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Thread started 30 May 2012 (Wednesday) 18:55
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How "Max Load" of a ballhead was measured

 
peter_n
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May 31, 2012 09:09 |  #16

I don't have an "actual point". My experience is that a larger diameter ball is always going to be better in terms of load, stability, and smoothness at the optimal friction setting. I think the first sentence in your post is misleading.


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pwm2
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May 31, 2012 09:20 |  #17

It is always easier to get a good result from a larger diameter ball.

But if you do read my post, I note that the diameter of the ball can't be used as a defining factor. It it could, then everyone should get the cheapest heads available that happens to have an oversized ball.

So there isn't any "is always" here. A cheap head with a large ball is not automatically a head with a high max load and smooth operation.

In the end, the ball diameter will really matter very little if all the other factors haven't already been locked down. The surface coating of the ball is way more important. And the type of clamping of the ball is also way more important than the diameter.

Remember that the OP wanted to focus on a formula based on the ball diameter - if that is really what defines a the load capacity (and the other important factors like sag, friction, usability, ...) of a tripod head, there wouldn't be a need for any high-end ball heads.


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May 31, 2012 10:06 |  #18

cacawcacaw wrote:
If you can come up with a standardized testing method, it would be interesting to have other POTN forum members all perform the tests on their equipment and share their results. I'd do it!

The challenge in DIY testing to any agreed-upon 'standard' that we POTN members might try to perform, is that both the ballhead and the tripod that it is mounted to will be tested as a unit.

The only way to eliminate the tripod from the test is to mount every tested ballhead on a standardized test fixture (e.g. big rigidly mounted block of steel with integral 3/8" stud to mount ballhead on), so that tripod sag in the column and/or the legs is completely eliminated.


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cacawcacaw
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May 31, 2012 10:56 |  #19

Wilt wrote in post #14511145 (external link)
... The only way to eliminate the tripod from the test is to mount every tested ballhead on a standardized test fixture (e.g. big rigidly mounted block of steel with integral 3/8" stud to mount ballhead on), so that tripod sag in the column and/or the legs is completely eliminated.

When I was doing my tests (which took all of 30 minutes - I don't want to give the impression that I was doing anything thorough or scientific) I was wising that I had one of those combination wood-screw/tripod-mount-bolt devices so that I could compare the difference in deflection/vibration with the camera mounted directly to a rigid wooden beam and then with a ballhead in between the camera and the mount.

If we wanted to do ballhead tests that didn't require any additional hardware, we would actually need to come up with a test that would incorporate a specific tripod/camera/lens combination.


Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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cntangcn
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May 31, 2012 12:54 |  #20

pwm2 wrote in post #14510930 (external link)
It is always easier to get a good result from a larger diameter ball.

But if you do read my post, I note that the diameter of the ball can't be used as a defining factor. It it could, then everyone should get the cheapest heads available that happens to have an oversized ball.

So there isn't any "is always" here. A cheap head with a large ball is not automatically a head with a high max load and smooth operation.

In the end, the ball diameter will really matter very little if all the other factors haven't already been locked down. The surface coating of the ball is way more important. And the type of clamping of the ball is also way more important than the diameter.

Remember that the OP wanted to focus on a formula based on the ball diameter - if that is really what defines a the load capacity (and the other important factors like sag, friction, usability, ...) of a tripod head, there wouldn't be a need for any high-end ball heads.

Hi Pwm2,

I agree that the diameter is not the only factor, but i would think it is one of the most important indicator especially if our purpose is to decide which ballhead we should go with.

put the question simple, Markins Q3 and Q10, which one should I go with?

I would (safely) guess Q3 and Q10 has similar material, structure, coating, etc. and the only differences are the diameter (38mm vs 44mm), the max load (30kg vs 45kg), the weight( 375g vs 490g), and the price($289 vs $369).

I would definitely go for Q3 in my case, because it is lighter, and it is cheaper - if it can hold my camera firmly.

Can Q3 hold my camera firmly? if the max load is true and the 3-times/4-times experiences is true, Q3 is more than enough (my 5dII + 70-200F4 is less than 2.5kg. the max load of Q3 is 10 times more than the number)

However, surf online most people would suggest to go for Q10 if I have that type of combination.

That make me feel Max load is meaningless. it cannot even be used to compare the ballheads made by the same vendor.

then what they are charging for and what we are paying for?
1) the material cost to make Q3 and Q10 will not be that different
2) the labor cost to make Q3 and Q10 will be close
3) Max load doesn't count
So are we paying $100 more for purely physiological sanctification? that doesn't seems make sense to me.

