Parts for Graf Studioball

Parts for Graf Studioball
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Dunno if anyone else here at NPN owns one of these tanks for use with really heavy gear, but we do. Trouble is, the plastic knob on main control is pretty fragile and subject to breaks from crashes in field use.

After doing an epoxy job on yet another, I just learned that B&H can source them for $25. Can’t say how long that might last, so if you own a Studioball, it would be a pretty good idea to order one and toss it in a drawer. Next time you drop your tripod or drop something on it, you could well need a replacement. Or and epoxy session.

I don’t own one, Hank, but looking at the picture on B&H, this looks like a pretty standard screw knob, probably with a 1/4-20 thread. If that’s the case, you could pick up a replacement in the specialty fastener section of most hardware stores. It wouldn’t have the same shape of knob, but would work just fine and probably cost well under $5. Next time you’re out and about, take yours along and look.

If only, Dennis! The scale on the photo is deceptive, because it’s a metric size a little over 3/8". Worse yet, the thread pitch is a little different than any metrics available here. The Studioball is easily twice the size of an Arca Swiss, for better scale, and the knob itself is just shy of 2 1/2".

The problem is that the knob is “hollow” in the back and thin. When the new arrives I’ll do just as I did for repairs: Pour the back full of epoxy level with the edge to make the knob “solid.” I didn’t do so on the first go round and the repair lasted about a month. I filled it on the second try and it appears to be the answer.

Go figure. I doubt that it’s a proprietary thread, but you would probably have to go outside the US to find a generic knob. The epoxy sounds like an excellent fix.

As I recall it’s from Germany, though unsuccessful googling makes me suspect the company is no longer around. We’ve had a pair for close to 30 years, so perhaps another example of our geezerdom.

It’s rated for a 45# load and we’ve never come close to that, even with big studio 4x5’s. Talk about smooth and solid for field cameras and long lenses though!

Dunno if anyone but Dennis has followed this discussion, but I thought he and others might be interested in a look at the Studioball. Included are my ancient Arca Swiss B-1 and contemporary RRS B-30 heads for size comparison. It’s easy to see the repairs on the Studioball knob. As well as the battle scars on the B-2 from almost 40 years of hard carry. A/S most certainly builds them tough.

The Studioball is indeed a tank, but oh so good for steady holds of heavy loads. The shaft to the camera mount is short and a little over 3/4" in diameter and the ball is over 2 1/2" compared to the 1 3/4" ball of the A/S.

Very cool, Hank. I did some poking around on-line and these look pretty rare these days. I’d be sorely tempted to pick one up if I still had the 500 f/4. It looked like KEH had one for $59 (labeled “bargain”) if you want a parts unit.

Good tip, Dennis. Thanks!

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