Top positive review
Solid and reliable
January 14, 2018
I use this as a ball head on my Fornax Lightrack II for astrophotography on a Slik Pro 700 DX tripod. I most often use a 400mm f/5.6L, and less frequently a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, on a 5D Mark IV. Astrophotography is an an application that will make every last optical and mechanical deficiency in your equipment painfully evident to you. For a time, I used the Slik version, since I figured they make a good tripod, so the ball head should be good as well. What I found was that several of my exposures were affected by slippage - in most other forms of photography this would be hard to notice since it happens slowly and is slight, so quite possibly you will miss it between exposures. But when you want your stars to be round and sharp over minutes of tracking, you'll notice this rather easily. The move to this has been a significant upgrade and has gotten rid of all the slippage issues.
I was initially worried before I purchased this that the knobs would interfere with the body of the tracker, but this has not been the case. Everything about this screams solidity. The quick release plate once tightened on to the lens is a very solid connection. Knob rotation and panning of the head is smooth. Most importantly, everything is secure - once you tighten the knobs, nothing moves, no matter the position or orientation. The fact that the plate is rectangular versus circular gives less opportunity for slip. That's exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I got. Objects at zenith are a bit hard to aim at, but that's something that comes with the application and not a fault of this ball head. The only "negative", and I use quotes advisedly, is that the quick release plate goes in only one way and can initially be a bit hard to mount especially in the dark. But once you get used to it, you'll find it works just fine.
If your application is more casual photography, and can afford a few flaws in your shots from time to time, you'll probably save quite a bit by going to something cheaper. If you need something that is absolutely reliable, purchasing this or something like this sooner rather than later will save you a lot of frustration.