Plus, the bigger the ball, the higher the max load, at least for those branded ball heads, the number are pretty close. I would not comments on those no name "big ball but nothing else". that's not in the short list of most of us.

Thanks,


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pwm2
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May 31, 2012 13:18 |  #21

cntangcn wrote in post #14511943 (external link)
Hi Pwm2,

I agree that the diameter is not the only factor, but i would think it is one of the most important indicator especially if our purpose is to decide which ballhead we should go with.

put the question simple, Markins Q3 and Q10, which one should I go with?

I would (safely) guess Q3 and Q10 has similar material, structure, coating, etc. and the only differences are the diameter (38mm vs 44mm), the max load (30kg vs 45kg), the weight( 375g vs 490g), and the price($289 vs $369).

I would definitely go for Q3 in my case, because it is lighter, and it is cheaper - if it can hold my camera firmly.

Can Q3 hold my camera firmly? if the max load is true and the 3-times/4-times experiences is true, Q3 is more than enough (my 5dII + 70-200F4 is less than 2.5kg. the max load of Q3 is 10 times more than the number)

However, surf online most people would suggest to go for Q10 if I have that type of combination.

That make me feel Max load is meaningless. it cannot even be used to compare the ballheads made by the same vendor.

then what they are charging for and what we are paying for?
1) the material cost to make Q3 and Q10 will not be that different
2) the labor cost to make Q3 and Q10 will be close
3) Max load doesn't count
So are we paying $100 more for purely physiological sanctification? that doesn't seems make sense to me.

Thanks,

But the ball head diameter just can't be the major deciding factor, since it is technically feasible to design a head with a smaller ball to manage the same weight with the same sag and the same friction feeling.

And if it was a (or even the) major deciding factor - how come some manufacturers don't even specify the diameter?

If you decide between a Q3 or Q10, it really isn't the ball diameter that is the important thing - price, weight, behaviour should be more important. And within reasonable limits, a smaller ball can match the behaviour of a larger ball. Just that it is normally easier to get good performance with a larger ball, since the surface area to clamp increases with the square of the diameter.

If the ball diameter really was the most important factor, then a cheap chinese 60mm ball head would be the clear preference before any 55mm ball head from the traditional high-end manufacturers.

But in the end, a 40mm or a 60mm ball would still give practically zero sag if clamped by a properly rigid cradle and would, if properly polished and treated, manage a very, very long life span with maintained excellent feeling. The question is - do a head manufacturer really want to make the cradle more powerful for the 40mm head to compensate for the higher forces - and removing the weight advantages from the smaller ball?

The big difference between a Q3 or Q10 isn't just any ball size but the full set of design decisions made when creating the two heads. The Q3 sales argument is "lightest weight in its class". A Q3 with same weight as a Q10 would have a different feeling/behavior even if the ball would still be 38mm instead of 44mm.


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cacawcacaw
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May 31, 2012 13:48 |  #22

cntangcn wrote in post #14511943 (external link)
...I would not comments on those no name "big ball but nothing else". that's not in the short list of most of us....

At only $99 (about 1/3 the price of a Q3), the Vanguard SBH-300 is worth considering. Lensrentals.com even rents them, right alongside the Markins, and says that the plate is "appropriate for any lens up to a 300 f2.8 size."

If you can afford the best, go for it. But there are less expensive choices.


Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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cntangcn
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May 31, 2012 15:41 |  #23

pwm2 wrote in post #14512046 (external link)
But the ball head diameter just can't be the major deciding factor, since it is technically feasible to design a head with a smaller ball to manage the same weight with the same sag and the same friction feeling.

And if it was a (or even the) major deciding factor - how come some manufacturers don't even specify the diameter?

If you decide between a Q3 or Q10, it really isn't the ball diameter that is the important thing - price, weight, behaviour should be more important. And within reasonable limits, a smaller ball can match the behaviour of a larger ball. Just that it is normally easier to get good performance with a larger ball, since the surface area to clamp increases with the square of the diameter.

If the ball diameter really was the most important factor, then a cheap chinese 60mm ball head would be the clear preference before any 55mm ball head from the traditional high-end manufacturers.

But in the end, a 40mm or a 60mm ball would still give practically zero sag if clamped by a properly rigid cradle and would, if properly polished and treated, manage a very, very long life span with maintained excellent feeling. The question is - do a head manufacturer really want to make the cradle more powerful for the 40mm head to compensate for the higher forces - and removing the weight advantages from the smaller ball?

