You might have heard of a company called “FLM” before – it is based out of Germany and it is in the business of making pretty solid tripods and tripod heads, competing against such recognizable brand names as Manfrotto, Really Right Stuff, Kirk and Arca-Swiss. While at Photo Plus, we saw a few FLM ballheads on display and we decided to ask Markus Burklin, Director of Production at FLM to showcase their top ballheads for our readers.
My journey with high-end ballheads started with the Arca-Swiss Z1, which I used for a while until I replaced it with the bigger and sturdier Really Right Stuff BH-55. Although I have been using the BH-55 for a while now, I have been using other tripods heads quite heavily as well – for example, for testing lenses in a studio, I cannot imagine using anything other than the very specialized Arca-Swiss C1 Cube, which is probably one of the most expensive tripod heads you can find on the market (but well worth the price for specialized needs). I have also tested out the Manfrotto 405 Pro geared head, along with the high-end Linhof 3D Micro tripod heads for different uses. Aside from the ones officially reviewed on this site, I have played with many other flavors of tripod heads, even on the budget-friendly side from Sunwayfoto, MeFOTO and many others.
At $600 for their biggest ballhead, FLM definitely competes on the higher-end ballhead market, so its direct competitors are such heads as the RRS BH-55 and Novoflex ClassicBall 5 II. All these are engineered with precision and are designed to carry a lot of weight and withstand a lot of field abuse. During the last few weeks, I have been working on obtaining samples of different types of ballheads to create an ultimate comparison of all popular ballheads on the market, so I am hoping that folks at FLM will send me a test unit to include in such a comparison.
The FLM ballheads seem very smooth and they have additional features that the RRS BH-55 does not – check out the video below to see:
My goal is to first test premium full-size ballheads from different brands in the price range of $300-$700. After that, I am planning to test mid-size ballheads and end the comparison with small, travel-friendly ballheads from different manufacturers. I have been shooting with very interesting contenders such as the UniqBall for the past few months and it looks like other options really do look solid, which is great news for us photographers, because it gives us options!
More to come…