A ball & socket head is the preferred choice of many photographers who want a quick adjustment to camera position. Unlike a three way pan & tilt head, the ball has one joint to adjust horizontal and vertical movements in one action. This makes it easier to track a subject that's moving across and up or down at the same time. The Giottos MH-1000 is one such model aimed at the enthusiast user or pro who needs a head to be more robust and very supportive.
- Height 132mm
- Base diametre: 64mm
- Weight: 534g
- Max load: 10kg
- Price: £69.99
The Giottos MH-1000 head has three locking knobs. A smaller one at the base allows the unit to be rotated on the tripod's centre column without affecting any of the other set ups. The unit has a scale showing angle of view in 5 degree increments making it perfect for panoramic photography where you intend to shoot and stitch several photos together.
The main larger knob releases the ball socket so it can move freely and the second smaller one is a friction control to adjust how smoothly the ball adjusts. By fine tuning the adjustments you can get it to a prefered action.
The friction option works really well, athough the numbers on the scale are confusing. You would think a larger number would make it tighter when in fact a number nearer to 0 is the tightest point.
The main test of a head is its sturdiness and there's no denying this is one rock solid unit. The camera platform is about 5cm diameter making it a little too big for a compact camera, but perfect for a film or digital SLRs, or medium format cameras. It unscrews and reverses, giving you either 3/4 or 5/8in threads. The spec says it will cope with weights up to 10kg and I have no reason to doubt that. My only gripe was that the rubberised grip on the camera platform is a rubber that has a springiness to it even though the camera is screwed in tightly.
I've had several ball & socket heads over the years and this is the best I've used so far. The knobs lock solid and the camera is held rigid. I've never found the need for a friction control but it does improve use, especially when a longer lens is used that needs extra support.
In summary, the positive points of the Giottos MH-1000 ball & socket head are:
Well built and easy to adjust
The negative points are:
Platform rubber too springy
Check out the latest price of the Giottos MH-1000 ball & socket head here