The big difference between a Q3 or Q10 isn't just any ball size but the full set of design decisions made when creating the two heads. The Q3 sales argument is "lightest weight in its class". A Q3 with same weight as a Q10 would have a different feeling/behavior even if the ball would still be 38mm instead of 44mm.

Thanks for replying my question. based on what you said, it appears i don't really need to consider the "max load" or how heavy my camera is, nor the ball diameter. i just need to choose a decent brand ( yea there is no definition on decent brand either:)), and go for the smallest/cheapest model. since my requirement is for travel, i want it to be light, and big or small they will hold my camera equally well.

hmmm...I am not sure I am convinced on this logic...

Anybody has 2nd opinion?

Thanks,


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cacawcacaw
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May 31, 2012 15:55 |  #24

cntangcn wrote in post #14512657 (external link)
... hmmm...I am not sure I am convinced on this logic...

Anybody has 2nd opinion?

Thanks,

For travel? Depends on how you're traveling and the type of shooting you do. If you're living out of a rucksack, a monopod (with no ballhead) can be very stable when braced against something. And a GorillaPod Focus (for camera/lens combinations up to 11 pounds, and again, no ballhead necessary) or a beanbag would probably suffice for the occasional time exposure.

As with cameras, the best tripod is the one you have with you.


Replacing my Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 17-55mm, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and 150-500mm with a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. I still have the 17-55 and the 30 available for sale.

  
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cntangcn
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May 31, 2012 15:55 |  #25

cacawcacaw wrote in post #14512187 (external link)
At only $99 (about 1/3 the price of a Q3), the Vanguard SBH-300 is worth considering. Lensrentals.com even rents them, right alongside the Markins, and says that the plate is "appropriate for any lens up to a 300 f2.8 size."

If you can afford the best, go for it. But there are less expensive choices.

thanks cacawcacaw. I actually checked Vanguard tripod. sounds like a new but decent player in the market and got a lot of TIPA rewards. My problem is that I could not find a correct size/load tripod for me in their product line. looked at 255ct but decided to against it. I did read the famous "Thom article" and the Gitzo discussion in POTN. I guess i am leaning to FEISOL 3401 (without central column) at this moment.

Ballhead side, it appears most people suggest to go to those vendors who are focusing on that, like RRS, Markins, Kirk, or even Photo Clam. this is the part that got me so confused and raised my question. Regardless how much it is, I don't want to spend my hard earned money for something i don't know why.


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pwm2
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Jun 01, 2012 02:02 |  #26

cntangcn wrote in post #14512657 (external link)
Thanks for replying my question. based on what you said, it appears i don't really need to consider the "max load" or how heavy my camera is, nor the ball diameter. i just need to choose a decent brand ( yea there is no definition on decent brand either:)), and go for the smallest/cheapest model. since my requirement is for travel, i want it to be light, and big or small they will hold my camera equally well.

hmmm...I am not sure I am convinced on this logic...

Of course you aren't - since you just made this logic up. It has nothing to do with what I did write.

I haven't said max load is irrelevant anywhere.
But it has been established that max load means different things to different manufacturers so it can't be used for comparison between manufacturers.

I most definitely haven't said anything about going for cheapest or lightest - just that weight of the head matters to load capacity - and that a smaller ball requires firmer clamping so a head with a small ball would put more depands on the clamping - and hence be similar weight as a head with larger ball, if there is a need to support a high load. If anything, I have said the reverse about cheap/light - that a cheap head would need to use a larger ball or be much heavier than a high-end head to manage the same results. You find that controversial?

And I have most definitely never claimed that different ball heads will handle camera equipment equally well. I have claimed the reverse.

You have any other things you want to invent me having said?


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Jun 01, 2012 07:07 |  #27

pwm2 wrote in post #14514882 (external link)
Of course you aren't - since you just made this logic up. It has nothing to do with what I did write.

I haven't said max load is irrelevant anywhere.
But it has been established that max load means different things to different manufacturers so it can't be used for comparison between manufacturers.

I most definitely haven't said anything about going for cheapest or lightest - just that weight of the head matters to load capacity - and that a smaller ball requires firmer clamping so a head with a small ball would put more depands on the clamping - and hence be similar weight as a head with larger ball, if there is a need to support a high load. If anything, I have said the reverse about cheap/light - that a cheap head would need to use a larger ball or be much heavier than a high-end head to manage the same results. You find that controversial?

