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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on March 26, 2010
This is a great ball head. Easy to use and holds like gorilla glue.
Great Construction and ease of use. Bottem lever adjusts pan and top lever operates the ball head. Great range of motion and it locks the plate solid.

Other considerations.
If you want one lever to control pan and tilt the 496RC2 has both in on lever that is a little quicker to manipulate than the 2 levers on the 498RC2. Having said that the 498RC2 is far supirior if you want to do panoramic shots. Lock the camera position and then you can move the pan as you please and have a solid panoramic shot.
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on March 20, 2010
lovin' this every shot. I paried the 498rc2 with 055XPROB, and both are a great combination for anyone. I wouldn't waste money on anything more expensive, you are only wasting money that can go towards other stuff. I've done a ton of research, and this is the best. This is a tough product and one that you won't feel bad for using it in harsh environments. I know photographers who take great photos but shrink from using gear in the field because its too expensive for them to replace. That is bull, this is a workhorse that can do it all.
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on February 19, 2010
Four rather than five stars because the $400 plus ball heads are smoother. Also own the 322RC2 Joystick which costs a few dollars more. This 498 is smoother and sags less BUT since there is no handle like the Joystick you need to push/pull on your camera and or lens to point the camera. My Joystick tended to stick when I tried to pivot in the wrist turning direction and sags a little when I release the handlever. You can compensate by aiming a little high so it sags to where you want but it can be frustrating.

This new model 498RC2 requires some fine adjustment which is provided. A heavier lens will take more friction on the smaller knob. Aim and give a slight tighten on the larger adjustable level for solid no slip positioning. This new head is only a little lighter than the Joystick but I like it better for the no slip and smoother positioning. Separate lower lever for pivot is nice for multiple horizontal shots not on the Joystick.

The RC2 quick connect/disconnect camera mount works well even if it looks less finely machined than the rest of the ballhead. And Nice little safety locking lever so you are less likely to drop your camera when mounting or removing.

Over all I prefer this 498RC2 to the Joystick because it is smoother with little or no slip. Using the camera and lens to pivot and aim is easy once you get used to it after using the Joystick. For the money I prefer this ballhead to the MUCH More Expensive "Right Stuff" ballheads. Pros will disagree. Perhaps if you need to use a ballhead for hours everyday then you need to pay for the Right Stuff. I am pleased with this new Manfrotto 498RC2 and will sell my Joystick.
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on December 31, 2013
I bought this with the 055XPROB tripod legs (they have been fine) about 3 years ago here on Amazon.

The 498RC2 worked fine for a while, then started slipping / sagging / drooping after 2 years of light use. You think you have the thing set, then the framing totally changes. Shooting the moon, I watched the weight of a 60D and 70-200mm (far under rated load) drag it down. I seriously only used it for a few astronomy shots and a waterfall. It never saw anything close to abuse or even professional use.

Then the locking lever completely broke. A spring flew out from underneath the broken plastic cap. I still have the parts. Also added a pic in the customer images.

The tension knob still holds a camera in place but I wouldn't walk away from it. It bounces all over the place before settling into place when framing a shot.

I got 2 years of acceptable use out of it. Maybe more if I had stuck to lenses under a pound...? Looking through the reviews, I am not the only one to have the locking lever snap off leaving a handful of plastic. Thing is - I used the tension knob most of the time... Dunno.

Definitely not rated for 1-2kg, much less 8kg or whatever is advertised.

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on September 30, 2010
I can't reiterate the no-sag comments of some reviewers. I guess it depends on the length of lens that you're using as to whether you can see the sag or not. For long (100+) and Macro shots there is sag, as much as half the frame on some focal lengths. However in saying this, it's par for the course. Show me a head that doesn't exhibit some sag at some focal length. You need to allow for it when you tighten the screws.

This is a top rate head. The ball is not as free to move as some heads, so you need to use the panning lock to get a descent range. You don't get a good full fore-aft, and side to side freedom. But i'm nit-picking even mentioning that.

Over all, a great head. The locks are firm and don't slip. They don't require too much friction to lock them, and I trust them with my gear attached (more than I can say about some tripod/head configurations I've used in the past).

I have to add that the controls are not in the best position. If you set it up with the arrow pointer on the panning mechanism nearest you (so you can read it) the ball lock is on the right side. Now, as I shoot, my right hand is on the grip/shutter, so my left hand needs to be operating the ball lock. So I have to have the whole thing backwards, not a big issue, as I don't read the panning marks anyway, however the panning knob is now in front of the camera in this position and is hard to get to as the friction knob is in the way.

Am I the only person to notice this? I have to remove a star to ergonomics I'm afraid. Otherwise a top rate head.
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on March 19, 2012
This is a good head but my only complain is that it does'nt work
on my 5D mark ii w/ canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS ii. I can't mount
it on the quick release plate fixed to tripod collar (on the 70-200 lens)
and the lever will not go all the way back due to battery grip.

