Man­frotto XPro Mag­ne­sium Ball Head with Top Lock plate

£134 / $163 www.man­frotto.co.uk

Digital Camera World - - KIT ZONE -

At first glance, this head doesn’t look par­tic­u­larly spe­cial, but there’s more than meets the eye. The mag­ne­sium con­struc­tion is rated to sup­port 10kg, enough for al­most any full-frame setup, yet the head tips the scales at a rea­son­able 520g. At its heart is a fairly large ball for good sta­bil­ity, and its grease-free poly­mer hous­ing en­ables ex­cep­tion­ally smooth move­ment, even with a lot of fric­tion ap­plied.

The fric­tion is set us­ing a tac­tile, clicky wheel that’s bet­ter than most sys­tems for di­al­ing in a pre­cise level of drag. Rather than us­ing rub­berised or knurled knobs, the ball-and-pan move­ment is tight­ened us­ing levers that lock se­curely with min­i­mal user ef­fort.

The XPro ball head can be specced with sev­eral mount­ing plate de­signs. We went for the Top Lock sys­tem, which is Arca-Swiss com­pat­i­ble, with the QR plate re­leased us­ing a sim­ple but ef­fec­tive but­ton. The top plate is sur­rounded by three in­di­vid­ual bub­ble lev­els for pre­ci­sion cam­era lev­el­ling, all view­able with your cam­era mounted.

PROS Ex­tremely smooth; er­gonomic lock­ing levers and fric­tion dial; good QR sys­tem

CONS Not as com­pact as Benro or Novo heads

Ver­dict

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