on 10 March 2011
I bought this after mulling over quite a few options including Manfrotto ball heads. All I can say is that I am really glad that I did. The build quality is superb and it feels really solid in the hand. It comes in its own little soft bag and it feels like it should cost a lot more than it does.
The controls all feel solid and the friction adjust works very well. I wanted a head with separate pan lock so that I can shoot smooth panoramas/movies but with the leveling speed, versatility, and relative small size of a ball head compared to a 3-way.
This head has 3 controls: one for overall positioning, a friction control and a separate pan lock, all of which work great together.
The quick release plate has a second, security lever on which has to be squeezed as you twist the quick release lever to unlock the plate, preventing the quick release from being accidentally activated.
Some have mentioned on other Gittos ball heads that the three spirit levels do not work properly due to the bubble being stuck or other issues. Mine certainly does not suffer from that, the three spirit levels all work perfectly.
All in all this is a top quality ball head and at that price it is a real bargain too.
I bought this Giottos ballhead to pair up with my Giottos carbon fiber legs (reviewed here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B00BSSDEXI/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 )
First impressions with this product are very good. They come in a nice little cardboard box and the head itself comes in a plush little black bag with drawstring liners. A nice, if superfluous, touch. The instruction manual is clear and there are included screw mount adaptor and an allen key.
The unit itself is very neat, the base is 50mm wide but will still fit on a 60mm wide tripod mount (as mines is). There are three screws , each well machined and knurled. One controls a pan function and there is a nice little white number scale that appears in a cut-out notch as you pan the head. The second and third screws are related, one loosens the ball-joint and the other controls the friction. This is handy is mounting very light (compact camera) to very heavy (SLR with grip and telephoto lens) as it prevents the camera from falling over when you loosen it. I use a Canon EOS7D with grip and a variety of lenses, not the lightest combo but this head grips it well.
The three screws are easy to grab without needing to eyeball them first and in operation they are silky smooth and positive.
The mounting plate on the head is also well thought out. The quick release adaptor is very secure and sturdy and the mounting plate sticks to the base of your camera like glue.
The only slight issue here (and why I am not giving this five stars) is the size of the mounting plate. It is not easy to tell from the picture of this product but the ball joint assembly is very small and neat, the mounting plate feels pretty big on top of it. I used to have a Manfrotto ball head and the mounting plate on that was a small square, neat but very well made.
The mounting plate here is also very well made but just feels a little oversized given how dinky the rest of the unit is. That said, there is a couple of built-in spirit levels and the safety release is very difficult, if not impossible, to loosen accidentally.
Overall I am massively please with this unit, in use it performs flawlessly, every component and moving part is well made, is silky smooth in use and feels pretty much bomb proof. If the mounting plate had been a tad smaller this would have been a five star slam dunk for Giottos.
Don't let that minor criticism put you off, this is a very capable and well made unit
on 15 August 2013
I bought this Giottos ball head to go with my new Velbon Ultra Rexi L legs.
I had previously used only pan and tilt heads but decided this time I wanted to try a ball head. I felt that it would give me more control over the camera positioning although I'm sure others would say pan and tilt would do the same.
As I was only planning on owning one tripod I was looking for something that had a decent reasonable maximum weight (I use a D7000 with battery grip and at most a 18-200mm lens) and with a 6kg limit (albeit the tripod legs I have support 4kg) I felt this offered me enough scope for future growth.
I liked the additional pan functionality this head offered which some cheaper models didn't. It will allow me to set up a picture and then take 360 pictures at the same level. I haven't as yet made great use of this in the short time I have owned it. Neither have I looked into the friction feature much.
The spirit levels were of interest to me to ensure I get the picture as level as possible. Again some of the cheaper models didn't offer them and from reviews of other tripod heads I wasn't sure how clear these would be to read, whether the camera would block them, or how much I would use them. Having spent a weekend up on the hills in Scotland I can confirm they work brilliantly. They are a good size and very clear to read and I found them useful setting in a picture.
The weight of the head I was particularly pleased with and I feel I've managed to get a fairly light but relatively robust tripod setup without spending an exessive amount of money.
Overall I am very pleased with the tripod head and would gladly recommend it to others.
on 21 August 2011
Bought this mainly to help with shooting panoramas, using a panorama head (nodal ninja 3), but really I should have bought this with the original tripod rather than the pan and tilt. It is easy to adjust and level, the adjusting knobs are very precise in altering the friction and locking the head (I too have had no issues with the bubbles on the head). The quick release works very well and the tripod with this attached is a nice light, easy to carry unit. It is now my standard tripod head, with the pan and tilt put back in it's box. After a few months, the rubber grip wore off one of the knobs but after a quick email to Giottos, I received a new one by post free of charge, that's service.
on 8 July 2013
I bought this head to replace the pan and tilt head that came with my Giottos tripod. This head works perfectly, is very good quality and easily holds the weight of my Nikon D5100 with my heaviest lenses.
The only (minor) downside I can find is that the head screws onto the tripod legs but there is nothing to prevent it from unscrewing from the mount, (whereas my old Giottos head has some 'zig-zag' ridges underneath so that small screws would prevent it from unscrewing - sorry for the bad description!) so sometimes I turn the camera and find that the whole tripod head is turning and unscrewing from the legs. This is only a minor point as it would take alot of turning to actually come off the mount and it would not unscrew without you actually turning the camera.
I would recommend this tripod head, it does its job well.
on 25 August 2013
I bought this head to go with a carbon fibre tripod and I am very pleased with it. The controls feel solid and it holds my camera firmly. The quick release is also easy to use. I have also had the occasional problem with the head unscrewing itself from the tripod when panning, but I think this has been mostly my fault while learning how to use the head. This is a great multi-purpose head, but not a replacement for a pan and tilt. The pan knob lets you make a panorama at one tilt setting. But once you have unlocked the ball it's quite fiddly to adjust the tilt without also changing the orientation (although the spirit levels help). I'm going to save this tripod when I want flexibility of movement and buy a separate pan and tilt head for landscapes and panoramas.
on 25 May 2014
Very well made and smooth in operation. The friction control is a boon and the quick release plate locking system is a great safety feature. Bought for use with a Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds system to which it is admirably suited, especially as it is lightweight. A nice touch is the soft bag provided which can be placed over the head when the tripod is carried in a car or truck to prevent scratching. Highly recommended!