Graf Studioball Tripod Heads and Accessories

Studioball

  • Max load: 45 lbs
  • Quick release model available

  • User Reviews (3)

    Showing 1-3 of 3  
    nwfurhunter   Beginner [Jun 28, 2002]
    Strength:

    Tremoudous maximum weight capacity of 45 REAL (vs. internet, sic.) pounds makes tremendously stable for the comparatively small weight of my Nikon and 300mm telephoto. Smooth, smooth, smooth. Graf's bullet proof aluminum camera mounting plates incorporate an ingenious "Safety-Lock" that keeps the camera in the QR even when the quick release clamp has opened up CONSIDERABLY. New quick release works with all Arca-type QR plates, including the fantastic ones from Kirk Photo and Really Right Stuff. Stunning craftmanship.

    Weakness:

    Heavy: 3lb. weight scares off the faint of heart when it comes to packing it around. Wish they made custom camera QR plates (like those from Kirk and Really Right Stuff) with that cool QR Safety Lock feature.

    The purpose of this is correct some VERY outdated information found in John Shaw's "Nature Photography Field Guide" regarding this outstanding ballhead. #1: Current Graf QR camera plates ARE NOT nylon. I've purchased two Graf QR camera mounting plates in the last six months and they're high-quality machined, annodized aluminum alloy. #2: Graf StudioBall's QR Clamp works splendidly with ALL Arca-style QR mounting plates including the superb ones made by Kirk Photo and Really Right Stuff. I have plates from Kirk and RRS and although they can't take advantage of Graf's superb "Safety-Lock" feature, they work just like they do in Kirk or Arca QR heads. Since writing my earlier review, I traded in my Bogen 3033 for a Gitzo Systematic #1340 Inter Pro Studex tripod and have it mounted directly to the tripod's fixed top plate. This highly synergistic combination is easily one of the most stable tripod/head combinations around while weighing in at 9.5 pounds total so it's still easily carried. Best of all, the combination has made a huge improvement in the overall sharpness of my exposures, especially using long lenses.

    Customer Service

    Not needed so far.

    Similar Products Used: Bogen ProBall, Gitzo Offset Ball Heads, Bogen and Gitzo pan heads, Davis and Sanford Centerball.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Furhunter   Beginner [May 30, 2002]
    Strength:

    Unbelievably smooth operation from simple ball adjustments to panning allows for incredibly short setup. Supports about anything you can throw at it (40 lb. capacity). Jewelry level of fit and finish. Quick release is by far the best I've seen. Expensive but a bargain even at it's retail price. Knobs are large making adjustments easy for large handed folks. Exceptionally smooth friction adjustment that stays consistent across entire range of motion.

    Weakness:

    Heavy as hell (3 lbs.) for packing long distances. Expensive but worth it. Quick release plates are $50 each and are worth it. Ruins you for using just about any other ball head.

    Purchased (more like stolen!) new-in-box on Ebay. The folloing review is for the quick release model: It's been used for all my short haul photographic endeavors mounted to either Bogen 3021 Pro or 3033 tripods, using a Nikon N80 with lenses ranging from 20mm/f 1.8 wides to 300mm telephoto lenses. I've wrestled with Bogen 3-way pan heads and have had two rather frustrating and disappointing experiences with Bogen and Gitzo ball heads before the Studioball. Without a doubt this is one of the smoothest and stable ball heads available. The Bogen and Gitzo ball heads I tried not only drifted once locked (especially bad when the camera was tilted for portrait orientation) but also suffered from inconsistent friction across their range of operation which makes fine adjustments and royal pain in the neck. The Studioball in contrast locks as tight as a vault and is so consistenly smooth at any friction level that accurate adjustments can be made first try. In contrast, the other ball heads would sometimes take several minutes to get just right. The quick release is the best I've used. Not only does it lock your camera in place with vice-like precision, it has a safety feature that keeps the mounting plate engaged in the head even if the quick release becomes REALLY loose, keeping your camera attached even while slinging tripod and camera on my shoulder when changing locations. I know, it happened once. Saved the camera and an $800 lens. For just over $300 from bhphoto.com, this ball head is still a steal. For really long hikes I use the 38mm(only 11 ounces) CenterBall from Davis and Sanford. It's exceptional smoothness and fine-jewelry-like workmanship is puts the Bogen and Gitzo competition near its $150 price (bhphoto.com) to absolute shame.

    Customer Service

    Haven't used.

    Similar Products Used: My Dad's old Tiltall with pan head Bogen 3-way pan heads (good values) Bogen ball heads (yeech!) Gitzo ball heads (overpriced and underperforming) Davis and Sanford Centerball (incredible 11 ounch
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Charles Philip   Professional [May 23, 2002]
    Strength:

    Sturdy construction, lubrication free, easy find and turn knobs.

    Weakness:

    Plastic knobs can shatter if dropped, one improvement would be metal turning knobs.

    The Graf Studioball head, with quick release plate mounting system, is the starting point for making quality images in the natural setting where 'straight & level' conditions are seldom the norm. I have traveled through 96 countries in thre last 25 years and this ball head has always served me well. It is capable of providing ease of movement and stabilization through any range of photographic setups; this includes lenses ranging in size from 14mm through 600/4. Speed, which is essential in animal photography, is easily accomplished by means of the quick release mounting plate. Lens changes require a few short seconds. For the price a better ball head is hard to find

    Customer Service

    Prompt and courteous.

    Similar Products Used: Arca swiss B-1
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Showing 1-3 of 3  

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