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FAQs - What ball head do you recommend?


We have prepared three charts comparing some of the most popular ball heads. These comparisons are broken down by load capacity, and the information below refers to general ball head use (not suitability for use with the Sidekick). To make sure your ball head is compatible with the Sidekick, click here.

Important Ball Head Compatibility Information – Please Read:

Using Lever-style (flip-lock) Clamps

Using Bogen, Manfrotto and Gitzo Ball Heads

We do not advertise ball heads on our web site, but we do sell a few of the models listed below for your convenience. The ball heads we sell include the Wimberley C-10 QR clamp (installed) in the price listed. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing one of the ball heads available through Wimberley.

—  High Capacity Heads (Will support the largest lenses: e.g. 600 f/4, 400 f/2.8)  —

Ball Head
Weight (lbs)
Arca-Swiss style QR Clamp
Retail Price
Available Through Wimberley
Comments
Arca-Swiss Z1

(with Wimberley Quick-Release Clamp)

1.5

Yes

We sell the Arca-Swiss Z1 with a Wimberley QR clamp installed.

$445.00 Yes

Now available with reinforced stem

Next evolution of Monoball after the B1, which was the industry standard for many years.
Suitable for almost all applications; no reports of the lockup issues of the B1.
Recommended for use with all collared lenses. Adequate panning and load capacity.

Arca-Swiss lever-release and double-decker clamps
are not recommended for use with Wimberley QR plates or the Sidekick.

DO NOT use: double pan (dp) Z1; or the Z2 ball head with the Sidekick. Monoball P0 and P1 heads are not compatible with the sidekick.

Arca Swiss Z1 Stem Warning for ball heads manufactured before June 15, 2008.

Linhof Profi III 2.8 No, Must add Wimberley QR Clamp. $615.95 No Very nice ball head. Friction control not as smooth as Arca-Swiss, but doesn't have lock-up problems found with the Arca-Swiss. Cons: very expensive, does not come with an Arca-Swiss style quick-release.
Foba Superball 2.6 Yes $534.95 No Excellent load capacity, average smoothness. It uses a lever rather than a knob to lock the ball. The lever is quick to operate, but bulky and difficult to adjust.
Graf Studioball 3.7 Yes $314.00 No Excellent load capacity, very good smoothness. The panning base uses ball bearings, and is very low-friction. If you are not concerned with the weight, this head is a good option. The knobs on this head are plastic and they are not captive. Broken or missing knobs are not uncommon on these heads.
Markins M-20 1.3 Yes $390.00 No This is the lightest head in this group, but it will still hold the largest lenses. It is basically a smaller version of the Arca-Swiss B-1, but unlike the B-1, it doesn't have an aspherical ball. As far as we know, it does not have any lock-up problems. It is very nicely made and has excellent variable tension (virtually no stick-slip).
Really Right Stuff BH-55 1.9 Yes $415.00 No This is a very attractive ballhead that will hold a lot of weight. It does not have the smoothest variable friction, but the variable friction control knob is very easy to use and intuitive. The quick-release clamp has a built-in bubble level.



—  Medium-High Capacity Heads (Will support 500 f/4 sized lenses)  —

Ball Head
Weight (lbs)
Arca-Swiss style QR Clamp
Retail Price
Available Through Wimberley
Comments
Kirk BH-1 2.0 Yes $355.00 No Very capable ball head. Slightly heavier and less smooth than Arca-Swiss B1 or Z1 and holds slightly less weight. Does not have the lock-up problems of the Arca-Swiss Monoball.
Click here for more details.

Gitzo 1377M

(With Wimberley QR Clamp attached)

2.0 No, Must add Wimberley QR Clamp.
$224.00 No Similar to Kirk BH-1, but with slightly less load capacity. Will hold the weight of a 500mm f/4, but not as well as other similarly sized heads.
Click here for more details.

 

—  Medium Capacity Heads (Will support 300 f/2.8 sized lenses)  —

Ball Head
Weight (lbs)
Arca-Swiss style QR Clamp
Retail Price
Available Through Wimberley
Comments
Kirk BH-3 1.25 Yes $255.00 No Slightly better load capacity than other heads in this category, but not quite as smooth as the Gitzo 1277M or the Linhof Profi II.
Linhof Profi II 1.6 No
(Must add Wimberley QR Clamp)

$409.95

No Excellent smoothness, but expensive and does not come with an Arca-Swiss style quick-release clamp.
Click here for more details.
Acra-Tech Ball Head 1.0 Yes

$290.00 No Very lightweight, decent smoothness, and good load capacity for this category. Unique slanted sleeve for holding the ball can make it more difficult to position the ball without repositioning the pan mechanism.
Click here for more details.

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