About a year ago, I was looking for a light weight tripod ball head, that is Arca-Swiss compatible for a hiking project I had in mind. Since I already owned a few Really Right Stuff ball heads, I was tempted to buy one of their more light-weight models. But one thing held me back: the cost.
I just wanted a very cheap ball head. Something for the hiking I planned to do, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. So I chose to look around e-Bay and found the Venturer Ball Head BH-1. It looks like a Chinese copy of the Arca-Swiss Monoball . So I thought at £49 I’d give it a go.
I think I should first say that I’m not usually the kind of person that weighs price over quality. Most of the time I would much prefer to pay $$$ to have something that works well, rather than spend a lot less on something that works poorly.
So I was curious as to what I’d make of a £49 ball head, and whether it would be any good? Would it fall apart after a few months? Or rust inside (like my Arca Swiss Monoball Z did just after six months of use - where Arca Swiss did not accept it as a warranty repair and told me I’d have to pay to have it fixed). I was also curious if this £49 ball head would have ball-head-creep - a condition where you lock the ball head in one position and let go and the camera sags……
So I’ve now owned this ball head for over a year now, and I took it with me to Patagonia and also across the sand dunes of Lencois Maranhensis in Brazil this summer. The ball head is still in one piece, and I found it was pretty robust. I also found that it didn’t have ball-head-creep - wherever I set it : it stayed. It is also light weight.
So I’ve found that a £49 ball head has pretty much replaced the other ball heads I’ve been using. Because it works, it’s light weight enough, and it also has the very nice friction mechanism that the Arca-Swiss monoball has - all my other ball heads - the friction setting is an independent dial that always gets knocked. With this ball head - it’s recessed into the main big knob and stays where I set it. And it hasn’t rusted inside like my Arca-swiss Monoball did after six months of use.
If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to the costly ball-heads out there by some very high profile brands, I would recommend this ball head. It’s a bit of a bargain for the money. It’s of similar build quality to the Really Right stuff ball heads, and has an arca-swiss clamp. It’s also pretty light, and it does what you want it to do : it keeps your camera steady and it stays where you lock it, with no creep. And it does all this for a fraction of the cost of an Arca Swss monoball, or Really Right Stuff BH model ball heads.