Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 Carbon Fibre & 496RC2 Ball Head

Light weight, sturdy enough for my gear and easy to use. Found serious discount and a $50 mfg rebate too. 

The 496 is the best match for capacity and weight that I found. Qualified ever so slightly by I have several RC2 QR bases and plates already. 

The 3 section legs are fast and easy to ready. I like flip locks a bit better than twist, though with just 2 per leg they would be fine and likely less issues long term. The carbon legs seem to work better in cold weather.

  • 2.9lb + .9lb makes the 3.8lb 
  • Legs length min 21.7" max 57" + about 4" for the head
  • Legs are rated for 11 lbs and the head 8 lbs

The 494 head has enough capacity for my gear but is too small in diameter for the tripod flange. The mount plate gets in the way making the knobs difficult to adjust.

Manfrotto plate modified

I had this plate base from way back that was a screw-on mount type, so I notched the bottom and tapered the top.

Modified QR Plate

I recently discovered a knock-off plate for a few $ on eBay that is much easier to buy than doing the tedious notch work with my dremel. Though mine fits the rib tighter than the knock-offs.

Joby Gorillapod Focus with Ballhead X 

Great portable but stout perch for any camera. Grabs car window, perches on hood or hangs tight to just about anything. The ball head then allows easy framing.

  • Flexible, Coiling Legs with over two dozen leg joints you can rotate bend. 
  • The Ballhead X allows full 360° panning and 90° tilts allow you to position your camera equipment at virtually any angle and capture portrait or landscape shots with ease.
  • Supports Up to 11.1 lb (5.3 kg)
  • Easy-to-Use Adjustment Knobs
  • Portable & Sturdy
  • Permanent universal 1/4" tripod screw.
  • Rubberized ring and foot grips to provide secure positioning of equipment.
  • Machined aluminum sockets and high-quality injection-molded thermoplastic ensure snug joints that stay firm even after lots of action.

Here I swapped out the Joby QR plate with Manfrotto's because I like the lever much better. To do this a 1/4 notch must be cut into the 323 baseplate. Same notch needed for the Benro head.

Another camera mount that I use most often is; 2 clamp and boom type mounts hacked together with a Bogen/Manfrotto QR baseplate fitted. Clamped to overhead shelves, it leaves the desk surface unobstructed for moving items to and from the capture area. Since this has a little wobble, a remote for bracketed shots works best. The silver flex arms in this picture have a Cree LED in a flashlight reflector monted on each end. Makes for pretty good light control

I've had a few other tripods but these are the ones I use now.

498RC2 Ball Head

This thing is big and stout … totally overkill for my gear! 

This has separate pan lock and holds over 17lbs 

It is about 5" tall and 1.4lbs

At double the weight and size I decided the 494 might be a better match and I'll just do without dedicated pan control.  Then discovered it to have a base that was too small for the mount plate on the tripod. 

The 498 head sort of defeats the purpose of the slim 190 tripod choice. The 496 fits things just about perfect.