Acratech GP Ballhead & Lever Clamp
£450 / $430 www.bobrigby.com
Acratech’s skeletal design ethos certainly makes the GP Ballhead stand out, and results in its impressively low 450g weight. The ball diameter isn’t the largest, but it can support up to 11.4kg and clamps very securely using the grippy locking knob. The friction adjustment knob on the opposite side of the ball works well, making it easy to set consistent, carefully measured drag. The ball’s motion doesn’t sound as slick as some of the other heads here, but the actual movement is smooth, and it doesn’t jerk when you’re making small movements with friction engaged.
Up top, the lever-operated quick-release Arca mount is very ergonomic and a pleasure to use. Our only niggle is that the bubble level becomes obscured when you mount your camera.
The only other issue here is cost, but build quality is flawless, and the design adds value with its versatility. The quick-release mount can be removed from the ball and remounted on the base; with this assembly flipped, you get a levelling base for shooting stitched panoramas.
PROS Uncompromising build; smooth; effective friction control; light weight
CONS Relatively pricey, especially in UK; obscured bubble level