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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