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Old August 25th, 2004, 09:33 PM   #1
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Half ball vs flat heads

I would like to get the Gitzo 2380 head but my tripod has a bowl (Libec TH-M20). I see the Bogen 501 in kits with a half ball but alone it's like the Gitzo; flat.

Am I missing someting? Can't I get the Gitzo in either ball or flat head?

TIA
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Old August 25th, 2004, 10:17 PM   #2
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Sorry. Let me ask my question better.

I see a Bogen 3426 Video Head Adapter Bowl B&H BO3426 that I think lets me turn a stock 501 (flat) to work in a bowl tripod.

Theres a Gitzo adapter that specifically says its for Studex heads. THe GItzo 2380 doesn't appear to be a Studex family Gitzo head.

Does anyone know if there's a ball version of the Gitzo 2380 or can point me to some alternative ball heads for under $250?

TIA
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Old August 27th, 2004, 05:07 PM   #3
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Ernest,

I think you are asking an impossible question of the good folks here. Have you contacted the manufacturers/distributrors as to what will work with what??

They are very good with responding to questions like yours.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 06:17 PM   #4
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I'm not sure that I'm up to speed on your issue, but fools rush in... I visited B&H in June specifically to add a fluid head and ball leveler to my kit (VX2000). I bought the 501 and a decent Manfrotto tripod geared to the light camera weight, and a custom centre column with a half-ball on top. The centre column was around USD$100. I replaced the existing centre column with the ball leveler column at a charming patio restaurant a couple of blocks east of the store, and I never made a better investment. I know you aren't looking for advice on ball or no ball, but hopefully the fact that the centre column is replaceable will be helpful. Of course, the shaft on the column I bought fit the octagonal shape of the collar through which it had to pass on this particular tripod, but if you're marrying various Manfrotto parts that is probably a given.

David Hurdon
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Old August 27th, 2004, 11:46 PM   #5
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Sorry. I thought someone who had a Gitzo may have known. I'll contact them and see.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 07:57 AM   #6
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Ernest... sorry I haven't been to this part of the forum for a while... I've got a lot of experience on this very issue.

The Gitzo leveler is the G1321 and it's $159 at B&H... when I bought a 2380 head I was under the impression that I HAD to use this leveler instead of the Bogen/Manfrotto ball... which is $120 CHEAPER and lighter weight. NOT SO! The Gitzo leveler is simply a glorified version of the same thing... which is built to look flashy and complex... DON'T BUY IT... IT'S A STUPID WASTE OF MONEY OVER THE BOGEN PIECE! 75mm is 75mm and 100mm is 100mm... ANY half ball of that size fits any bowl of that size.

The 2380 head is a flat bottomed head and it attaches to a flat base tripod just like any other flat bottom head. 3/8" coarse thread... that means you can convert that head to a ball leveling system a couple of different ways.

The 2 common size bowls are 75mm and 100mm... if your tripod had a 75mm bowl then I'd have said to get this:

Click HERE for a Manfrotto 75mm ball level for flat bottom heads.

But after looking up your tripod I see that it unfortunately has an unusual sized bowl... 65mm. In that case you need to first make that a flat top tripod... then I could suggest this:

Click HERE to see the Manfrotto levelling system for mating flat topped tripods to flat base heads.

Without seeing your pod in person I can't tell if there's any way to do that... it appears that this pod was intended to NOT be upgraded... it's unusual to see such an affordable pod with an integrated ball level of any kind... this pod, complete with head is only $179 at B&H right now.

Why don't you check to see if that 65mm ball base can be unscrewed from the Libec head... if you're REALLY LUCKY then Libec may have made the ball base screw into the head with a standard 3/8" coarse thread. If they did that then I'd give some really high praise to Libec for giving you that at this price point. Then it would simply be a case of screwing it to the new head.


If none of the above will work then you may want to ebay that pod... or just keep it as a lightweight spare... then get a whole new setup that's made to take a 75mm ball base. New legs aren't THAT expensive... and you'd be getting a much more rigid pod as part of the deal.

After the 2380 fiasco... and realizing that between the head and the Gitzo leveller I'd suddenly found myself in the price-range of better heads... I decided to just say "F"- it... and I got a super-good tripod. So good luck with whatever you decide to do... if you find a way to upgrade your head and not spend too much money doing it then you should be happy... if you can afford to upgrade everything and end up with a rigid set of legs with a 75mm bowl and a good head... I don't think you'll miss the cash.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 12:10 PM   #7
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Matt, your advice was very helpful. I wanted to end up with a ball leveled tripod. I never thought to consider that these balls attached to heads in a standard way. I was able to move a ball from a 65mm head that came on an eBay purchased new tripod (avoid Dreammaker and their Fancier brand stuff) and put it on a Tiltall flat head (B&H) I had on my mono pod that is identical to the Libec. Fortunately, the Fancier and the Tiltall were both 65mm. I now have two ball heads for my two 65mm bowl legs. This forum saved the day. Thanks again.
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