Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release Replaces Manfrotto 486RC2
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- Supports up to 13 pounds
- Repositionable locking lever for most comfortable use.
- New ergonomic design.
- New friction control for better control.
- Quick release system features a new style secondary lock.
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This item Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release Replaces Manfrotto 486RC2
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Item Dimensions||5 x 5 x 5 in||4.9 x 5.3 x 3.5 in||—||5 x 5 x 5 in||—||5 x 5 x 5 in|
|Item Weight||0.93 lb||1.1 lbs||—||0.55 lb||—||1.5 lbs|
Grip Type: Head
Top customer reviews
Even though I read pretty negative reviews claiming that this ball-head is no good for panoramas, I still decided to go for this because it fit my budget and the general reviews were very good.
I would like to let you know that don't get bogged down by the panoramas part. I used my Manfrotto setup (Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod) and this ball-head extensively during my recent trip to North-East USA. Produced some really beautiful panoramas of night time New York skyline where each exposure lasted 12 seconds! By the Hudson, the winds were really strong. I guess, this itself proves both the stability of this ball-head and its usability for panoramas.
Definitely, GO FOR IT!
The 496RC2 sports two controls: a large knob to lock the ball/pan and a smaller one to tweak tension or drag. My initial impression was the ball movement and controls felt rough: jerky ball and spongy controls. However, the ball mechanism became smoother under load, delivering reasonable control with light to moderate gear. As a point of comparison, it isn't nearly as smooth as my slightly smaller Gitzo G1177M ball head. I swabbed a wee bit of silicone on the ball with a Q-tip and it helped slightly.
The ball is tiny compared to the housing and I suspect a design of less housing and more ball would yield a smoother ride. Nevertheless, it works okay with my 7D and 15-85 zoom. It settles a bit upon tightening but doesn't creep thereafter when vertical or steeply angled. Big glass users should buy a larger model (054, 055 or 468MG series) as this head is designed for a light prosumer DSLR kit.
Unlike some older Manfrotto ball heads, the 496RC features a double drop slot so you can save a rotation when you flip the rig to vertical.
The QR platform is not as easy to use or as tight closing as my Manfrotto 323 RC2 Rapid Connect Adapter with 200PL-14 Quick Release Plate - Replaces 3299-Black or the prior 486RC2 model. I'm guessing they dumbed the QR down to make their more expensive ball heads look more inviting. They expect you to open both the release and lock levers with a single finger but I found such operation fiddly and uncomfortable. The spring loaded safety lock can be locked open but is not easy to do: pull firmly downwards and twist a half turn. The tiny little lever actually hurts my finger! The spring that snaps the main lever shut works okay but is a little weak compared to the 323 RC2 accessory quick release.
The 496RC2 ain't perfect but is a good product for the money, ideal for weekend warriors with a light DSLR or M4/3 kit. However, the plastic ball does not inspire confidence and I'd prefer a larger and smoother moving metal ball. But for $65 I can't complain much. However, I decided the 496RC2 was not for me and returned it, exchanging it for the Manfrotto MH054M0 Magnesium Ball Head. Yes, it costs two times more but is actually three times better in terms of stability and smoothness. I bought the version without quick release and installed a Hejnar Photo FM496RC2 Arca quick release clamp on it.