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Grip-release monopod ball head

 
 
Doug Warner
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      05-28-2005

I thought I'd run this past the group and see if any one is
interested.

I wanted a ballhead that would let me loosen it for adjusting quickly
without changing my grip and without removing my right hand from the
camera controls.
Originally, I thought the Bogen/Manfrotto 3265 grip action head would
work, but when tilting the camera, it's entire weight swings on a 6"
axis on the top of the monopod. It just didn't feel secure. Plus, it
was very heavy, relative to my CF pod.
Plus, when the camera is tilted to portrait position, the viewfinder
drops about 13". which means I either had to adjust the monopod or
bend over.

So, after some modification, and removing as much metal as possible, I
came up with this: http://webpages.charter.net/dwarner2/MonoBall.jpg

My left hand holds the monopod steady, fingers on the lever, and my
right hand is always on the controls. Adjusting takes just a quick
squeeze, and the camera's swing axis in only about 2" now. The weight
with the QR plate hovers between 1.3 and 1.4 lbs on my scale.

Then, to see if I could lose even more weight, I did the same with the
new magnesium 322rc2 head, and produced this:
http://webpages.charter.net/dwarner2/MonoBall2.jpg

Unfortutately, the new housing was already very light, and didn't have
much metal that could be removed, so I couldn't remove nearly as much
weight. (The only magnesium parts are the two shell halves and the
ball cup.
The end result was a weight nearly identical to the old one, and it's
about 2" taller, Still, it does feel nicer in the hand.

I lost the lever spring while disassembling it once, (cleaned my whole
garage looking for it), so I have to order a new one. I'll probably
sell the new one on ebay after I get the spring. Right now, it has a
temporary smaller spring, which doesn't clamp the ball tightly enough.

Yes, I tried the 322RC2 in it's intended horizontal position, but it
was difficult to pick the whole camera / monopod up with it, without
releasing it and grabbing the pod shaft itself. With the modified
versions, lifting and moving is simple, and my left hand remains to
steady the stick (except when zooming)..



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