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Showing 1-10 of 142 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 156 reviews
on July 12, 2014
I think it's good, and better than the other Manfrotto head I was using (3031, which is the video/traditional pan/tilt style), but after using it for a while, I have the following complaints:

* The friction knob is pretty much useless, as it has too little range of adjustment between being fully tight and completely loose and doesn't stay where it's set.
* I wish that it had some sort of a level (I'll have to get a hot shoe level I guess).
* The bottom plate (where it joins with the tripod) does not have grooves like the other head does, so with enough torque (not even a lot), it can twist free. This is even after tightening the three immobilizing tension screws as much as I dare.
* The pan/pan lock is not as useful as I thought it might be, particularly because there is no built-in level, and I paid more for this feature over the 496RC2, but pretty much never use it.

Conclusion:
Save your your money and get the 496RC2 or save up for the MH054M0-Q2.
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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 16, 2013
I have had the 498RC2 for about a year with light use. Over time the locking lever has become looser so that even when tightened firmly the slightest touch unlocks it. This has resulted in my lens swinging down and smacking into the tripod quite forcefully on two occasions. At first I thought it was my fault by not tightening it enough however I've been fiddling with the lever by pulling it out and positioning it different directions and noticed today that if you have it positioned downwards for unlocking it actually creeps undone itself. The only way to stop the ball from slipping is to tighten the tension screw as tight as possible. This makes for a very cumbersome proceedure. (By the way the little metal pin is still positioned at the end of the screw inside so it is not caused by that) Will be replacing this with something else - but what with is the question.
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on February 12, 2014
Can't say enough great things about this ball head. I bought it to replace a very expensive German brand ball head that was destroyed after my last hiking adventure. The trail ended up being very slippery and I had to use my tripod as a walking stick. Long story short, it served me well for many years, but didn't live up to the challenge of walking stick vs. moss covered rock.

Spent some time at a local camera store comparing new ball heads. I was shocked, to say the least, at how expensive ball heads have become. Seriously. I've been a professional photographer for 20+ years and am willing to pay the price when it's warranted. I was pleasantly surprised with this Manfrotto offering. It has nearly all the features I was looking for in a simple, well engineered ball head and didn't break the bank in the process.

I have already invested in the Manfrotto Quick Release plates for my camera bodies and lenses, so not having to change to a new system was a huge plus. It will easily handle the weight of most DSLR camera bodies and lenses. I did some research into the weight limitations of this ballhead and my Canon 5D-Mark III with a 70-200 lens didn't come close to the specified weight limits.

I like that the controls are simple. No acrobatics or third hand required when using this ballhead. There are (3) controls. One is a quick control, to get you in the ball park quickly. The second is a friction control knob. It allows you to adjust the tension on the ball, so the movement changes are loose and quick or slower with some resistance. The third knob is to rotate the base.

The base rotation knob was important to me as I like shooting an occasional panoramic. It's nice getting everything locked down with regard to horizon orientation, vertical and horizontal, then simply pan the camera without loosening up all the controls. But I mainly photograph portraits and this is a nice balance of size, quality and control.

The only negative I can think of is why they even bother to put the degree of rotation reference markings on the base. If the ball head were geared and you could dial in very precisely, the degree you wanted, that would make more sense. It's kind of cool. Makes me feel like my ball head is capable of doing more. Yes, I know it's actually helpful if you're the kind of photographer that liks to take notes about every camera setting.

Another minor complaint is simply the height of the ball head. There is another Manfrotto model that I saw in the photo store, that was a step down from this one. It had less features, but it was an even smaller profile head. Meaning, the space between the base and the actual ball. Not sure why this one is higher, but that's a very minor complaint.

I'm very happy with this ball head and feel it will serve me well for many years. I use my tripod and ball head frequently and it just works. Yes, there are some amazing ball heads out there for $400+ and I'm sure photographers feel justified in purchasing them. That's for another review. But this is a great ball head for the money. A stupid easy purchase, in my opinion.
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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!!!...you 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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on February 28, 2016
The unit I received from the seller Adorama was defective and obviously a prior return since it lacked the usual paperwork -- just a ball-head tossed loosely in a box. Fortunately I was able to correct the problem with a some filing and avoid Adorama's costly return process. My suggestion is to order direct from Amazon and avoid this particular seller.

The ball-head itself is sturdy and all the control knobs work smoothly. I especially like the smooth pan motion which is calibrated on the base and easily locks firmly into place when not being used. I noticed that if the temperature is cold, the ball action can be a bit sticky to move into final position since it is lubricated with grease. The quick release works smoothly and the safety lock works reliably once I corrected the defect.

Overall, happy with the product, but not with the seller.
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on March 15, 2014
I bought this to go with a Manfrotto 190XPROB 3-Section Aluminum Pro Tripod that I also purchased on Amazon. I got these to upgrade from a tripod I bought years ago with my old Canon T2i. Having purchased a Canon 5D Mkii and some heavy lenses (70-200L etc) I needed a new tripod that could sustain the weight of more advanced kit. I am not disappointed.

First, shipping was prompt and packaging was adequate to allow the part to arrive 100% undamaged. This is always appreciated.

After opening the package, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the 498RC2. It is heavy and well-built, not some flimsy piece of junk that will break straight away. The adjustments are easy to make and when tightened there is no slippage or sagging. I hooked this up with my heaviest setup - a Canon 5D Mk ii with a battery grip that was paired with a Canon 2x Extender III and a EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM - and it worked perfectly. I found the quick release plate to be easy to remove and install, and it feels really solid when locked in. The 498RC2 has my complete confidence and I am not at all worried about it failing and dropping my camera if hooked up at extreme angles.

I am really happy with the 498RC2 and recommend it highly. Of note, there are screws on the bottom that allow it to be secured to a tripod and prevent it from accidentally loosening. This is a welcome safety feature, and when using a Manfrotto tripod it works brilliantly. Again, I really recommend this product.
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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 26, 2010
This is a great ball head. Easy to use and holds like gorilla glue.
Pros.
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 April 2, 2012
For the hundred bucks it cost from Amazon, this ball head is more than worth the money and I recommend its purchase. I would have given the product five stars if not for the few issues listed.

One issue I have is with the safety lock mechanism which, when engaged, prevents the main unlocking lever from accidentally being relased thus leading to the camera falling. The problem is that it is too sensitive when set to the "unlock" position and the slightest touch can cause it to engage and prevent the camera being removed. This issue is most likely related to this particular head straight off the assembly line. The ball head I tested at my local camera store before purchase did not have the issue and it has not proven to be any "serious" problem. Besides, with wanting to error on the side of caution, I can more than deal with this safety feature being active more times than not.

Another issue is that the camera tended to "wobble" slightly when mounting a heavy camera. It did take some slightly above average force for this lack of stability to show itself, but it did cause blurry images after pressing the shutter button a little hard a couple of times. I also think that if the height of the post between the actual "ball" of the head and the mounting plate was just a little shorter, this stability issue would be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

Aside from these issues, the movement of the head is very smooth and allows very quick positioning, and locking, of the camera. I found myself using the tension adjustment knob on first use and it worked perfectly. The head is not too heavy and has a pretty low profile considering how much weight it is rated to handle.

Pros: Built very well from top-notch materials. Locking controls are easy to use. Motion of the head is smooth. Uses standard Manfrotto mounting plate. Great price for the professional level product that you get.

Cons: No way to use the threaded screws from my tripod to lock the head to the tripod because the underside of the head's mounting plate is perfectly smooth. The mounting plate safety latch is too sensitive and tends not to stay in the unlock position. Slightly unstable under heavy weight loads.
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