And I have most definitely never claimed that different ball heads will handle camera equipment equally well. I have claimed the reverse.

You have any other things you want to invent me having said?


Hi Pwm2,

Markins make Q3 and Q10. I was thinking the reason that Q3 and Q10 have different max load is because of the ball diameter. the samller the ball, the cheaper the price. this is true for Markins, Kirk, RRS, etc.

you suggested If I decide between a Q3 or Q10, it really isn't the ball diameter that is the important thing - price, weight, behaviour should be more important

I am not clear on what you are referring to as ballhead "behavior". I would think Q3 has the lower price, lighter, and ballhead diameter doesnt matter, why people buy Q10 then.

thanks,


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Jun 01, 2012 07:18 |  #28

cntangcn wrote in post #14512657 (external link)
Thanks for replying my question. based on what you said, it appears i don't really need to consider the "max load" or how heavy my camera is, nor the ball diameter. i just need to choose a decent brand ( yea there is no definition on decent brand either:)), and go for the smallest/cheapest model. since my requirement is for travel, i want it to be light, and big or small they will hold my camera equally well.

hmmm...I am not sure I am convinced on this logic...

Anybody has 2nd opinion?

Thanks,

You may not like what you have just read, but it does make sense. The cheaper/lighter M3 is never going to be the quality of the M10 from the same manufacturer is it?

Given the same attention to design and manufacture, a bigger ball will give better control.


Richard

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pwm2
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Jun 01, 2012 08:07 |  #29

cntangcn wrote in post #14515397 (external link)
Hi Pwm2,

Markins make Q3 and Q10. I was thinking the reason that Q3 and Q10 have different max load is because of the ball diameter. the samller the ball, the cheaper the price. this is true for Markins, Kirk, RRS, etc.

you suggested If I decide between a Q3 or Q10, it really isn't the ball diameter that is the important thing - price, weight, behaviour should be more important

I am not clear on what you are referring to as ballhead "behavior". I would think Q3 has the lower price, lighter, and ballhead diameter doesnt matter, why people buy Q10 then.

thanks,

What I'm saying is:

If "ball diameter" is the major factor for a ball head, then that is the #1 question when asking about a new ball head.

Most people would buy functionality, so they would ask about weight, load capacity, price etc.

Next thing I'm saying is that if you use a larger ball, the clamp force (in N/mm2) can be lower, so the clamping cradle can be made lighter. So if one manufacturer wants to make one head supporting 50 kg load, and another supporting 25 kg load, it is cheaper to use a larger ball for the head supporting a higher load. But you can build a head with same size ball - just that it is simpler to step up the ball diameter when stepping up the load capacity without significantly stepping up the weight of the head.

So yes - given the same technology from the same manufacturer, a head with a smaller ball will normally be lighter because it contains less material. That it sells for less money is more a marketing decision - premium price for premium loads.

But a Markins head with a 38mm head will win over a large percentage of heads from other manufacturers having 44mm or 50mm ball. Just because the ball isn't defining the max load. The ball is just defining the amount of clamping force needed and the amount of material in the collar around the ball, to grip it with the required force.

So in the end - a user who wants to buy a ball head should not make the ball diameter the major factor in the decision. It really is not a controlling factor when it comes down to the bottom line: Will the head be suitable for the task.

It matters much more if the gear is using steel, aluminum, magnesium, ... or the precision of the surfaces, or the shape of the clamp holding the ball, or the screws/levers/... that you use to lock the ball.

So you can find that a new ball head with diameter x on the ball can behave much better than a ball head released 10 years ago from the same manufacturer but with a larger ball diameter - just because of design and material changes.

Claiming that the ball diameter is the major factor is like claiming that the cylinder volume is the major factor for the power of a car engine. The F1 engines have quite impressive power despite very small cylinder volume, while bus engines have very low power compared to their cylinder volume. All for the simple reason that cylinder volume does not define power. Extra cylinder volume only gives extra power if the motor is designed to take advantage of that cylinder volume.

So back to you - what is your #1 (or #1-3) question(s) when you want to know about a new ball head?


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afoton
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Jun 01, 2012 11:56 |  #30

RRS have great comments on what ballhead is suitable for what gear : http://reallyrightstuf​f.com/WebsiteInfo.aspx​?fc=72 (external link)

At least this comment is way more informative then a max load based on a finger in the air. But its not comparing with other brands.




  
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