Hi-Tech Studio: Inside Ballheads

The Benro B3 Double Action Ball Head ($217, www.benrousa.com) weighs about 1.5 pounds and can support 66 pounds. It provides separate knobs for locking, drag and panning (with a 360° panning scale for easy panoramas). The unit uses an Arca-type quick-release plate.

The heavy-duty Cullmann MB8.3 Ball Head ($219.95, www.rtsphoto.com) weighs 28.5 ounces and can support 66 pounds. It features two bubble levels, a quick-release system and separate pan lock. Construction is of rugged aluminum.

The Feisol Ball Head CB-50DC ($169, www.feisol.net) features an outer layer of carbon fiber, which is strong, light and feels pleasant, even in cold weather. It features separate ball-locking and pan knobs, plus a quick-release system. The unit weighs 20.1 ounces and can support 41 pounds.

The Flashpoint F-9 Compact Tripod Ball Head ($69.95, www.adorama.com) is economically priced, yet the 14-ounce magnesium-alloy unit can support up to 40 pounds. It features a quick-release plate and a quick-lock knob.

The modular Foba Mini-Superball Plus ($580, www.foba.ch) weighs 28.8 ounces and can support 26.5 pounds. It features an Arca-type quick-release unit (plate not included) and has a long-handled locking knob for easy operation.

The Giottos MH3300-658 ($199.95, www.hpmarketingcorp.com) weighs 2.1 pounds and can hold 28 pounds. It features calibrated base and tension controls, and comes with a quick release.

Gitzo‘s off-center ballheads provide a range of movement not possible with conventional heads. The Series 5 Magnesium Quick Release Off Centre Ball Head ($399, www.gitzo.us) weighs 2.2 pounds and can support 26.46 pounds. It features magnesium construction, separate tilt and pan locking knobs, and a quick-release system.

Induro’s BHD3 Ballhead ($215, www.indurogear.com) weighs 2.2 pounds and can support 55 pounds. It features a separate pan lock, an Arca-style quick-release with safety lock, and machined magnesium-alloy construction.

Kirk‘s BH-1 Ball Head ($385, www.kirkphoto.com) weighs 30 ounces, can support 50 pounds, and comes with an Arca-style quick-release plate. There’s a separate lock for the 360º panning base. External parts are made of 6061-T aircraft aluminum, and internal parts, from brass and stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

The heavy-duty Linhof Profi Ballhead III Q ($1,149, www.hpmarketingcorp.com) weighs 2.9 pounds and can support 22 pounds. It features separate ball and pan locks, and a 360º panning scale. Included is a Quickfix II quick-release plate.

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