So I have only 2 options

1) Attach the quick release plate to camera (Battery grip, here) and mount it, Or
2) Remove the battery grip

Option #2 is not an option for me at all.. So I am going with #1 but
it would be very good if I can mount it from tripod collar for better
usage and there is a good reason why long/heavy lenses have tripod collar/ring
to attach to tripods/monopods.

This seems like a flaw to me and I do not know how Manfrotto has not tested
this combo and I pretty sure that other tripod heads from Manfrotto (with the similar
lever mechanism to lock/unlock) will have the same problem.

When I read reviews, I did not come across this and I will also post this
issue in manfrotto web site

Update on 3/20/12: I googled a bit about this issue and looks like there is a work around. You
can mount the quick release plate in the lens ring the opposite direction (arrow pointing toward
the camera) and you should be able to slide and lock into the head easily. I tried
it yesterday and it worked.
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on January 1, 2012
I purchased this Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head in anticipation of a three week trip to London and the Mediterranean. I wanted to pair it with a Sirui CF Travel tripod, and was interested in this and a couple of other Manfrotto ball heads because the quick release plates they use are compatible with the Black Rapid strap system which I use. I wanted to be able to quickly go from a strap-held camera to one mounted on a tripod, and this and a couple of other Manfrottos gave me that option. I choase this one because it had two features I was very interested in having - the ability to hold over 15 pounds of equipment safely and the ability to shoot panorama shots. This was the best combination of all of those criteria, and the price is very, very competitive.

I couldn't have been happier with the ball head and the quick-release plates. The ball head is sturdy and substantial, which is what I want when 2K of equipment is balanced on top of it. That said, it was simple to maneuver and manipulate, even in the dark and the rain of both London and Venice. The panorama feature was very much appreciated as it gave me the chance to shoot many of the ports our cruise ship visited. The transfer from Black Rapid strap to tripod was quick and simple - I could and did do it in the dark many times with no trouble. When the camera is locked onto the ball head, it is a very firm and sturdy fit - I didn't once worry that my expensive camera might slip or fall.

This was the best combination of my needs and price that I could find, and I have to say it was an excellent choice. The ball head performed flawlessly and will be my first choice for every trip in the future. I highly recommend this ball head.
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on November 4, 2011
This head is another quality item from Manfrotto. It works smoothly and is easy to make adjustments. The panning feature is very nice. I own this one as well as the smaller 496RC2. They have both served me well with no problems at all and undoubtedly will for years to come. I use this one with my larger 055XPROB tripod and the smaller 496RC2 with my lightweight 190CXPRO3. I love Manfrotto products and will continue to buy them. You just can't go wrong with Manfrotto!
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on July 23, 2011
Supports a 7D and 70-200 f4 L lens by the camera body with effectively no slippage. It took me a few minutes to figure out the right way to support the lens while tightening the quick release, but now I don't even see any shift after locking the head down. I doubt it could pull off quite the same feat with the f2 version of the 70-200, but it's still an impressive amount of hold for a reasonably priced professional head. Mind you, they could have probably made a lighter head out of cast iron, but it also doubles as a great personal defense weapon if you ever need to walk through a bad neighborhood with your camera.
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on September 17, 2012
I was looking for a ballhead for my Manfrotto 190XPROB and was debating whether I should buy the 496RC2 or spend another $40 and get the 498RC2. Since the tripod was $130 I was looking to save some money but I'm glad that I didnt go with the cheaper option. No offense to those who have the 496RC2, I think, the 498RC2 is worth the extra money just for the panning capability. For those of you thinking it as shooting "panning" pictures, this is more important than that. Consider yourself on the beach/mountain top, framing a picture with the DSLR, you have locked ur ballhead into place and everything is set. You look into you viewfinder and voila!!! dont like what you see. Now if you wanna move your camera to the right or left, you have to release the ball lock lever, move right/left and then repeat the whole process....Or if you have a panning lever, just loosen it, move right/left and the ball is kept locked and doesnt move an inch....done. This is priceless...I always keep my panning knob open and dont have to think twice about moving my shot right/left if need to. Now you can do the same by loosening the center column knob (if its not extended) and pan but then you introduce an extra factor that may cause the camera to shake. If you have your center column raised, than you are back to square one :-(

This ballhead is built like a tank, all magnesium alloy, the quick release plate does come with a loop in the bottom which makes it much more convenient to screw to the base of the camera(dont have to search for a coin !!!) and the QR plate locks in place by just pressing it down and has a mechanism which prevents the QR plate from accidentally releasing. One thing I'm not too thrilled about is that when you unlock the QR plate, the camera just falls forward as its center of gravity is more towards the lens. So please...please...please...hold your camera by its lens AND THEN press the unlock lever or else, you will be looking a spending some serious money on a new lens and/or camera.
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