If you need to get a grip on your tripod, the Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick tripod head could be just the ticket
I bought a ball head for my Manfrotto 055Pro tripod a number of years ago. Prior to that I had a large 3 way pan & tilt head, but I wanted to reduce weight and bulk so considered the ball head the way to go. If I'm honest I never really liked it. The problem was that when the lock was released the head could easily move along any plane, and unless a tight grip was made on the camera, it was easy to lose control of its position. I'd been used to a head that would only move through a single plane at a time and you didn't need to have to hold of the camera, preventing it from falling to one side, so it was a little disconcerting at first.
I have recently purchased another ball head, but this time I love it. The 322RC2 has a large trigger grip which, when squeezed, releases the lock on the ball. This time though the very fact you have hold of the grip keeps you in full control of the camera so you can move along any plane.
The head is referred to as a Joystick head and is set up for right hand use. However a small allen key is supplied and using this it can easily be converted for left handed use. The camera is attached with a standard rectangular 200PL Manfrotto quick release plate. If you aren't familiar with these, they are fastened to the tripod bush on the base of the camera, enabling the camera to be locked into the head and released with a flick of a small lever. This Manfrotto 200PL quick release system is very common and I have now collected 3 of these quick release plates. There is also a small circular bubble style leveling device, I'm not a big fan of them but its better than nothing. Finally, if you need to increase or decrease the friction on the ball there is a knurled dial on the top of the grip to do this.
In use the trigger grip needs a firm squeeze to release the ball and it can be turned through 360degrees as well as twisted forwards and backwards. If you want to turn the camera to portrait mode it will turn so the handle is vertical. Once the trigger is released the head locks in a very positive way and I found it to be rock solid with a large camera and heavy lens on. I found this to be much better than the 488 ball head I have been used to using, which needed a knob to be turned to slacken and tighten the ball, and which didn't give you much warning of when the camera was going to move.
As ball heads go, I've been very impressed with the way the head works and gives a very firm support for my camera. I'd give the 322RC2 full marks for functionality and ease of use. I purchased the head from Dale Photographic in Leeds and paid £95.02. It wasn't the cheapest I could have paid, but I got great service and advice, they were happy to let me put it on my tripod and make sure it all fitted in its case, you can't do that when buying online.
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Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick tripod ball head review
DPNow Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick tripod ball head review
Here is a summary or excerpt from an article that has just been published on DPNow:
If a bulky pan ... (more)
Shenstone Re: Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick tripod ball head review
I have also purchased on of these recently and whilst I like the device there are 2 things that may ... (more)
Stephen Re: Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick tripod ball head review
Thanks for your comments Andy, its always good to have actual user experience of such things. I ta... (more)