Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ball head study - Giottos MH-1000

This is not a review of the Giottos MH-1000 Ball Head which I own and use. This is a note to self on equipment in general. The first step is as always to RTM (read the manual). Ideally this would be more than a cursory look. It would be a hands-on-touchy-feely look at the manual and equipment. I didn't do this with the Giottos Ball Head. How hard could it be to operate a ball head? Anyway, I was initially disappointed with the MH-1000. Seemed to have a lot of droop after tightening the camera in place. Especially with a longer lens like the 50 to 200mm Telephoto. Well, I had ben thinking of upgrading to a new bigger and better ball head when I decided to get up close and personal with the MH-1000. Here's what I found. The MH-1000 came with the MH-652 Camera mount which came with the MH-642 Quick plate whic attaches to the camera. The MH-642 has the 1/4-20 threads + a spring loaded pin. This pin locates on the camera to keep the camera from rotating on the camera mount. Brilliant. I had never noticed this before. This only came from examining the parts close up and personal. I looked at the relationship of the camera mount to the Olympus E510. There is play between the camera mount and base of the camera, due to the fit of the two parts. Some of the droop I notice when using heavier lenses comes from this. A camera mount that engaged more of the camera base would probably be beneficial. I tightened the ball to lock the camera in place. The ball does not move when putting downward forces on the camera. The droop is not coming from ball movement.I have noticed slop in the actual lens connection to the camera. I read somewhere that this is normal. This can be a problem if you have a big lens on the E510 (like the 50-200mm) on the MH-1000. I adjust the lens position by holding the lens. So when I let go, there will be some droop due to the slopiness of the lens mount. A better solution would be to use the tripod mount that came with the 50-200mm lens. The point of this ramble is to say 1) read the manual, and 2) examine the parts of the system to understand how everything is supposed to work together. It will most likely improve your shots.