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Old November 10th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #1
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Ball head to flat plate adapter

There are a few fluid heads on the market in my price range (ca. $1000) and weight class (support up to 20 lbs). They all use 75 or 100mm ball mounts. I need a tripod with a moveable center pole, which means the head must mount to a flat plate (I currently use an old Manfrotto 516 head). I have searched high and low for adapters that permit a ball mount head to attach to a center pole tripod, but can't seem to find any. Suggestions? Thanks.
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Old November 10th, 2013, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Here's a couple. They're not pretty though, as you need to allow space underneath for the attachment screw. Most of these seem to be for 75mm heads. You also need to take into account the length of the screw underneath the ball head.

Here's an option: Tripod Head DSLR Camera Cage | eBay

This one is small but doesn't allow for leveling. You might need to shorten the screw attached underneath the video head:
Manfrotto 325N Video Head Bowl Adapter Kit 325N B&H Photo Video


Or this one that doesn't look like it's available quite yet: Micro Hi-Hat (PRE ORDER) - Aviator Camera Gear
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Old November 10th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Thanks for the ideas, Nate. The Manfrotto one might work, but as you said, it's rather narrow. It would be nice to just unscrew the ball part and leave something flat behind. Oh, well.
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Old November 10th, 2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

head riser| B&H Photo Video
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Old November 11th, 2013, 08:08 AM   #5
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

The Sachtler FSB 8 has a flat base on the ball mount and can be fitted to a flat top tripod plate if the locking knob and threaded stud are removed. I use an FSB 6 on a Manfrotto Mdeve tripod like this on occasion.
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Old November 11th, 2013, 04:16 PM   #6
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Alan,

Thank you. This just may be the ticket. And it's only 4 lbs.
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Old November 14th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #7
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Sorry to be beating a dead horse, but as is so often the case, the answer to one question raises more. I was fortunate enough to be able to test a Sachtler FSB8. Lovely piece of equipment, and indeed, simply removing the 75mm bowl (took a wrench and 15 seconds) revealed a flat surface with a 3/8" female connector, perfect for a center pole mount. The only problem was that the 5 step fluid drag on this baby just doesn't get tight enough (or "thick enough" may be the term) to suit me. So I'm wondering if Miller, Vinten or other makes might have 75mm balls just as easy to remove, and better drags. Anyone know? Sure would be nice to live near B and H!
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Old November 15th, 2013, 03:26 AM   #8
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Are you sure that you actually engaged the damping fully? My FSB6 has quite stiff damping on its highest setting (3). Ideally you set both horizontal and vertical drag to the same setting. The drag does not engage just by adjusting the dials.

The different damping levels can only be felt if the horizontal and vertical brakes are open. You need to make sure that you always turn the setting to the next indexed position to avoid damaging the retainer pins. You then need to engage the correct retainer pins by slowly panning or tilting the camera. Only then does the new selected level of drag become active.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Alan,
Thanks for the reply. I was working the FSB8 with the Sachtler rep. He changed all the settings, so I assume it was done properly. The high setting on the drag was probably OK, it just didn't compare with what I can do with the Manfrotto 516, which is a continuously adjustable drag, and can get so tight as to be almost immobile. I usually shoot with big tele and large distances, where too loose a drag makes it hard to keep a moving subject mid frame. Maybe the FSB8 will just take some practice.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 11:42 AM   #10
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Re: Ball head to flat plate adapter

Steve Siegel...I have a Sachtler FSB 8. It was recently serviced and the highest Pan And Tilt Drag Setting of 5 is very 'thick/stiff'. If the FSB 8 you were using was a 'floor model', there's no telling how many 'miles' of wear and tear it had on it.

The 'flat bottom' wasn't an important feature when I purchased the FSB 8. But, it's come in handy while working with a small slider.

My current max payload is only about ~8.91#, so I'm not 'stressing the system'.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

J.
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