a lens plate for the 70-200mm lens.
My tripod will get used so much. I all the time use it for landscapes, as I do a good quantity of lengthy exposures. Any macro pictures is all the time carried out utilizing the tripod and most of my meals and nonetheless life pictures are carried out on a tripod as nicely.
That is solely the second tripod head I’ve owned in 10 years of doing pictures and typically, I’m very proud of it.
It’s tiny compared to different choices, so the lighter weight is appreciated when touring or carrying the tripod. Regardless of the scale, it does present a great agency base and permits me to get strong sharp photographs.
There are just a few quirks to get used to with regard to organising and utilizing the pinnacle. I’m certain that is fairly widespread it doesn’t matter what model or choice you get.
My one foremost niggle is the design of the primary locking knob. The shank is simply too brief and I’ve scraped my knuckles bloody on multiple event. It may be prevented by cautious positioning of my hand in relation to the knob, however for my part, it’s a design flaw that ought to be improved upon.
Total, based mostly on the vary of options it affords a humdrum photographer (i.e. you don’t have massive heavy lenses), the lighter weight, high quality of workmanship and design, I give the Acratech GP Ball Head eight out of 10.